Spring is beginning to make its presence felt in New England, but ultrarunners from the region ventured to the South and West in pursuit of warmer temperatures and fast running during the March 19-20 weekend. Several runners turned in strong ultra debut performances, including Harvard’s Nicholas Rindenello and Connecticut’s Eric Collins, while others like Carolyn Stocker returned to racing after some time away and quickly shook off the rust. From California and Idaho, to North Carolina and Florida, to Pennsylvania, there’s plenty to read in this edition of the roundup.
Nicholas Rindenello picked a grand stage to make his ultramarathon debut.
Rindello, a sub-2:40 marathoner from Harvard, Mass., took on a classic West Coast race for his first 50K when he toed the line of the 28th edition of the Chuckanut 50K on Saturday, March 19, in Bellingham, Wash.
Racing on a lollipop loop course on the trails of Chuckanut Mountain, Rindenello raced near the front of the field of more than 400 runners. Adam Peterson of Missoula, Mont., won the race in 3:24:06, setting a new course record by nine minutes, but Rindenello also had a big day, placing 24th overall in 4:15:00.
Ladia Albertson-Junkans of Snoqualmie, Wash., led the women’s field and finished 20th overall in a speedy 4:10:46. Ellie Pell of Brockport, N.Y., provided another highlight performance for the East Coast contingent, placing 31st overall and fifth among the women in 4:21:50.
There were 421 finishers within the 10-hour time limit.
Though the 100-mile race was the signature event at the second edition of the MST Ultras on Saturday, March 19, in Durham, N.C., it was the 50-mile race that had a strong New England presence.
Forty-five runners toed the line for the MST 50-miler, four of them from New England. Racing out and back on singletrack dirt of the Mountains to Sea Trail at the Rolling View Recreation Area, runners pushed the pace while amassing a sneaky amount of climbing along the way. Of those who started, 38 ultimately finished. The field was led by 27-year-old Eric Collins of Clinton, Conn., who made a splash in his ultramarathon debut by cruising to victory in 9:09:15. For Collins, it was a bold debut performance as he builds up to the Kodiak 100-miler in August. The second-place finisher – women’s champion Tatiana Rypinski, 28, of Houston, Texas – followed 35 minutes later in 9:44:46.
Joining Collins on the men’s podium was fourth overall finisher and third-place male Graham Simon, 28, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., who finished in 10:21:50, just 56 seconds behind men’s runner-up Justin Thomas, 38, of Hillsborough, N.C. Like Collins, Simon also has a big year ahead with the Infinitus 100-miler in May and the Virgil Crest 100-miler in September.
While Rypinski dominated the women’s race, her closest competitor was a New Englander. Sue Dodge, 61, of Williston, Vt., was the women’s runner-up and seventh overall finisher in 11:05:24.
Rounding out the field of runners from the region was 22-year-old Zach Medeiros of Westfield, Mass., who placed 15th overall in his ultra debut in 12:04:32.
Pulse Endurance Runs
After a few years from racing ultramarathons, Carolyn Stocker eased back into it at the 10th annual Pulse Endurance Runs on March 17-19 at Eagle Island State Park in Eagle, Idaho. The event included 100-mile, 48-hour, 24-hour, 12-hour, and 6-hour ultras, all of which took place on an approximately 2 ½-mile flat dirt loop course along the Boise River and Eagle Island Pond.
Stocker was the lone New England resident to take part in the endurance festival, and the 29-year-old resident of Whitinsville, Mass., raced the 6-hour event. She held her own just fine in her ultra return, placing third overall and first in the women’s field with 36.72 miles. Danny Larson, 37, of Meridian, Idaho, led all runners with 43.40 miles while Benjamin Monaghan, 29, of Meridian logged 41.44 and finished second overall.
Bullshit Backyard Ultra
A dozen New England ultrarunners made the trip to Lennoxville, Pa., to take part in the second edition of the Bullshit Backyard Ultra last person standing event on Saturday, March 19. The event followed traditional Backyard Ultra protocol of a 4.167-mile loop course being completed each hour until just one runner remained. In this case, the loop wound through farmland and Tunkhannock Creek.
Of the 37 runners who took part in the event, a dozen surpassed marathon mileage, including six of the New Englanders. Elizabeth Cohen, 34, of Madison, Conn., was the top-performing female and tied for ninth in total mileage with 29.19 miles. Samkit Shah, 34, of Nashua, N.H., and Brian Packard, 31, of North Chelmsford, Mass., also completed 29.19 miles.
Additionally, three Massachusetts men secured spots in the top four overall. Stoughton’s Anton Laptsenak, 33, and Chicopee’s Ryan Horne, 26, each completed 50.04 miles and tied for third, while 34-year-old Matthew Pfahl of North Chelmsford, Mass., finished second overall with 54.21 miles. Aaron Bowers, 34, of Sterling, Va., outlasted the field and was the last runner standing with 58.38 miles.
Lynn Poyant closed out her 2021 ultramarathon racing season with a 100-mile finish at the Hamsterwheel in New Hampshire. She kicked off the 2022 season by heading south to Florida.
Poyant, 58, was the lone New England resident to attend the seventh annual Swamp Trail Races on Saturday, March 19, in Palm Coast, Fla. The event offered 100K and 50K ultras, as well as 30K and 10K races, all of which took place on a 6.2-mile loop consisting of flowing singletrack trails of the Graham Swamp Trail. Poyant, 58, of New Bedford, Mass., joined a strong women’s field in the 50K. She placed eighth overall and sixth among the women in 7:58:48. Deanna Doane, 23, of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., led the ladies and finished second overall in 6:02:34. Zachary Lukas, 32, of Stillwater, Minn., led all runners in 5:19:19.
*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.