With the second annual TARCtic Frozen Yeti just a week away, the final weekend of January was light on ultramarathon racing for runners in Massachusetts and greater New England, but a handful headed West for some warmer-weather racing at the Arches Ultra in Utah and the AZT Oracle Rumble in Arizona. The most notable performance, however, came from a former Somerville resident – Nora Weathers – who brought home the win in the Arches Ultra with a course record-setting performance.
The third annual Arches Ultra 50-mile and 50K races took place on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Moab, Utah, just outside of Arches National Park, and a handful of New England residents took on the fast course that featured a mixture of smooth singletrack, a bit of climbing, and some classic Moab slickrock.
No New England residents were among the 50-mile finishers, however the first-place woman and sixth overall runner of the 94 finishers was 25-year-old Nora Weathers, a new resident of Boulder, Colo., who recently relocated from Somerville, Mass. Weathers set a women’s course record with her winning time of 7:13:05 for her second ultra victory as a Colorado resident. She previously won the Dead Horse 50K in Moab in November 2019. Weathers is the current women’s course record-holder in the 32-mile race at the TARC Fells Winter Ultra, which she won in December 2018.
A new men’s course record was also set in the Arches Ultra 50-mile race by 40-year-old Jeason Murphy of Carbondale, Colo., who won in 6:20:25.
Meanwhile, five New Englanders were among the 207 finishers of the 50K race, which was won by 28-year-old Hayden Hawks (3:20:22) of Cedar City, Utah, on the men’s side and 30-year-old Hannah Kligman (4:18:11) of Taos, N.M., on the women’s side.
Joanna Fortier, 30, of South Burlington, Vt., led the way for the New England crew, finishing 40th overall in 4:43:40. Douglas Cluff, 56, of Middletown, R.I., placed 126th overall in 6:09:55 – a 37-minute improvement on the course from a year ago; Lu Neuse, 39, of Brattleboro, Vt., finished in 6:16:52; Anne Moller, 44, of Brookline, Mass., finished in 6:37:51; followed closely by Nicole Handel, 26, of Burlington, Vt., in 6:37:54.
AZT Oracle Rumble
Alex Markle ran his first ultra in 2018 at the Vermont 50, and he has shown steady improvement at the long-distance races since then. The AZT Oracle Rumble is a good measuring stick for Markle, 39, of Burlington, Mass. He opened his 2019 season in the 50K race at that event and finished 42nd overall in 7:04:36. Now with several more ultras under his belt – including top-10 finishes at the TARC Summer Classic 40-miler and Farm to Farm Ultra 50-miler – Markle returned to the fourth annual AZT Oracle Rumble on Saturday, Jan. 25, in Oracle, Ariz., and once again ran the 50K race. This time he placed 20th overall in 6:25:06 – nearly 40-minute improvement from the year before.
Peter Davidson, 34, of Tucson, Ariz., won the race in a course record time of 4:21:45, outdistancing the field by 30 minutes. Another New England resident, 60-year-old Peter Troast, of South Freeport, Maine, also was among the finishers, placing 51st out of 97 runners in 7:32:04.
The event also included a 50-mile race. No New England residents were among the 32 finishers of that distance.
*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.