MassUltra Roundup: Manchester 2 Monadnock, Hellbender, Dirty German, Quad Rock, and Strolling Jim

The May 6-8 weekend was jam-packed in Massachusetts with the return of Wapack and Back and the inaugural Needham Backyard Ultra, but those local events weren’t the only attractions to lure New England ultrarunners. Some headed north to New Hampshire, including Harvard’s Roy Van Cleef who followed up his shared victory at the 2021 Manchester 2 Monadnock 55-miler by setting a course record this year. Meanwhile, Stow’s Sophia Farnsworth secured her first 100-mile finish at the grueling Hellbender 100 in North Carolina. Others headed to Pennsylvania for the Dirty German Endurance Festival, to Colorado for the Quad Rock 50, and Tennessee for the legendary Strolling Jim 40-miler. All of those events are featured in this edition of the roundup.

Manchester 2 Monadnock

A year after tying for the win at the Manchester 2 Monadnock 55-miler, Roy Van Cleef had the victory all to himself at the 2022 edition of the race.

Runners once again took on the point-to-point journey from Manchester to Jaffrey, N.H., on Saturday, May 7, and 31 runners finished the seventh edition of the race, successfully navigating the diverse mix of dirt roads, paved roads, and trails, all while amassing around 6,000 feet of climbing.

Van Cleef, 42, of Harvard, Mass., dashed to the front early and soon earned a sizable gap on the rest of the field. He pushed hard throughout and cruised to victory in 7:37:45, smashing the previous course record of 8:32:56 set by Jake Dissinger in 2016.

Danforth Sullivan, 38, of Sudbury, Mass., was Van Cleef’s closest competitor, finishing a distant second in 9:02:06, followed by 31-year-old Wayne Capacillo of Rochester, N.H., in 9:35:51. Sullivan posted the sixth-fastest time in course history and Capacillo tallied the 10th-fastest time in course history. Nathan Saxby, 28, of Anchorage, Alaska, was the only other runner to finish sub-10. Saxby placed fourth overall in 9:50:41.

Kristi Atherton, 52, of Center Barnstead, N.H., topped the women’s field by a comfortable margin, winning in 10:36:00 in her Manchester to Monadnock debut. Her time was the fourth-best on the women’s record board. Alison Roy, 38, of Kensington, N.H., was the women’s runner-up in 11:16:20, followed by Maria Chevalier, 47, of Cumberland, R.I., in 11:42:08. Roy and Chevalier secured the eighth and ninth positions on the women’s course record board.

Hellbender 100

Since running her first trail ultramarathon in 2018, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before Sophia Farnsworth took on her first 100-miler. The daughter of an ultrarunning father (multi-time 100-mile finisher Sam Farnsworth), she’d been exposed to the sport for years. After completing her first ultra, she quickly sought out new races, longer distances, and big mountain adventures in the years that followed.

That culminated with signing up for the 2022 Hellbender 100 the week before her victory at the TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultra in November 2021. From there, her preparation was all-in on Hellbender.

On Friday, May 6, Farnsworth stepped to the Hellbender starting line in Old Fort, N.C., a steady rain falling on her and the 32 other women in the field. An additional 97 runners were there for the men’s race. They had 40 hours to complete the grueling course through the peaks and valleys of the Black Mountains, amassing 24,000 feet of climbing if they lasted long enough to finish. Not many did given the rain and muddy conditions.

But Farnsworth did.

A 27-year-old resident of Stow, Mass., Farnsworth endured and finished eighth out of 18 women in 33:15:30. Marisa Romeo, 28, of Swannanoa, N.C., led the way with a winning time of 26:15:31. Aly Carlton, 31, of Brevard, N.C., followed in 27:22:07, and 44-year-old Tara Jordan of Mills River, N.C., rounded out the podium in 28:51:11.

Forty-nine men – barely half the field – finished within the time limit. Jonathan Ibach, 31, of Asheville, N.C., won and was the lone runner to finish sub-24, clocking a time of 22:53:57.

Dirty German Endurance Fest

Easy-running trails and a fast course greeted runners for the 12th time at the Dirty German Endurance Fest on Saturday, May 7, at Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, Pa.

Runners took on a figure eight-style course with a mile of paved bike path and the rest singletrack dirt that they completed two or three times, depending on the 50K or 50-mile distance.

Seventy runners finished three loops for 50 miles within the 13-hour time limit, led by 21-year-old Ethan Koza of Philadelphia, Pa., in 7:16:15 and 32-year-old Rhiannon Schade of Bernardsville, N.J., in 8:33:03 as the men’s and women’s champions. Two New England women finished in the top five in their race. Sydney Dolan, 24, of Boston, Mass., earned the final spot on the women’s podium, finishing third in 9:41:52. Kimberly Battipaglia, 50, of New Haven, Conn., finished fifth in 10:29:54.

An additional 139 runners completed two loops for a 50K within 11 hours, including a half-dozen New England residents. Desmond Goodwin, 24, of Cambridge, Mass., led the New England contingent, finishing 57th overall in 6:54:14. Shan Owens, 44, of Greenfield Township, Maine, followed moments later in 6:55:00, placing 58th overall. Additionally, 62-year-old Phil Martin of Colchester, Vt., finished in 7:36:33; 39-year-old Bryan Twomey of Norwich, Conn., finished in 9:12:57; and East Hampton, Conn., residents Matthew Garcia, 49, and Christian Michalowski, 51, finished in 10:20:16 and 10:20:17, respectively.

Riley Brady, 26, of New Hope, Pa., was the female 50K champion in 4:21:20, while men’s champion Blake Dircksen, 31, of New York, N.Y., was the overall runner-up in 4:37:38.

Quad Rock

Miki Sawada made a splash in her ultramarathon debut when she blazed to the overall win in the 30-mile race at the 2020 Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail. Since then, the 35-year-old resident of Boston, Mass.,has turned her focus to big mountain races. In 2020, Sawada traveled to Colorado and completed the grueling San Juan Solstice 50-miler. She returned to Colorado on Saturday, May 7, for another mountain race, this time for the Quad Rock 50 in Fort Collins.

The 11th edition of the event once again tested runners with steep climbs and painful descents on the trails of Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park along the Fort Collins skyline. Runners completed the 25-mile loop course in one direction and then reversed course and ran back the way they came, amassing 11,000 feet of climbing by the time they reached the finish line.

Of the 167 runners who started the race, 98 finished within the 15-hour time limit. Sawada placed 68th overall in 13:25:36. Jonathan Rea, 30, of Boulder, Colo., led all runners and missed the men’s course record by three minutes, finishing in 7:23:50. Jane Maus, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, led the women’s field and finished seventh overall in 9:36:20.

Strolling Jim

Camille Herron wrote a new chapter in the storied history of the Strolling Jim 40-miler on Saturday, May 7, in Wartrace, Tenn. Racing the 44th edition of the road ultra which dates back to 1979, Herron broke the women’s course record by 48 seconds and the resident of Warr Acres, Okla., finished first overall in 4:44:01. Men’s champion and second overall finisher Harvey Lewis, 46, of Cincinnati, Ohio, followed in 4:47:07.

Two Massachusetts residents joined them among the 144 finishers. Sara Coulter, 48, of Northborough, Mass., finished in 8:19:58, followed shortly after by 55-year-old Greg Wolodkin of Sutton, Mass., in 8:34:49.

*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.

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