The first weekend of February was a busy one for New England ultrarunners with the second annual TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-hour ultra at Hale Reservation in Westwood, Mass., but a few runners sought warmer weather at races beyond the region. That included the Elephant Mountain 50K in Arizona and the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler and 100K in Texas, but Somerville’s Brian Burke highlighted the weekend with his runner-up finish at the Wild Florida 120-miler. Those three races are featured in this week’s roundup.
Wild Florida 120
A year ago last weekend, Brian Burke made his 100-mile debut at the TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-hour ultra. This year, Burke spent Frozen Yeti weekend in Florida taking on his longest ultramarathon yet when on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 he raced the inaugural Wild Florida 120. The race is a 120-mile point-to-point race from Okeechobee to St. Cloud that winds through numerous wildlands and wildlife management areas along the Florida Trail.
Runners had 40 hours to complete the race. Of the 70 who started, 51 finished. Burke finished second overall. The 38-year-old resident of Somerville, Mass., turned in a strong performance and finished in 24:02:46, trailing only race winner Eric Kienle, 33, of Orlando, Fla., who led the race wire to wire and won in 23:21:14. Jeffrey Garstecki, 51, of Columbia, Md., was third in 25:24:47. Top honors in the women’s field went to 43-year-old Christine Tokarz of Golden, Colo., who placed fifth overall in 27:08:24.
Rocky Raccoon 100
The Rocky Raccoon 100-miler has been a benchmark for progress for Lucy Scholz, and the 30-year-old resident of Boston, Mass., continues to improve with each passing year. Scholz took part in the race for the third year in a row on Feb. 1-2 at Huntsville State Park in Huntsville, Texas. For the third year in a row she turned in a faster performance.
Scholz made her debut at Rocky Raccoon in 2018, finishing 11th among the women in 25:33:16. She returned in 2019 and cracked the top 10, placing seventh in 23:37:16. This year her overall place slipped ever so slightly – back to 11th – but she once again turned in a personal-best time on the course, finishing in 23:25:34.
Two more New England residents joined Scholz in finishing the race. David Walker, 53, of Fairfield, Conn., finished in 25:14:54, and Jeffrey Taylor, 59, of Greenland, N.H., finished in 28:34:24.
There were 250 finishers within the 30-hour time limit, led by 32-year-old Evan Dare of Marietta, Ga., in the men’s field in 15:23:03, and 29-year-old Maria Sylte of Houston, Texas, in the women’s field in 18:43:30. Sylte won the race for the second year in a row, improving considerably on her time of 19:19:58 from 2019.
In addition to the 100-miler, another 70 runners completed three loops of the course for 100K. That group included 37-year-old Lee Douthitt of Weston, Mass., who finished 30th overall in 15:39:57.
Two New England residents took part in the eighth annual Elephant Mountain Ultras on Saturday, Feb. 1, in Cave Creek, Ariz. The event offered 50-mile and 50K ultras on singletrack trails through Cave Creek Regional Park and Spur Cross Ranch. No runners from the region were among the 10 finishers of the 50-mile race, but both took part in the 50K. Ashley Benes, 39, of Moultonborough, N.H., led the way, finishing 23rd overall and fifth among the women’s field in 6:58:17. Meanwhile, 46-year-old Kevin Quinlan of Uxbridge, Mass., finished 29th overall in 7:17:02. For Quinlan, it was his second time racing in Arizona. He previously completed the Monument Valley 50K in 2017.
Bill Dittman, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., topped the men’s field in the 50K in 4:38:09 while 28-year-old Ali Edwards of Flagstaff, Ariz., led the women’s field in 5:47:41. Fifty-six runners finished the race within 9 1/2 hours.
*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.