MassUltra Roundup: Vermont 50, Water Gap, Angevine Farm, the Bear, and Hungerford

Midstate Massive and Ghost Train are on the horizon for hundreds of ultrarunners in New England, meaning the final weekend of September was either the last big preparatory race or the start of taper time. For some, the final tune-up came at a New England classic – the Vermont 50 – where hundreds of ultrarunners took on the hilly dirt roads and scenic foliage of the Vermont countryside. Others made the weekend their focal race of the fall, including a trio who headed west to Utah for the rugged Bear 100. Still others like Marshfield’s Mari Engelhardt used the weekend as a measuring stick for progress – she improved on her eighth-place finish at the 2021 Water Gap 50K by bringing home the victory this year. Those races and more are featured in this edition of the roundup.

Vermont 50

Just a few weeks removed from his 50-mile victory at the TARC Fall Classic, Matt Guarino was at it again on Sunday, Sept. 25, when he toed the starting line of the 50-mile race at the 29th running of the Vermont 50. The 26-year-old resident of Worcester, Mass., opened up an early lead and steadily pulled away throughout the day as he raced along the dirt roads and single- and doubletrack dirt trails of Brownsville, Vt.,

By the time he was done, Guarino had secured his second 50-mile victory in less than a month. After posting a time of 7:42:14 at the TARC Fall Classic, Guarino won VT50 in a speedy 7:26:03. His closest competitor followed nearly 30 minutes behind. Daniel McCarthy, 23, of Burlington, Vt., was the runner-up in 7:53:14, and was the only other runner to finish in less than eight hours. Andrew Drummond, 41, of Jackson, N.H., rounded out the men’s podium and finished fourth overall in 8:25:07.

In the women’s field, Cara Baskin, 33, of East Thetford, Vt., notched her second 50-mile victory of the year. A few months removed from a 50-mile victory at the Chesterfield Gorge Ultra, Baskin finished third overall and topped the women’s field at VT50 in 8:16:17. She won by a nearly nine-minute margin. Women’s runner-up and fifth overall finisher Kelly Wei, 32, of Woodbury, Conn., finished in 8:25:41, a one-spot improvement from 2021 when she finished third. Six-time champion Aliza Lapierre, 42, of Richmond, Vt., followed in sixth overall and third among the women’s field in 8:34:23.

Runners had 12 hours to finish the race and 115 did so. The top 12 all dipped under the nine-hour mark. In addition to the podium finishers, that group included Michael Willey, 39, of Fairfax, Vt. (7th overall; 8:36:06); Matt Czaplinski, 56, of Northampton, Mass. (8th overall; 8:37:34); Sarah Gage, 28, of Lafayette, Colo. (9th overall, 4th female; 8:40:59); Molly Sharp, 44, of Haverhill, N.H. (10th overall, 5th female; 8:44:53); Scott Colebourne, 40, of Londondeery, Vt. (11th overall; 8:55:03); and Michael Pulli, 46, of Medford, Mass. (12th overall; 8:59:11).

Additionally, another 160 runners finished the Vermont 50’s 50K race within the 10 ½-hour time limit. Thomas Kean, 28, of Bellingham, Wash., cruised to victory in 4:05:40, followed by Donnie Surdoval and Bobby McDonough in a close race for second. Surdoval, 34, of Woodstock, Vt., secured the runner-up spot in 4:24:21 and McDonough, 30, of Watertown, Mass., rounded out the men’s podium in 4:27:47. Justin Neuman, 45, of New Haven, Conn. (4:36:00) and Brian Rusiecki, 44, of South Deerfield, Mass. (4:47:54) rounded out the top five with 47-year-old Sylvain Olier of Andover, Mass., following just above the five-hour mark in 5:01:48.

Unlike the men’s field where Kean won comfortably, the race for first in the women’s field came down to the wire between Vanessa Hartstein and Leah Nicholson who were just minutes apart in the final miles. Ultimately, Hartstein, 35, of Capitola, Calif., held on for the victory by two minutes in 5:02:39. Nicholson, 35, of Lebanon, N.H., was the runner-up in 5:04:35. Another battle unfolded for the final spot on the podium with 24-year-old Jody Dicicco of Concord, N.H., edging 42-year-old Tricia Groff of Hanover, N.H., for third. Diccio finished in 5:15:37 and Groff followed in 5:17:01. Debbie Livingson, 47, of Bolton, Conn., rounded out the women’s top five in 5:32:27.

The top 31 runners finished the 50K in less than six hours.

