Runners have had the option of going beyond 100 miles for several years at the Ghost Train Rail Trail Races; it’s a time-based event, after all, rather than distance-specific.
A handful of participants have contemplated running bonus miles after finishing 100 during the 30-hour event in years past, but only three had done so — Byron Lane and Karna Hyman both ran 115 miles in 2012 and Alex Cabrera completed 105 miles in 2018.
At the 11th annual event on Oct. 19-20 at Camp Tevya in Brookline, N.H., the number of total runners to go beyond 100 miles doubled as three more joined the 100-plus club. Carolyn Harper led the way. Harper, 28, of Somerville, Mass., built on her 105-mile performance at Feburary’s TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-Hour Ultra when she won the event outright. At Ghost Train, Harper went even farther, completing 115 miles in 24:21:58. Additionally, 39-year-old Shane McNally of Everett, Mass., built upon his 100-mile performances of 2017 and 2018 by running 115 miles in 28:38:18.
Additionally, 37-year-old Tek Ung of Cranston, R.I., capped a big year that has included at least four other 100-mile performances (Jackpot 48-Hour, Cruel Jewel 100, Booneville Backroads 100, Hennepin Hundred) by running 105 miles in 29:11:22 at Ghost Train.
While three runners ran extra mileage, 59 capped the weekend with 100-mile performances. That included Alexander Jinks who earned his second victory in a row at the race and clocked the third-fastest time in course history in 14:12:14. Jinks set the course record a year ago with his blistering time of 13:29:19. He finished second at the 2017 race in 15:25:00. Jinks’ closest competitor this year was Justin Kousky, 39, of Westport, Conn., who earned his second 100-mile finish of the year in 18:24:44. Harper was the third overall runner to reach 100 miles (18:24:44), while Dima Feinhaus, 56, of Waban, Mass., was the third male 100-mile finisher in 20:15:08. Joining them in the men’s top 10 were John Brown, 62, of Northbridge, Mass. (21:23:25); Chris Rosol, 45, of Somerville, Mass. (21:31:37); Matt Dibb, 38, of Hull, Mass. (21:52:08); Norris Cochran, 49, of Arlington, Va. (21:59:44); Jason Downer, 45, of Rochester, N.H. (21:59:46); Blake Pomeroy, 43, of Rowley, Mass. (22:09:59); and Blake Emerson, 46, of Gorham, Maine (22:13:49).
While Harper was the first woman to 100 miles, Molly Karp was the second. Karp, 37, of Natick, Mass., earned the runner-up spot in 22:48:35, followed by Mira Skuka, 50, of Farmington, Conn., in 23:55:28. Rounding out the women’s 100-mile top 10 were Shannon Jenkins, 30, of South Portland, Maine (24:42:25); Tami Kasoff, 44, of Westbrook, Maine (24:45:54); Jenny Cavanagh, 30, of Weymouth, Mass. (25:03:45); Elizabeth Lynch, 54, of Milford, Mass. (25:06:32); Krista Alderdice, 43, of West Windsor, Vt. (27:06:27); Karen Thibodeau, 53, of Sutton, Mass. (27:40:02); and Jodie Davis, 27, of Boston, Mass. (27:53:08).
Three runners came close to the 100-mile mark, but didn’t quite get there before the cutoff. Both Justin Blais, 41, of Portsmouth, N.H., and Ralph Dumke, 62, of Palm Coast, Fla., set personal distance personal records with their 90-mile performances, Blais in 27:08:46 and Dumke in 28:31:18. David Phillips, 42, of Medford, Mass., also finished with 90 miles in 27:37:17.
Twenty-one more runners finished with 75 miles. Top men at that distance were Rob Fowler, 42, of Morrill, Maine (16:11:06); Doug Beaulieu, 55, of West Newfield, Maine (16:21:50) and Aaron Thompson, 36, of Pensacola, Fla. (16:40:04), while the top three women were Caitline Howes, 37, of Suffield, Conn. (16:38:12); Toni Tessier, 46, of LIsbon, Conn. (16:48:15); and Donna Collins, 51 of Warwick, R.I. (21:04:59).
Lowe, Scotto Victorious in 60-Mile Race
After winning the women’s 100-mile race and finishing fourth overall at the 2018 Ghost Train, Deirdre Lowe notched a victory at another distance in 2019. Lowe, 40, of Salem, Mass., was the outright champion of the 60-miler, holding off runner-up Kelly Cronin in a women’s 1-2 finish. Lowe logged a winning time of 10:49:48 for the fourth-fastest time in course history at the distance, while Cronin, 42, of Auburn, Calif., followed in 10:54:37. Kerry Rollins, 47, of Tyngsboro, Mass., rounded out the women’s podium and finished fourth overall in 11:49:25. In the men’s race, 47-year-old Ben Scotto of Boston, Mass., cruised to the win in 11:48:54. Ross Anderson, 40, of Franklin, Mass., was a distant second in 12:24:34, followed by Matthew Moison, 51, of Fitchburg, Mass., in 12:38:02.
Fifty-two runners finished the 60-mile race.
Brandt, Quinn Take Top Spots in 45-Miler
The top two men in the 45-mile race easily outdistanced the rest of the field, with Rick Brandt and Brian Butterfield being the only runners to finish in less than seven hours. Brandt, 44, of Salem, Mass., took the win in 6:37:12, followed by Butterfield, 40, of Southborough, Mass., in 6:50:50. Scot Lemire, 41, of Weare, N.H., was a distant third in 7:38:44. Meanwhile, 36-year-old Elissa Quinn of Dedham, Mass., was victorious in the women’s race, winning in 7:40:35. Roberta Myers, 53, of Norwood, Mass., was the runner-up in 8:23:47, followed by Rossana Paganelli, 48, of Georgetown, Mass., in 9:08:10.
Sixty-nine runners finished the 45-mile race.
Gillis Defends Title in 30-Mile Race
Peter Gillis won the Ghost Train 30-mile race for the second year in a row and turned in the fifth-fastest mark in men’s course history in 3:54:47. His performance was less than a minute slower than his winning mark from 2018. Ken Parnow, 32, of Portland, Maine, was second in 4:26:22, followed by John Sangiolo, 55, of Newton, Mass., in 4:32:40. Meanwhile, Claire Gadrow, 50, of South Kingstown, R.I., topped the women’s field in 4:38:42, followed closely by 30-year-old Taylor Miller of Laconia, N.H., in 4:44:58. Julia Fuller, 23, of Cambridge, Mass., rounded out the women’s podium in 4:47:27.