MassUltra Roundup: Bold Coast, Run the Rock, Tunnel Hill, and Rio Del Lago

November has been busy for ultras in Massachusetts, starting with the Stone Cat 50K and followed by both the Race for DFL and TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultras on Nov. 13-14. While those events attracted many runners from Massachusetts and greater New England, a handful of runners from the region still raced beyond the Bay State, including the inaugural offering of a 50K distance at the Bold Coast Bash in Maine. That race and more are featured in this week’s roundup.

Bold Coast Bash 50K

Runners had to wait a year to run the first 50K offering at the Bold Coast Bash; the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 event to be canceled. Entries rolled over, though, and the 50K distance joined the event’s 20-mile and 10-mile lineup at the second edition of the Bold Coast Bash on Sunday, Nov. 14, in Cutler, Maine.

The figure-eight multi-loop course challenged runners with a little bit of everything during their three passes through it, from singletrack dirt to technical rock, to mud and slippery bridges over bogs.

Fourteen runners completed the inaugural 50K, with 46-year-old Ben Nephew of Westborough, Mass., taking home the overall win by a comfortable margin in 6:34:12. Thomas Merrow, 32, of Caribou, Maine, was a distant second in 7:08:23 after holding off third-place finisher Cole Johnson, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who crossed the finish line in 7:11:04. Ryan Collins, 36, of Portland, Maine, followed minutes later in 7:13:21 and placed fourth.

Courtney Marchetti, 42, of Warren, Vt., won the women’s race in 8:35:55, followed by Frances Hiscox, 37, of Waban, Mass., in 8:55:14 and Andrea Savignano, 38, of Greenwood, Maine, in 9:26:51.

Run the Rock Ultras

A crew of brand new and relatively new ultrarunners traveled cross-country for a scenic and challenging trail adventure at the Run the Rock Ultras on Nov. 13-14 in Terrebonne, Ore. Five New England residents were among the 163 finishers of the 50K, which wound its way through Smith Rock State Park and the Crooked River National Grasslands, amassing 5,500 feet of climbing along the way.

For three of the five New Englanders, the race was their first ultramarathon. Olivia Sevey, 31, and Matthew Sevey, 31, of North Billerica, Mass., and Sean Sevey, 33, of Kennebunk, Maine, made their ultra debuts at the race and all successfully finished. Olivia Sevey placed 95th overall in 6:35:23, followed a few minutes later by Sean Sevey in 6:39:05. Five minutes later, Matthew Sevey joined them at the finish line in 6:44:31. The other two New Englanders both had a little bit of ultra experience on their legs, though not a ton. Adeline Casali, 20, of Harrison, Maine, was racing her third ultra ever — as well as her third in less than two months. After making her ultra debut at the Megunticook 50K in Maine on Sept. 11, she raced the Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler in New Hampshire a week later. At Run the Rock, she placed 88th overall in 6:28:21, and set a personal best time for the 50K distance. Additionally, 29-year-old Scott Eugley of South Portland, Maine, completed his fourth ultra at Run the Rock, placing 57th overall in 5:54:18. Eugley ran his first ultra at the Megunticook 50K in 2020, and then returned to the race this year before also running the Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler. Run the Rock was Eugley’s first time breaking six hours at the 50K distance.

Cole Campbell, 22, of Caldwell, Idaho, topped the men’s 50K field in 3:51:06 while Lauren Ciolli, 38, of Portland, Ore., won the women’s race in 4:53:56.

The event also offered a “heavy” 50-mile race that consisted of two 26-mile loops and 6,700 feet of gain. Seventy-one runners completed that distance, though none were from New England. Adam Merry, 30, of Golden, Colo., and Sandy Nypaver, 33, of Salida, Colo., led the men’s and women’s fields in 6:41:16 and 7:55:56, respectively.

Tunnel Hill Ultras

The Tunnel Hill Ultras returned for their eighth annual running on Nov. 13-13 in Vienna, Ill. The flat and fast course consisted of out-and-backs on the Tunnel Hill State Trail, including passing through the famous tunnel that gives the trail its name. It was also the site of the fastest known time for 100 miles by anyone in North America when Camille Herron set the mark with her 100-mile victory at the 2017 event, setting a women’s world record with that performance.

The event is known primarily for its 100-mile race, which had 215 finishers this year and was won by Phil Young, 35, of Davenport, Iowa, in 12:44:08, and Stafanie Flippin, 32, of Evergreen, Colo., in 14:04:16. Two New England residents were among the finishers of that race, with Brie Choate, 40, of Pike N.H., and Catie Markesich, 36, of Milton, Vt., completing the race side-by-side in 27:45:03.

Another 368 runners completed Tunnel Hill’s 50-mile offering, which saw Taggart Vanetten, 25, of Morton, Ill., top the men’s field in 5:59:12 and Michelle Hurn, 38, of Vancouver, Wash., lead the women in 7:03:01. Two runners from New England completed that distance, too, with 40-year-old Todd Falker of Providence, Mass., finishing 42nd in 8:41:38, and 61-year-old Lori Gilmore of Manchester, Conn., placing 124th in 10:29:55.

Rio Del Lago 100

Typically a popular attraction as a last-minute qualifier for the Western States Endurance Run lottery, the Rio Del Lago 100-miler also attracts many runners simply because the race course includes the final miles of the legendary Western States trail. Lottery success or lottery failure, Rio Del Lago at least gives runners a taste of the legendary trail.

It’s also the site of many fast performances each year, and the 20th running of the race was no exception on Nov. 6-7 in Granite Bay, Calif. The top 58 finishers all finished sub-24 hours, and 248 runners beat the 30-hour time limit. Reed Breuer, 29, of Carmichael, Calif., and Katy Pieri-McCaffrey, 41, of Oakland, Calif., won the men’s and women’s races in 17:13:10 and 18:38:07, respectively.

Stacia Broderick, 43, of Vineyard Haven, Mass., was the top finisher from New England. A winner of many ultras during the past nine years, including the Worlds End 100K in Pennsylvania in 2019 and most recently the Firebird 50K in Maine in September, Broderick hammered the 100-mile course at Rio Del Lago and nearly missed securing a spot on the podium. Broderick finished 15th overall and fourth in the women’s field in 20:33:49.

The top New England male racer was 50-year-old Jeremy Howard of Little Compton, R.I. A finisher of several 100-milers, including the High Lonesome 100 in Colorado this summer, Howard had a strong day throughout and placed 22nd overall in 21:46:13. Another 100-mile veteran, 57-year-old Whitney Hanschka of Vineyard Haven, Mass., also broke the 24-hour mark, placing 56th overall in 23:47:47.

Rounding out the field of New England residents who finished were Michael Medeiros, 36, of West Hartford, Conn. (72nd; 24:52:43); Ben Fiandaca, 44, of Peterborough, N.H. (208th; 28:52:36); Tom Golembeski, 47, of West Hartford, Conn. (211th; 28:54:21); and Sarah Barrett, 38, of Simsbury, Conn. (28:54:23).

*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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