The Oct. 15-16 weekend was all about Ghost Train in New England. Hundreds of runners flocked to Brookline, N.H., to race the 13th annual event. Still, there were a few folks who opted for other events. Some raced in Connecticut for 24-hours at the Centurion Ultra, while others ran 100 miles in Pennsylvania at Oil Creek State Park. Additionally, two Massachusetts women became first-time ultramarathon finishers in Oregon – while a familiar face took home the victory. We have it all covered in this edition of the roundup.
Rogue Gorge 50K
It wasn’t long ago that Jason Smith was tearing up the trails in New England.
The former Massachusetts and Maine resident spent around a decade turning in strong performances on courses throughout the region. Smith piled up a slew of victories, including the 2018 and 2019 Jay Peak 53.1K, as well as the 2019 Pineland Farms 50-miler, Wapack and Back 50-miler, Stone Cat 50K, and Fells Winter Ultra 40-miler.
Now, the 32-year-old Smith makes his home in Portland, Ore., and he has new trails to dominate. That included the Rogue Gorge 50K on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Union Creek, Ore. In a field of 98 finishers, Smith hammered his way to a first-place finish in a speedy 4:07:06. Runner-up Armin Gooden, 43, of Westminster, Colo., followed 13 minutes later in 4:20:39. Sophie Stiles, 29, of Molalla, Ore., finished ninth overall and was the first-place female in 4:46:34.
Two Massachusetts women were among the field of finishers of the race, which took place on an all-singletrack course along the rim of the Upper Rogue Wild and Scenic River and amassed around 3,000 feet of climbing. Shelley Liu, 23, and Julia Wyatt, 23, both of Sudbury, Mass., made the race their first ultramarathon. Liu finished 39th overall in 6:15:43 and Wyatt followed in 6:42:22.
For the second year in a row, runners were welcomed back to the Roosevelt Forest to take on the Centurion Ultra Trail 24-Hour run on Oct. 15-16 in Stratford, Conn. Eleven runners tackled the course’s single- and double-track trails, rolling hills, rocks and roots with belt buckles as the prizes for achieving 100 miles or 100K.
Steven Starke, 32, of Jewett City, Conn., led all runners with 85.25 miles, followed by 65-year-old Trishul Cherns of Kingston, N.Y. with 77.00 miles and 30-year-old Chris Young of North Grosvenordale, Conn., with 74.25 miles.
Karen Giroux, 56, of Salem, Mass., led the women’s field and finished fourth overall with 71.50 miles. She set a new women’s course record for her effort. Sandy Bartell, 58, of Wallingford, Conn., was the women’s runner-up with 63.25 miles, followed by Sarah Luedee, 30, of West Haven, Conn., with 57.75 miles.
Oil Creek Trail Runs
Two years after running her first 100-miler at the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail, Danielle Mackowiak successfully completed the distance for a second time. This time, she took on the Oil Creek 100-miler on Oct. 15-16 at Oil Creek State Park in Titusville, Pa.
Mackowiak, 22, of Dudley, Mass., successfully conquered nearly 18,000 feet of climbing on the course and was one of 46 runners to finish within the 32-hour time limit. She placed 24th overall and fourth in the women’s field in 29:19:02. She was joined among the finishers by 28-year-old Nate Page of Bar Harbor, Maine, as the New Englanders who finished. Page placed 35th overall in 30:33:38.
Clinton Hepler, 41, of Cranberry, Pa., and Rebecca Kosek, 41, of Wellsboro, Pa., were the top two overall finishers and the men’s and women’s champions in 21:54:11 and 22:19:02, respectively. The top seven finishers completed the race in less than 24 hours.
Oil Creek also included 100K and 50K ultras. No New England residents among the 100K finishers, but one raced the 50K. Dawn McCullough, 51, of Truro, Mass., finished in the middle of the pack in the 50K in 9:15:25. There were 187 finishers within 16 hours.
*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.