Race Director Benn Griffin sought creative solutions to keep the Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service’s Jug End Loop Ultra going during the COVID-19 disruption and continue raising funds for the causes the race supports.
In 2020, Griffin invited runners to run the 4.2-mile loop once or as many times as they wanted within 6 hours on the actual course during the month of July and submit their results. In 2021, the month-long virtual option remained while a limited in-person option returned.
For the seventh edition of the Jug End Loop Ultra, the format finally returned to normal. Griffin welcomed runners back to full in-person racing on Saturday, July 30, at Jug End State Reservation in Egremont, Mass. Nearly 60 runners took part in the 6-hour and 4.2-mile races, and the event raised more than $1,000 for both the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Louison House homeless shelter and support organization in Berkshire County, as well as a carload of toiletry items, sheets, pillows, and other necessities for the people Louison House supports.
The event once again provided a 4.2-mile loop course that runners could race for the first five hours before switching to a.75-mile mini loop for the final hour.
Of the 45 runners who took part in the 6-hour race, 16 surpassed the marathon and 10 eclipsed the 30-mile mark. Kevin MacDonald, 30, of Revere, Mass., led all runners with 37.35 miles for the men’s and overall victory, followed by 30-year-old Aaron Dy of Boston, Mass., with 35.4 miles. Igor Vishnepolskiy, 37, of Warwick, R.I., and Todd Sears, 60, of Burlington, Conn., finished third and fourth with 33.15 miles apiece. Jeremy Shafer, 45, New Hartford, Conn., rounded out the men’s top five with 31.65 miles.
Tiffany England, 38, of New York, N.Y., was the first-place female and ninth overall finisher with 30.45 miles, followed by 43-year-old Julie Corey of Holyoke, Mass., with 29.7 miles and 43-year-old Mari Engelhardt of Marshfield, Mass., with 28.95 miles.
In addition to the 6-hour race, another 13 runners took part in a one-loop, 4.2-mile race. Mark Rabasco, 27, of Pittsfield, Mass., led all runners in 30:10 while Sue Tarnawa, 52, of Pittsfield, Mass., topped the women’s field and finished third overall in 51:43. Ellis Walker, 37, of Savannah, Ga., was the second overall finisher in 39:59, and Tai Yost, 32, of Lenox, Mass., finished fourth overall and second in the female category in 58:19.
Up Next for the BURCS Race Series
The BURCS Race Series rolls on with two more events this summer. The Sweltering Summer 8-Hour Ultra will take place Saturday, Aug. 13, at Clapp Park in Pittsfield, Mass., followed by the Free to Run Trail Races on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Pittsfield State Forest. Free to Run offers 50-mile, marathon and half marathon distances.