A busy spring season came to a close during the June 17-19 weekend, and ultrarunners from New England took full advantage with races in the Northeast and across the country. In New York, Vermont’s Oliver Mednick and Connecticut’s Christian Dockum dueled for a solid 24 hours at the Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra before a victor was determined. Meanwhile, out West in Wyoming, a trio of runners from the region completed one of the most grueling 100-milers at the muddy and mountainous Bighorn. Others took in races in Utah and California, as well as a second event in New York. Those races are featured in this edition of the roundup.
Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra
Two runners surpassed the 100-mile mark at the fourth running of the Mountain Lakes Backyard Ultra on June 17-18 in North Salem, N.Y. Both were New Englanders.
Oliver Mednick, 31, of Montpelier, Vt., amassed one more loop of the 4.1667-mile course than Christian Dockum, 46, of Fairfield, Conn., to secure the victory. Mednick completed 104.25 miles; Dockum logged 100.08. The duo went for several hours as the last remaining runners once 24-year-old Cabel McCandless of Las Cruces, N.M., withdrew after 79.23 miles, leaving Mednick and Dockum to duel for the win.
Forty-six runners took part in the event and 31 logged mileage beyond the marathon distance. Sixteen of those runners surpassed the 50-mile mark, including William Drew, 34, of Newtown, Conn., who was fourth overall with 75.06 miles; Bernie Gee, 52, of Brookfield, Conn., who tied for sixth with 62.55 miles; Jim Harron, 58, of Brookfield, Conn., and Luke Jennings, 41, of Darien, Conn., who tied for eighth with 54.21 miles; and Bill Tidd, 59, of Alton Bay, N.H., 58-year-old Alene Lofink of Brookfield, Conn., and 41-year-old Jamie Romaniak of Easton, Mass., who tied for 12th with 50.04 miles.
Mud, heat, monster climbs and remote wilderness: the Bighorn Mountain Trail 100-miler has it all. The rugged ultramarathon and its more than 20,000 feet of elevation gain tempted runners once again on June 17-18 in Dayton, Wyo., and left plenty of participants as casualties to the rigors of the course.
Ultimately, 134 runners successfully completed the difficult 100-mile race within 35 hours, including a trio of New England residents. Howie Breinan, 53, of Manchester, Conn., led the way and placed 38th overall in 28:48:24. Dana Kennedy, 29, of Auburn, Maine, followed shortly after in 41st place overall, eighth among the women’s field, in 28:56:50. Pamela Harght, 38, of Marshfield, Mass., also finished in 32:48:45.
In addition to the 100-miler, Bighorn also offered 52-mile and 32-mile ultramarathon options. No New England residents were among the 111 finishers of the 52-miler, and 48-year-old Douglas Averill of Arlington, Mass., was the lone runner from the region to finish the 32-miler. Averill placed 18th overall out of 202 finishers in 6:20:13.
Though he lives in Sudbury, Mass., Alex Braverman has done all of his ultra racing in Utah. The 26-year-old made his ultra debut in 2019 at the Dead Horse Ultra 50K in Moab, and then returned to the state in 2020 to race the Tushars Mountain 70K.
He again returned to Utah, this time to Logan, on Saturday, June 18, to race the 16th edition of the Logan Peak Trail Run, and he turned in another strong performance.
The 28-mile ultra navigates both mountain terrain and canyons, amassing more than 6,600 feet of climbing along the way while rewarding runners with panoramic views. Of the 129 finishers within nine hours, Braverman placed 28th overall in 5:30:24. Samuel Collins, 27, of Alpine, Utah, won with the second-fastest time in course history, 3:39:19. Collins finished 22 minutes ahead of his closest competitor.
Braverman will return to Utah again in July to race the 100K distance at Tushars Mountain.
After a two-year pandemic-caused hiatus, the Tahoe 100K returned with a reduced field size for its third running on June 18-19 in Lake Tahoe, Calif. Twenty-nine runners completed the challenging race on the Tahoe Rim Trail and Tahoe Basin. Three women were among the finishers, and the trio which completed the podium were in close contact all the way to the finish. Just seconds separated the top two women, 31-year-old Chelsea Thomas of Petaluma, Calif., and 33-year-old Michelle Roemer of Los Altos, Calif., with Thomas winning in 19:48:43 and Roemer following six seconds later in 19:48:49. Valerie Moore, 30, of Quincy, Mass., followed shortly after to complete the women’s podium in 20:01:04.
Daniel Barrett, 38, of Reno, Nev., led all runners in 13:39:31 and was 84 minutes ahead of the runner-up. Just seven runners finished in less than 17 hours.
Many on the Genny
Eric Nelson’s introduction to ultrarunning came barely two months before the sport largely shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. He completed the Cape Cod Frozen Fatass 50K in January 2020 and then saw the cancellation of most races for the next year. He attempted, but did not finish, the Cayuga Trails 50-miler that year, but built off that experience by coming back stronger.
Nelson returned to Cayuga Trails in 2021 and finished, and also completed the Blue 2 Blue Challenge 50K in Connecticut before completing his hardest race to date – the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail 100-miler – in October 2021.
After months of recovery, Nelson returned to an ultra starting line at the Many on the Genny 45-miler on Saturday, June 18, in Castle, N.Y. Once again, the 39-year-old resident of Somerville, Mass., delivered a strong performance. He handled the 45-mile course that went out one side of the gorge in Letchworth State Park and returned on the other side, navigating a variety of terrain along the way. Of the 114 finishers within 14 hours, 21 did so in less than nine hours. Nelson was among them. He placed 21st overall in 8:59:57.
Parker Weeks, 29, of Canandaigua, N.Y., led all runners in 6:09:53, topping his closest competitor by 40 minutes. Margaret Frank, 37, of Ithaca, N.Y., finished first among the women and 14th overall in 8:39:17.
Three more New England residents joined Nelson among the finishers. Kirt Henning, 50, of Poultney, Vt., placed 37th in 9:35:34; Paul Sulzicki, 43, of Southington, Conn., finished in 11:32:01; and Frank Napolitano, 45, of Marlborough, Conn., finished in 11:53:15.
*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.