MassUltra Roundup: Bryce Canyon Ultras

After a hiatus of a few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roundup is back with the Bryce Canyon Ultras. Very few ultras are taking place anywhere right now, but the organizers of the Bryce Canyon Ultras pulled off their event May 30-31 in Utah with a trio of New England runners in attendance.

Bryce Canyon Ultras

Since mid-March, nearly all ultramarathons throughout the United States and around the world have been postponed or canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several weeks ago the organizers of the Bryce Canyon Ultras in Hatch, Utah, made clear they intended to proceed with their event. On May 30-31, they followed through on that promise by holding their 100-mile, 50-mile, 60K and 50K ultras as well as a 30K race. More than 400 runners took part among the various distances, including New England residents David Horton of Natick, Mass., Alan Wright of North Oxford, Mass., and David Pignolet of Jamestown, R.I.

The event organizers put in place several measures in an attempt to provide for a safer environment during the pandemic, including drive-up packet pick-up and rolling start times for each distance to limit the number of runners crowding together before heading out onto the mountain trails just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park.

There were 104 runners in the 100-mile race, including Horton. The 40-year-old was one of 43 runners to successfully navigate the course within the 36-hour time limit, finishing 22nd overall in 31:18:25. The top three runners finished in less than 23 hours, including race champion Bruce Ronek, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, in 19:45:42.

For Horton, Bryce Canyon was his second 100-mile finish. He completed the 2019 Eastern States 100-miler in 30:59:35.

Both Pignolet, 44, and Wright, 58, took part in the 50-mile race which had 131 starters, 96 who ultimately finished. Pignolet placed 77th overall in 15:55:51, while Wright squeaked in just under the 17-hour cutoff, placing 95th in 16:58:47. Bryan Kerl, 28, of Salt Lake City, Utah, won the race in 8:21:27.

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