The COVID-19 pandemic forced ultrarunners worldwide to put their plans on pause. For Tim Furtado of Rehoboth, Mass., that meant delaying his 100-mile debut by a year. For the organizers of the Gunstock TrailFest in New Hampshire and the hundreds of runners who signed up, that meant waiting a year for the inaugural event to take place. During the June 19-20 weekend, Furtado finally got his shot at 100 miles and Gunstock made its debut. Those long-awaited events — as well as several others — are included in this week’s roundup.
After relocating from Pineland Farms in Maine to New Hampshire’s Gunstock Mountain, the inaugural Gunstock TrailFest was forced to wait a year for its first running when the 2020 event had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the trail-running festival launched June 19-20, treating runners to a wide range of options, starting with Saturday’s Canicross 5K, Peak-to-Peak 10K, 5K, Kids Run, and uphill-only 1.5-Mile Mountain Climb, followed by Saturday’s 30K race and 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons.
The ultras took place on a 10K loop course that runners completed eight times for the 50-miler and five times for the 50K, with more than 600 feet of gain per loop.
*Editor’s Note: Due to apparently extensive errors in the results posted online for the Gunstock TrailFest, the remainder of the event’s recap has been deleted pending a correction of the results.
After a year of waiting, Tim Furtado’s 100-mile dream came true.
Furtado, 38, of Rehoboth, Mass., made his ultramarathon debut at the 2019 Stone Cat 50K and quickly set his sights on longer distances; specifically, he wanted to run 100 miles. Furtado signed up for the Mohican 100-miler in Ohio in 2020, only to have the race postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furtado put the fitness he’d gained in training to good use and ran a solo 100K during the summer, but he never lost sight of his goal.
Finally, on June 19-20, Furtado got his chance at the 32nd annual Mohican 100 in Loudonville, Ohio. Runners had 32 hours to complete the distance. Furtado dug deep and earned his place among the 104 finishers, completing the course in 31:10:39.
Arlen Glick, 28, of Massillon, Ohio, won the race in 15:22:35, followed by Paul Jacobs, 43, of Washington, D.C., in 16:51:24. The top 20 runners all completed the race in less than 24 hours.
Dubbed as “Wild and Scenic,” the Bighorn 100 could also be known as “tough and muddy” given its notorious mud that makes the out-and-back course through the Bighorn Mountains such a difficult challenge. The 17th running of the 100-miler took place June 18-19 in Dayton, Wyo., and three gritty New England residents were among the 173 finishers of the race within its 35-hour time limit.
Brian Pitreau led the runners from the region as the 40-year-old from Falmouth, Maine, placed 12th overall in 23:43:51. He was one of just 12 runners to finish in less than 24 hours. It was an impressive showing for Pitreau as he built upon top-five finishes at last fall’s Big Brad 50-miler in Maine and April’s Traprock 50K in Connecticut. For Pitreau, Bighorn marked his second 100-mile finish. He previously finished the Bear 100 in 2019.
Debbie Livingston, 46, of Bolton, Conn., finished sixth in the women’s field and 44th overall in 27:54:08. Livingston has been running trail ultras for two decades and has finished several 100-milers, but Bighorn was her first of that distance since completing both Hardrock and Cascade Crest in 2017.
Finally, 57-year-old Gregory Lowe of Ipswich, Mass., finished 97th overall in 31:20:43. For Lowe, it marked at least his 15th successful 100-mile finish and his second time completing Bighorn. He finished the 2015 Bighorn 100 in 30:41:50.
In addition to the New England trio, former Vermont and Massachusetts John Fegyveresi, now of Flagstaff, Ariz., also earned his first Bighorn finish. The 44-year-old completed the race in 29:44:51.
Tyler Fox, 28, of Lander, Wyo., took home the overall win in 18:48:04. The race for the top spot in the women’s field came down to the final miles, with Maria Sylte, 31, of Houston, Tex., earning the win in 25:32:15, just 11 minutes ahead of runner-up Sarah Riordan, 29, of Bozeman, Mont. (25:43:20). Kritina Pattison, 40, of Missoula, Mont., was a close third in 25:54:06.
While the 100-mile race was the main event, runners also were offered the opportunity to run 52-mile and 32-mile ultramarathons. No New England residents were among the 101 finishers of the 52-miler, which was won by 40-year-old Christopher Tobiason of Missoula, Mont., in 8:43:40. Two Massachusetts men were among the 231 finishers of the 32-miler, with Daniel Whitehead, 58, of Great Barrington finishing in 7:19:07 and Douglas Averill, 47, of Arlington finishing in 7:30:34. Chad Nauman, 33, of Billings, Mont., won the 32-miler in 4:35:51.
Rachel Carson Trail Challenge
The Rachel Carson Trail Challenge returned for its 24th year on Saturday, June 19, in Pittsburgh, Pa., and four New England residents were among the 476 runners who completed the course within 15 hours.
The race takes place on the Rachel Carson Trail and offers runners a little bit of everything, from paved roads, to smooth singletrack dirt, to steep climbs and rocky, technical terrain. Many of the participants hike the course rather than run.
Massachusetts resident Art Krieg was the top New England finisher; the 63-year-old finished 30th overall in 8:45:50. It’s the second time in three years he has completed the race. New Hampshire’s Brian Spence, 38, finished in 14:00:34; Vermont’s David Carpenter, 53, finished in 14:21:19; and Massachusetts resident Amanda Mennell, 41, finished in 14:33:41.
William Huber, 36, of Pennsylvania took home the overall win in 6:23:10. His closest competitor was 27-year-old Pennsylvanian Mackenzie O’Connor who followed 21 minutes later in 6:44:10 and topped the women’s field. The top three runners finished in less than seven hours.
Graham Simon has a big post-pandemic season of racing on tap, and he kicked it off in fine fashion on Saturday, June 19, at the fourth annual Old Cascadia 50-miler in Blue River, Ore.
Simon, 27, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., tackled the lolli-pop loop course in the Cascade Range, summiting 5,750-foot Crescent Mountain twice and amassing 12,500 feet of total climbing on the mostly singletrack dirt course, before finishing 44th overall in 13:27:11. Eighty-four runners finished the race within 18 ½ hours, including top male Richard Lockwood, 34, of Seattle, Wash., in 8:04:59, and top female Ashley Nordell, 41, of Sisters, Ore., in 10:20:41.
For Simon, the race laid the foundation for a busy year that includes travel to three more states. He’ll head to Utah in July to race the Speedgoat 50K, then travel to Oregon in September for the Pine to Palm 100, before wrapping up the season in Minnesota at the Wild Duluth 100K in October.
In addition to the 50-miler, Old Cascadia played host to its first running of a 50K race. Eighty-seven runners completed that distance, though 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.