MassUltra Roundup: Riverlands, Wildflower, and the Cocodona 250

The return of the Riverlands 100 and the 100-mile debut of Pittsfield resident Kehr Davis highlight a roundup that also includes the Wildflower 50K in Texas and the inaugural running of the Cocodona 250 in Arizona. There were several more races in the Northeast and around the country, too, and we will try to include those next week if results become available.

Riverlands 100

The 2020 edition of the Riverlands 100 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the race returned for its fourth running on May 8-9 at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine. It turned out to be the most successful year in event history in terms of runners finishing as a record 35 did so within the 32-hour time limit. Eighteen additional runners started the race but did not finish.

To earn their finishers’ belt buckles, runners had to complete four out-and-backs of the course on rolling singletrack trails and ATV trails through Androscoggin Riverlands State Park. Gordon Collins knew the course as well as anybody. Collins, 42, of Poland, Maine, finished ninth at the 2019 edition of the race. Fresh off a win at the 135-mile race at the Outlaw Ultras in Oklahoma in February, Collins returned to Riverlands and tied for the victory with 46-year-old Jay Frontierro of South Hamilton, Mass. For Frontierro, who won the East End 50K in 2019, Riverlands marked his first 100-mile finish. Both Collins and Frontierro completed the race in 21:44:44. Another first-time 100-mile finisher rounded out the men’s podium as 31-year-old Patrick Beaulieu of Sidney, Maine, completed the race in 21:56:47.

Three more runners finished the race in less than 24 hours. They were 43-year-old Eli Burakian of Brownsville, Vt. (23:20:46); 32-year-old Prem Linskey of Huntington, Vt. (23:25:17); and 39-year-old Patrick Guerette of Sidney, Maine (23:53:27).

In one of the most notable performances of the weekend, 44-year-old Kehr Davis delivered a strong performance and earned first-place honors in the women’s field and seventh place overall in 24:07:08. For Davis, of Pittsfield, Mass., the race marked her 100-mile debut after a decade of being a dominant presence on the Northeast trail running scene at both short and long distances. That includes a three-year winning streak at the gnarly Manitou’s Revenge 54-miler in New York from 2016-2018. She will return to that race later this year, and then will race the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail 100-miler in October.

Rounding out the women’s podium were 44-year-old Amy Gordon of Flagstaff, Ariz., (26:51:41), and 39-year-old Molly Karp of Natick, Mass. (28:18:20). 

Nine other Massachusetts residents were also among the finishers at Riverlands. They included Ed Donahue, 37, of Abington (25:02:43); John Meier, 37, of Boston (28:00:25); Tyler Sloan, 28, of Boston (28:02:03); James Lindsay, 55, of West Boylston (28:48:56); Steven Chard, 43, of Wrentham (28:48:57); Edith Pfister, 46, of Boxborough (29:23:40); Meredith Pinault, 43, of Belmont (30:10:11); Peter Guza, 40, of North Andover (30:35:24); and Nate Combs, 60, of Andover (31:24:52).

Wildflower Trail Run

Warm weather and new trails were enough to lure William Murphy to Texas for the fourth running of the Wildflower Trail Run 50K on Saturday, May 8, in Bastrop.

The course was designed for beginners and seasoned veterans alike and catered to fast running with a mixture of easy-running singletrack, some technical rocky sections and a few climbs, all on a 10K loop that runners completed five times.

Murphy, 50, of Grafton, Mass., finished in the top half of the field, placing 43rd overall in 6:54:24. Ramon Rosales Jr., 40, of Tomball, Texas., earned the victory in a speedy 3:59:33. Of the 105 runners who started the race, 89 finished within 11 hours.

Cocodona 250

The creation of Aravaipa Running founder Jamil Coury, the Cocodona 250 offered runners a grueling, multi-day challenge to complete a 252.7-mile journey on the Cocodona Trail from Black Canyon City to Heritage Square in Flagstaff, Ariz., climbing more than 25,000 feet and descending a similar amount in the Bradshaw Mountains, all within a 125-hour time limit.

The inaugural event took place May 3-8, with 174 runners accepting the challenge and toeing the starting line. Ultimately, 108 successfully completed the journey, including two men from New England who were among the top half of the field.

Sean Meehan, 41, of Canton, Conn., finished 45th overall in 107:37:27, followed shortly after by 35-year-old Ryan Pelletier of New Bedford, Mass., who placed 48th in 108:16:05. It was the first 200+-mile race for both men.

Three New England residents – Tim Cronk, 58, of Laconia, N.H.; Brian Tjersland, 54, of Dartmouth, Mass.; and Mark Lafierre, 40, of Somersworth, N.H. – started the race but did not finish.

Michael Versteeg, 35, of Prescott, Ariz., took home the overall win in 72:50:25, followed by 40-year-old Peter Mortimer of Flagstaff, Ariz., in 77:16:14. Maggie Guterl, 40, of Durango, Colo., led the women’s field and finished seventh overall in 85:30:38. Twenty-three runners completed the race in less than 100 hours.

*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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