MassUltra Roundup: 6 Days in the Dome, Manitou’s Revenge, Table Rock, Forbidden Forest, Catamount, and Gunstock

The eyes of the ultrarunning world were focused firmly on the Western States Endurance Run during the June 24-26 weekend, but the legendary race wasn’t the only ultra event of the weekend where runners from New England threw down – most notably Cambridge resident Jenny Hoffman whose bid for a spot on the US National 24-Hour Team took a big step forward with her performance at 6 Days in the Dome. Additionally, several runners from the region scattered throughout the Northeast to take on challenging events in New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. We catch up with the outcomes of those events in this edition of the roundup.

6 Days in the Dome

Jenny Hoffman’s bid for a spot on the 2023 US National 24-Hour Team took a big step forward on June 24-25 when she turned in a strong performance in the 24-hour race at 6 Days in the Dome.

The event also included six-day, 72-hour, 48-hour and 12-hour races on an indoor track at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. Hoffman, 44, of Cambridge, Mass., needed to amass at least 130 miles to achieve the Team USA qualifying standard, and the Harvard University physics professor accomplished her goal by finishing 136.6081 miles. Her performance was good for second place among the women’s field and third overall out of 30 participants. Marisa Lizak, 43, of Marina Del Ray, Calif., led all runners with 151.8982 miles and men’s champion Pat Hasler, 32, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was second overall with 138.6018 miles.

There are more qualifying events through July 2, 2023, for runners to try to secure one of the top six spots, but Hoffman’s performance currently stands second-best behind Lizak.

Hoffman was the lone New England resident in the 24-hour race. No New England residents took part in the six-day, 72-hour or 48-hour races. and 12-hour races. Lara Kondor, 47, of Deery, N.H., raced the 12-hour event and finished fourth overall with 58.1411 miles.

Manitou’s Revenge

Kehr Davis earned her fourth victory and Ben Nephew secured his fifth top-two finish at the Manitou’s Revenge 54-miler through the Catskill Mountains on June 24-25 in New York.

The grueling race, which starts in Windham and finishes in Phoenicia, amasses 15,000 feet of climbing on rocky, highly technical trails, and is considered one of the toughest trail ultras in the Northeast. Davis, 45, of Pittsfield, Mass., has been one of the most dominant forces in the race’s history. She was the women’s champion three years in a row from 2016-2018. Three years later, she returned to take second in 2021 before returning to the top of the women’s field this year in 15:08:00. She was the 21st overall finisher. Her closest competitor, 32-year-old Alexandra Finn-Atkins of Verplanck, N.Y., finished in 15:54:21. Amy Demarco, 39, of Shoreham, N.Y., rounded out the women’s podium in 16:05:48. Brenda Fortin, 38, of Worthington, Mass., also was among the top women, finishing fifth in 17:23:09.

Nephew, 46, of Westborough, Mass., returned to the race for the first time since 2019 when he secured his second victory on the course (his first came in 2017). Nephew raced to a runner-up finish this year in 11:57:06. He previously finished second in 2014 and 2018. Steven Lange, 30, of Stanhope, N.J., won the race in 11:03:08. Jeffrey Adams, 44, of Buffalo, N.Y., rounded out the men’s podium in 11:59:49. Tristan Baxendale, 32, of Endicott, N.Y., and Liam Cregan, 29, of Hadley, Mass., rounded out the men’s top five in 12:39:41 and 12:41:24, respectively. Austin Black, 31, of Intervale, N.H., was sixth in 13:14:36.

Ninety-nine runners started the race and 68 finished within the 24-hour time limit.

Table Rock Trail Challenge

The lone Massachusetts ultrarunner who took part in the sixth edition of the Table Rock Trail Challenge was one of the final two remaining on Sunday, June 26, in Jamesville, N.Y.

Steven Young, 27, of Boston, Mass., and Cory Battles, 43, of Liverpool, N.Y., dueled for hours until one was finally eliminated. The Table Rock Trail Challenge broke from the traditional last-person-standing format of runners taking on a 4.1667-mile loop course on the hour, every hour, opting instead to use an approximately 1.2-mle loop course and gradually reducing the amount of time runners had to complete the loop until all but one were eliminated.

Sixty-one runners took part. When 28-year-old Zach Cox of Liverpool, N.Y., was eliminated after 32.4 miles, only Young and Battles remained. Both runners held on for a few more hours before Young was eliminated after 38.4 miles. Battles went one more lap and earned the victory with 39.6 miles.

For Young, the runner-up finish was an improvement from his fourth-place finish at the 2019 race. Young will take on his first 100-miler this fall at the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail 100.

