The White Mountains’ Kilkenny Ridge packed a punch last weekend, but several New England residents were up to the challenge for 50 or 25 miles, and a few others ventured to neighboring Vermont for 24 hours on a 3.5-mile loop in the Northeast Kingdom. Additionally, Miller’s Falls’ Daniel Grip of Millers Falls ascended to the top of the podium with a hard-earned win at Pisgah Mountain in New Hampshire, and a handful of other New Englanders took on a 50K course for the first time at Macedonia in Connecticut. All four events are captured in Part II of this week’s roundup: the New England-specific edition.
Kilkenny Ridge 50M
Rugged and remote, the inaugural Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler provided ultrarunners with a crash course in White Mountains brutality in 2018. The allure of such a difficult challenge made the race a popular draw once again in year two as runners again flocked to Stark, N.H. on Sept. 24-25 to take part in either the 50-mile or 25-mile races.
The 25-mile out-and-back course started and finished at the South Pond Recreation Area in Stark. In between, it took runners over gnarly, rugged singletrack and over the summit of two 4,000-foot peaks, challenging runners with 15,000 feet of climbing and tons of technical terrain.
Of the 36 runners who started the race, 22 finished within the 24-hour time limit.
Notably, the top four men in the 2019 race all dipped under 2018 winner Rob Rives’ winning mark of 12:33:50. Peter Howe, 23, of Intervale, N.H., earned the victory with a dominant performance, winning in 10:58:45. Coming in a distant second in the men’s field was 44-year-old Ben Nephew of Westborough, Mass., in 11:41:36, followed by 36-year-old Kale Poland of Moultonborough, N.H., in 12:10:14. Rounding out the top four was 40-year-old Colin Gulley of Gilead, Maine, who logged a time of 12:10:14.
In the women’s race, 38-year-old Bridget Ferrin-Smith of Danville, Vt., earned the victory in 13:46:48, setting a new course record as she dipped under 2018 champion Lisa Rising’s winning mark of 14:03:51. Rounding out the women’s top three were 42-year-old Meredith Pinault of Belmont, Mass., in 19:27:17 and 56-year-old Patty Higgins of York, Maine, in 20:32:58.
Other Massachusetts residents who finished the 50-miler were 42-year-old Evan Hardcastle of Housatonic in 14:56:42, 55-year-old Whitney Hanschka of Vineyard Haven in 20:25:55, and 31-year-old Jimmy Riopel of Rochdale in 21:50:04.
In addition to the 50-mile ultra, another 68 runners completed the one-way 25-mile race within 16 hours. Ben Thompson, 28, of Medford, Mass., brought home the win in the men’s race in 4:37:18, followed by 26-year-old Chris Burnham of Stowe, Vt., in 5:10:40 and 28-year-old Andrew Hostetler of Thornton, N.H., in 5:16:33. Meanwhile, a pair of women from Maine secured the top two positions on the podium as 31-year-old Kate LaPointe of Eliot earned the win in 6:31:20 and 31-year-old Emily Rose of Portland secured second place in 6:49:03. Rose closed out a strong race by holding off 41-year-old Stacia Broderick of West Tisbury, Mass., who finished third in 6:51:48.
24 Hours of Northeast Kingdom
Twenty-four hours on a 3.5-mile loop was the challenge for runners at the second annual 24-Hours of the Northeast Kingdom ultramarathon on Sept. 14-15 at the Northwoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, Vt., and a handful of runners were up for the task.
Taking on a winding course that blended singletrack and doubletrack dirt, John Doyle of Enosburg Falls, Vt., and Timothy Parcell of Brighton, Mass., completed more loops than any other runner. Doyle, 35, circled the course from noon Saturday to noon Sunday and amassed 70 miles. That effort secured him the win and the course record for mileage in the 24-hour race. Parcell was close behind, placing second and tying the previous course record with 66.50 miles completed. Rachel Goetting, 29, of Toms River, N.J., was the third overall finisher and winner of the women’s race with 63 miles completed.
Seven runners took part in the 12-hour race, and all completed at least a 50K. A trio of runners from Vermont – 41-year-old Brian Sylvester of Rutland, 52-year-old April Farnham of Plainfield, and 41-year-old Ira Wheeler of Danville – tied for the win with 42 miles apiece. Additionally, Virginia Kittel, 51, of Jericho, Vt., finished 38.5 miles and 30-year-old Cynthia Peterson of Burlington, Vt., finished 31.5 miles.
Another four runners competed in the six-hour race; only Tanya Wharton, 48, of Beaconsfield, Quebec, went beyond the marathon distance as she finished with 31.50 miles.
Pisgah Mountain 50K
The Pisgah Mountain 50K has served as a good measuring stick for Daniel Grip and his trail-running progress. Grip, 40, of Millers Falls, Mass., first ran the race in 2016, placing 11th overall in 5:11:35. Two years later he returned to the course and turned in another strong showing, finishing sixth overall and fifth among the men in 4:54:15. Grip once again returned to the race for its 20th running on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Pisgah State Park in Chesterfield, N.H., and this time he took home top honors.
Grip’s winning time of 5:06:24 was nearly 10 minutes faster than his closest competitor, 24-year-old Andrew Erickson of Lebanon, N.H., who placed second in 4:16:14. Erickson edged 34-year-old Peter Bonito of Westmoreland, N.H., who rounded out the men’s top three in 4:16:32. Two more Massachusetts men joined Grip in the overall top 10. Brian Rusiecki, 40, of South Deerfield, Mass., finished fifth in 4:24:11 while 26-year-old Thomas Mackey of Cambridge, Mass., placed 10th in 4:48:27.
In the female category, 43-year-old Leslie O’Dell of Albany, N.H., earned the victory in 4:52:18, holding off 36-year-old Kels Spare of Wendell, Mass., who placed second in 4:58:28. Amy Rusiecki, 40, of South Deerfield, Mass., rounded out the podium in 5:12:02.
Five more Massachusetts residents were among the 68 finishers. Matthew Marden, 41, of Framingham finished 13th overall in 4:57:40; 35-year-old Ari Ofsevit of Cambridge placed 15th in 5:04:38; 39-year-old Dan Doherty of Westford was 16th in 5:05:49; 25-year-old Hannah Zeltner of Brighton was 20th in 5:22:03; and 34-year-old Carolyn Wisnewski of Shirley was 30th in 5:54:39.
One year after launching with a 7.25-mile race, the second running of the Macedonia Trail Race grew to include an ultramarathon as well as a 25K race. The second annual event and inaugural Macedonia 50K took place on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Macedonia Brook State Park in Kent, Conn. Runners in the ultra took on a three-loop course through forested singletrack trails and climbed around 7,000 feet along the way. Thirteen runners completed the inaugural race, led by 37-year-old Andy Vermilyea of Castleton, Vt., in 5:56:00 and 46-year-old Richard Rushka of New Midford, Conn., in 6:05:38. Kimberly Battipaglia, 47, of New Haven, Conn., was the fifth overall finisher and first woman in 7:09:43. She won the women’s race by more than an hour.
*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.