MassUltra Roundup: Hamsterwheel, Pinhoti, and Whiskey Basin

With three weeks to go until Thanksgiving, only a handful of in-person ultras remained on the COVID-19 pandemic-shortened 2020 race calendar. A few of them involved New England residents last weekend, including one race that involved a post-race positive test for COVID-19. From New Hampshire to Alabama and Arizona, runners from the region secured hard-earned ultramarathon finishes, and we have them covered in this week’s roundup.

The Hamsterwheel

The sixth annual Hamsterwheel 30-Hour, 24-Hour, 12-Hour and 6-Hour endurance races took place as Nov. 7-8 at the Hillsborough County Fairground in New Boston, N.H., with runners tackling a 4-mile out-and-back course on the New Boston Rail Trail as many times as they wanted within their respective time limits.

While the event had some COVID-19 safety measures in place, it did not escape having a case arise among one of the runners. Race directors notified attendees in an email and on the event’s Facebook page that a runner notified them of having tested positive for COVID-19 the Monday morning following the race. 

“The participant was asymptomatic at the start of and throughout the race and did not exhibit a fever or any other symptoms at that time. Additionally, the participant has indicated that they adhered to the race requirements of wearing a mask when not running, utilized the sanitizer provided and did not enter the food hall as was asked. The participant also indicated that other than while running, they restricted their socializing to their own private group and stayed distanced from most others at the race,” the race directors wrote. “We are providing this information to you as soon as we possibly could so that you are aware of the potential for future symptoms and provide you as much transparency as possible.”

All of the races began at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, so the 6-hour runners shared the course with the longer distances only for the early hours. Twenty-three runners tackled that time limit, and 14 of them surpassed the marathon distance. Bill Elliott, 46, of Holden, Mass., led all runners with 40 miles and tied the men’s course record. The top five women – Allie Bartak 33, of Sunapee, N.H.; Cyndi Johnson, 35, of Webster, Mass.; Karen Henry, 39, of Charlton, Mass.; Wendy Akeson, 52, of Ashland, Mass.; and Jill Kimmel, 51, of Roxbury, Mass; all completed 32 miles, as did the second- and third-place men, John Straw, 45, of Dudley, Mass., and Brendan Chambers, 42, of Taunton, Mass.

In the 12-Hour race, all but one of the 45 participants logged ultramarathon mileage, with 36-year-old Johan Keller of Malden, Mass., earning the overall win with 80 miles. Keller smashed the previous men’s course record for that time limit by 16 miles. Ramona Moore, 32, of Dudley, Mass., was the top female and second overall finisher with 60 miles, while 39-year-old Peter Guza of North Andover, Mass., joined her in completing that distance.

Twenty-two runners tackled the 24-Hour race, with the top men and women each reaching triple-digit mileage. Jose Rivera, 46, of Webster, Mass., and Lauren Pettit, 34, of Dudley, Mass., each completed 104 miles in their victories. Women’s runner-up and third overall finisher Lara Kondor, 45, of Deery, Fla., finished with 92 miles, and men’s runner-up and fourth overall finisher Travis McCalla, 41, of Fitchburg, Mass., completed 84 miles. Third-place finishers Karen Giroux, 54, of Salem, Mass., and Jake Richards, 26, of Boston, Mass., each logged 76 miles.

The main event of the weekend – the 30-Hour race – saw 67 of 68 participants complete ultramarathon mileage, including 28 who hit the 100-mile milestone or more. Nobody hammered the course harder during that race than 54-year-old Christopher Cappellini of Norton, Mass., who smashed the course record by a whopping 32 miles with his 140-mile effort. His closest competitors also broke the old course record as 48-year-old Brandyn Lewis of Canterbury, N.H., and 37-year-old Justin Fitzgerald of Malden, Mass., completed 132 miles and 112 miles, respectively. Victor Pereira, 41, of Foxboro, Mass., finished fourth among the men with 104 miles.