Forbidden Forest 30-Hour Ultra

Eleven runners surpassed the 100-mile mark at the fifth edition of the Forbidden Forest 30-Hour Ultra on June 25-26 at the Roosevelt Forest in Stratford, Conn..

Brandyn Lewis, 50, of Canterbury, N.H., added to his string of strong time-based race performances in recent years – which include 105.35 miles at the 2019 Anchor Down Ultra 24-hour race and 132 miles at the 2020 Hamsterwheel 30-hour race – by logging 115 miles at the Forbidden Forest to finish first overall. Craig Sheckler, 53, of Bethlehem, Pa., was second with 105.80 miles and 25-year-old Chase Arsenault of Groton, Conn., finished third with 103.5 miles.

Kate Shumeyko, 45, of Pompton Plains, N.J., led the women’s field with 101.20 miles. It was her fourth time running the race and second time surpassing the 100-mile mark. Women’s runner-up Tek Ung, 40, of Cranston, R.I., is another Forbidden Forest veteran. In her fourth running of the event she surpassed 100 miles for the first time, finishing with 101.20. Melissa De Fabrizio, 34, of Stratford, Conn., joined her with 101.20 miles and placed third.

Forty-six runners took part in the event, which took place on a 2.22-mile loop course. Twenty-three of those runners surpassed the 100K mark, including 49-year-old Michael Surprenant of Chelmsford, Mass., who logged 69.00 miles.

Catamount 50K

The Catamount 50K has long been a popular draw for New England ultrarunners. The 2022 edition on Saturday, June 25, also attracted several runners from far beyond the region who flocked to Stowe, Vt., to race two loops of hard-packed dirt trails through the forests around the Trapp Family Lodge at the eighth edition of the event.

The entire women’s podium hailed from outside of New England, with women’s champion and third overall finisher Emily Viehl, 26, traveling from Salt Lake City, Utah, to earn her victory in 4:21:19. Her time was the second-fastest in course history behind Britta Clark’s 2019 win in 4:20:49. Women’s runner-up and sixth overall finisher Samantha Stimac, 28, traveled from Antigo, Wisc., and finished in 4:35:03. Women’s third-place finisher Liz Derstine, 36, hails from Portland, Ore., and she concluded her cross-country trip with a 5:03:58 performance. Kelly Snyder, 29, of Somerville, Mass., was the top-finishing New England woman, placing fourth in 5:06:48. Fifth-place woman Denali Balser, 27, (5:08:38) traveled from Los Angeles, Calif., for the race.

Two of the top three men hailed from New England states. Justin Neuman, 44, of New Haven, Conn., finished first in 4:13:07, followed by 34-year-old Benjamin Drexler of Minneapolis, Minn., in 4:20:28, and 27-year-old Mead Binhammer of Attleboro, Mass., in 4:22:59. Ben Schersten, 43, of Beverly, Mass., was the fourth-place male and seventh overall finisher in 4:37:36, followed by 53-year-old George Aponte Clarke of Portland, Maine, in 4:39:37. John Paul Krol, 37, of Somerville, Mass., rounded out the overall top 10 in 4:44:04.

Of the 172 runners who started the race, 153 finished within 9 hours.

Gunstock Trail Festival

After relocating from Pineland Farms in Maine to Gunstock Mountain Resort in Guilford, N.H., the second edition of the Gunstock Trail Festival took place June 25-26 and offered runners a variety of racing options, from shorter distances to 50K and 50-mile ultramarathons on a 10K loop course.

Twenty-two runners completed the 50-mile race, which consisted of eight loops of the course. Cole Crosby of Cranston, R.I., dominated the race in 7:04:20. Peter Ward of Watervalley, N.H., was a distant second in 8:01:29, followed by Mtthew O’Conner of Somerville, Mass., in 8:59:37. Troy Stafford of Pittsfield, N.H. (9:35:54) and Mike Brennan of Walpole, Mass. (10:30:12) rounded out the men’s top five. Melissa Andersen of Steep Falls, Maine, led the women’s field in 10:30:13, followed by Dawn Ego of Benton, Maine, in 10:36:03.

Another 69 runners finished five loops of the course for a 50K finish. Jacob Movsessian of New Ipswich, N.H., led the way in 3:58:44, followed by Jeffrey Delorey of Hampton Falls, N.H., who was a distant second in 4:28:57. Aaron Stevens of Salem, N.H., rounded out the men’s podium in 4:53:19, followed closely by Nick Poles of Newton, Mass., in 4:57:41. Alia Rawji of Boston, Mass., was the women’s champion in 5:17:48, followed by Deirdre Lowe of Salem, Mass. (5:22:36) and Anna Spiers of Boulder, Colo. (5:23:03).

*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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