In yet another sign that some semblance of normalcy is returning to New England – and the ultrarunning community more specifically, September came to a close with the running of the Vermont 50. Yes, the 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic, but the popular event and New England classic returned on Sept. 26. More than 250 runners finished either the 50-mile or 50K distance, with winners and podium finishers coming from some of the local runners, so the Vermont 50 leads off this edition of the roundup.
The Vermont 50 is one of New England’s longest ultras, dating back nearly three decades. The event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the race returned for its 28th running on Sunday, Sept. 26, in Brownsville, Vt., with sold-out fields for both the 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons.
Runners were greeted with a chilly morning that gave way to a clear and sunny afternoon, ideal conditions to take in Vermont’s fall foliage while racing on singletrack trails and up and down the hills of some dirt country roads.
The 50-mile race saw a pair of Vermont residents emerge victorious. In his Vermont 50 debut, 28-year-old Stowe resident Eric LiPuma dominated the race and won in 6:24:03, 46 minutes ahead of runner-up Keith Lundquist, 35, of Contoocook, N.H. Lundquist was the event’s 50K champion in both 2017 and 2018. Wouter Hoogkamer, 39, of Amherst, Mass., rounded out the overall top three in 7:21:52. Securing the top spot on the women’s podium was 28-year-old Brandon resident Britta Clark, whose time of 7:33:03 was a 31-minute personal record since her last appearance at the race in 2018 when she finished third. Clark also was the fourth overall finisher of the 50-miler, adding to a busy year where she also won the Infinitus Marathon and finished second at both the Catamount 25K and Ragged 50K. Joining Clark on the women’s podium were runner-up Katherine Cross-Powers, 26, of Concord, N.H., in 8:50:44 and Emily Speck, 27, of Syracuse, N.Y., in 8:58:33.
The top 15 runners of the 50-miler finished in less than nine hours, and the top 29 finished sub-10. Edward Shibley, 43, of West Springfield (12th, 8:48:08); Christopher Parker, 39, of Cambridge (16th, 9:00:04); and Lindsay Morrison, 35, of Waltham (24th, 9:36:23) were the lone Massachusetts residents among that group. Morrison also placed sixth among the women. Salem resident Deirdre Lowe, 42, was the second Massachusetts female finisher, placing seventh among the women and 32nd overall in 10:05:47. A total of 142 runners completed the 50-miler.
Another 124 runners completed the 50K race, with recent Ragged Stage Race champion Justin Neuman, 44, of New Haven, Conn., finishing first overall in 4:37:03. Keith Schmitt, 53, of Durham, N.H., was a distant second in 5:08:58, followed closely by third overall finisher and first-place woman Caroline Day, 23, of Northvale, N.J., in 5:12:00. Nathan Currie, 29, of Beverly, Mass., was the fourth overall finisher and rounded out the men’s podium in 5:16:40. The next two finishers completed the women’s podium, with Meghan Kelly, 43, of Atlanta, Ga., crossing the finish line in 5:26:16 and Tricia Groff, 41, of Hanover, N.H., finishing minutes later in 5:30:39.
Other overall top-10 finishers from New England included Zoe Dawson, 46, of Hinesburg, Vt. (5:30:51); Peter MacEwen, 57, of Beverly, Mass. (5:31:21); Mike Weigand, 47, of Middlebury, Vt. (5:33:37); and Dan Fiedler, 49, of Woodstock, Vt. (5:40:57).
Women earned eight of the top 15 overall spots among the 50K finishers. Christina Hall, 41, of Plymouth, Mass., finished 11th overall and fifth among the women’s field in 5:45:11; Mia Vigener, 23, of Sudbury, Mass., was 13th overall in 5:46:06; Rebekah Bromley, 28, of Cambridge, Mass., finished 14th overall in 5:48:01; and 31-year-old Sarah Aponte of Woburn, Mass., was the 15th overall finisher in 5:52:15. The top 20 overall runners finished in less than six hours and the top 59 went sub-7.
