MassUltra Roundup: Leadville and Twisted Branch

While much of the ultrarunning world was looking ahead a week to the UTMB races in Europe, the focus of several New England ultrarunners was directed stateside at tough races in Colorado and New York. Several New Englanders took part in the classic 100-mile “Race Across the Sky” in Leadville, Colo., while many more threw down on a challenging course in New York at the Twisted Branch 100K. Both races are featured in this edition of the roundup.

Leadville 100

Tyler Andrews made his Leadville 100 debut one year ago with a solid performance, placing 16th overall in 21:34:19. The performance was followed by a first-place finish at the Javelina Jundred 100K to close out his season.

Andrews, 32, of Concord, Mass., returned for a second crack at Leadville on Aug. 20-21 in Leadville, Colo., and he made a massive improvement. Andrews knocked nearly three hours off of his time and finished fourth overall in 18:40:04. The top five finishers broke the 19-hour mark, with 33-year-old Adrian MacDonald of Fort Collins, Colo., cruising to victory by a two-hour margin in 16:05:44 for his second straight victory

In the women’s field, 30-year-old Clare Gallagher of Boulder, Colo., earned her second Leadville victory in 19:37:57 while also placing 12th overall. Gallagher won the 2016 edition in 19:00.

Eleven additional New England residents joined Andrews among the event’s 365 finishers within the 30-hour time limit. Neil Feldman, 52, of Boylston, Mass., placed 64th overall in 24:23:04 and was one of 85 runners to earn the large sub-25-hour finishers’ buckle. It was Feldman’s third time finishing Leadville, and his fastest yet. He completed the 2015 race in 28:14:31 and the 2019 race in 26:30:30.

Other finishers from the region were Trevor Heller, 30, of Brighton, Mass. (26:06:18); Robert Perednia, 39, of Raynham, Mass. (28:45:34); William Stoval, 49, of Acton, Mass. (29:15:37); Mark Gaffney, 46, of Milton, Mass. (29:17:20); Lane Maher, 21, of Harwinton, Conn. (29:25:38); Chris Barnet, 41, of Westport, Conn. (29:30:08); Jules Godino, 29, of Guilford, Conn. (29:33:42); Andrew Pollard, 29, of Framingha, Mass. (29:34:05); James Hughes, 50, of Boylston, Mass. (29:35:26); and Casey Mendrala, 33, of Ludlow, Mass. (29:51:59).

Twisted Branch

The Twisted Branch 100K promises runners plenty of tough running, and the seventh edition of the race delivered on that promise on Saturday, Aug. 20, in Naples, N.Y. The point-to-point course took runners on a challenging journey along the Bristol Hills Branch Trail, amassing 10,000 feet of climbing along the way.

Justin Scheid, 36, of Succasunna, N.J., took home the overall win and topped the men’s field with the fourth-fastest time in course history, winning in a speedy 10:36:16. Brian Stewart, 36, of Buffalo, N.Y., was a distant second in 12:18:25. Leading the way for the New England contingent, 40-year-old Brian Burke of Medford, Mass., placed eighth overall in 13:11:53.

Additional strong showings among the men’s field included 26-year-old Remi Gross Santos of Portsmouth, N.H., who finished 17th overall in 14:17:09; Nicholas Kochanek, 25, of Boston, Mass., who placed 19th in 14:31:40; Michael Yanchuk, 38, of Pawtucket, R.I., who was 29th overall in 15:24:23; and 32-year-old David Lazar of Cambridge, Mass., who finished 30th overall in 15:26:45.

In the women’s field, 28-year-old Amelia Kaufman of Ithaca, N.Y., dominated the race and won by a 28-minute margin. Her time of 13:19:24 (ninth place overall) was the third-fastest women’s time in course history, trailing only Jacqueline Merritt’s 13:10:18 performance in 2015 and Rachel Bainbridge’s record-setting mark of 12:50:54 from 2019.

Sarah Aponte, 32, of North Andover, Mass., secured the third spot on the women’s podium in 14:17:42. Sophia Farnsworth, 28, of Stow, Mass., was fifth in the women’s field in 14:40:01. Additionally, both 40-year-old Caitlin Howes of Suffield, Conn., and 43-year-old Amy Rusiecki of South Deerfield, Mass., earned top-10 finishes among the women’s field, Howes placing sixth in 15:23:26 and Rusiecki ninth in 16:20:29.

Of the 168 runners who started the race, 119 finished within the 20-hour time limit.

*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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