September is typically the busiest month of the ultrarunning racing calendar, and the Sept. 9-11 weekend was no exception with dozens of races throughout the country – including a few in New England. The Trail Animals Running Club’s TARC Fall Classic (separate recap to come) was by far the largest attraction in the region, but several runners took on other races in the region and across the country. In fact, so many did so that this week’s roundup will be a two-parter. Here in Part One we recap Mead Binhammer’s record-seeing run at the slightly-beyond-the-marathon Groton Forest Trail Run 26.5-miler, as well as the Megunticook 50K in Maine, Tunxis and Macedonia trail ultras in Connecticut, and then catch up on the Hainesport Hundred from Sept. 3-4. Part 2 will include Virgil Cres, Shawangunk, the Wasatch 100 and the Pine Creek Challenge.
Groton Forest Trail Run
Mead Binhammer burst onto the New England trail- and ultrarunning scene this year with an impressive victory at the Big A 50K in Maine on May 1. He followed it up with a victory in the 30K at the Watuppa Trail Races two weeks later, and then added a third-place finish at the Catamount 50K in June.
Binhammer added another impressive result to his resume as the 27-year-old resident of Attleboro, Mass., raced to victory at the Groton Forest Trail Run 26.5-mile race on Saturday, Sept. 10, in Groton, Vt.
Twenty-five runners finished within 7 ½ hours at the fourth edition of the event, which also included 15-mile and 10K races. Binhammer smashed the course record by 19 minutes, winning in 3:44:32. Runner-up Peter Bonito, 37, of Westmoreland, N.H., also dipped under the old course record and finished in 3:50:46. Third-place finisher Greg Azzaretti, 35, of Montpelier, Vt., logged the fifth-fastest time in course history with his 4:04:48 finish. Brian Rusiecki, 43, of South Deerfield, Mass. (4:16:44) and Danny Hartman, 37, of Easthampton, Mass. (4:51:12) rounded out the overall top five.
In the women’s field, 43-year-old Amy Rusiecki of South Deerfield, Mass., raced to victory in 5:03:35 while placing eighth overall. She was joined on the podium by Caitlin Orton, 27, of Hinesburg, Vt. (5:21:15) and Hayley Zoerheide, 40, of Strafford, Vt. (5:50:57). Zoerheide edged fourth-place finisher Jacqueline Jancaitis, 39, of Barre, Vt., for the final podium spot by two minutes. Jancaitis finished in 5:52:51.
A trio of runners turned in a tight battle for the win at the third annual Megunticook 50K on Saturday, Sept. 10, in Camden, Maine.
Racing on a course with more than 7,600 feet of climbing on the trails of Camden Hills State Park with trips to the summit of all six of the park’s tallest peaks, the lead trio of men pulled away from the field and all finished in less than 6 hours. Fyn Kynd earned his first ultramarathon victory in 5:44:21 as the 21-year-old from Searsmont, Maine, built upon a solid ultra debut last month when he finished in the top five at the Ragged 50K. Ethan Niederer, 40, of Portland, Maine, edged 22-year-old Solomon Treister of Chicago, Ill., for the runner-up spot by three minutes with Niederer finishing in 5:55:52 and Treister in 5:58:53.
Leslie O’Dell, 46, of Albany, N.H., topped the women’s field and finished fourth overall in 6:09:26. She was joined on the podium by runner-up and sixth overall finisher Yasmine Saboui, 36, of Vancouver, B.C. (6:27:27) and third-place female (13th overall finisher) Carly Dickson, 22, of Princeton, Mass. (7:30:14).
Of the 52 runners who started the race, 39 ultimately finished within 11 hours.
Tunxis Trail Ultramarathon
Justin Kousky added another course record to his resume with a dominant performance at the sixth annual Tunxis Trail Ultramarathon 60K on Saturday, Sept. 10, in Burlington, Conn. Kousky, 42, of Westport, Conn., raced through the diverse terrain of the Tunxis Trail System and its mix of technical singletrack, doubletrack and half-track trails and cruised to victory by more than two hours, winning in 6:04:47. He broke the previous course record by nearly 90 minutes. Wesley Royston, 30, of Bainbridge Island, Wash., finished second in 8:11:43.
Twelve runners finished the race. Hillary McCarty, 43, of Windsor, Conn., was the lone female finisher, placing 10th overall in 11:32:46.
Macedonia Trail Race
The Macedonia Trail Race 50K has earned a well-deserved reputation for beating up runners with its challenging course, and that was no different at the fourth annual event on Sunday, Sept. 11, in Kent, Conn.
Runners took on a three-loop course on an assortment of singletrack trails with steep climbs and descents totaling more than 7,000 feet of gain in Macedonia Brook State Park. Of the 13 starters, seven finished within 10 hours. Ian Connell, 26, of Guilford, Conn., and Nicholas Mamrak, 27, of Suffern, N.Y., both had impressive days and smashed the previous course record with Connell finishing first in 5:26:45 and Mamrak second in 5:37:11. They are just the second and third runners to break the 6-hour mark on the course.
Since kicking off 2020 by running her first ultra on January 1 at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival 24-hour race in Henderson, Nev., Barbara Graf has been hooked on time-based ultras. She has raced several in the two-plus years since, including a 48-hour race in California in April where she logged her second-biggest mileage output to date – 86 miles.
Graf was back in action at the second edition of the summertime running of the Hainesport Hundred Endurance Festival on Sept. 3-4 in Hainesport, N.J. The event offered 100-mile, 24-hour and 12-hour races. Graf, 63, of Leeds, Mass., was the lone New England resident to take part in the event. Graf opted for the 24-hour race, and she placed 11th overall out of 30 runners and fifth among the women’s field with 74.3475 miles.
Michael Gagliardi, 46, of Philadelphia, Pa., led all runners with 122.9212 miles. The top three runners all surpassed the 100-mile mark.
*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.