Patient Pellerin Wins First Ultra On New TARCkey Trot Course

WINCHESTER, Mass. – Though she’s been running with Northeast Trail Crew for the past year, Rebecca Pellerin waited until October to make her trail-racing debut when she took on the 15-miler at the Ghost Train Rail Trail Race.

Her patience paid off with an impressive performance. Pellerin, 27, of Cambridge, Mass., finished fifth overall and was the women’s runner-up, five minutes behind the winner. Following that successful effort, she wasted no time jumping into her first ultramarathon. Four weeks after racing at Ghost Train, Pellerin took part in the sixth running of the Trail Animals Running Club’s TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultra on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester.

Matthew Rogers (99) and Mat Ridley (64) raced in close contact for much of the day at the TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultra on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Photo by Chris Wristen/MassUltra.

Eighty-five runners took part in the event, which used a 3.5-mile loop course that started and finished at the farm but mostly took place on the often rugged trails of neighboring Whipple Hill. The course included a few updates from the first five years, expanding the loop length from by four tenths of a mile and upping the elevation gain a bit to around 630 feet of climbing per loop.

For most of the day it looked like the battle for the overall win would come down to Matthew Rogers, 33, of Pawtucket, R.I., and Mat Ridley, 32, of Quincy, Mass.. The pair ran in close contact for several hours, separated by less than 10 seconds for most of the early loops with Ridley a couple strides ahead. Ridley stretched his lead to nearly two minutes by the end of loop four and six minutes by the time he finished loop five. Still, Rogers proved resilient as he rallied and overtook Ridley in loop six. His pace fading, Ridley took a short break before ultimately completing one more loop.

Rebecca Pellerin was feeling good as she neared the end of another loop of the TARCkey Trot course on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. Pellerin earned the overall win. Photo by Chris Wristen/MassUltra.

While Rogers and Ridley jockeyed for the lead throughout the morning, Pellerin lingered a few minutes back. She didn’t have the leaders in her sights for the first few hours, but she was never out of striking distance. She completed loop one four minutes behind them and in seventh place overall. She spent the next few loops picking off other runners and working her way through the field. After four loops she was in third place overall, 13 minutes off the lead.

Pellerin chipped three minutes off the gap during her fifth loop and then proceeded to get stronger. She threw down the fastest sixth loop of any runner (42:42) and pulled within 3 1/2 minutes of Rogers. She followed it up with a 43:59 seventh loop – also the fastest of any runner in the field – and surged into the lead. Once ahead, Pellerin never looped back. She cranked out one more steady loop – her eighth and final – and closed out the overall victory with 28.0 miles in 5:35:54.

Hank Xi raced to a third-place overall finish at the 2022 TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultra at Wright-Locke Farm and Whipple Hill. Photo by Chris Wristen/MassUltra.

Rogers joined Pellerin at the finish line five minutes later as the only other runner to complete eight loops within the time limit. He was the overall runner-up in 5:41:08.

Hank Xi, 40, of Malden, Mass., lingered at the back end of the top 10 for much of the day, but he outlasted much of the field. By the end of his sixth loop he climbed to sixth, and after his seventh and final trip through the course he surged to a third-place overall finish, completing 24.5 miles in 5:22:06. Another steady climber, Maciej Nowicki, 34, of Boston, Mass., finished fourth overall with 24.5 miles in 5:29:25. Ridley finished fifth overall with 24.5 miles in 5:34:28.

Theodora Textor Murray raced to a sixth-place overall finish at the 2022 TARCkey Trot 6-Hour Ultra. Photo by Chris Wristen/MassUltra.

Three additional runners also completed 24.5 miles to round out the top eight. Theodora Textor Murray, 41, of Brookline, Mass., overcame a wrong turn and bonus mileage during lap one and steadily picked her way through the field as the hours passed. By the time she was done she’d battled her way to a sixth-place overall finish, completing her miles in 5:50:28. Bethany Briere, 39, of West Greenwich, R.I., followed in seventh place overall in 5:54:46, followed by Joshua Hardester, 41, of Waltham, Mass., in 5:56:17.

Twenty-six more runners finished six laps for 21-mile outings.


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