MassUltra Roundup: Pinhoti, Fire Fest, Batona, Antelope Island, and Fall Back Into the Trails

November opened with a flurry of races for New England ultrarunners. Here in Massachusetts, the Stone Cat 50K in Ipswich was the major draw, but three other New England ultras (Hamsterwheel, RutFest and 8 Hours at the Farm) also lured plenty of runners to the starting line. And then there were the races outside New England. The Nov. 4-6 weekend was so busy that it merits two roundups to attempt to catch everything. In this one we focus on the non-New England ultras that attracted runners from the region. The biggest performance from that group came from Connecticut’s Johanna Ylanen who notched her latest 100-mile victory at the Pinhoti 100 in Alabama. Read on for more in this edition of the roundup.

Pinhoti 100

It was another 100-mile race and another 100-mile win for Johanna Ylanen at the 15th annual Pinhoti 100. The point-to-point race took place Nov. 5-6, beginning in Heflin, Ala., and finishing in Sylacauga, and amassed around 14,000 feet of climbing along the way.

Ylanen, 40, of Tolland, Conn., has dominated the 100-mile distance in recent years, racking up wins at the 2019 No Business 100 and Antelope Canyon 100, the 2020 Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail 100, and the 2021 Endurance Hunter 100 prior to Pinhoti this year. In her only other ultramarathon this season, Ylanen was the overall winner of the Ansonia 6-Hour Ultra in July.

At Pinhoti, Ylanen finished 11th overall and first among the women’s field in 22:49:55. Brandon Slokowski, 40, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was the men’s winner in 19:42:14.

Ylanen wasn’t the lone New England resident among the Pinhoti finishers. Wayne Ball, 48, of Feeding Hills, Mass., also had a strong showing as he placed 34th out of 120 finishers in 26:21:59. Ball previously raced Pinhoti in 2015 when he finished in 29:34:42, making it a more than three-hour improvement this year. Ball has plenty of additional 100-mile experience. He has finished the Vermont 100 several times, including a sub-24-hour finish in July 2022, and he was the men’s winner of the Ghost Train 100 in 2021.

Fire Fest Ultra

Michael McStravock earned his first 100-mile finish at the Fire Fest Ultra on Nov. 5-6 in Logandale, Nev. The sixth annual event – previously known as the Valley of Fire Backcountry Ultra – took place at Valley of Fire State Park in the Mojave Desert and offered 100-mile, 100K, 50-mile and 50K ultra distances. McStravock was the lone New England resident in the field at any of those distances.

Runners had 35 hours to complete the six-loop course for 100 miles. Seven ultimately did so. McStravock 30, of Boston, Mass., placed fifth in 32:13:35. In addition to being his first 100-miler, it was also his third ultra finish. McStravock placed ninth overall at the TARC Spring Classic 50K earlier this year. James Bennett, 31, of Kent, UK, was the 100-mile winner in 22:00:18. Bennett finished the Javelina Jundred 100-miler one week earlier in less than 22 hours.

Batona Trail Races

A year ago Annie Buelt made her ultrarunning debut at the Batona Trail Races and narrowly missed a spot on the women’s podium, finishing fourth. The 20-year-old from New London, Conn., returned to the event on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Ong’s Hat, N.J., and solidified her spot among the best in the field.

Of the 79 finishers within 11 ½ hours in the 33-mile race from Carranza Memorial to the Bass River State Forest, Buelt finished seventh overall and second among the women’s field in 5:31:32. Her time was the fourth-fastest by a woman in course history. Women’s champion Bethany Scheuermann, 43, of Egg Harbor City, N.J., placed sixth overall and posted the third-fastest women’s time in course history, winning in 5:20:46.

In the men’s 33-mile field, 38-year-old Kevin Scott of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., led the way in 4:36:28. Joshua Ray, 42, of Redding, Conn., was also among the finishers in 7:20:06.

While the fifth edition of Batona saw a New Englander place on the podium, two more New England residents also finished the 55-mile race which spanned the full length of the Batona Trail from Ong’s Hat to the Bass River State Forest. Runners had 14 hours to finish the race and 50 did so. Nikolaos Kalfas, 20, of New London, Conn., finished 10th overall in 10:47:30 while 55-year-old Greg Wolodkin of Sutton, Mass., finished 39th in 13:34:13. Bryan Toro, 37, of Hillside, N.J., was the men’s 55-mile champion in 7:56:53. Rhiannon Schade, 32, of Bound Brook, N.J., finished third overall and first among the women’s field in 8:55:09. Schade’s time was a new women’s course record by nearly 82 minutes.

Antelope Island 50K

In a field jam-packed with runners from the West, Tyler Silverman was the lone East Coast representative at the 11th running of the Antelope Island 50K on Friday, Nov. 4, in Syracuse, Utah.

Silverman, 36, of Quincy, Mass., took on the single-loop course with plenty of rolling singletrack and finished in 7:34:58. It was his second ultramarathon finish of the season; Silverman finished 18th overall at the Trail Animals Running Club’s “Don’t Run Boston” 50K in April at the Blue Hills Reservation.

Justin Grunewald, 36, of Boulder, Colo., led the field of 133 finishers at Antelope Island with a winning time of 3:26:49. Liam Hammons, 22, of Salt Lake City, Utah, followed 10 minutes behind in 3:36:10 as the only other sub-4-hour finisher. Jessi Morton-Langehaug, 44, of Sandy, Utah, was the women’s winner in 4:38:27.

Fall Back Into the Trails

The Fall Back Into the Trails endurance festival returned for its fifth year on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Lagrangeville, N.Y., and it added a new ultra distance to the mix. The event used a 10K loop course through the Red Wing Recreation Area with around 1,000 feet of gain per loop that runners completed either 10 times for 100K or five times for 50K.

It was the first year for the 100K offering. Fourteen runners took on that challenge, and nine ultimately finished. Matthew Aiello-Lammens, 41, of Pleasantville, N.Y., led all runners in 14:25:05, followed by women’s champion Jennifer Bernard, 35, of Hyde Park, N.Y., in 15:38:00. No New England residents raced the 100K.

Thirty-four runners started the 50K race and 29 ultimately finished including four New England residents. Derek Rosner, 48, of Farmington, Conn., led the way for the New England contingent by placing fourth overall and third in the men’s field in 5:45:52. Jason Roberts, 43, of New Canaan, Conn., finished 11th overall and eighth among the men in 6:48:02. Tara Rosner, 50, of Farmington, Conn., was the fifth-place female and 14th overall finisher in 6:59:18, while 50-year-old Josh Mechem of Northampton, Mass., rounded out the New England contingent in 8:17:24. It was Mechem’s first ultramarathon.

Greg Close, 39, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was the men’s 50K champion in 4:41:17 while 27-year-old Katherine Loomba of Valhalla, N.Y., led the women’s field in 5:15:02.

*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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