The Ghost Train Rail Trail Race was the main draw for New England ultrarunners during the Oct. 15-17 weekend, but a handful of runners from the region opted to race elsewhere. The second-biggest draw in the region for the weekend was the popular Runamuck 50K in Vermont, which offered races on both Saturday and Sunday, giving runners scheduling flexibility as well as a bit of extra space as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. A few others tackled a new vertical challenge event in Vermont, while one Massachusetts man made his ultra debut out West on the Pony Express Trail. Ghost Train will have its own separate writeup, but everything else is captured in this edition of the roundup.
What’s better than one day of Runamuck? Two days of Runamuck.
After canceling the 2020 edition of the Runamuck 50K due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race returned for its seventh running as a two-day event with separate 50K races on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17, in Windsor, Vt. Runners were required to be vaccinated to take part either day and run the course that consists largely of hilly dirt roads through the countryside and small towns of Vermont.
Saturday’s race was particularly speedy, with 45 finishers all completing the race within seven hours. Bobby McDonough, 28, of Brighton, Mass., led all runners in 3:52:24, followed by 29-year-old Chance Simonton of Lebanon, N.Y. (4:06:41) and 33-year-old Pete Cannon of Boston, Mass. (4:38:07). The top eight runners all finished in less than five hours. That group also included 24-year-old Chris Murphy of Burlington, Vt. (4:44:32); 38-year-old Benjamin Simanski of Greenfield, Mass. (4:54:26); 39-year-old Padraig Mullins of Norton, Mass. (4:55:29); 36-year-old Ryan Pelletier of New Bedford, Mass. (4:55:31); and 50-year-old Jeremy Howard of Little Compton, R.I. (4:56:49).
Leading the women’s field on Saturday was 46-year-old Rebecca Burke of Portland, Conn., who also placed ninth overall in 5:12:05. Jamie Miller, 39, of North Haven, Conn., rounded out the overall top 10 and was the women’s runner-up in 5:16:27, followed seconds later by third-place woman Allison Sullivan, 35, of Bartlett, N.H., in 5:16:44. Rounding out the women’s top 10 were Allison Medeiros, 39, of Mattapoisett, Mass. (5:19:05); Lori Emery, 47, of North Conway, N.H. (5:24:31); Amy Paige, 51, of Ellington, Conn. (5:35:54); Lynn Poyant, 58, of New Bedford, Mass. (5:43:35); Paige Radney, 28, of Fairlee, Vt. (5:47:51); Susie Brooks, 39, of Williston, Vt. (5:53:00); and Jill Kimmel, 52, of Roxbury, Mass. (5:55:21).
The Sunday race had a smaller field, with 42 runners finishing within 10 hours. Saul Ramirez, 26, of White River Junction, Vt., dominated the race, winning in 3:48:55. Overall runner-up and women’s champion Dylan Broderick, 30, of Montpelier, Vt., finished in 4:23:31, after fending off a strong challenge from third overall finisher and women’s runner-up Kate Mingle, 30, of Cambridge, Mass., who finished a few minutes back in 4:28:06. Kelly Wei, 31, of Woodbury, Conn., rounded out the women’s podium and finished fourth overall in 4:40:48. Jack Pilla, 63, of Charlotte, Vt., (4:41:07) and Will Swenson, 49, of Andover, Mass. (4:59:08) rounded out the men’s podium.
Other top New England finishers of the Sunday race included Sue Dodge, 61, of Williston, Vt., who finished fifth among the women and ninth overall in 5:00:25; Nick Scachetti, 38, of Medford, Mass., who placed 10th overall in 5:07:25; Emily Rose, 33, of Portland, Maine, who placed 11th overall; and Fernando Salcido, 49, of Somerville, Mass., who finished 12th in 5:22:15.
Run it You Won’t at Mad River Glen
Gluttons for plenty of uphill punishment gathered for the inaugural Run it You Won’t at Mad River Glen on Oct. 16-17 in Waitsfield, Vt. The vertical challenge-style event had an approximately 4-mile loop course with around 2,500 feet of vertical gain per loop. Runners were given time-based options to run the loop, either 6 hours, 12 hours, or a whopping 24 hours of vertical madness.
Four runners attempted the 24-hour race with three of them amassing ultramarathon mileage. Josh Rollins, 45, of Barre, Vt., covered 66.5 miles and at least 37,000 feet of vertical gain to take home the win. Lee Pellerin, 43, of East Hardwick, Vt., finished second with 52.25 miles, followed by 26-year-old Drew Daylor of Medford, Mass., with 38 miles.
Four runners took on the 12-hour race and three of them achieved ultramarathon mileage. Eric Christman, 43, of Berwyn, Pa., and 21-year-old Kurt Huebner of Somerville, Mass., led the way with 38 miles apiece while 46-year-old Dave Baird of Shelburne, Vt., followed with 33.25 miles.
Emily Potter, 32, of Moretown, Vt., topped the field of six runners in the 6-hour race with 19 miles.
Pony Express Trail Run
When selecting a first ultramarathon, picking a historic trail is a way to make the event more memorable. That’s exactly what Stephen Kelso did. The 32-year-old resident of Shirley, Mass., headed West and made his ultra debut at the Pony Express Trail Run on Oct. 15-16 in Faust, Utah.
The 13th annual event started at Lookout Campground and took runners on a dirt road course for either 100 miles or 50 miles. Kelso was the lone New England resident in the field of either distance, opting for the 50-miler. He had a solid outing and placed 16th overall out of 33 finishers with a time of 12:15:57. William Mitchell, 39, of Ogden, Utah, won the race in 6:24:41. Ashley Paulson, 40, of Mendon, Utah, won the 100-miler in 17:26:40, topping a field of 16 other finishers.
*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.