Van Cleef, Lapierre Victorious as VT100 Returns from 2-Year Hiatus

The Vermont 100 has been a staple of New England ultrarunning for more than three decades. It’s the region’s first and largest 100-mile race, and it literally has served as a family reunion of sorts for ultrarunners and supporters in the Northeast for generations.

The COVID-19 pandemic upended activities and family gatherings for millions of people in the United States and worldwide during much of 2020 and some of 2021; the Vermont 100 wasn’t spared from the disruption. The race, which passes through 30 pieces of private property, was forced to cancel two years in a row due to the pandemic, putting the annual ultrarunning reunion and race entrants’ planning on long-term hold.

Following a two-year delay, runners, volunteers, and longtime race supporters gathered for the 32nd running of the Vermont 100 on July 16-17 in West Windsor, Vt. A few former champions returned, as did many of the race’s long-timers. They were joined by dozens of first-time Vermont 100 runners who waited three years to finally toe the starting line and take their shot at the classic race. By the time it was finished, two new champions were crowned on what was one of the best weather weekends for the race in recent memory.

It was a cool but comfortable 56 degrees when runners gathered at the starting line in Silver Hill Meadow. They departed by the glow of headlamps and flashlights at 4 a.m.; a loop course consisting of more than 15,000 feet of climbing, the majority of it on hard-packed dirt roads, awaited. Typical years at VT100 include temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s, lots of sun exposure, thick humidity, and occasionally a thunderstorm. This year’s runners endured temperatures in the 80s in the afternoon, but cloudy skies, low humidity and the absence of rain made the day far more tolerable than runners have come to expect.

Van Cleef Tops Men’s Field in VT100 Debut

For Roy Van Cleef, the three-year wait to finally run the Vermont 100 was worth it. He used the time gaining more experience, including a runner-up finish in his first 100-miler at the 2020 TARCtic Frozen Yeti, and second- and first-place finishes at the Manchester to Monadnock 55-miler in 2021 and 2022, and ultimately arrived at the VT100 starting line primed and ready to race.

Roy Van Cleef is greeted as he cruises into the Camp Ten Bear aid station 47 miles into the Vermont 100. Van Cleef was in the lead at the time and never relinquished it on his way to victory. Photo courtesy of Roy Van Cleef.

Van Cleef had plenty of company for the early miles as a large lead pack ran close together for most of the first 15 miles. In addition to Van Cleef, of Harvard, Mass., the lead pack included Nicholas Mamrak of New York, N.Y.; William Connell of Astoria, N.Y.; Chad Lasater of Sugar Land, Texas; Christoffer Johnston of Warren, N.J; Matt Guarino of Henderson, Nev.; Chris Crowley of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Corin Kwasnik of Boston, Mass. Most of the pack paused at the Taftsville aid station (mile 15), but Van Cleef cruised on through and gained some unexpected breathing room on the pack. Six miles later, Van Cleef was the first runner to arrive at the Pretty House aid station (mile 21), 18 seconds ahead of Mamrak and 2 ½ minutes ahead of Connell, Lasater, Johnston and Guarino, with Crowley and Kwasnik close behind them.

By the time he reached the Stage Road aid station 10 miles later (mile 30.8), Van Cleef had opened up a seven-minute lead on Mamrak and amassed a 16-minute cushion on the next three runners, Connell, Lasater and Johnston.

During the next 16 miles, Van Cleef gradually amassed a sizable gap on the field. He arrived for his first pass through the Camp Ten Bear aid station (mile 47) nearly 25 minutes before Mamrak. Van Cleef returned to Camp Ten Bear 22 miles later (mile 69) with a nearly identical cushion. Meanwhile, Mamrak was 30 minutes ahead of third-place Chad Lasater. Lasater was 15 minutes ahead of fourth-place Oliver Mednick who climbed seven spots between trips through Camp Ten Bear.

Van Cleef continued to pull away during the final 31 miles. He held a 39-minute advantage on Mamrak with 12 miles to go, with Mednick now in third place 33 minutes behind Mamrak. Van Cleef maintained his advantage during the final miles and ultimately won the race in 16:30:01. Mamrak finished second in 17:09:22 and Mednick was third in 17:42:15. Rounding out the men’s top five were Lasater in 18:08:47 and Crowley in 18:13:14.

