In-person running ultramarathon events have been largely halted in New England this winter as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the region, but an in-person skiing ultra event took place last weekend in New Hampshire that drew more than 80 competitors to the unique ultra-distance event. The Last Skier Standing race leads off this week’s roundup, which also includes the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in Texas and the ICY-8 time-based ultra in Virginia.
Last Skier Standing
The second annual Lask Skier Standing ultra took place Feb. 6-7 at Black Mountain in Jackson, N.H., and it proved to be a popular draw.
Similar to the Backyard Ultra events, skiers had one hour to complete the course and return to the starting line to begin the next trip around the course. Those who failed to do so were eliminated. Skiers were required to ascend approximately 1.1 miles up the mountain and then ski back down to the start/finish area.
Sixty-two skiers took part in the inaugural event in 2020 with the winner, Rick Chalmers of South Portland, Maine, logging 34 miles. The 2021 event grew to 82 participants, with the top 10 surpassing marathon mileage and the top two going for 60 miles or more. Ben Eck, 28, of Medford, Mass., earned the overall victory with 61 miles, followed by 40-year-old Jerimy Arnold of Westford, Mass., with 60 miles. Benjamin Lane, 27, of Groveland, Mass., was a distant third with 42 miles, followed by Chris Saulnier, 32, of Jackson, N.H., with 38 miles, and Whitney Hanschka, 56, of Vineyard Haven, Mass., with 34 miles.
Lianna Altieri, 26, of Wayland, Mass., topped the women’s field and finished seventh overall with 33 miles, followed by Meri Harrington, 24, of Cambridge, Mass., with 32 miles, and Kate Ashley, 33, of Boston, Mass., with 30 miles.
Rocky Raccoon 100
The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t keep the popular Rocky Raccoon 100-Mile Endurance Run from taking place Feb. 6-7 in Huntsville, Texas.
A field of 370 runners toed the starting line at Huntsville State Park with dreams of completing five laps around the 20-mile loop course while navigating mud, roots and bridges through pine tree forests. Ultimately, 252 runners successfully completed the race, with 32-year-old Devon Olson of Steamboard Springs, Colo., doing so the fastest in 14:25:32. Maria Sylte, 30, of Houston, Texas, finished 12th overall and was the first-place woman in 17:27:48.
A trio of New England residents were among the finishers. Lucy Scholz, 31, of Boston, Mass., led the way by finishing 60th overall and seventh in the women’s field in 21:50:06. It was Scholz’s fourth straight year finishing the race, third time in less than 24 hours, and her fastest performance ever on the course. Paul Kell, 48, of Durham, N.H., finished 85th overall in 22:43:23. Lauren Pettit, 34, of Dudley, Mass., also finished the race in 28:44:09. It marked her second time running 100 miles or more. Pettit completed 104 miles at the Hamsterwheel 30-Hour Ultra in 2020.
No New England residents were among the finishers of the event’s 100K race.
In-person racing has been happening this winter in Virginia, and a Massachusetts resident traveled there to take part in the 13th annual ICY-8 race on Saturday, Feb. 6, in Spotsylvania, Va.
Ninety-three runners took part in the time-based event at Lake Anna State Park, and they had the option of logging their mileage on a 4.7-mile loop course or an 8-mile loop course, or a mixture of both. Brenda Morris, 54, of Worcester, Mass., was one of those runners, and she blended three 8-mile loops and one 4.7-mile loop to finish her day with 28.7 miles. She was one of seven runners to log that amount of miles, and one of 68 to surpass the marathon distance. Seth Sicillano, 43, of Potomac Falls, Va., led all runners with 50.8 miles completed.
For Morris, the race was her first in-person event of 2021 and second total event. In January, she completed a virtual 50K in 7:16:08 as part of the Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service’s (BURCS) Treadmill Marathon/Frozen Folly event. Morris is slated to return to Virginia in March to race the No Man’s 50K.
*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.