Top honors in the women’s race went to 38-year-old LaurenMendoza of Feeding Hills, Mass., who tied the course record with her winning 104-mile performance.

Other 100-mile performers in the 30-hour race included Jennifer Boshco, 36, of Billerica, Mass.; Kim Gibson, 42, of Dartmouth, Mass.; Robert Breckenridge, 49, of Keene, N.H.; Judy Proteau, 46, of Marlborough, Mass.; Patrick McEnaney, 48, of Mendon, Mass.; Tiffany Fischer, 37, of South Grafton, Mass.; Joseph Mello, 45, of Milford, N.H.; Tivan Casavant, 33, of Merrimack, N.H.; Jenn Hoadley, 42, of Scituate, Mass.; John Toscano, 52, of Salem, Mass.; Eliza Gustafson, 39, of Belmont, N.H.; Mark Lamson, 49, of Foxboro, Mass.; Steve Feely, 65, of West Boylston, Mass.; Bill Odendahl, 55, of Trumbull, Conn.; Maria Chevalier, 45, of Cumberland, R.I.; Allison Medeiros, 39, of Mattapoisett, Mass.; Annette Florczak, 46, of Roslindale, Mass.; Mark Rix, 60, of Sanford, Maine; Kyle Robidoux, 44, of Roxbury, Mass.; Matthew Hoadley, 42, of Scituate, Mass.; John Ambold, 68, of West Boylston, Mass.; Emily Wivell, 32, of Barre, Vt.; and Robyn Bratica, 36, of Milford, Mass.

Pinhoti 100

The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out most of the major 100-mile races in the United States this year, but one of the largest 100s in the south took place as scheduled on Nov. 7-8, the 13th annual Pinhoti 100. Three Massachusetts residents took part in the race and successfully finished.

Taking on a point-to-point course starting in Heflin, Ala., and finishing in the high school football stadium in Sylacauga, Ala., runners had 30 hours to successfully complete their journeys. Of the 15 who started the race, 105 ultimately finished. Among them were Tom Dmukauskas, Jess Davidson and Chris Bustard. Dmukauskas, 45, of Somerville, Mass., finished 49th overall in 26:42:14, followed a little while later by Davidson, 27, of Boston, Mass., who was 52nd overall in 26:55:07. Bustard, 32, of Stoneham, Mass., finished 74th in 28:17:38.

Pinhoti marked the first 100-mile finish for Davidson and the third for Dmukauskas (Rocky Raccoon 100, 2018; Vermont 100, 2018). For Bustard, Pinhoti marked his seventh 100-mile finish in addition to his successful finish at the 330K Tor de Geants in Italy in 2019.

Top honors in the men’s field went to 33-year-old Max Tiemann of Durham, N.C., who won the race by more than two hours in 18:10:17. Rachel Entrekin, 29, of Seattle, Wash., was the first female and 12th overall finisher in 22:57:58. The top 23 finishers completed the race in less than 24 hours.

Whiskey Basin Ultras

A year after traveling to Arizona to run her first ultramarathon at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K in Fountain Hills, Valerie Moore returned to the state to race her second ultra.

Moore, 28, of Quincy, Mass., traveled this time to Prescott on Nov. 7-8 weekend to take part in the 60K race at the fifth annual Whiskey Basin Ultras. Moore and her fellow runners took on the Prescott Circle Trail and some of the surrounding trail systems in the Prescott National Forest, and she ultimately finished the race in 9:15:20.

Fifty-four runners completed the race, led by 34-year-old Brian King of Phoenix, Ariz., who topped the men’s field in 6:07:35, and 28-year-old Allyssa Jones of Mesa, Ariz., who was the first female and third overall finisher in 6:21:47. Moore was the only New England resident to take part in her race.

In addition to the 60K, another 92 runners completed a 91K race on the Prescott Circle Trail. None of them were New England residents.

*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.

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