Water Gap 50K

A year ago, Mari Engelhardt made her ultrarunning debut at the Water Gap 50K where she finished 15th overall and eighth among the women’s field. Engelhardt returned for the eighth running of the Water Gap 50K on Saturday, Sept. 24, in Milford, Pa., and she demonstrated just how much she has improved in the past year.

Racing on the point-to-point, 32-mile-long McDade Trail, Engelhardt did more than just finish the race – she won it. The 43-year-old resident of Marshfield, Mass., knocked 42 minutes off of her time from the year before, finished eighth overall and was the first-place female in a speedy 5:08:40. She won the women’s field by nearly six minutes. A second New England resident was also among the 44 finishers. Emily Hangen, 31, of Bridgeport, Conn., made a strong ultra debut with her 15th-place overall finish (fifth in the women’s field) in 5:35:04.

In the men’s field, 27-year-old Aidan Talcott of New York, N.Y., edged 50-year-old Chris Trainor of Fainwood, N.J., for the win by less than two minutes. Talcott finished in 4:21:07 and Trainor followed in 4:22:31.

Angevine Farm 50K

The fourth edition of the Angevine Farm Trail Festival took place Sept. 24-25 in Warren, Conn., including the third running of the Angevine Farm 50K. Seven runners toed the line for two loops through the course of Wyantenock State Forest where they raced along singletrack dirt trails, fire roads, and some trails through the farm. Ultimately, six runners finished within 7 ½ hours. Peter Notarnicola, 27, of Amityville, N.Y., amassed a 26-minute lead on his first loop and never looked back. His winning time of 5:44:28 was more than an hour faster than the next runner. Dan Lamorte, 27, of Manalapan, N.J., edged 44-year-old Eric Ciocca of Northampton, Mass., for the runner-up spot. Lamorte finished in 6:47:29 and Ciocca followed close behind in 6:48:41. Ashley Lesniak, 30, of Spring Mills, Pa., was the lone female finisher in 7:28:56.

The Bear 100

There’s something about the Bear 100 that keeps Paul Young coming back year after year.

Perhaps it’s the scenery of the mountains, the fall foliage of the golden aspen, red maples and pines in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, or the challenge of around 22,000 feet of climbing on rugged terrain through whatever weather conditions the mountains choose to offer.

Save for 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic kept him at home, Young has been a regular at the race since 2016. The course and the conditions have won out three times (2016, 2018 and 2021) but Young has been relentless in stepping up to the challenge of the race. He has hard-earned finishes in 2017 (34:04:24) and 2019 (31:27:52) to prove it. On Sept. 23-24, Young returned once again for the 24th edition of the Bear 100 to once again attempt the 103-mile journey from Logan, Utah, to Bear Lake in Fish Haven, Idaho. The 57-year-old from North Andover, Mass., dug deep just as he has in the past, and he finished his weekend by collecting a finisher’s belt buckle for the third time.

Runners have 36 hours to finish the race. Of the 313 runners who started the race, 235 finished within the time limit. Young was among them. He finished in 33:46:19 for his second-fastest performance on the course.

Two more New England residents joined Young as finishers, though both were first-time 100-milers. Mark Weber, 35, of Cambridge, Mass., placed 120th overall in 29:46:04. Chris Peter, 41, of Newmarket, N.H., followed about 3 1/2 hours later in 33:17:38 and placed 179th overall.

Mick Clifford, 35, of East Yorkshire, U.K., held off Dan Ruch, 36, of St. George, Utah, for the win with Clifford finishing in 20:14:15 and Ruch in 20:25:21. Allison Stratton, 37, of Lehi, Utah, finished 15th overall and first among the women’s field in 23:21:57.

The Hungerford Trail Races

After finishing her second 100-mile race – the Sleepy Hollow Hourly Ultra 24-Hour Race – in 2019, Aliza Mon took a break from running ultras. She made her return to the long-distance trail racing scene at the 10th annual Hungerford Trail Races on Saturday, Sept. 24, in Big Rapids, Mich., and she secured a podium finish in the 50-mile race.

Mon, 49, of Quincy, Mass., was one of 39 finishers within 16 hours. Racing on a course that blended single- and doubletrack dirt, gravel roads, sand, mud, and a mix of easy-running flats and rolling hills, Mon was one of 11 runners to finish in less than 10 hours. She finished 11th overall and was the second-place female in 9:58:27. Teri Garrelts, 43, of Fort Wayne, Ind., edged Mon for the women’s win, finishing a few minutes faster in 9:54:39. Travis Reid, 37, of Shelby, Mich., topped the men’s field in 7:12:47.

*Editor’s Note: Results are found on a variety of sites, including, 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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