For years the TARC Fall Classic was something of the Patrick Caron show. The native of Needham, Mass., made his ultrarunning debut at the 2015 event and turned heads with his runner-up finish in the 50-mile race in 8:19:45 at just 18 years old. He returned to run the 50-miler during each of the next three years, setting new course records each time, concluding with a sizzling 6:52:04 performance in 2018.
Following a three-year hiatus from the event – he didn’t race at the 2019 event and it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Caron returned to the Fall Classic for 2022, albeit in a new role. Rather than being the show, this time he was the director. Caron took over as race director for the Fall Classic, poured his heart into promoting it, and welcomed runners back for the 10th running of the event on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Mass. For Caron, now 25 and a professional runner for Salomon, the opportunity to give back was something he couldn’t pass up.
“Having the opportunity to direct this year’s Fall Classic definitely felt pretty special for me!” Caron said. “I started running with the club in 2015, and right from the start, I have always felt welcomed and celebrated for being me, not just for my accomplishments, but for the shared love and passion for running, trails, and community that exists among the members! This welcoming and celebration of others really feel like the ethos of the Trail Animals Running Club, and to be able to continue to live and share those attributes several years later in the role of race director felt like the natural next step in my involvement with the club.
“I have also been working with the club’s outreach group for the past several months, and being in the race director role for this event allowed me the opportunity to put into practice some of the visions and goals we have been continually discussing and crafting around accessibility and diversity of our club and what we have to offer.”
The result of Caron’s effort to promote the race was a huge turnout as 364 runners showed up to run the 50-mile and 50K ultra distances or the half marathon and 10K. Plenty of seasoned veterans turned out for the event, but there was also a large showing of TARC newcomers. That was something Caron had hoped to achieve.
“The Fall Classic course is great in that it provides both challenge and approachability in its terrain, and one of my goals was to find ways to reach newer trail runners in our promotion of the event, as well as those who might want to dip their toes into ultra distances,” Caron said. “What is especially cool with the shared nature of the course for all the distances at Great Brook Farm State Park is that those running the 10K or the half marathon can witness the 50K and 50-mile participants throughout the day, and this has the potential to spark their interest to come back next year and see how much farther they themselves can go!”
In a callback to prior Fall Classics, the 2022 event saw several big performances, including a few by young up-and-comers just beginning to break out on the New England ultrarunning scene. Both the 50K and 50-mile races saw impressive performances from young runners – two of them teenagers – and in the case of the 50K, one who earned the overall victory.
Gaudrault Crushes Course Record with Dominant 50K Performance
When Lila Gaudrault arrived at the starting line, some may not have been familiar with her. After all, the 19-year-old hadn’t yet raced an ultra in Massachusetts, though the two-time Maine Class B cross country state champion had amassed an impressive ultra resume during the previous 16 months with back-to-back wins at the Big A 50K in Maine, another at the 2021 Pineland Farms 50K, and a runner-up finish at the 2021 Gunstock 50K in New Hampshire.
By the time Gaudrault’s day was done, the Cape Elizabeth native etched her name in history at the Fall Classic by smashing the women’s course record and winning the race outright.
Gaudrault delivered a smart, steady performance from start to finish. Eventual men’s champion Adam Ribeiro set the early pace while Gaudrault lingered about 30 seconds back running nearly stride-for-stride with David Desnoyers. By the 9-mile mark, the duo had reeled in Ribeiro. Desnoyers moved to the front while Ribeiro and Gaudrault shared a few miles and remained in striking distance.
Desnoyers led by nearly a minute at the 19-mile mark, but that changed during the next 2 1/2 miles as Gaudrault reeled him in and ultimately surged into the overall lead. Once in front, she never looked back.
Gaudrault steadily increased her lead during the final 10 miles and finished in 4:24:43. Her winning time smashed the previous women’s course record of 4:36:04 set by Larisa Dannis in 2012.
Overshadowed by Gaudrault’s performance was a nearly record-setting day by 24-year-old Maggie Boudreau of West Hartford, Conn. Boudreau spent the entire day in striking distance of the leaders, and her steady performance saw her gradually pick her way through the overall top 10, ultimately working her way into second place overall where she finished in 4:36:17 – just 13 seconds behind Dannis’ previous course record. Boudreau’s time was the third fastest on the women’s course record board. Rounding out the women’s podium was another steady climber throughout the day, 44-year-old Stacia Broderick of Tisbury, Mass., who worked her way from outside the top 10 to a fifth-place overall finish and third-place finish in the women’s field in 4:57:55. Broderick’s time was the 12th-fastest women’s time in course history.
Stella Adu-Gyamfi, 48, of Jefferson, Mass. (5:24:57) and Gwenyth Taradash, 22, of Dartmouth, Mass. (5:32:41) rounded out the women’s top five.
In the men’s field, Ribeiro finished the same way he started – strong. After leading early and then seeing his advantage slip away, the 31-year-old resident of Lowell, Mass., battled back during his third loop through the course and reclaimed the top spot among the men. Once back in front, he never relinquished his advantage and went on to win the men’s race while finishing third overall in 4:44:58. Kevin Ellis, 38, of Richmond, N.H., finished second in 4:53:08. Tino Fidalgo, 52, of Acushnet, Mass., finished third among the men and sixth overall in 5:06:42. After leading for a good portion of the race, Desnoyers, 34, of Nantucket, Mass., finished fourth among the men and seventh overall in 5:11:22. Jacob Barroll, 21, of Plymouth, Mass., followed seconds later in 5:11:48. Keith Bourassa, 40, of Keene, N.H., finished ninth in 5:19:29, and 52-year-old Steven Hubbard of Weston, Mass., rounded out the overall top 10 in 5:20:41.
