A handful of New England residents were among the final runners to finish an ultramarathon in 2021 or the first to complete one in 2022. That was the case – as it has been for a few decades – for runners at Across the Years in Phoenix, Ariz. It was one of the few events to take place that overlaps the turning of a new year, and it kicks off the 2022 edition of the roundup.
Across the Years
Five New England residents closed out 2021 and ushered in 2022 with successful finishes at a variety of the distance and time offerings at the Across the Years Endurance Festival that took place from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7 at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Ariz.
A pioneering event for fixed-time, multi-day ultramarathon running, Across the Years has been held annually since 1983, with the exception of last year when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event roared back this year and attracted runners from across the country and around the world, including a crew from New England that placed runners in the 72-hour, 24-hour and 12-hour events. All runners competed on a 1.686219-kilometer dirt path course around Camelback Ranch, the home to spring training baseball for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Laurel Flax of New Boston, N.H., led the New England contingent with a strong showing in the 72-hour race. Flax, 64, has done several time-based events during the past few years, but Across the Years was her longest in terms of both time and distance. It also marked her first time surpassing the 100-mile mark. Flax finished 21st out of 53 runners with 108.966 miles. Annabel Hepworth, 49, of Sydney, Australia, led all runners with 218.981 miles, followed by 46-year-old Deborah Huntzinger of Flagstaff, Ariz., with 210.599 miles.
In the 24-hour race, both Susan Collins-Pulick, 53, of Topsfield, Mass., and Barbara Graf, 62, of Leeds, Mass., had big days. A veteran of dozens of ultras during the past two decades, Collins-Pulick finished 32nd out of 145 runners with 75.438 miles. Graf also made her Across the Years debut and finished a few loops behind Collins-Pulick in 37th place with 70.199 miles. Joining them in the field from New England was 60-year-old Vincent Vaccaro of West Ossipee, N.H., who finished 64th overall with 52.387 miles. Pat Hasler, 32, of Cincinnati, Ohio, led all runners with 125.73 miles, followed by 30-year-old Melissa Ostaszewski of Flagstaff, Ariz., with 119.44 miles.
Rounding out the New England contingent, 51-year-old Christopher Pulick of Topsfield, Mass., finished fourth overall in the 12-hour race with 55.531 miles. Kameron Harder, 29, of Flagstaff, Ariz., led all runners with 72.295 miles in the half-day event.
No New England residents were among the finishers of the 10-day and 6-day races, or the 100-mile, 48-hour, 6-hour and Last Person Standing events.
*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.