MassUltra Roundup: Big Brad, Moab 240, Palmer Lake, and Canal Corridor

The Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail was the biggest ultramarathon show in New England during the Oct. 8-10 weekend, but it was far from the only event that attracted runners from the region to a starting line. Several headed to Maine for the challenging Big Brad Ultras at Bradbury Mountain State Park. Another half-dozen runners ran for days on end in Utah at the Moab 240. One Massachusetts man earned his first ultra finish in Colorado, while two more runners from the region cranked out 100 miles in Ohio at Canal Corridor. Midstate Massive will have its own recap story, but we have the others featured in this edition of the roundup.

Big Brad Ultras

One of the toughest trail ultras in Maine – the Big Brad Ultras – returned for its 11th annual running on Sunday, Oct. 9, at Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Maine. Runners were once again challenged with 50-mile and “heavy” 50K options by completing either three or two 16.2-mile loops of singletrack trail that took them all over the park as well as over nearby Tryon Mountain and Chandler Brook.

Twenty-three runners attempted the 50-mile race and 13 ultimately finished. Scott Eugley, 30, of South Portland, Maine, held off 43-year-old Matthew Moon of Yarmouth, Maine, for the win with Eugley finishing in 9:13:52 and Moon following 12 minutes later in 9:25:29. Joel Pepin, 36, of Standish, Maine, rounded out the men’s podium as the final sub-10-hour finisher in 9:57:00. Nina Gargan, 39, of Lewiston, Maine, led the women’s field in 11:35:55. She was followed 12 minutes later by 35-year-old Melissa Andersen of Steep Falls, Maine, in 11:47:13. Cianne Plummer, 28, of Windham, Maine, completed the women’s podium in 11:59:16. Just behind Plummer came the two Massachusetts residents who were among the finishers. Jason Kaplan, 39, of Brighton finished in 12:00:06, followed by Westford’s Jonathan Woelfel, 31, in 12:05:07.

An additional 42 runners completed the 50K race within nine hours. Jacob Brady, 27, of Portland, Maine, led all runners in 4:55:24, followed by 26-year-old August Posch of Olympia, Wash., in 5:11:07. Posch – a former Portland resident – finished the 50K for the eighth time. He won the 2020 race and was the runner-up in 2021.

Women’s champion Brigid Smith-Franey, 42, of South Portland, Maine, was hot on Posch’s heels, finishing third overall in 5:14:11. 

Michael Nicklasson, 47, of South Portland rounded out the men’s podium and placed fourth overall in 5:39:12.

The next two finishers completed the women’s podium as 34-year-old Laura Sofen of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, placed fifth overall and was the women’s runner-up in 5:51:18, followed by 31-year-old Hester Bissell of New Gloucester, Maine, in 6:26:58. It was the first ultra for both Sofen and Bissell.

Rounding out the overall top 10, 43-year-old Maine resident Chris-Heijn Devries earned his first ultra finish and placed seventh in 6:26:59; 53-year-old Sharon Hathaway of Dyer Brook, Maine, finished in 6:43:03; 35-year-old Alexander Hutter of Natick, Mass., finished ninth overall in his first ultra in 6:46:28; and 43-year-old Serena Wilcox of Duxbury, Vt., followed moments later in 6:46:30 to round out the top 10.

Moab 240

Big climbs, bigger views, and mileage for days were the challenges and rewards for a half-dozen New England residents who successfully finished the sixth edition of the Moab 240-Mile Endurance Run on Oct. 7 – 11 in Moab, Utah.

Runners took on a 138.2-mile loop course that started and finished in Moab, traveled through canyons and along desert and slick rock trails, and amassed nearly 29,000 feet of climbing along the way with views of Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park in the distance. Of the 248 runners who started the race, 166 finished within the 113-hour time limit.

Leading the way for the New England contingent was 28-year-old Vernon Palm of Albion, Maine, who knocked out his first 200+-mile race in 83:49:10 and finished 16th overall. Less than six hours later he was joined at the finish line by another 200+-mile first-timer, 25-year-old Chase Arsenault of Groton, Conn., who placed 37th in 89:07:57.

The New Englander with the most experience at 200+-mile races in the field was 32-year-old Jared Buchanan of Ellington, Conn. Moab 240 was his fifth time completing a race of 200 miles or more, and the second of the year (Ellington finished Cocodona 250 in Arizona in May). Buchanan entered the race as a two-time finisher (2020 in 96:50:30 and 2021 in 102:23:46), and he secured his third consecutive finish by placing 97th overall in 102:34:02. A little more than two hours later, 28-year-old Julian Casola of Revere, Mass., finished the race. Casola made his ultra debut in July at the Notchview Ultra when he completed 157.70 miles in the 72-hour race. That made him well prepared to navigate an extra day and a half; Casola finished 114th overall in 104:51:56.

After failing to finish the race in 2021, 54-year-old Jack Wilson of Harpswell, Maine, returned to Moab and gained redemption by finishing 122nd overall in 106:31:20. Morgan Fine, 50, of Norwalk, Conn., was the final finisher from the region. A veteran of extra-long ultra distance races including the 273K Grand to Grand Ultra in 2018, Fine finished 146th overall with a few hours to spare in 109:55:06.

Jeff Browning dominated the race and won by more than half a day; the 51-year-old resident of Flagstaff, Ariz., finished in 57:27:57. Adam Williams, 36, of Pullman, Wash., was a distant second in 72:36:45. Topping the women’s field was third overall finisher Alyssa Clark, 29, of Pacific Grove, Calif., in 73:12:29.

24 Hours of Palmer Lake

Alex Fraser found a unique, challenging opportunity to earn his first ultramarathon finish. Fraser, 32, of Boston, Mass., traveled to Colorado and took part in the ninth annual 24-Hours of Palmer Lake on Oct. 8-9 in Palmer Lake, Colo. The event took place on a .82-mile loop course on the Palmer Divide, so Fraser logged all of his miles more than 7,000 feet above sea level.

Eighty runners took part in this year’s race with the top four surpassing the 100-mile mark. Kevin Hadfield, 37, of Carbondale, Colo., led all runners with 118.08 miles, the third-best performance in event history and 2 1/2 miles off the course record. Fraser finished 15th overall with 63.14 miles.

Canal Corridor 100

Two New England residents notched their first 100-mile finishes at the sixth annual Canal Corridor 100 on Oct. 8-9 in Akron, Ohio. Both Emily Rusiecki of Bar Harbor, Maine, and Rob Gallagher of Scituate, Mass., were among the 115 finishers of the race which took place on the crushed limestone Towpath Trail that follows the Ohio and Erie Canalway. Flat and fast, the course amassed just 807 feet of elevation gain.

Rusiecki, 47, finished the race in 27:18:42 while Gallagher, 41, crossed the finish line in 29:49:01. Runners had 30 hours to complete the race.

The top two finishers – Caleb Bowen and Jacob Moss – broke the men’s course record. Bowen, 29, of Huntington, W.V., won in 12:40:43 while Moss, 29, of Charleston, S.C., followed moments later in 12:41:53. Annie Pentaleri, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was the first-place female and ninth overall finisher in 17:35:30.

*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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