MassUltra Roundup: Pine Creek, Wasatch Front, Water Gap, McKenzie River, and Yeti Snakebite

Two 100-mile ultramarathons challenged New England residents with opposing types of terrain – crushed gravel on a smooth rail-trail in Pennsylvania and rugged, steep mountains in Utah – and runners from the region handled both just fine on the Sept. 5-8 weekend. Lynnfield resident Lori Mitchener’s overall win at the Pine Creek Challenge 100 in Pennsylvania leads off this week’s roundup, and her performance is joined by the successful finish at Wasatch Front by five New England residents. Additionally, the Water Gap 50K in Pennsylvania, the McKenzie River Trail Run in Oregon, and the Yeti Snakebite 50K in Georgia are included in this week’s roundup.

Pine Creek Challenge

Lori Mitchener turned in a memorable 100-mile debut in May when she finished fifth overall and first in the women’s field at the Keys Ultra 100-miler in Florida. Mitchener made it two-for-two on 100-mile wins when she raced the ninth annual Pine Creek Challenge Ultras on Sept. 7-8 in Wellsboro, Pa., only this time she also secured the overall win.

Mitchener, 42, of Lynnfield, Mass., hammered the out-and-back course on the Pine Creek Rail Trail and recorded the seventh-fastest time in course history, winning in 17:42:15. The men’s winner and second overall finisher, 26-year-old Michael Hohl of Frederick, Md., followed two minutes later in 17:44:57.

While Mitchener earned the overall win, she wasn’t the lone Massachusetts resident to finish in the top 10. Revere resident Michael Condella, 31, placed 10th overall in 23:28:29 while earning his fifth straight finish of the race and third straight in the top 10. Another New England resident, 55-year-old Lai Sun of Newtown, Conn., placed 20th in 26:02:29. Thirty-five runners finished the 100-mile race within 30 hours.

In addition to the 100-miler, runners also could take on 100K and 50-mile ultramarathons. Javier Perrone, 46, of Bristol, Conn., was the lone New England finisher in the 100K, placing 10th in 12:53:36. In the 50-mile race, 41-year-old Jason Baer of South Burlington, Vt., earned the overall win in 7:11:10. Additionally, 50-year-old Jeffrey Hingst of New Canaan, Conn., finished in 13:33:21, and 68-year-old Ed Peters of Norwalk, Conn., finished in 16:02:59.

Wasatch Front 100

One of the nation’s oldest 100-mile ultramarathons, the 39th annual Wasatch Front 100 took place on Sept. 5-6 in Utah, challenging runners with a point-to-point course from East Mountain Wilderness Park near Kaysville to Soldier Hollow in Midway. In between, runners amassed 24,000 feet of vertical gain, much of it on rugged mountain trails. Five New England residents were among the 208 runners to complete the race within the 36-hour time limit, led by 47-year-old Bertram Johnson of Burlington, Vt., who placed 28th overall in 26:32:07. Johnson completed the San Diego 100 earlier this summer, and he finished the UTMB and Black Hills 100 last summer.

Other New England residents who finished Wasatch Front were 44-year-old Gnarls Barclay of Falmouth, Maine, who placed 52nd overall in 28:51:22; 42-year-old Wayne Chan of Westborough, Mass., who finished in 33:12:11; 50-year-old Gary Gustafson of Merrimack, N.H., who finished in 33:30:36; and 35-year-old Sharon Knorr of New Castle, N.H., who finished in 35:39:01.

The overall win went to 40-year-old Gediminas Grinius of Lithuania who completed the final leg of the Grand Slam in 20:55:31. Teresa Kaiser, 30, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the first-place woman and eighth overall finisher in 24:13:32.

Water Gap 50K

Now in its fifth year, the Water Gap 50K challenges runners with a 32-mile, point-to-point course traversing the Delaware Water Gap in Milford, Pa., on a mixture of nontechnical dirt and crushed-gravel rail-trail. New Yorker Ellie Pell, 27, dominated this year’s race on Saturday, Sept. 7, winning the race outright in a course-record time of 3:45:32, holding off her closest competitor – men’s winner Spencer Hurst, 33, of Brooklyn, N.Y. – by seven minutes.

Two New England residents also were among the finishers. Graham Kimmerer, 33, of Westminster, Mass., finished 11th overall in 4:33:58, and 48-year-old Tom Davidson of Florence, Mass., was 52nd in 5:47:14. Ninety runners finished the race within eight hours.

McKenzie River Trail Run

Joanna Craig picked a classic race to make her ultramarathon debut. Craig, 29, of Medford, Mass., traveled cross-country to take part in the McKenzie River Trail Run on Saturday, Sept. 7, in Blue River, Ore. Now in its 32nd year, the race is the oldest continuous ultra in Oregon and has been a popular draw for decades.

Craig had a good day in her ultra debut, finishing 57th overall – and 15th in the women’s field – in just under six hours, clocking a time of 5:59:59. There were 158 finishers within nine hours. Asher Catterall, 23, of Klamath Falls, Ore., was the men’s winner in 3:43:00, while 24-year-old Heather Johnson of Medford, Ore., finished seventh overall and first in the women’s field in 4:23:39.

Yeti Snakebite 50K

With his first 100-mile attempt – the Yeti 100 – on the horizon later this month in Virginia, Greg Wolodkin took on a different Yeti – the Yeti Snakebite 50K – as a final tune-up race on Sunday, Sept. 8, at Sweetwater State Park in Lithia Springs, Ga.

Wolodkin, 52, of Sutton, Mass., took on the three-loop, figure-eight style course and was one of 159 runners to finish within 11 hours. Wolodkin placed 45th overall in 7:00:43. Evan Dare, 32, of Marietta, Ga., won the race in a course-record time of 3:58:14. Amanda Morris, 34, of Pineville, N.C., was the first-place woman and second overall finisher in a women’s course-record time of 4:16:41.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including ultrasignup.com, UltraRunning Magazine, and official race websites. We do the best we can to find as many results as possible to report on and recognize the local ultrarunning community.

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