In this week’s roundup we take a look back a few weeks to April 3 when Padraig Mullins of Norton, Mass., represented his local ultrarunning community and his native Ireland proudly with a personal-best day at the Sri Chinmoy 100K in the United Kingdom. Additionally, we highlight the always-tough Traprock 50K in Connecticut, ultrarunning debuts at the Orcas Island 50-miler in Washington and Desert Rats 50K in Colorado, as well as a local runner’s return to the Rattler Trail Race in Colorado Springs.
Sri Chinmoy 100K
Padraig Mullins wore his heart on his chest when he stepped to the starting line of the Sri Chinmoy 100K on April 3 in Perth, U.K. Mullins, a resident of Norton, Mass., sported his green Ireland singlet for the 42-loop race on a paved course through North Inch Park. A combination of the Anglo Celtic Plate home countries event and the British and Scottish 100K road championships for 2022, the race also served as a qualifier for the IAU 100K World Championships this August in Berlin, Germany.
Mullins’ goal was to break 7:30 to qualify for the World Championships where he could represent Ireland. To do so, he would need to run a personal-best time, and by a sizable margin. Still, Mullins dared to dream, and on race day he ran with confidence and determination. He went out hard, gritted through the pain of the late miles and pushed hard until the end. As he headed down the home stretch, Mullins hoisted the Irish flag over his head. He emphatically pumped his fist in the air as he crossed the finish line in 7:12:45. His performance was a 37-minute personal-best time for the distance and qualified for the World Championships by more than 17 minutes. He also placed 11th overall out of 76 finishers, and was the first Irishman to cross the line.
British runner Matt Dickinson led the field in 6:39:34.
The Metacomet Trail in Bloomfield, Conn., doesn’t take it easy on runners during ordinary years at the Traprock 50K, and the 12th edition on Saturday, April 16, was no different as the tough terrain paired with warm temperatures to create a challenging day of running on the three-loop course that checks in at around 33 miles in distance.
Of the 99 starters, 69 finished within 10 hours.Justin Neuman, 44, of New Haven, Conn., took home the overall win in 5:02:38. It was another strong performance for Neuman, who was the 50K champion at the Vermont 50 last fall. His closest competitor at Traprock, 37-year-old Joffrey Peters of Lebanon, N.H., was a distant second in 5:14:14, followed by third-place finisher Raynor Large, 34, of Cumberland, Maine, in 5:39:57. Thomas Wolfe, 16, of Grantham, N.H., was fourth overall in 5:56:10, as the teenager was one of just six runners to break the 5-hour mark. Sean Riley, 27, of Branford, Conn., nearly joined that group, finishing seventh overall in 6:00:27.
The women’s field had a familiar face atop the podium. Debbie Livingston, 47, of Bolton, Conn., won for the fourth time, adding the 2022 title to her collection of wins in 2010, 2011 and 2013. She placed sixth in 2018 and was the runner-up in both 2019 and 2021. Her time of 6:15:55 earned her eighth place overall. It also marked her third ultra victory of 2022, following wins at the HURT 100 in January and Mt. Tammany 10! 40-miler in March. Emily Tessier, 29, of Middletown, R.I., was the women’s runner-up and 16th overall finisher in 6:42:30, followed by Alexandra Finn-Atkins, 32, of Verplanck, N.Y., in 6:52:11. Nicole Sassu, 30, of Brookline, Mass., was the fourth-place woman in 6:58:14.
Joining Sassu among the top Massachusetts finishers were Austin Darley, 29, of Longmeadow, Mass., who placed 11th overall in 6:25:49; Tyler Tilbe, 29, of Boston, Mass., who was 13th overall in 6:29:20; and Wayne Ball, 47, of Feeding Hills, Mass., who placed 21st overall in 6:58:10.
Orcas Island 50M
Fresh off of a cross country season at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Lukas Janulaitis turned his attention to the ultra world. The 20-year-old resident of Centerville, Mass., identified the Orcas Island 50-miler as a destination race for his first ultra, and on Saturday, April 16, he made it happen with a strong showing at the sixth annual event in Washington State.
Racing on singletrack trails through forests and along mountain lakes in Moran State Park, Janulaitis navigated the course and took in the panoramic ocean and mountain views along the way to a 15th-place finish in 11:51:29. Lon Freeman, 47, of Olga, Wash., won the race in 9:08:44. Of the 34 starters, 25 finished within 14 ½ hours.
Desert Rats 50K
Two Massachusetts residents earned their first ultramarathon finishes at the Desert Rats 50K on Saturday, April 16, in Fruita, Colo. Runners had 10 hours to complete the ninth annual race, which took place on the Kokopelli Trail. Somerville resident Colin Wilson, 34, placed 47th overall in 5:54:32, while 30-year-old Boston resident Suzy McKinney finished 93rd in 6:38:57. There were 220 finishers within the time limit, including men’s champion Sean Van Horn, 35, of Carbondale, Colo, in 3:50:08, and women’s champion Mary Baughman, 26, of Boulder, Colo., in 4:27:55.
Rattler Trail Race 50K
In her first ultra since completing her first 100-mile race at the October 2021 Ghost Train Rail Trail Race in New Hampshire, Casey Mendrala returned to a course she knows well. Mentrala, 33, of Ludlow, Mass., ran the Rattler Trail Race 50K in 2021 and finished in the top 10 of the women’s field. On Saturday, April 16, she returned to Colorado Springs, Colo., for another run on the course. This time, she placed 15th among the women’s field and 57th overall in 7:27:59. Eighty-three runners finished within the 10-hour time limit. Colorado Springs residents Joshua Rogerson, 25, and Morgan Weinberg, 31, led the men’s and women’s fields in 4:19:47 and 5:45:59, respectively.
*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.