The end of February and start of March saw several New England residents turn in impressive ultramarathon performances at races throughout the country, including a few victories. Cambridge resident Rahul Singh and Norton’s Padraig Mullins won races in Alabama and New York, respectively, while Boston’s Lynnsey Martin finished on the podium in Arizona. Those performances and more are included in this edition of the roundup.
Nearly a decade had passed since Rahul Singh last ran an ultramarathon. That last one – in 2012 at the Nashville Ultra 50-miler – saw Singh cover the distance in 10:55:28 and finish 41st overall. Singh returned to ultramarathon racing at the 16th annual Delano Park Ultra on Saturday, March 5, in Decatur, Ala., and showed what a difference a decade can make. The event offered 50-mile and 12-hour ultra races, and Singh opted for the 50-miler. Now 33, the resident of Cambridge, Mass., hammered the 1-mile loop course 50 times and blazed to victory in a speedy 8:11:45. Singh’s winning time was 53 minutes faster than the second-place runner.
Seven runners took part in the 50-mile race and another 122 ran the 12-hour event. Singh was the only New England resident in the field.
Padraig Mullins is no stranger to winning ultramarathons. He has more than a dozen wins to his resume, as well as numerous other podium finishes during his decade-plus of ultrarunning. Mullins picked up his first victory of 2022 at the Caumsett 50K in East Islip, N.Y. The 40-year-old resident of Norton, Mass., led the pack of 31 finishers, dropping the field early and cruising to a dominant victory in 3:36:10. The second-place runner finished 39 minutes later. It was his third time competing in the race and first time finishing atop the podium. He placed 19th overall in 2016 and was the runner-up at the 2019 race.
Since making his ultramarathon debut in late 2017, Eric Ciocca has developed a reputation for throwing down fast times. He won his inaugural ultra in December 2017, blazing to victory at Seth’s Fat Ass 50K in 4:04:21. Since then, he has posted at least a half-dozen wins.
Though he wasn’t victorious, he came pretty close in his first ultra of 2022. Ciocca, 44, of Northampton, Mass., finished fifth among the men and sixth overall at the Cowtown Ultra 50K on Saturday, Feb. 26, in Fort Worth, Texas. Ciocca was one of eight runners to finish in less than four hours, clocking a blazing time of 3:48:04. Javier Vilchis, 45, of Dallas, Texas, won the race in a sizzling 3:36:42. There were 179 finishers within 8 ½ hours.
Old Pueblo Endurance Run
Lynnsey Martin’s ultramarathon debut in 2021 ended in victory as she topped the women’s field at the Pandora’s Box of Rox 52.4-miler in Texas and placed sixth overall. Her second ultra attempt featured another strong performance and ended with a podium finish.
Martin kicked off her sophomore season of ultrarunning at the 31st edition of the Old Pueblo Endurance Run 50-miler on Saturday, March 5, in Sonoita, Airz. The race took place on a 25-mile loop course that runners completed twice, running on part of the Arizona Trail as well as forest service roads and singletrack dirt. The entire race took place at altitude, starting and ending above 5,000 feet and climbing as high as 6,232 feet. Martin, 23, lives at sea level in Boston, Mass., so the venue presented some challenges that she navigated just fine. She was in the hunt for much of the day and ultimately finished third in the women’s field and sixth overall in 10:04:07. Hanah Hill, 26, of Hereford, Ariz., led the women and placed fourth overall in 9:35:47, followed by Alyson Kirk, 39, of Littleton, Colo., in 9:41:44. Kent Warlick, 31, of Orem, Utah, led all runners in 8:23:17.
Way Too Cool 50K
After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the classic Way To Cool 50K returned for its 32nd edition on Saturday, March 5, in Cool, Calif. The race, which traces its roots back to 1990, takes place on parts of the legendary Western States Trail and amasses 4,800 feet of climbing, mostly on buffed-out singletrack dirt.
A popular draw, Way Too Cool lured nearly 600 runners to the starting line, and 539 finished within the nine-hour time limit. That included a trio of New England residents. Elena Horton, who moved to Allston, Mass., from Seattle, Wash., returned to the region where she has experienced previous success. Horton, 25, won the Mt. Si 50K and placed second at the Goat Run 50K, both in Washington State, in 2019, before moving to the East Coast. Horton threw down a strong performance in her return to the West Coast, placing sixth in the women’s field in 4:22:18.
While this was Horton’s first time running Way Too Cool, the other New England finishers were course veterans. Annette Florczak, 47, of Boston, Mass., earned her second Way Too Cool finish in 7:36:36, while 61-year-old Grae Van Hooser of Sparks, N.H., finished for the 20th time, this time completing the course in 8:17:21.
Tim Tollefson, 36, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., led all runners in 3:13:28. EmKay Sullivan, 27, of Reno, Nev., led the women in 3:45:00.
*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.