Two fatass-style ultramarathons occupy the January slate in Massachusetts, with the G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K having taken place Jan. 4 and the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K coming up Jan. 18 in Barnstable. The weekend between them, Jan. 11-12, featured a slight slate of ultras nationally, but two Massachusetts residents collected hard-earned finishes at out-of-state races. In Texas, Boylston’s Neil Feldman battled to the finish line of the challenging Bandera 100K, while Boston’s Wilson Ray logged his first ultra finish at the Frozen Gnome 50K in Illinois. Both races are included in this week’s roundup.
The first Western States Golden Ticket event of the year took place Saturday, Jan. 11, with the Bandera 100K in Bandera, Texas. The event at the Hill Country State Natural Area has served as the USATF 100K Trail National Championship in recent years, but the 2020 event was all about Western States.
The men’s race featured a long comeback from 27-year-old Drew Holmen who tracked down 34-year-old Alex Nichols for the win. Holmen, of San Francisco, Calif., squeaked out the win in 8:13:15, holding off Nichols, of Colorado Springs, Colo., by 70 seconds. In the women’s race, Canada’s Alisa MacDonald, 39, took home the win in 9:16:38 while Michelle Magana, 29, of Portage, Mich., secured the second Golden Ticket in 9:43:36.
Two men from Massachusetts represented New England in the field. Northampton’s Jake Dissinger, 38, was in the hunt early and was in 18th place overall after the first 50K loop, but Dissinger ultimately withdrew from the race after around 40 miles. Meanwhile, Boylston’s Neil Feldman, 49, finished 64th overall and 53rd in the men’s field in 13:17:19, a strong showing in his first big outing since completing the Midstate Massive 100-miler in October. There were 328 finishers of the 100K within the 24-hour time limit.
Frozen Gnome 50K
Wilson Ray spent most of 2019 easing into the trail-racing scene, competing in the half-marathon at The North Face Endurance Challenge at Wachusett Mountain in June and then racing the same distance at the TARC Fall Classic in September. He had strong showings at both, placing 14th among the men at Wachusett and sixth at the Fall Classic.
Ray opened 2020 with his first endeavor into the ultrarunning scene, and the 23-year-old resident of Boston, Mass., had a good day. He raced the eighth annual Frozen Gnome 50K on Saturday, Jan. 11, in Frozen Lake, Ill., and handled five loops of the singletrack course just fine, placing 16th overall in 5:46:24. Ninety-six runners finished the race within 8 1/2 hours, led by 32-year-old Ryan Richert of Palatine, Ill., in 4:22:57. The top two finishers broke the five-hour mark.
*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.