MassUltra Roundup: Kilkenny Ridge, Grindstone, and Run Rabbit Run

From New Hampshire to Virginia, all the way out to Colorado, Part 2 of our roundup from the Sept. 16-18 weekend focuses on big, burly courses. We start in New Hampshire with the brutal Kilkenny Ridge 50-miler that took runners over two of the state’s 4,000-foot peaks twice. From there, we head south to Virginia to the Beast Coast classic Grindstone 100-miler before closing out at the high-altitude Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in Colorado.

Kilkenny Ridge

To say that Brianna Russell knows the Kilkenny Ridge 50-mile course would be an understatement. The 26-year-old resident of Tucson, Ariz., took part in the inaugural race in 2018 as her first ultramarathon. She then returned in 2021 to take on the course again. Both times she placed second in the women’s field, leaving Russell with a bit of unfinished business.

Russell returned for the fourth edition of the Kilkenny Ridge 50-mile Trail Race on Saturday, Sept. 17, and she put her wisdom gained during previous years and experience built from other races to work in her advantage. Racing out-and-back from Stark, N.H., to Jefferson, N.H., on a very remote course with more than 15,000 feet of climbing and two passes over 4,000-foot peaks Mt. Cabot and Mt. Waumbek, Russell pushed hard. She quickly left the rest of the women’s field behind, with only the top two men near her.

By the time Russell returned to Stark and crossed the finish line, it was clear that victory would no longer elude her. She was the first-place woman and new women’s course record holder with a dominant performance in 13:09:44. She also finished second overall. Zach McCarthy, 35, of Hanover, Maine, spent his day racing with a course record in sight but he ultimately missed the men’s mark by less than two minutes while winning in 11:00:33.

Remy Blechschmidt, 31, of New York, N.Y., was the men’s runner-up and third overall finisher in 13:18:07. Matthew Aiello-Lammens, 41, of Pleasantville, N.Y., rounded out the men’s podium and placed fourth overall in 13:48:29, a few minutes ahead of 24-year-old Charlie Simek of Dover, Mass., who finished in 13:54:18.

A few strides behind Simek, women’s runner-up Shannon Surdyk, 31, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., finished in 13:54:20 and placed sixth overall. Laura Ricci, 38, of Boston, Mass., rounded out the women’s podium and placed 11th overall in 16:06:54.

Three other New England residents finished among the overall top 10. Craig Leaman, 37, of Andover, N.H., placed eighth in 15:07:38; Jason Kurland, 39, of Shrewsbury, Mass., was ninth in 15:08:05; and Joel Port, 44, of Carlisle, Mass., finished 10th in 15:31:07.

Rounding out the field of finishers were Tierney Beauregard, 24, of Cambridge, Mass. (12th overall and fourth woman; 16:51:58); Conor Noonan, 29, of Pembroke, Mass. (13th; 17:16:18); Taylor Lucey, 33, of Amherst, Mass. (14th overall and fifth woman; 17:16:24); Kris Pieper, 28, of Littleton, N.H. (15th; 17:20:09); Wilson Ray, 26, and Tyler Sloan, 30, of Boston, Mass. (tie for 16th; 19:00:00); Alex Markle, 41, of Burlington, Mass. (18th; 19:53:15); and Stephen Burke, 41, of Cumberland, R.I. (19th; 20:32:18).

Another 55 runners completed a 25-mile one-way journey. Michael Conley, 38, of Gorham, Maine, led the men’s field in 4:49:29 and Ryleigh Lorimer, 27, of Sanbornton, N.H., was the first-place female in 6:28:49.

Grindstone 100

Grindstone. The name alone declares that plenty of grit will be required for a runner to achieve the finish line of this challenging race that measures 101.85 miles while amassing 23,000 feet of vertical gain on the out-and-back course in the Shenandoah Mountains. Fortunately, grit is something New England ultrarunners have in abundance, and that was clear from the nine who were among the 134 finishers of the 2022 edition of the Grindstone 100-miler on Sept. 16-18 in Swoope, Va.

For Andrew MacGibbon, his grit was displayed during his pursuit of victory. The 26-year-old from Goffstown, N.H., made his 100-mile debut in 2019 with a runner-up finish at Eastern States, and then earned a top-10 finish at the rugged Bear 100 in Utah in 2021. While victory eluded MacGibbon at Grindstone, he delivered a personal-best time for the distance and placed second in 19:10:02. Daniel Frank, 38, of Columbia, Md., won in 18:29:40. Women’s champion Shannon Cebron, 31, of Baltimore, Md., finished 23rd overall in 24:25:56.

