A light post-Christmas weekend of ultrarunning included one last chance for New Englanders to tackle an ultra distance at the West Rock Winter Fat Ass Extravaganza 8-hour event in Connecticut. That race – as well as belated pre-holiday results from the Lookout Mountain 50-miler in Tennessee – provide some light reading in the final roundup of 2019.
West Rock Winter Fat Ass
*This race recap has been revised following an update to the results. (Updated at 2:21 p.m. 12/30/2019)
New England runners squeezed in one last ultramarathon opportunity for 2019 at the inaugural West Rock Winter Fat Ass Extravaganza 8-Hour Race on Saturday, Dec. 28, in Hamden, Conn. Participants were challenged to complete a 1.5-mile loop around Lake Wintergreen as many times as they could within the time limit, choosing which direction to complete each loop as they went along.
Seventy-four runners took part in the event, with 33 completing at least a 50K ultra and 41 going beyond the marathon distance.
Andrew Orefice led all runners. The 42-year-old from New Haven, Conn., had a big year in 2019 with numerous strong performances, including a first-place finish and 102.6-mile output in the 24-hour race at the Notchview Ultra, a fourth overall finish at the Yeti 100-miler in Virginia and a runner-up finish at the Cross-Connecticut Run for Mental Health Awareness 56-miler. Orefice closed his year with a win at West Rock, logging 51 miles.
The first-place woman, 26-year-old Shoko Okabe of Watertown, Mass., tallied 48 miles for the day and tied for second overall with men’s runner-up Mark Field, 31, of Farmington, Conn. Okabe broke onto the ultramarathon scene in April of this year when she won the 50-mile race at the Jack Bristol Lake Waramaug Ultras.
Second-place female Kimberly Battipaglia, 48, of New Haven, Conn., and third-place male Tom Starodaj, 32, of New Britain, Conn., completed 46 miles apiece, and third-place female Rebecca Burke, 44, of Portland, Conn., finished with 43 miles.
Four more runners also completed at least 40 miles. Both Joseph Nuara, 33, of Stratford, Conn., and Tobias Tello, 15, of Cheshire, Conn., completed 45 miles for the day, while 43-year-old Christian Dockum of Fairfield, Conn., and 43-year-old Azam Poulatov of Brooklyn, N.Y., each completed 40 miles.
Lookout Mountain 50
Fresh off of completing his first ultramarathon in September at the Vermont 50K, Winston Eaton tackled a bigger distance at the 12th annual Lookout Mountain 50-miler on Saturday, Dec. 19, in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Eaton, 40, of Lexington, Mass., took on a course that included 8,000 feet of climbing and extensive singletrack dirt. He had a strong day, finishing 36th overall in 11:19:44.
Runners had 13 ½ hours to finish the race, and 103 runners completed the distance.
Another Massachusetts resident joined Eaton as the lone New Englanders in the field. Greg Wolodkin, 52, of Sutton, finished the race in 12:54:57. The race capped a busy year for Wolodkin that included successful finishes of the Yeti 100-miler, the Georgia Sky to Summit 50K, the Yeti Snakebite 50K, the Lost Cat 50K and the Rachel Carson 35-miler.
Matthew Warriner, 24, of Durango, Colo., led the men’s field at Lookout Mountain in 7:59:13, while Rachel Entrekin, 28, of Seattle, Wash., topped the women’s field in 9:41:26.
*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.