Guarino Fends Off Brussel for 50-Mile Win
Similar to Gaudrault’s big-time performance, another teenager delivered a breakout performance in the 50-mile race – though victory eluded him.
Quinn Brussel, a 19-year-old Harvard University sophomore from San Luis Obispo, Calif., was in the hunt from the start. He went out fast and quickly settled into third place behind Matt Guarino, 26, of Henderson, Nev., and Brian Malger, 29, of Quincy, Mass. Guarino and Malger were separated by less than a minute for much of the first 20 miles while Brussel settled in a few minutes back in third place. Brussel passed Malger around the 20-mile mark, and Malger dropped from the race a few miles later. By that point Guarino was in control and he ultimately went on to win in 7:42:14, posting the fifth-fastest time in course history in his first ultra since finishing in the top 10 at the Vermont 100 in July. Brussel finished strong and closed out his first ultra with a runner-up finish in 8:06:26, the eighth-fastest time in course history. Two more runners joined Guarino and Brussel in breaking the 10-hour mark as 29-year-old Matthew Bryan of Boston, Mass., finished third in 9:58:30 and 28-year-old Seamus Fitzpatrick of Glenmont, N.Y., followed a second later in 9:58:31. Mason Christensen, 29, of New York, N.Y., rounded out the overall top five in 10:51:40.
In the women’s field, the race was close throughout with the leaders swapping positions multiple times early and the gap between the frontrunners never separating by more than a few minutes. Though Danielle Fischer, 50, of Merrimack, N.H., Jennifer Hoadley, 44, of Scituate, Mass., and Xiali He, 47, of Weston, Mass., were out front for the first few miles, 40-year-old Molly Karp of Natick, Mass., moved to the front by the 10-mile mark and maintained a slight lead for most of the remainder of the day. Ultimately, Karp finished sixth overall and first among the women’s field in 10:57:07. Fischer followed in the runner-up spot (10th overall) less than seven minutes later in 11:03:39, and Hoadley rounded out the podium eight minutes later in 11:11:29. He placed fourth among the women and 14th overall in 11:46:55, while Christine Lai, 22, of New York, N.Y., rounded out the women’s top five in 12:09:13.
Of the 32 runners who started the 50-mile race, 20 finished within 12 1/2 hours.
Johnson, Bainbridge Earn Half Marathon Wins
A month ago, Rachel Bainbridge threw down a dominant performance in winning the 10-mile race at the TARC Summer Classic at Noon Hill Reservation in Medfield. Bainbridge built upon that victory with another impressive performance at the TARC Fall Classic as the 35-year-old resident of Concord, Mass., outdistanced the women’s half-marathon field by nine minutes and won in 1:44:07 while also placing 10th overall. Bainbridge’s closest competitor was 38-year-old Kristin Kearney of Needham, Mass., who finished in 1:53:20. The battle for third was tight between a pair of Westford, Mass., residents with 41-year-old Tracey Greenspan edging 34-year-old Janeen Topjian by two seconds, Greenspan taking third in 2:00:31 and Topjian finishing fourth in 2:00:33. Lillian Petersen, 19, of Los Alamos, N.M., rounded out the women’s top five, finishing in 2:01:13.
In the men’s field, 29-year-old Matthew Johnson of Stow, Mass., pulled away from a speedy pack and won by nearly five minutes, finishing in 1:23:56. Keegan Harkavy, 19, of Cambridge, Mass., held on in a tight battle for second, finishing in 1:28:40. Timothy Cronin, 37, of Wayland, Mass., followed 19 seconds later and finished third in 1:28:59. Yaroslav Mukhin, 33, of Cambridge, Mass., was the fourth-place man in 1:31:27 and 52-year-old Steve Levandosky of Hopkinton, Mass., rounded out the top five in 1:34:47.
Placing first in the non-binary category was 27-year-old Charlotte Caron of Newton, Mass., who finished in 2:33:32.
The half marathon had the largest field of runners at the Fall Classic with 128 finishers.
Sutton, Schmitt Victorious in 10K
A pair of newcomers made their Trail Animals debuts with victories in the 10K race at the TARC Fall Classic. William Sutton, 21, of Hingham, Mass., and Katie Schmitt, 23, of Durham, N.H., secured the top spots in the men’s and women’s fields with comfortable victories.
Sutton built a sizable lead on the men’s field and cruised to the win in 46:06. Jose Dueno, 33, of Brighton, Mass., followed in 47:37 and 42-year-old Seth Waterman of Sudbury, Mass., rounded out the men’s podium in 48:03.
Schmitt pulled away from the rest of the women’s field and earned the win while also finishing fourth overall in 50:50. Thirty seconds later, 43-year-old Jill Brown of Arlington, Mass., and 28-year-old Rachel Kuhl of Stow, Mass., rounded out the podium as they tied for second in 51:20. Brown and Kuhl were also fifth and sixth overall out of 90 finishers.
*Editor’s Note: This story was updated on 10/1/2022 to correct an error in the 50K results.