Daniel Bates of Wethersfield, Conn., climbed to a sixth-place finish in 18:59:24, followed by Guarino in 19:20:09 and Connell in 19:33:56. Rounding out the men’s top 10 were John Paul Krol of Waitsfield, Vt., in 19:38:05, and Adam Koppany of Kingston, Ontario, in 19:57:32.

Roy Van Cleef crosses the finish line of the 2022 Vermont 100 in first place. Screenshot from video courtesy of Roy Van Cleef.

The top 37 men finished in less than 23 hours. Other New England residents who were among that group included Will Swenson of Andover, Mass. (11th, 20:10:39); Philip Keffer of Woodstock, Vt. (13th, 20:47:58); Daniel Larson of Cambridge, Mass. (14th, 20:59:18); Jacob Varekamp of Norwell, Mass. (15th, 21:05:37); Marc Kelly of New Britain, Conn. (16th, 21:07:29); Durgesh Mankekar of Medford, Mass. (17th, 21:30:59); Jason Hendy of Somerville, Mass. (19th, 21:51:23); Corin Kwasnik of Boston, Mass. (20th, 21:58:36); Danforth Sullivan of Sudbury, Mass. (21st, 22:01:23); Luke Viens of Colrain, Mass. (23rd, 22:18:12); George Aponte Clarke of Portland, Maine (26th, 22:23:01); Jason Hart of Rye, N.H. (32nd, 22:40:32); Adam Ribeiro of Lowell, Mass. (35th, 22:54:48); and Peter Christie of Needham, Mass. (37th, 22:59:59).

Of the 183 men who started the race, 139 finished within the 30-hour time limit.

Lapierre’s Return to VT100 Ends in Victory

The last time Aliza Lapierre raced the Vermont 100 was way back in 2010. It was her 100-mile debut, and she finished second (17:20:47) among the women’s field and seventh overall. That year, Kami Semick topped the women’s field and finished third overall in what still stands as the women’s course record of 16:42:32.

In the years since, Lapierre has run numerous 100-milers, including five top-10 finishes at Western States (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018) and six total finishes; two top-10 finishes at Leadville (2012, 2021), and a 23rd-place finish at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

Armed with a dozen more years of experience and a wealth of hard-earned knowledge, Lapierre returned to VT100 in 2022 and the resident of Richmond, Vt., delivered a masterful performance as she exercised early patience, shook off bonus mileage from a wrong turn and kept her emotions in check following a bear encounter, and ultimately took control of the race during the final 31 miles.

Though Lapierre ultimately emerged victorious, 2019 winner/defending champ Christine Mosley of Issaquah, Wash., set the pace for much of the race. She moved to the front early. By the time she reached the Pretty House aid station (mile 21), Mosley had a 4-minute lead on Lapierre, who was followed seconds later by Jennifer Kenty of Medford, Mass. Janessa Taylor of Redmond, Ore., was in fourth place, 14 minutes off the lead, and VT100 veteran Dylan Broderick of Montpelier, Vt., was in fifth, 23 off the lead. Ten miles later at the Stage Road aid station (mile 30.8), the leaders were unchanged but Mosley’s advantage on Lapierre had grown to nine minutes and Kenty fell further back with Taylor and Broderick close behind.

Mosley remained in control during the next 17 miles. Mosley was 12 minutes ahead of Lapierre when she arrived for her first pass through the Camp Ten Bear aid station (mile 47). It was during that preceding stretch that Lapierre tacked on 1.5 bonus miles from her wrong turn and navigated an encounter with a mama bear and a cub. Nearly halfway through, it was an apparent two-woman race between Mosley and Lapierre. Taylor and Broderick would arrive at Camp Ten Bear 30 minutes after Lapierre, while a nagging injury forced Kenty to fall off the pace.

During the next 22 miles leading up to the second pass through Camp Ten Bear (mile 69), Lapierre slowly reeled in Mosley. Mosley was the first runner back to Camp Ten Bear, but by less than a minute. Not long after departing and beginning the long uphill stretch to the Seabrook aid station (mile 73), Lapierre caught and passed Mosley. Aided by her pacers, Lapierre gradually pulled away and took control. With 12 miles to go she had amassed a 23-minute lead, and she went on to win the race in 18:35:25 while also finishing sixth overall. Mosley followed in second in 19:20:45. Broderick was a distant third in 20:45:56 for her fourth top-five finish at VT100.

