MassUltra Roundup: Black Canyon, Last Skier Standing, and the Algonquin

Scott Traer is no stranger to laying it all on the line at an ultramarathon. The resident of Woburn, Mass., has been among New England’s fastest ultrarunners and fiercest racers any time he toes the line. On Saturday, Feb. 12, he earned an opportunity to test his abilities against some of the best competition in the world in June when he earned a Golden Ticket entry into the Western States Endurance run by finishing at the podium at the Black Canyon 100K. Traer’s sizzling performance leads off this edition of the roundup.

Black Canyon Ultras

Another Golden Ticket to the Western States Endurance Run has been secured by a runner from the Northeast.

A month after New Yorker Ellie Pell earned a Golden Ticket into ultrarunning’s original 100-mile foot race, Scott Traer grabbed one of his own at the eighth annual Black Canyon Ultras on Feb. 12-13 in Mayer, Ariz.

The 100K race attracted more than 700 runners to the starting line to race on the singletrack dirt and jeep roads of the Black Canyon Trail. The front of the field was highly competitive, but Traer wasn’t deterred. With more than a decade in the sport and numerous wins and podium finishes under his belt, including a victory at the 2021 Hennepin Hundred and a runner-up performance at the Umstead 100 before taking third in the 24-hour race at Desert Solstice in December, Traer was primed and ready to race. He went out fast and steadily picked his way toward the front of the field. As the race entered the final miles it was clear one of the three Golden Tickets awarded at this year’s Black Canyon 100K would go to Traer. The only question was where he would finish among the top three.

Trueheart Brown, 41, of Flagstaff, Ariz., ultimately took the win in 7:57:20, the seventh-fastest men’s time in course history. Traer, 40, of Woburn, Mass., followed shortly after in second place overall with the ninth-fastest men’s time in course history, 8:03:07. Jeffrey Colt, 30, of Carbondale, Colo., followed in third in 8:05:14.

Traer joins Dane LeBlanc of Littleton as the only Massachusetts residents in the field for the 2022 running of Western States.

Clare Gallagher, 30, of Boulder, Colo., finished 15th overall and first among the women’s field in 9:06:21. In doing so, the 2019 Western States champion earned a return trip to Olympic Valley. Dominika Stelmach, 39, of Warsaw, Poland, was second in 9:10:52, and Anne-Marie Madden, 41, of Vancouver, B.C., rounded out the women’s podium in 9:23:52.

Two other New England residents turned in notably strong performances of the day. Ben Quatromoni, 34, of Newport, R.I., placed 17th overall in 9:18:00. Additionally, 44-year-old Stacia Broderick of Tisbury, Mass., finished 95th overall and 29th among the women’s field in 11:59:38.

Five other New England residents were among the 100K finishers. Christopher Parker, 40, of Cambridge, Mass., placed 128th overall in 12:42:25; Christian Popa, 51, of Quincy, Mass., was 169th in 13:24:32; Timothy McMullen, 25, of Stamford, Conn.; finished in 16:35:17; Charlotte Clews, 46, of Blue Hill, Maine, finished in 16:49:45; and Jason Ryan, 48, of Portland, Maine, finished in 17:58:20. Of the 715 starters, 515 finished within the 20-hour time limit.

In addition to the 100K main event, another 294 runners completed the Black Canyon 60K race within 12 ½ hours. Chris Myers, 25, of Acton, Calif., and Katie Asmuth, 35, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., topped the men’s and women’s fields with the third-fastest times in course history. Myers posted a winning mark of 4:20:39 while Asmuth led the women’s field in 5:05:57.

Two New England residents earned top-10 finishes in the women’s field. Joanna Fortier, 32, of Richmond, Vt., placed seventh in 5:58:26 while 24-year-old Morgan Blevins of Somerville, Mass., followed in 10th in 6:14:56. Additionally, 33-year-old Rebecca Geib of Bar Harbor, Maine, finished in 7:42:51; Mary Powers, 60, of Tolland, Conn., finished in 9:01:37; and Amy Paige, 52, of Ellington, Conn., completed the race in 9:01:39.

Last Skier Standing

A year ago, Ben Eck climbed the main ski run at Black Mountain a whopping 61 times, setting a course record while holding off Jerimy Arnold for the win at the second edition of the Last Skier Standing race. In 2022, Eck made three more trips up the mountain, but it wasn’t enough as the 29-year-old resident of Somerville, Mass., finished second to new record-holder Brody Leven, 34, of Salt Lake City, Utah, who earned the victory at the third annual Last Skier Standing event on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Black Mountain in Jackson, N.H.

Participants had one hour to finish the course and return to the starting line to go again. Similar to Last-Person-Standing ultrarunning events, the Last Skier Standing format required the competition to continue until one skier remained.

Ninety-six skiers took part in this year’s event. The competition began at 10 a.m. Saturday with competitors departing the start/finish area to ski up the mountain’s main route, round 1.1 miles in distance and 1,000 feet in elevation gain, before skiing back down the way they climbed.

After 24 hours, the field was trimmed to 20 competitors. When women’s champion Meri Harrington, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., withdrew after 27 trips to the top, only 13 remained in the field. By then, the event’s original champion – Rick Chalmers, 60, of South Portland, Maine, was already done with 25 laps.

The numbers steadily dwindled from there. Benjamin Lane, 28, of Groveland, Mass., was one of three who stopped after 32 laps. Spencer Ralson, 26, of Hebron, Conn., stopped after 34 to finish in seventh place. Breck Stewart, 29, of Waterbury, Vt., was done after 35 laps, and Jack Murphy, 22, of Arlington, Mass., finished after 36, leaving just four athletes on the mountain.

Ben Underkoffler, 32, of Lewiston, Maine, stopped after 41 and Rich Connell, 38, of Bristol, Vt., was done after 57 laps, leaving just Leven and Eck to do battle. Finally, Eck’s day ended after 64 trips to the top. Leven then made a solo 65th lap to secure the victory as the last skier standing.

The Algonquin 50K

A handful of New England ultrarunners have made the Algonquin 50K a regular event on their racing calendars, and they returned for the sixth annual event on Saturday, Feb. 12, in Pocomoke City, Md. Racing on a flat, fast course at Pocomoke River State Park, they blazed the trail among a fast field of runners.

Nick Cruz, 25, of Hatfield, Pa., led the men’s field in 3:58:24, the fifth-fastest time in course history, edging runner-up Daniel Dorsey, 37, of Frederick, Md., by a minute. Chris Matthews, 48, of Essex Junction, Vt., led the New England contingent, placing fifth overall in 4:20:52. It matched his placing from the 2020 race.

In the women’s field, 37-year-old Kelsey Miller of Portsmouth, R.I., finished fourth in 4:47:44. She finished 11 minutes behind women’s winner Maria Miller, 40, of Tyaskin, Md., who earned the victory in 4:36:35. The second and third-place women followed two and eight minutes behind. Miller’s performance this year was 12 minutes faster than 2021 when she finished third among the women’s field and 22 minutes faster than her 2020 time.

Shaun Miller, 37, of Portsmouth, R.I., finished 49th overall in 6:00:51, a 15-minute improvement over his 2021 performance. Additionally, Trina Young, 43, of Berlin, Vt., finished in 7:59:43.

Runners had 8 hours to complete the race; 200 did so within the time limit.

*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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