Ultra season has been hot in most New England states for at least a month now, but Rhode Island had yet to play host to a race in 2021. That was, until June 12. The Ocean State joined the fray with the long awaited first running of The 666 Trail Race, and it saw Newport local Ben Quatromoni deliver a dominant performance. Several other New England residents also ran beyond the marathon distance at that race, while a few others logged ultra finishes in the Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. There were likely more, though national reporting of results has been unusually slow this week, leading to some light reading in this week’s roundup.
The 666 Trail Race
The inaugural running of the 666 Trail Race was supposed to take place in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to wait a year. Their wait ended on Saturday, June 12, when 20 runners ushered in the new event in Exeter, R.I.
The race — which garners its moniker from the nickname of the 6.66-mile trail loop where the event was held — challenged runners to complete as many trips around the singletrack and doubletrack loop as many times as possible within 400 minutes. Ultimately, a dozen runners surpassed the marathon distance within that time limit.
Leading the way was 33-year-old Ben Quatromoni of Newport, R.I., who built upon his victory in the 50-mile race at the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail last October and the Algonquin 50K in Maryland in February by securing another win. Quatromoni led all runners with 46.62 miles within the time limit. His closest competitor, 39-year-old Dan Northup of North Kingstown, R.I., followed with 33.3 miles, as did third-place finisher Joe Domogala, 44, of Milford, Conn.
Nine more ran 26.64 miles, including top women Claire Gadrow, 52, of South Kingstown, R.I., Hanna Littlefield, 29, of Taunton, Mass., and Carin Zinter, 47, of Sunderland, Mass.
After a pandemic-forced pause in 2020, the Wy-East Wonder 50-mile and 50K ultras returned for their third running on June 12-13 on the trails around Mount Hood in Parkdale, Ore. The point-to-point races treated runners to stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains while running along Gunsight Ridge and Surveyor’s Ridge, while allowing for some speedy performances on the net-downhill courses.
In the 50-miler, runners climbed 7,000 feet and descended 10,000 feet, and 180 successfully reached the finish line within 15 hours. Jesse Lang, 36, of Richland, Wash., took home the overall win in 6:59:11, outdistancing his closest competitor by 12 minutes. Susan Oh, 37, of El Dorado Hills, Calif., finished ninth overall and led the women’s field in 8:16:39. The top New England finisher was 21-year-old Harrison Smith of New Haven, Conn., who raced to a fifth-place overall finish in 7:57:02.
Other New England residents who were among the finishers included 50-year-old Eric Nilles of Lexington, Mass., who placed 68th overall in 10:42:27; Carly Eisley, 41, of North Stonington, Conn., who finished in 11:13:13; and 29-year-old Valerie Moore of Quincy, Mass., who finished in 12:16:56.
In the 50K race, another 180 runners climbed 4,000 feet, descended 7,000 feet, and successfully finished within 10 hours; that included two Massachusetts residents. Arlington’s Joe Hazelton made his ultramarathon debut, and the 24-year-old finished ninth overall and seventh in the men’s field in a speedy 4:45:39. The top 18 runners all finished in less than five hours. Additionally, 29-year-old Topsfield resident Gretchen Funk – formerly of Portland, Ore. – finished 43rd overall in 5:38:53. David McKay, 34, of Hood River, Ore., led the men’s field in 4:05:21 while Brooke Carmen, 32, of Portland, Ore., led the women in 4:32:52.
Allison Reding spent the past three years building a solid trail-running base with several 10Ks and 25Ks. On Saturday, June 12, the 31-year-old resident of Turners Falls, Mass., made the jump to ultramarathon running in the 50-mile race at the Lighthouse Ultras in Peninsula, Mich.
The fourth running of the Lighthouse Ultras took runners on a point-to-point course consisting of many seaside bike paths and country roads to the finish line at the Petoskey Lighthouse. Reding had a solid outing and notched a top-10 finish in the women’s field while also finishing in the top half of the overall field. Reding completed the race in 11:53:46, good for 10th among the women and 18th overall. Tracy Price, 41, of North Shores, Mich., was the overall 50-mile winner in 9:10:26. Her closest competitor was top male and overall runner-up Tom Perry, 66, of Sandy, Utah, who finished 20 minutes later in 9:30:35.
The main event at Lighthouse – the 100-miler – was won by 43-year-old Sam Skeels of Adrian, Mich., in 15:38:15. Of the 44 finishers of that distance, none 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.