Runners had 38 hours to finish Grindstone, but none of the New England crew chased cutoffs and all finished comfortably among the 134 finishers. Brian Shafer, 46, of Litchfield, Conn., cruised to a 33rd-place finish in 25:56:22. It was his fourth time finishing Grindstone. Bart Lubberts, 35, of Cambridge, Mass., placed 41st overall in 27:33:12, followed closely after by sixth-place woman (43rd overall finisher) Sarah Slater, 44, of Guilford, Conn., in 27:39:32, and 43-year-old Sean Meehan of Canton, Conn., who placed 45th in 27:52:29. Tyler Tulloch, 32, of Middletown, Conn., finished a few minutes later in 28:07:03, good for 52nd place overall.

Rounding out the New England contingent were Patrick McEnaney, Eric Marsh and Matthew Cadieux. McEnaney, 50, of Mendon, Mass., was the lone 100-mile finisher of the TARCtic Frozen Yeti in February, and he built on that performance with a hard-earned finish at Grindstone as he placed 86th overall in 31:28:52. It was McEnaney’s fourth time completing 100 miles. Marsh, 49, of Rutland, Vt., followed a few minutes later in 87th place in 31:35:50 for his first 100-mile finish. Cadieux, 41, of Westfield, Mass., earned his first Grindstone finish and at least his ninth finish of a race covering 100 miles or more, placing 100th in 33:47:44.

Run Rabbit Run

High altitude, big climbs and scenic views make the Run Rabbit Run Ultras a popular attraction, and the 15th running of the Run Rabbit Run 100-mile and 50-mile ultras on Sept. 16-17 in Steamboat Springs, Colo., was no different. Runners flocked to the mountains to take part in either the speedy Hares Division in pursuit of prize money or the regular Tortoise Division, while some opted for 50-mile racing.

The 100-miler started at 6,900 feet above sea level, climbed above 10,000 feet multiple times, and amassed 22,000 feet of climbing along the way.

No New England residents were among the 54 finishers of the 100-mile Hares Division which was won by 35-year-old Richard Lockwood of Seattle, Wash. (18:01:44) and 24-year-old Annie Hughes of Leadville, Colo. (21:26:01). Of the 202 runners who finished the Tortoise Division 100-miler, seven hailed from New England. Craig Ela, 51, of Harpswell, Maine, led the way and placed 51st overall in 28:55:42. Peter Troast, 63, of South Freeport, Maine., followed in 80th place in 30:16:23. Nathan Caddell, 32, of Medford, Mass., was the next finisher, though it was more than 12 minutes later in 30:28:59.

Mae Polson, 38, of Leeds, Mass., was the top local finisher in the women’s field. She finished 15th among the women and 101st overall in 31:47:52. It was Polson’s second 100-mile finish. She finished second overall and was the women’s champion at the Notchview Ultra in 2021. She was followed by 31-year-old Denise Klatt of Brookline, Mass., who was the 19th-place woman and 109th overall finisher in 32:08:15. Kaitlyn MacGuthrie, 23, of Boston, Mass., joined them in the women’s top 25, placing 23rd among the women and 126th overall in 33:04:06.

The final New England finisher of the 100-miler was 49-year-old Timothy Whelsky of Rockport, Mass. He placed 139th overall in 33:41:28 in his 100-mile debut.

Eric Wright, 38, of Edgewater, Colo., was the men’s Tortoise champion in 23:23:44 while 30-year-old Steamboat Springs local Addy Rastall was first among the women and 10th overall in 25:03:30.

In addition to the 100-mile races, Run Rabbit Run also offered a 50-miler with 9,000 feet of climbing. There were 153 finishers within 16 ½ hours, led by women’s and overall champion Georgia Porter, 34, of Flagstaff, Ariz., in 8:29:00. Men’s champ and overall runner-up Rick Davey, 32, of Golden, Colo., was the only other sub-9-hour finisher in 8:42:04. Two New England residents were among the finishers of the 50-miler. Dana Kennedy, 29, of Morristown, Vt., finished 15th overall and fourth among the women’s field in 10:26:22. Donald Dearborn, 54, of Lewiston, Maine, finished 128th in 14:41:56.

*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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