MassUltra Roundup: Forbidden Forest and Catocin 50K

New England has been nearly silent in terms of in-person ultramarathons since the COVID-19 pandemic forced races and economies to shut down in March. As cities, states and local economies have begun to reopen, so too have ultras. In New England, that included the Forbidden Forest 30-Hour Ultra on June 27-28 in Stratford, Conn., where 46 runners took part in the event on a loop course. Additionally, a few runners from the region journeyed a little further south to Maryland for the Catocin 50K, so we have that included, too, in this edition of the roundup.

Forbidden Forest 30-Hour Ultra

After three months of waiting to find out if their training plans would pay off and a race would actually take place during the pandemic, 46 runners stepped to the starting line of the Forbidden Forest 30-Hour Ultra on Saturday, June 27, and satiated their trail-running desire for as long as they could at the Roosevelt Forest in Stratford, Conn.

All but two runners logged ultramarathon mileage. Thirty runners completed at least 50 miles with 10 of them surpassing the 100-mile mark on the 2.23-mile loop course.

Jeremy Shafer, 43, of New Hartford, Conn., led the overall field with 109.27 miles, followed one loop behind by 42-year-old Ben Brucker of Springdale, Pa., with 107.04 miles and 42-year-old Eric Ciocca of Northampton, Mass., with 104.81 miles. Six more men also broke the 100-mile mark, including New England residents Victor Pereira, 41, of Foxboro, Mass.; David Maher, 35, of Norwich, Conn.; Frank Judge, 50, of Scituate, Mass.; and Daniel Cramer, 39, of Norwalk, Conn. The lone woman to reach the 100-mile mark was 43-year-old Katie Shumeyko of Pompton Plains, N.J., who logged 100.35 miles.

Runners from the region who surpassed the 50-mile mark included third overall woman Tek Ung, 38, of Cranston, R.I., who logged 78.05 miles; James Kyer, 43, of Bridgeport, Conn. (75.82 miles); John Sudol, 27, of Harwinton, Conn. (71.36 miles); Mark Lamson, 48, of Foxboro, Mass. (64.67 miles); Luis Rodriguez, 28, of Stamford, Conn. (62.44 miles); Nina Smith, 51, of Stratford, Conn. (62.44 miles); Sally Campbell, 62, of Shelton, Conn. (60.21 miles); Christina Kennedy, 36, of Douglas, Mass. (53.52 miles); Anthony Criscuolo, 37, of Milford, Conn. (53.52 miles); David Desantis, 46, of Foxboro, Mass. (51.29 miles); Nick Volturno, 47, of East Haddam, Conn. (51.29 miles); Rebecca Eleck Bruce, 38, of Middlebury, Conn. (51.29 miles); and Mary Ellen Perry, 49, of Tarrifville, Conn. (51.29 miles).

Catocin 50K

As trail ultras slowly resume in the United States, race directors are tinkering with ways to modify their events to make them safer for runners and volunteers during the pandemic. The Catocin 50K enacted several creative modifications to enable its 25th running to take place on Saturday, July 11, at Cunningham Falls State Park in Frederick, Md.

Changes enacted included not distributing race bibs to runners, cancellation of the post-race meal, removal of an official starting line, and requiring runners to self-report their results after completing the extremely rocky out-and-back course. Additionally, runners and volunteers had masks or bandanas to cover their mouths and noses while in close contact with others.

A total of 69 runners finished the race, led by 44-year-old Aaron Ellison of Ellicott City, Md., who topped the men’s field in 5:58:02 and 19-year-old Rylee Schwee who led the women in 6:53:48. Only 10 runners finished in less than seven hours.

Four New England residents were among the finishers, with 54-year-old Mark Conley of North Kingstown, R.I., leading the regional crew by placing 29th overall in 8:08:39. Additionally, 46-year-old Ilya Bass of Weston, Mass., finished 44th in 8:44:50; 65-year-old John Peabody of Wakefield, R.I., was 47th in 8:49:39; and 55-year-old Lisa Peabody of Wakefield, R.I., finished 50th in 8:53:19.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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.

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