The final weekend of summer racing was a busy one for ultrarunners from Massachusetts and greater New England, with runners tackling races throughout the region and beyond during the Sept. 17-19 weekend. Five out-of-state ultras took place throughout New England; we’ll highlight all of those in the second of two roundups from the weekend. But in this first one, we recap the accomplishments of a pack of New England residents who tackled the 101.85-mile Grindstone 100 in Virginia, as well as a few others who conquered the mountains of Colorado at the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler.
A Trail Animals Running Club family reunion of sorts took place Sept. 17-19 at the Grindstone 100 in Swoope, Va. The race has been a popular destination for first-time 100-milers from New England as well as veterans of the distance. After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 race saw 13 runners from the region among the 156 who finished the race within the 38-hour time limit.
Officially, the race measured 101.85 miles and amassed 23,000 feet of climbing. Danny Mathieson, 31, of Blacksburg, Va., led all runners by winning in 20:02:04, while 38-year-old Bobby Herrington of Greensboro, N.C., built upon his fifth-place finish in 2019 by placing second this year in 20:14:57. Heather Dougherty, 35, of Washington, D.C., led the women’s field in 26:13:19, followed by Ash Walsh, 34, of Bethlehem, Ga., in 27:31:51.
Jack Bailey, 42, of Medway led a 10-member Massachusetts contingent by finishing 20th overall in 25:24:36. For Bailey, it marked his second time finishing Grindstone (2018) and his first 100-miler since running Western States in June. Thomas Leo joined Bailey in becoming a two-time Grindstone finisher. Leo, 32, of Princeton, Mass., finished 40th at the 2018 Grindstone race, and he surged to 23rd place overall this year in 25:55:54. He was joined at the finish line by 100-mile veteran and Grindstone rookie Jason Gray, 41, of Northbridge, who followed a step behind in 25:55:55, good for 24th place.
Short-distance speedster Ryan Williams of Concord made his 100-mile debut at Grindstone, and he proved he’s also speedy at long distances. Williams, 32, finished 26th overall in 26:42:08. Shortly after, 43-year-old Holbrook resident Tim Finocchio secured this third Grindstone finish, placing 31st overall in 27:13:47. Twelve minutes later, 40-year-old Jesse Veinotte of Hubbardston capped his 100-mile debut by receiving his belt buckle for finishing 35th overall in 27:45:28.
The final four Massachusetts finishers were ultra veterans but first-timers at Grindstone. Christopher Lay, 41, of Somerville, Mass., finished 71st overall in 30:57:06, and 30-year-old Boston resident Carlos Rodriguez finished 82nd in 32:23:13. Dane LeBlanc, a veteran of many 100-mile races added Grindstone to his list of 100-mile finishes as the 63-year-old Littleton resident finished in 35:45:15. Finally, fresh off of his first 100-mile finish at Ohio’s Mohican 100 in June, 38-year-old Rehoboth resident Timothy Furtado battled his way to a successful Grindstone finish in 35:50:31.
Joining the Massachusetts contingent among the New England finishers were Richard Rushka, 48, of New Milford, Conn., who finished 48th in 29:12:09; Ron Locandro, 55, of Simsbury, Conn., who finished in 33:02:01; and Chad MacDonald, 34, of New Boston, N.H., who finished in 34:10:24.
Run Rabbit Run
Scott Baver picked a mighty challenge for his return to 100-mile racing. Baver last raced a 100-miler in 2017 when he finished the Bear 100 in Utah for his third 100-mile finish. On Friday, Sept. 17, he toed the starting line of the 10th annual Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in Steamboat Springs, Colo., prepared to take on high altitude and 22,000 feet of climbing on a difficult out-and-back course.
The race began at 6,900 feet above sea level and climbed above 10,000 feet on multiple occasions while winding through the Routt National Forest. Baver handled all of it while racing in the Tortoise division of Run Rabbit Run, and finished the race in 33:01:34. He was one of 178 runners to complete the race within the 38-hour time limit. Allen Curano, 48, of Santa Fe, N.M., finished first in 23:08:41, followed by 32-year-old Will Guzick of New York, N.Y., in 24:05:34. Baver was the lone New England resident to finish the race.
In addition to the Tortoise division, the race offered a 100-mile Hare division where runners competed for prize money. No New England residents were among the 54 finishers in that division, which was won by 38-year-old Dave Stevens of Nelson, B.C., in 18:01:46.
In addition to the 100-miler, runners also had the option of racing 50 miles and climbing 9,000 feet along the way. Three New England residents were among the 139 finishers of the 50-miler within 16 hours. Peter Troast, 62, of South Freeport, Maine, led the way, placing 68th in 12:24:52. Additionally, 35-year-old Rogelio Garcin of Zapopan, Maine, finished in 12:54:56, and 26-year-old John Perroni of Bristol, R.I., finished in 13:14:47.
*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.