The spring ultramarathon season isn’t yet upon us, so recent weeks have been light on racing for runners in New England. Leap Day was busy for a few runners from the region, however, with one making a long-awaited return to ultrarunning, one making an ultra debut, another setting a personal record for distance, and one making an annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania for a popular race. From Louisiana to New Mexico, from Florida to Pennsylvania, we’re closing our February in this week’s roundup.
Red Dirt Ultra
After a few years away from running ultramarathons, Carin Zinter made her return at the fourth annual Red Dirt Ultra on Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Kisatchie National Forest in Provencal, La. The event included 100-mile, 100K and 50K ultras. Zinter competed in the 50K, which took place on a 31-mile trail loop with 2,600 feet of vertical gain. The 46-year-old resident of Sunderland, Mass., had a solid day, finishing third in the women’s field in 5:40. Jessie Winnett, 35, of San Antonio, Texas, earned the victory in 5:13. Joshua Chauvin, 34, of Thibodaux, La., topped the men’s field in 3:31.
Sixty-four runners completed the 50K. Another 12 runners finished the 100K and 13 completed the 100-miler. Zinter was the lone New England resident who took part in any of the three distances.
Sierra Vista Ultras
Michael McStravock opted to go big for his first ultramarathon when he ran the 100K race at the ninth annual Sierra Vista Trail Runs on Saturday, Feb. 29, in Las Cruces, N.M. McStravock, 27, of Boston, Mass., finished solidly in the middle of the field, placing 10th out of 20 runners in 14:25:26.
Troy Allen, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., earned the overall win in 9:44:40, followed by Leonard Strnad, 30, of Boulder, Colo., in 9:55:18.
In addition to the 100K race, Sierra Vista also included a 50K ultramarathon. Forty-eight runners completed that distance, though none were New England residents.
Save the Daylight
Cory Powell made his ultramarathon debut with a 50K at The North Face Endurance Challenge at Wachusett Mountain in 2019. Powell stepped up the distance in his second ultramarathon when he took part in the 24-hour race at the seventh Save the Daylight ultras from Feb. 28 through March 1 in Englewood, Fla. In addition to the 24-hour race, the event included 48-hour, 12-hour and 6-hour races. Powell, 31, of Goshen, Mass., was the lone New England resident to take part in any of the races.
Powell was one of 22 runners in the 24-hour race, which took place on a flat, fast 3.3-mile loop path. Steven Najjar, 55, and Sandy Ferris, 46, both of Longwood, Fla., led all runners with 102 miles apiece. Powell finished seventh overall and was the third-place male with 66.9375 miles, giving him a new personal record for distance.
Jim Diggins is becoming a regular at the Naked Bavarian 40-miler. Diggens, 51, of Norwell, Mass., took part in the sixth annual event on Saturday, Feb. 29, in Leesport, Pa. It was his fourth straight year taking part in the race, and he finished 28th overall in 7:59:40. It was an improvement over 2019 when he finished 24th in 8:33:39. The previous two years were his fastest on the course, clocking a 7:35:08 in 2017 and a 7:35:16 in 2018.
Eddie Pantoja, 34, of Avondale, Pa., won this year’s race in 5:56:17. Eighty-five runners completed the race within 10 1/2 hours, including 40-year-old Jason Roberts of Trumbull, Conn., who logged a time of 9:33:07.
*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.