Rounding out the women’s top five were Rebecca Boozan of Boulder, Colo., in 21:39:49 and Kris Rugloski of West Columbia, Texas, in 21:54:36.

Jessica Crandall of Berlin, Conn., was sixth in 22:56:06; Katy Anderson of Bondi Beach, Australia, finished seventh in 23:09:34; three-time champion (2012, 2014, 2017) Kathleen Cusick of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., finished eighth in 23:15:52; Amy Macintire of Clarksville, Tenn., was ninth in 23:18:36; and Katie Trent of Reno, Nev., rounded out the women’s top 10 in 23:51:02.

Seven more New England residents were among the women’s top 25. Sude Dodge of Williston, Vt., was 12th in 24:40:00; Kimberly Battipaglia of New Haven, Conn., was 13th in 24:54:34; Jennifer Kenty of Medford, Mass., was 14th in 24:59:38; Sara Tannenbaum of Brookline, Mass., finished 18th in 25:57:58; Emily Wivel of Barre, Vt., placed 19th in 26:07:53; Lynn Poyant of New Bedford, Mass., was 20th in 26:22:54; and Catherine Markesich of Milton, Vt., finished 22nd in 26:32:18.

Of the 62 women who started the race, 49 finished within the 30-hour time limit.

Brady Delivers Dominant Performance in 100K Victory

Riley Brady spent the first 32 miles of the 100K race biding their time; they spent the final 30 miles blowing away the field.

Brady, of New Hope, Pa., entered the race as one of the favorites thanks to their many dominant performances during the past four-plus years, including overall victories at the Dirty German Endurance Fest 50K and Naked Prussian marathon and a third overall finish at the Cayuga Trails 50K already this year.

Brady spent the first several miles cruising in fifth place, less than a minute off the overall lead. By mile 21 the lead pack was down to four, with the top male Natty Montoya of Richmond, Va., holding a two-minute lead on second man Palo Cvik, of Boston, Mass., and lead female Samantha Stimac of Antigo, Wisc., and Brady three minutes off the lead in fourth overall.

The lead pack shuffled during the next six miles. By the time the runners reached the Brown School aid station at mile 27, Montoya remained in the lead but Brady had pulled within 13 seconds and moved into second overall, three minutes ahead of Cvik and eight minutes ahead of Stimac. From mile 27 to mile 32, Montoya and Brady ran in close contact, but it was Brady who arrived at the Camp Ten Bear aid station first, two seconds ahead of Montoya for the overall lead.

Once in front, Brady never relinquished the lead. Brady spent the final 30 miles gradually pulling away from the field. Brady built a five-minute lead by mile 39 and had a 16-minute cushion at mile 51 before cruising to the overall victory in 10:03:55. Montoya followed less than a minute later to finish second overall and first among the men’s field in 10:32:17. Stimac finished third overall and second among the women’s category in 10:53:56. Cvik was the fourth overall finisher and men’s runner-up in 11:27:59. Bhusan Suresh of Durham, N.C., rounded out the men’s podium and finished sixth overall in 12:03:08.

Of the 78 runners who started the 100K race, 67 ultimately finished. New England residents who joined Larsen in the women’s top 10 were Nicole Duquette of Burlington, Vt. (fifth; 12:35:45); Deanna Nappi of Jamaica Plain, Mass. (sixth, 12:38:24); Deirdre Lowe of Salem, Mass. (seventh; 12:51:34); Tessa Mah of Southington, Conn. (eighth; 12:51:40); Kristin Loiko of South Hadley, Mass. (ninth; 13:25:41); and Yvonne Yeung of Newburyport, Mass. (10th; 13:29:10). Other New England men who joined Cvik in the top 10 were Andrew Crews of Johnson, Vt. (fourth; 12:38:26); Keely Boyer of Weston, Mass. (seventh; 13:43:40); and Arnold Twitchell of South Paris, Maine (eighth; 14:14:08).

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