8 Hours at the Brewery
The 8 Hours at the Brewery Ultramarathon launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, so it was well-positioned to return for a second successful year in 2021. The second annual time-based race took place Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Norbrook Farm Brewery in Colebrook, Conn., and once again offered runners the chance to race on an approximately 4-mile loop course on rolling singletrack trails and farm roads before enjoying a cold beer at the finish line after the race.
Fifteen runners took part in the 8-hour race, and 10 of them surpassed the marathon distance within the time limit. A pair of Connecticut residents, Tyler Tulloch and Meghan Moscarelli, topped the men’s and women’s fields with Tulloch, 31, of Southington, logging 42.35 miles, and Moscarelli, 23, of Milford, completing 34.65 miles.
Jeffrey Stauch, 37, of New York, N.Y., finished second overall with 38.50 miles, one loop ahead of third overall finisher Moscarelli. Joining Moscarelli with 34.65 miles were the third- and fourth-place men, Michael Lo Presti, 50, of Norfolk, Conn., and Benjamin Manning, 30, of Palmer, Mass. Both Bernard Kelly, 56, of Barrington, R.I., and Rob Leder, 50, of Stamford, Conn., completed 30.80 miles.
The event also included a 4-hour option. Of the 23 participants in that race, two slightly surpassed the marathon distance with Brendan Atkins, 36, of Old Lyme, Conn., and Nick Cruz, 25, of Milford, Del., both logging 26.95 miles.
Back for its seventh straight year, the Yeti 100 in Abington, Va., offers runners a flat and fast course that is a popular draw for first-time 100-milers and veterans of the distance alike. That was once again the case Sept. 24-25, when eight New England residents earned spots among the event’s 187 finishers.
Amy Hamilton, 45, of Abingdon, Va., took home the overall win and set a new women’s course record with her time of 15:23:30. Men’s champion and overall runner-up Chris Varnadoe, 35, of Walterboro, S.C., followed in 15:42:45, good for the fifth-fastest men’s time in course history. They led a group of 81 runners who finished the race in 24 hours or less. Among that group was 54-year-old Greg Wolodkin of Sutton, Mass. Wolodkin previously finished the Yeti 100 in 2019 when he clocked a time of 23:51:06 in his 100-mile debut. In his return to the Yeti, Wolodkin finished 66th overall and lowered his time to 23:24:06.
Joining Wolodkin among the finishers were 100-mile veteran Jeffrey Ray, 38, of New London, N.H., who finished 93rd overall in 25:30:30 and first-time 100-mile finisher Karen Deyesso, 43, of Scarborough, Maine, who placed 95th overall in 25:34:24. Additionally, 47-year-old Deb Anderson of Wilbraham, Mass., knocked more than two hours off of her Yeti 100 time from 2020 by finishing this year’s race in 27:12:01. Aaron Thompson, 38, of Concord, N.H., followed close behind in 27:15:22. A little while later, it was 100-mile veteran Bill Howard’s turn to cross the finish line as the 72-year-old from Winchester, Mass., finished in 27:44:58. Rounding out the field of New England finishers were Scott Frasca, 60, of Sidney, Maine, who completed his first 100-miler in 28:06:32, and Reto Meier, 58, of Norwalk, Conn., who rebounded from last year’s DNF to secure a hard-earned finish this year in 28:12:18.
Three Sisters Skyline
Three Massachusetts residents traveled to the Pacific Northwest to take on mountains, forests, and plenty of singletrack trails on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Three Sisters Skyline 50K in Sisters, Ore. The third annual race challenged runners with 3,700 feet of climbing, 4,700 feet of speedy downhills, and miles of views of the Cascade Mountains.
Devin Ahern, 30, of Cambridge, Mass., led the local crew, finishing 68th overall in 6:35:55 for his second ultramarathon finish. Shortly after, 28-year-old Sophie Bermudez of Dartmouth, Mass., crossed her first ultramarathon finish line in 6:52:12. Phil Tatro, 57, of Grafton, Mass., rounded out the field in 9:01:18.
Drew Macomber and Brooke Carmen took home the men’s and women’s victories among the 162 finishers, both in course-record time. Macomber, 29, of Bend, Ore., finished in 3:47:13 while Carmen, 32, of Portland, Ore., clocked a time of 4:27:54.
*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.