The center of New England ultrarunning during the March 25-27 weekend was Hale Reservation in Westwood, Mass., where the Trail Animals Running Club welcomed runners back to the To Hale and Back 6-Hour Ultra following a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, but a handful of runners from the region headed elsewhere to explore new trails. Two of them delivered head-turning performances in Utah, with Newton’s Nick Poles placing second overall in his 100-mile debut at Antelope Island and Rhode Island’s Ben Quatromoni earning a podium spot in Moab. Those performances highlight this week’s roundup.
Antelope Island Buffalo Run
A year ago, Nick Poles made his ultramarathon debut at the Pineland Farms 50K in Maine where he finished atop the podium in a speedy 4:00:52. Nearly 11 months later, the 31-year-old resident of Newton, Mass., returned to an ultramarathon starting line with bigger goals in mind when he took on the 100-mile distance at the 12th annual Antelope Island Buffalo Run on March 24-25 in Syracuse, Utah.
Forty-six runners attempted the 100-mile race, which took place on fully-exposed singletrack trails on a multi-loop course. Ultimately, 34 runners finished the race. Poles was among them, and he turned in an unforgettable 100-mile debut, placing second overall in 19:05:33. Cameron Virjee, 32, of Rolling Hills, Calif., won in 18:21:06. It was Virjee’s second 100-mile finish and first race since placing fourth overall at the Sean O’Brien 100K in February. Rachel Entrekin, 30, of Los Angeles, Calif., led the women’s field and finished third overall in 19:58:24.
In addition to the 100-miler, the event also offered 50-mile and 50K races. Only one New England resident took part in either of those options. Benjamin Fiandaca, 45, of Peterborough, N.H., finished the 50-miler in 11:48:29. He will race the Western States Endurance Run in June.
Behind the Rocks Ultra
Ben Quatromoni made quite the impression when he burst onto the New England ultrarunning scene in October 2020 by dominating the 50-mile race at the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail. Quatromoni outdistanced the field by nearly an hour that day. Since then, he has finished on the podium at nearly every ultra he has raced, including victories at the Algonquin 50K, Eastern States 100-miler, and Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler in 2021.
Quatromoni, 34, of Newport, R.I., delivered his latest strong performance on Saturday, March 26, at the ninth annual Behind the Rocks Ultras in Moab, Utah. He took on the 50-mile distance, racing on technical slickrock trails of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Area. By the time he was done, he found himself in a familiar position – on the podium. Of the 82 finishers within 15 hours, Quatromoni placed second overall in 7:53:46. Brendan Connell, 30, of Black Hawk, Colo., led all runners in 7:44:38. The top two runners easily outdistanced the rest of the field; the third-place finisher trailed Quatromoni by 28 minutes.
The event also offered a 50K race, and 206 runners finished within the 12-hour time limit, including a half-dozen New England residents. Mark Weber, 35, of Jamaica Plain, Mass., placed 42nd overall in 6:01:39; Derek MacDonald, 43, of South Burlington, Vt., placed 90th in 7:00:35; Mikey Seymour, 42, of Boston, Mass., finished in 7:24:32; Raiel Barlow, 41, of Colchester, Vt., and Christy Pisucki, 45, of South Burlington, Vt., finished together in 8:58:30; and Eric Winn, 67, of Charlestown, R.I., finished in 10:55:10.
A pair of Boulder, Colo., residents topped the men’s and women’s fields, with 23-year-old David Gleisner and 24-year-old Meghan Morgan winning in 4:12:22 and 4:34:07, respectively.
Spring on the Trails
New England ultrarunners packed the podiums at the second annual Spring on the Trails Ultra on Saturday, March 26, in Lagrangeville, N.Y. The event offered 12-hour and 6-hour ultras on a 5K loop course at the Red Wing Recreation Area.
Nineteen runners tackled the 12-hour option, 17 of which amassed 30 or more miles for their half-day effort. Douglas Haines, 37, of Goshen, N.Y., led all runners with 60 miles, holding off 27-year-old John Roy of Manchester, N.H., who matched the mileage but finished second overall. Jason Baer, 44, of South Burlington, Vt., finished third overall with 57 miles. Leading the women’s 12-hour field and finishing fifth overall was Michelle McCarthy-Beland, 44, of Windham, N.H., with 48 miles.
Other New England residents who earned ultra mileage in the 12-hour race were John McCleary, 53, of Redding, Conn., with 42 miles, and Andrew Pollard, 39, of Framingham, Mass., and Nathan Samuel, 37, of New Milford, Conn., with 30 miles apiece.
An additional 39 runners took part in the 6-hour race, 13 of which surpassed the marathon distance. Thomas Wolfe, 16, of Grantham, N.H., led all runners with 36 miles to top the men’s field. Rebecca Burke, 46, of Portland, Conn., finished third overall and led the women’s field with 33 miles. Additionally, Art Byram, 58, of Glastonbury, Conn., finished third on the men’s podium and fourth overall with 33 miles. Mackenzie Miller, 23, of Springfield, Mass., finished fourth among the women with 27 miles.
*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.