MassUltra Roundup: Cruel Jewel, Massanutten, Highlands Trail Festival, and Quicksilver

In this second roundup installment from the May 13-15 weekend we catch up on the non-New England races and journey to Georgia, Virginia, New Jersey and California.

Cruel Jewel 100/50

The Cruel Jewel 100/50-Mile Ultra is known for showing no mercy on its runners, and that was once again the case at the ninth edition of the race on May 13-15 at Blairsville, Ga.

The 100-miler checks in at 105.9 miles, mostly on trails with a few miles of dirt and gravel roads, that runners travel on their journey through the Chattahoochee National Forest from Vogel State Park to Blue Ridge and then back again. Runners amass around 33,000 feet of climbing along the way, typically while enduring intense heat both day and night. This year’s race saw 129 runners finish within the 48-hour time limit, including a pair of Massachusetts men.

Jack Murrel, 28, of Boston, finished 10th overall in 28:34:00, and Rehoboth resident Tim Furtado, 38, finished in 41:14:45. Joey Miller, 34, of Springfield, Ill., was the only sub-24-hour finisher, winning in 23:40:42, the third-fastest time in course history. The women’s champion was former Massachusetts resident Liz Canty, 31, of Littleton, Colo., who finished fifth overall and set a new women’s course record in 26:34:53.

Two more New England residents finished the 50-mile race, which actually measured in at 56 for distance with around 14,500 feet of climbing. Luke Spooner, 17, of Topsham, Maine, placed 19th out of 127 finishers in 15:08:35, and 35-year-old David Jackson of Brookline, Mass., placed 39th overall in 16:38:17. Kyle Curtin, 35, of Durango, Colo., placed first overall in 10:13:33, followed by overall runner-up and women’s champion Sandy Lam, 26, of Atlanta, Gal., in 12:51:36.

Massanutten Mountain Trails 100

A trio of Massachusetts men were among the finishers of the rugged Massanutten Mountain Trails 100 during a challenging weekend on May 14-15 in Fort Valley, Va. In addition to 103.7 miles of technical trails and nearly 19,000 feet of climbing, runners had to overcome a heat wave to complete the course within the 35-hour time limit.

Of the 145 runners who started the race, 90 successfully finished, led by 44-year-old Paul Jacobs of Washington, D.C., in 17:47:14. Russ Dresher, 40, of Berlin, Mass., placed 11th overall in 24:04:42 in his Massanutten debut. Meanwhile, 64-year-old Kevin Mullen of Fairhaven, Mass., earned his sixth Massanutten finish, placing 57th overall in 32:43:12. Giles Gregory, 54, of Nantucket, Mass., finished the race for the second time, beating the cutoff by less than 12 minutes with a time of 34:48:39.

Highlands Trail Festival

The Highlands Trail Festival promised to challenge runners with technical trails and lots of vertical gain, but the inaugural event presented runners with the additional difficulty of the first major heat wave of the year on Saturday, May 14, in Morristown, N.J.

The heat took its toll on runners as the course broke them down during the 100K, 50-mile and 50K ultramarathons. Of the 13 runners who started the 100K, just two finished. Justin Kousky, 41, of Westport, Conn., earned the victory in 14:50:00. He was joined by 40-year-old Jason Friedman of Morristown, N.J., as the only other finisher in 18:49:00. In the 50-miler, just eight of 17 starters finished, with 45-year-old Marek Simko of Cold Spring, N.Y., taking the win in 12:21:00. The 50K saw the highest finisher rate with 23 of 35 starters completing the race. Samuel Kirk, 40, of Newtown Square, Pa., held off 46-year-old Ben Nephew of Westborough, Mass., for the win by just five minutes. Kirk finished in 5:33:00 and Nephew followed in 5:38:00. Third-place finisher Jay Lemos, 32, of Beacon, N.Y., followed an hour later in 6:38:00.

Quicksilver 100K

Two New England residents were among the 171 runners who took part in the 38th edition of the West Coast classic Quicksilver 100K Endurance Run on Saturday, May 14, in San Jose, Calif. Both New Englanders were also among the 114 who successfully finished the race within the 17-hour time limit.

Racing on a mix of buffed-out singletrack dirt and fire roads through the hills of Almaden Quicksilver County Park near the Santa Cruz Mountains, both Dan Kelley of Waban, Mass., and Andrew Pollard of Framingham, Mass., held their own and secured hard-earned finishes. Kelley, 44, placed 17th overall in 12:56:53 while Pollard, 39, completed the race in 16:33:16. Matthew Seidel, 25, of Emeryville, Calif., won the race in 9:07:37, missing the course record by two minutes.

*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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