During the first two years of the Watuppa 50K, runners showed up ready to throw down fast times.
Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event returned for its third running on Sunday, May 15, at Watuppa Reservation in Fall River, Mass., and runners wasted no time bringing the heat – most notably Lydia Heely.
Racing on a five-loop course consisting of rolling fire roads, winding singletrack dirt and a little bit of pavement, Heely hammered her way to a new women’s course record and second overall finish in 4:34:23. In doing so, the 24-year-old resident of Medford, Mass., and former middle distance runner for Tufts University smashed the previous women’s record of 4:59:51 set by Shelley Cheung in 2018. For Heely, it was her first ultramarathon since winning the Jay Peak 53K in 2019.
Only one runner finished faster than Heely. James Atkins, 34, of Newton, Mass., topped the men’s field and secured the overall victory in 3:57:57, securing the third-place position on the men’s course record board along the way.
It wasn’t just the victors who delivered fast times at Watuppa. Of the 28 runners who started the race, 25 ultimately finished including nine who did so in less than five hours. Ryan Pelletier, 36, of New Bedford, Mass., was the men’s runner-up and third overall finisher in 4:39:40, followed by 42-year-old Jeffrey Wohlen of Lakeville, Mass., in 4:45:52.
Jolene Giles, 40, of Lahaina, Hawaii, was the women’s runner-up in 5:12:51, followed by Kirsten Kortz, 43, of Hampstead, N.H., in 5:53:43.
In addition to the 50K, several runners took on three loops of the course for a 30K race or one loop for a 10K. In the 30K race, 27-year-old Mead Binhammer won and set a new men’s course record of 2:12:21, eclipsing the previous record of 2:12:56 set by Warren Angell in 2019. Elizabeth Lynch, 56, topped the women’s field and finished third overall in 2:51:53. Her time was fast enough to secure the second position on the women’s record board.
In the 10K race, 43-year-old Joe Lynch led the men’s field in 42:06 while Lauren Augustyn, 15, won the women’s race in 46:55.