April is off to a strong start for New England ultrarunners. The impressive month includes multiple victories and podium finishes for runners from the region during the April 8-10 weekend, as well as hard-earned finishes at some tough races around the country. Quincy resident Brain Malger and North Haven’s Jamie Miller made sure the men’s and women’s victories at the Squatchapple 50-miler in New Jersey were earned by runners from the region. Meanwhile, Lexington’s Seth Cutler put an exclamation point on his ultra debut with a runner-up finish at the Eagleton Trail Challenge in Pennsylvania. Additionally, several runners from the region took on various distances at the Zion Ultras, including Lakeville’s Shaun Daylor who pushed hard on the fully exposed course and raced to a seventh-place overall finish in the 100-miler. Those performances and more are highlighted in this edition of the roundup.
Brian Malger has only been running ultramarathons since late-2021, but he is quickly making an impact.
Malger, 29, made his ultra debut in September 2021 with a fourth-place finish in the 50-miler at Pineland Farms, followed by a fifth-place finish at the Stone Cat 50K in November. He kicked off 2022 with a runner-up finish in the FIT Rock Trail Race 50K in Rhode Island in March. Malger finally ascended to the top of the standings on Saturday, April 9, when the resident of Quincy, Mass., earned a dominant victory in the 50-mile race at the Squatchapple in West Orange, N.J.
Twenty-eight runners finished the 50-mile race on a multi-loop trail course at South Mountain Reservation, but Malger did so the fastest with a course-record time of 7:35:58. Michael Hoffman, 48, of Reston, Va., was a distant second in 8:06:34. The women’s 50-mile champion also hailed from New England. Jamie Miller, 39, of North Haven, Conn., finished sixth overall and led the women’s field in 9:36:28.
Other New England residents who were among the 50-mile finishers included Joe Benoit, 56, of Worcester, Mass. (10:12:08); Cole Celenza, 26, of Harrison, N.H. (10:24:02); Greg Payne, 29, of Medford, Mass. (10:36:40); Steven Flythe, 50, of Somerville, Mass. (11:59:38); David Griffith, 49, of Ridgefield, Conn. (11:59:42); and Jennifer Rizzo, 39, of Marblehead, Mass. (12:08:47).
Another 57 runners completed the 33-mile race, led by men’s and women’s champions Brett Mastrangelo, 30, of Chester, Vt. (4:13:09) and Sydney Dolan, 24, of Boston, Mass. (5:29:25). Kimberly Battipaglia, 50, of New Haven, Conn., was the women’s runner-up in 5:31:04. Other New England finishers were Scout Phillips, 43, of Starksboro, Vt. (8:14:31); Jon Barry, 25, of Abington, Mass. (8:56:42); and Jamie Crandall, 24, of West Brookfield, Mass. (9:10:52).
The Zion Ultras reward runners with stunning panoramic views for nearly every step of the race through the Southern Utah Desert near Zion National Park, but the races also punish runners with steep climbs and exposure to the elements at all times. That permanent exposure – be it to constant sunlight and heat radiating off the rocks, or inescapable thunderstorms, or strong winds – can make for a gnarly obstacle for runners to overcome at any time at Zion. Several New England residents took on the challenge and persevered at the 100-mile, 100K and 50K distance at this year’s Zion Ultras on April 9-10 in Apple Valley, Utah.
The 100-miler tossed 10,700 feet of climbing at the runners, including multiple sustained climbs of nearly 2,000 feet. Shaun Daylor of Lakeville, Mass., was up to the challenge. A finisher of multiple 100-milers including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, as well as the notorious 888K at Infinitus, was among the top performers. Out of 137 finishers within the 36-hour time limit, Daylor placed seventh overall and sixth among the men’s field in 22:05:41. Michael Greer of Peoria, Ariz., led the men in 20:02:44 while Kylee Drugan-Eppich of Golden, Colo., led the women’s field in 21:27:13.
Another veteran of many 100-milers, Ryan Fecteau of Framingham, Mass., followed up his finish of the Badwater 135 last year by placing 75th at Zion in 31:35:38. Another 100-mile veteran, Harry Mattison of Allston, Mass., followed in 31:50:17. Two Massachusetts residents also made Zion their first 100-miler: West Hatfield’s Sarah Jacqz finished in 32:28:38 and Newton Center’s Eric Weiss finished in 34:27:53.
Another 235 runners completed the Zion 100K within the 22-hour time limit, including a trio of New England residents. Dave Lane of Haverhill, Mass., led the way, finishing 53rd overall in 14:40:34. Joining him as finishers were Michael Donnelly of Gorham, Maine (17:36:48) and Su DelGuercio of Amherst, Mass. (20:56:02).
