New England ultrarunners were so busy racing during the Nov. 4-6 weekend that it merited two roundups this week. We highlighted results from five races outside of New England in Part 1. Though we’re still awaiting the results from RutFest in Vermont, the results from the Hamsterwheel in New Hampshire and 8 Hours at the Farm in Connecticut are in – and they featured some big-time performances. None were bigger than those turned in by Massachusetts residents Cody Cutler and Laura Ricci at the Hamsterwheel. Both Bay Staters smashed course records with their winning performances, and they lead off Part 2 of this week’s roundup.
It was a record-smashing weekend at the self-proclaimed “Dumbest Race in New Hampshire” when the Hamsterwheel returned for its eighth year of ultrarunning madness on Nov. 5-6 at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in New Boston, N.H.,
More than 200 runners gathered at the fairgrounds to take on 6, 12, 24 or 30 hours of out-and-backs on the New Boston Rail Trail in pursuit of big mileage on the hard-packed, leaf-covered but non-technical course with just a little bit of elevation gain mixed in to keep things interesting.
Runners turned in some eye-popping numbers in many of the distances, but none more so than the 30-hour race where both the men’s and women’s course records were toppled with inspired performances. A pair of Massachusetts residents – Cody Cutler of Sterling and Laura Ricci of Boston – rewrote the record boards with their stunning 30-hour performances. Cutler completed 36 loops of the course for 144 miles, eclipsing the previous men’s record by one loop, while Ricci finished 30 laps for 120 miles, also breaking the women’s 30-hour record by one lap. Overshadowed by those big efforts but not to be missed was the 29-lap, 116-mile performance by the third overall finisher, New Boston local Emily Lowrey, who tied the previous women’s course record with her effort.
Three other runners went beyond 100 miles in the 30-hour race. Bertram Johnson of Burlington, Vt., cranked out 28 laps for 112 miles, Lee Pellerin of East Hardwick, Vt., completed 27 laps for 108 miles, and Trishul Cherns of Kingston, N.Y., finished 26 laps for 104 miles.
Ninety total runners took part in the 30-hour race. Of that group, 60 completed at least 64 miles and 39 ran 100 miles or beyond. In addition to the six runners who went beyond 100 miles, another nine finished 100 miles in less than 24 hours. They were Joseph Kostan of Newburyport, Mass. (21:51:50); Clorice Reinhardt of Westerly, R.I. (22:02:38); Johnny Bristol of Wolfeboro, N.H. (22:50:27); John Lellos of Concord, N.H. (23:09:32); Craig Paton of Ellington, Conn. (23:12:20); Israel Agront of Medford, Mass. (23:18:02); Steven Blase of Barrington, N.H. (23:24:25); Elizabeth Allen of Providence, R.I. (23:35:45); and Justin Fitzgerald of Groveland, Mass. (23:53:33).
Forty-one runners competed in the 24-hour race, and Ed Clifford outdistanced them all. Clifford, of Raymond, N.H., hammered the course for 31 laps – three more than his closest competitor – to finish first overall with 124 miles. His tally was one lap shy of matching the course record of 128 miles set by Christopher Cappellini in 2021. Jocelyn Bourque of Rogersville, NB, followed with 28 laps for 112 miles while Brendan Chambers of Taunton, Mass., rounded out the men’s podium with 26 laps for 104 miles. Nine more runners finished 25 laps for 100 miles. That included Alexander Jinks of East Montpelier, Vt., who stopped after 100 miles in 19:43:26, as well as women’s champion Melissa Metivier of Auburn, Maine, who hit the hundred mark in 21:50:30. Other 100-mile finishers in the 24-hour race included Doug Jones of Baltimore, Md.; Brian Allard; Derek Prosser of Fulton, N.Y.; Kevin Vigneault-Chiasson of Quebec, Canada; Michael Spencer of Barrington, R.I.; Andrew Mosca of Falmouth, Maine; and Kathy Jacques of Taunton, Mass.
Forty-three runners took on the 12-hour race and 34 of them eclipsed the marathon mark. Andrew Tidd of Plymouth, Mass., led the way with 18 laps for 72 miles. His effort was the second-best for 12 hours in Hamsterwheel history. Tammy Turcotte of Lewiston, Maine, topped the women’s field and finished second overall with 16 laps for 64 miles. Women’s and men’s runner-ups Erin Gonsalves of Fairhaven, Mass., and David Hawkins of Dartmouth, Mass., followed with 15 laps apiece for 60 miles to finish third and fourth overall. Seven more runners – Kyle Fontaine of Britol, R.I.; Lesley Rossi of New Boston, N.H.; PJ Blando of Dudley, Mass.; Jim Brooks of Dover, N.H.; Jason Bird of Merrimack, N.H.; Jonathan Toto of Brookline, Mass.; and Cyndi Johnson of Webster, Mass. – all eclipsed the 50-mile mark with 13 laps for 52 miles.
Sixty runners took part in the 6-hour race and 36 of them surpassed the marathon distance by completing seven or more laps. Three runners completed 11 laps for 44 miles apiece, with Bill Elliott of Holden, Mass., doing so fastest, followed by Julia Huffman of Manchester, N.H., and Johnathan Plummer of New Gloucester, Maine. They became the first 6-hour runners in Hamsterwheel history to reach that distance milestone. Two others – Lindsay Spigel of Belfast, Maine, and Allie Bartak of Sunapee, N.H. – each logged 10 laps for 40 miles. Seven others – Durgesh Mankekar of Medford, Mass.; Emily Kisicki of Montpelier, Vt.; Jeremiah Johnson of Portsmouth, N.H.; Devin Pray of West Hartford, Conn.; Allison Medeiros of Mattapoisett, Mass.; Sharon Foster of Hudson, Mass.; and Susan Kent of Tiverton, R.I. – completed nine laps for 36 miles.
8 Hours at the Farm
The second running of 8 Hours at the Farm saw 19 runners take on a 4.2-mile loop course on the rolling terrain of Gurski Farm and Williams Park on Sunday, Nov. 6, in Brookfield, Conn. Ten of them ultimately completed at least seven loops to surpass the marathon distance, and seven eclipsed the 30-mile mark. Jessica Crandall, 43, of Berlin, Conn., finished second overall and tied the women’s course record with 37.80 miles completed. Men’s and overall winner Aaron Health, 48, of Chappaqua, N.Y., completed 10 loops for 42.00 miles, one loop shy of the men’s course record.
Five runners finished with eight loops for 33.60 miles. They were Matthew Guise, 32, of Danville, Pa.; JJ Johansen, 41, of Danbury, Conn.; Jes Parker, 43, of Westport, Conn.; Alan Peck, 54, of Brookfield, Conn.; and Elise Vaughn, 47, of Wolcott, Conn.
*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.