MassUltra Roundup: The Hamsterwheel, Pachaug, Farm to Farm, and the Cross-Connecticut Run for Mental Health Awareness, and Pinhoti

After several busy weekends of ultramarathons in Massachusetts, it was quiet in the Bay State on Nov. 2-3. There were still plenty of races nearby in New England, however, from the Hamsterwheel time-based ultras in New Hampshire, to the small and scenic Farm to Farm ultras in Maine, to two brand new events in Connecticut — the Pachaug 50-miler and the Cross-Connecticut Run for Mental Health Awareness. Beyond those regional races, several New Englanders headed south to Alabama and brought home finishers belt buckles from the Pinhoti 100-miler. All of those races are featured in this week’s roundup.

The Hamsterwheel

The Hamsterwheel ultras were back for their sixth year on Nov. 2-3, offering runners the opportunity to log as many miles as they wanted for 6, 12, 24 or 30 hours on a four-mile course that was flat and fast on the New Boston Rail Trail in New Boston, N.H.

The 30-hour race boasted the biggest field with 42 runners. Forty surpassed the marathon distance, 32 had 52 miles or more; and 17 ran at least 100 miles — with six going beyond that milestone.

Justin Fitzgerald, 36, of Malden, Mass.; Jeffrey Ray, 36, of New London, N.H.; and Patrick Cupka, 38, of New York, N.Y., all shared top honors in the 36-hour race with 108 miles completed. Stephanie Abrell, 39, of North Pomfret, Vt.; Zachary Redin, 29, of Norwalk, Conn.; and Dave Righter, 33, of Villas, N.J., each completed 104 miles.

Other New England residents who finished with 100 miles in the 36-hour race included Bob Keating, 72, of Nashua, N.H.; Peter Ouellette, 33, of Enfield, Conn.; Vincent Framularo, 38, of Trumbull, Conn.; Brian Roccapriore, 41, of Clinton, Conn.; Colin Wickes, 35, of Norton, Mass.; Daniel Whitmoyer, 34, of Sunapee, N.H.; Tivan Cassavant, 32, of Merrimack, N.H.; Tyler Sloan, 27, of Boston, Mass.; and John Toscano, 51, of Salem, N.H. Dan Mathers, 47, of Stoughton, Mass., came close, finishing with 96 miles, while 49-year-old Matthew Hall of Dudley, Mass., logged 88 miles.

In the 24-hour race, 34 runners, logged mileage, 33, ran beyond the marathon distance; 23 ran more than 50 miles; and four finished the day with 100 miles on their legs. James Gawle, 68, of Webster, Mass.; Geno Dube, 50, of Manchester, N.H.; Kevin Coughlin, 35, of Tolland, Conn.; and Matthew LeBlanc, 34, of Somersworth, N.H., all were 100-mile finishers. Jeff Brooks, 49, of Colebrook, N.H., came close, finishing with 92 miles, while 33-year-old Chad MacDonald of New Boston, N.H., logged 88. Both Karen Giroux, 53, of Salem, Mass., and April Farnham, 52, of Plainfield, Vt., had 80-mile performances.

Twenty-two runners tackled the 12-hour race, and all but one ran beyond the marathon distance. Megan Lenane, 25, of Brighton, Mass., was the overall winner with 72 miles, followed by men’s champion Peter Lawry, 40, of Charlestown, N.H., with 64 miles. Kristen Michaud, 27, of South Portland, Maine, was the third overall finisher and women’s runner-up with 60 miles. Three runners — Christopher Naimie, 56, of Wilmot, N.H.; Maxine Colvey, 27, of Ottawa, Ontario; and Jonathan Toto, 47, of Brookline, Mass. — finished with 56 miles apiece.

Twenty-eight runners took part in the 6-hour race, with 19 going beyond the marathon distance. Lori Mitchener, 43, of Lynnfield, Mass., led all runners with 40 miles, followed by men’s winner Devin Pray, 43, of West Hartford, Conn., and women’s runner-up Gabrielle Pedersen, 31, of Oneonta, N.Y., with 36 miles apiece.

Pachaug 50M

The inaugural Pachaug Trail Run 50-miler took place Saturday, Nov. 2, at Pachaug State Forest in Voluntown, Conn. The three-loop course challenged runners with a mix of singletrack and multi-use trails and a little bit of pavement, all of it highly runnable while journeying through lush pine forests.

In the men’s race, 39-year-old Justin Kousky of Westport, Conn., ran away from the field and cruised to the win in 9:01:19. Raymond Sansoucy, 32, of Worcester, Mass., was a distant second in 9:47:02, followed by 33-year-old Joseph Nuara of Stratford, Conn., in 10:04:37.

