MassUltra Roundup: Kilkenny Ridge, Forgotten Forest, Firebird, Beatdown on Drummer, and the Blue 2 Blue Challenge

A jam-packed final weekend of summer racing took place in New England during the Sept. 17-19 weekend. While a few runners headed out of the region to race the Grindstone 100 in Virginia and Run Rabbit Run 100 in Colorado (see separate roundup), many stayed closer to home and took on ultras in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine. All of those races are included in this edition of the roundup.

Kilkenny Ridge

After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler returned for its third running on Saturday, Sept. 18, in Stark, N.H. The rugged and remote race took runners on an out-and-back course that started and finished at South Pond Recreation Area in Stark. In between, runners traversed gnarly, rugged singletrack and twice summited two 4,000 foot peaks while amassing 15,000 feet of vertical gain along the way.

Runners had 24 hours to complete the journey, and just 24 of the 46 starters did so.

Ben Quatromoni completed the course the fastest. The 33-year-old from Newport, R.I., logged the third-fastest time in course history, winning in 11:52:48. Matt Moschella, 27, of Robbinsville, N.J., followed in 13:15:06. The third overall finisher and women’s champion was Nicole Yokum, 38, of White River Junction, Vt. Yokum had a strong performance from beginning to end and crossed the finish line in 13:46:51 – just three seconds shy of the women’s course record set by Bridget Ferrin-Smith in 2019.

Caleb Sharp, 24, of Sandown, N.H., was the fourth runner to finish. He rounded out the men’s podium in 13:57:36 and was one of just six runners to finish in less than 14 hours. Women’s runner-up Brianna Russell, 25, of Bozeman, Mont., followed in 14:23:54. Jason Baker, 23, of Carver, Mass., was the lone Bay State resident to crack the top 10, finishing ninth overall in 15:08:39.

Once the top 10 were finished, the race became a battle of attrition as the course beat up the runners and many withdrew before the time limit expired. Of those who hung on and finished, seven more were from Massachusetts. Steve Fleck, 37, of Mendon finished 14th overall in 17:55:42 and 34-year-old David Jackson of Brookline followed minutes later in 17:57:13. Frank Sedlar, 31, of Medford followed in 19th place in 19:56:21, followed by 33-year-old Justin Ellison of Rochester in 20:36:24. Jacqueline Fucile, 37, and Nicholas Fucile, 42, both of West Newbury, ran together and finished together in 21:18:53 and 21:18:54. They were followed by 44-year-old Josh Raisler Cohn of Jamaica Plain in 22:57:43.

Forgotten Forest

The sixth edition of the Forgotten Forest 9-Hour Ultra took place Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Roosevelt Forest in Stratford, Conn., where runners were challenged to complete as many loops of the single- and doubletrack trail course as possible within the time limit. Of the 43 runners who took part in the race, 26 surpassed the marathon distance, 20 surpassed 50K, and six ran more than 40 miles.

Laura Becker led all runners as the 36-year-old from Manchester, Conn., cranked out 50.6 miles to take the overall win and secure the second spot on the women’s course record board. Tyler Pineau, 20, of Shelton, Conn., also completed 50.6 miles to lead the men’s field in his ultramarathon debut.

Three more Connecticut residents joined Becker and Pineau in surpassing the 40-mile mark, with women’s runner-up Katie Flament, 36, of Shelton, men’s third-place finisher Matthew Carty, 51, of Fairfield, and men’s fourth-place finisher Robert Westley, 33, of Greenwich all completing 41.8 miles.

Three Massachusetts residents were among the pack to surpass the 50K distance, with John De Sousa, 60, of Springfield placing 11th overall with 35.2 miles, and 38-year-old Melanie Quintin and 39-year-old Lauren Mendoza, both of Feeding Hills, finishing 33 miles apiece.

Firebird 50K

Stacia Broderick had a memorable performance at the Firebird 50K in Windham, Maine.

Broderick, 43, is a former resident of Tisbury, Mass., recently relocated to Gorham, N.H., but she didn’t lose any speed during the move. Instead, she hammered the course on the Cross-Falmouth Trail on Saturday, Sept. 18, and set a new women’s course record while placing second overall in 5:18:53. Jamie Adams, 46, of Rochester, N.Y., needed a big day of his own to hold off Broderick, as the men’s winner finished 12 minutes faster in 5:06:37 and posted the third-fastest men’s time in course history for his effort.

Todd Sears, 59, of Montpelier, Vt., and Mark Zagata, 36, of Wayland, Mass., joined Adams on the men’s podium with finishing times of 5:40:46 and 5:43:09, respectively. Ed Donahue, 37, of Abington, Mass., followed closely in 5:44:15.

Rounding out the women’s podium alongside Broderick were Deanna Nappi, 28, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., and Rosie Warfield, 38, of Honolulu, Hawaii, in 5:47:23 and 6:43:36. Nappi’s performance was the third-fastest by a woman in course history.

Thirty-six runners finished the race within nine hours.

Beatdown on Drummer

A land closure by a utility company altered the course at Beadown on Drummer, but the revamped version – a 4.25-mile lolli-pop loop with 800 feet of gain – presented a whopper of a challenge for runners at the 6-hour event on Saturday, Sept. 18, in Keene, N.H.

Twenty-two runners took part in the race, and just five surpassed the marathon distance within the time limit. Peter Bonito, 36, of Westmoreland, N.H., led all runners with 38.25 miles, followed by 23-year-old Benjamin Jones of Enfield, N.H., with 34 miles. The trio of 37-year-old Keith Bourasa of Keene, N.H., 37-year-old Kevin Ellis of Richmond, N.H., and 34-year-old Joshua Roberts of Paxton, Mass., followed with 29.75 miles apiece.

Blue 2 Blue Challenge

The third edition of the Blue 2 Blue Challenge took place Saturday, Sept. 18, in New Haven, Conn., with a limited field on hand to tackle the technical “heavy” 50K course on the Regicides and Quinnipiac Trails. Runners raced out-and-back on the course and amassed around 6,500 feet of climbing along the way while navigating technical terrain.

Daniel Bates and Jamie Miller took top honors among the men and women with Bates, 37, of Wethersfield, Conn., and Miller, 39, of North Haven, Conn., finishing in 6:03:22 and 7:40:16 respectively. Eric Nelson was the lone Massachusetts runner in the field. The 39-year-old Somerville resident finished in 10:18:07. Twenty runners finished the race.

*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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