Additionally, 410 more runners completed the Zion 50K within 11 hours. That group of finishers included nine New England residents Devin Ahern of Cambridge, Mass., led the regional crew placing 65th overall in 6:05:55. Other New England finishers of the 50K were Lynn Poyant of New Bedford, Mass. (6:49:39); Kim Gibson of North Dartmouth, Mass. (7:59:51); Cindy Tjersland of North Dartmouth, Mass. (7:59:52); Wendy Cordeiro of New Bedford, Mass. (7:59:52); Kim Kaye of New Bedford, Mass. (7:59:54); Martin Powers of Tolland, Conn. (8:17:37); Tanya Rapinchuk of Cummington, Mass. (8:30:36); and Donna Broderick of Searsmont, Maine (8:30:38).
Eagleton Trail Challenge
Seth Cutler made a name for himself on the cross country course as a standout at Lexington High School where he was a three-time letterman. Following a season on the college cross country team at the University of Rochester, Cutler turned his attention to longer distances. That led to his ultramarathon debut at the sixth annual Eagleton Trail Challenge 50K on Saturday, April 9, in Lock Haven, Pa.
Cutler, 20, of Lexington, Mass., threw down a speedy time of 5:09:37 to lead the men’s field and finish second overall. Racing on a loop course with 4,000 feet of climbing and mildly technical terrain, Cutler posted the sixth-fastest men’s time in course history. Sarah Briggs, 32, of Montrose, Pa., led all 56 finishers and broke her own women’s course record by 32 minutes with a winning time of 4:58:57.
The Shore2Shore 50K presents an opportunity for ultrarunners to log fast times on the easy-running Suffolk County Long Island Greenbelt Trail, and a Massachusetts runner made the most of that opportunity.
Racing in the fourth annual race on Saturday, April 9, in East Islip, N.Y., 21-year-old Allston resident Jackie Farnham made his ultra debut and clocked a speedy time of 4:24:31, good for fifth place overall. Farnham will look to follow that up with his first 50-miler in May at the Dirty German 50 in Philadelphia.
While Farnham had a big day, so did Matthew Galle, 23, of Fairfield, Conn., whose second ultra resulted in a sixth-place finish in 4:31:19.
Brandon Talisesky, 29, of New York, N.Y., led all runners with a course-record time of 3:45:33. Another New Yorker, 21-year-old Rebecca Holloway, led the women’s field and finished 10th overall in 4:54:32. The top 11 finishers completed the race in less than five hours. Narrowly missing out on the top 10 was 24-year-old Grant Bradley, 24, of Providence, R.I., who placed 11th overall in his ultra debut, finishing in 4:58:44.
Seven more New England residents were among the 136 finishers within 9 hours. Ron Wooley, 51, of Duxbury, Mass., was 18th overall in 5:10:15; Boston resident Jodie Davis, 29, placed 21st overall and secured the third spot on the women’s podium, just ahead of fourth-place Michelle Kulak, 39, of Collinsville, Conn. (5:18:36). Additionally, Rod Steensma, 51, of Southport, Conn. finished in 6:13:49; Sally Fisk, 45, of Westport, Conn., finished in 6:19:34; Josh Engels, 38, of Dedham, MA, finished in 7:02:49; and Eric Steinberg, 35, of Norwalk, Conn., finished in 7:14:39.
Lake Sonoma 50
Since its inaugural running in 2008, the Lake Sonoma 50 has been one of the most popular early-season 50-mile draws for ultrarunners on the West Coast. This year, a trio of New England residents made the cross-country trip to take part in the 15th annual event on Saturday, April 9, in Lake Sonoma, Calif.
Brigid Pickett, 35, of Cambridge, Mass., led the way for the local crew in 10:00:34, followed by fellow Cambridge resident Brann Gallagher, 31, in 12:21:04, and Da Xu, 41, of Shrewsbury, Mass., in 13:10:27.
Matt Seidel, 25, of Emeryville, Calif., led the men’s field in 7:07 while Brittany Charboneau, 33, of Denver, Colo. topped the women with a 7:27 performance in her 50-mile debut. There were 249 finishers within 14 ½ hours.
The 10th edition of the Singletrack Maniac 50K drew more than 60 runners to the starting line at Lois Hornsby Middle School on Saturday, April 9, in Williamsburg, Va., to take on rocky, root-covered, rolling singletrack trails. Two New England residents were among them. Nobody could hang with Nicholas Wirz as the 33-year-old from Leonardtown, Md., cruised to victory by a 31-minute margin in 4:02:11. Fran Curtis, 54, of Westminster, Mass., placed 10th overall in 5:47:52, while Jon Birdsall, 52, of Brookfield, Conn., also finished in 7:27:59.
*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.