In the women’s race, 36-year-old Laura Ricci of Boston, Mass., dominated the race, winning handily in 10:20:46. Her closest competitor was 39-year-old Carly Eisley of North Stonington, Conn., who finished more than an hour later in 11:28:21. Peggy Edwards, 45, of Ledyard, Conn., rounded out the women’s podium in 11:36:03.

Other Massachusetts residents who were among the finishers included Ed Donahue, 35, of Abington, who was the sixth-place male and seventh overall finisher in 11:13:07; Kenny Benet, 47, of Newton, who finished in 11:49:37; and Christina Kennedy, 35, of Douglas, who finished in 12:43:48.

Farm to Farm Ultras

The ninth annual Farm to Farm 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons took place Sunday, Nov. 3, in Freeport, Maine. Runners tackled two or three 25K out-and-backs of a mostly paved course between Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Crystal Spring Farm, tackling numerous rolling hills and only a little bit of trail along the way.

Eight runners finished the 50-mile race this year, led by Greg Reinbach, 48, of Fryeburg, Maine, who topped the men’s field in 7:34:21, and Elizabeth Shell, 22, of Scarborough, Maine, who won the women’s race in 7:50:51. Shell’s performance was the second-fastest in women’s course history. Sean Maggs, 44, of Naples, Maine, was the men’s runner-up in 8:54:14, followed by 58-year-old Billy Nichols of Rumford, Maine, in 9:12:05.

Alex Markle, 38, of Burlington, Mass., was the lone runner from the Bay State in the field. He finished in 10:28:04.

Christina Matthews, 52, of Brunswick, Maine, took second in the women’s race in 10:38:39, followed by Courtney Simonds, 28, of Lee, N.H., in 11:32:11.

Another nine runners finished the 50K race, led by 32-year-old Kevin Stewart of Windham, Maine, in 4:24:22. Women’s champion Kirsten Kortz, 41, of Hampstead, N.H., was the second overall finisher in 4:36:55, followed by Amber Christoffersen, 38, of Boston, Mass., in 5:34:01, and J.J. Johansen, 38, of Mashpee, Mass., in 6:09:17.

Cross-Connecticut Run for Mental Health Awareness

The inaugural running of the Cross-Connecticut Run for Mental Health Awareness took place Saturday, Nov. 2. The event served as a fundraiser for Mental Health Connecticut and the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, and the race took runners on a north-south crossing of the state. The race began in West Suffield, Conn., at the northern end of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and ended 56 miles later in New Haven, Conn., winding through a variety of communities, from suburbs and urban city centers to rural areas, all along the flat and fast trail.

Twenty runners took on the challenge, and 12 finished. Adam Sciana, 35, of Shelton, Conn., cruised to the win in 8:13:19, followed by men’s runner-up and women’s first-place finishers Andrew Orefice, 42, and Kimberly Battipaglia, 47, both of New Haven, who finished together in 10:40:16.

Four runners tied for third in the men’s race as Beau Fair, 37, of Dalton, Mass.; Michael Lo Presti, 48, of Plantsville, Conn.; Sean Mallon, 46, of Wallingford, Conn.; and David Ross, 42, of Woodbridge, Conn., all finished together in 11:17:20. Tying for second in the women’s field were Amy Hanlon, 45, of Danbury, Conn., and Lisa Krantz, 45, of Cambridge, Mass., in 12:20:51.

Pinhoti 100

The Pinhoti 100, a popular point-to-point 100-mile footrace through Alabama from Heflin to Sylacauga, held its 12th annual race on Nov. 2-3. Runners took on 81 miles of singletrack, four miles of pavement and the rest dirt and gravel jeep roads before finishing on the track at Sylacauga Stadium.

Of the 214 starters, 102 finished within the 30-hour time limit, including five New England residents. Dan Peterson led the way as the 31-year-old resident of Randolph, Mass., finished 18th among the men and 20th overall in 24:39:53. Bertram Johnson, 47, of Burlington, Vt., placed 26th overall in 25:20:43.

Other New England finishers were Matt Aponte, 31, of Somerville, Mass., who placed 36th in 27:40:46; Eli Burakian, 41, of Brownsville, Vt., who finished in 28:01:13; and Harry Mattison, 46, of Allston, Mass., who finished in 29:03:00.

Bob Adams, 39, of Ooltewah, Tenn, finished first overall in 18:48:25, followed by Andrew Larimore, 40, of Signal Mountain, Tenn., in 19:16:49 and Chad Lasater, 47, of Houston, Texas, who finished four seconds later. They were the only three runners to finish in less than 20 hours.

Suzannah Bon, 55, of Sonoma, Calif., finished first among the women and 15th overall in 23:42:47.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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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