After two years as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Seth’s Fat Ass 50K returned for its 10th in-person running and 12th edition on a cold Saturday morning in Springfield, Mass.
Thirty-five runners gathered on Dec. 10 at Forest Park to attempt to complete a paved 5K loop course 10 times within a seven-hour time limit, as is tradition at Seth’s.
The day began with temperatures in the 20s, and it only warmed slightly from there as runners circled the course. Several dropped after a couple of laps, but 22 ultimately completed all 10 loops for ultramarathon finishes. The two who did so the fastest were first-timers at Seth’s.
Men’s champion Albert Mendes, 33, of Middletown, Conn., and women’s champion Theresa McBride, 48, of Westerly, Mass., capped their Seth’s debuts by finishing 1-2 overall in 4:08:15 and 4:16:01, respectively. For Mendes, his performance was fast enough to snag the final spot on the men’s all-time top 10 list for the race. Meanwhile, McBride – fresh off of a sub-10-hour 50-mile effort in November at the JFK 50 – posted the second-fastest women’s time in course history and missed the women’s record by less than five minutes.
Three-time overall champion Eric Ciocca, 45, of Northampton, Mass., followed up his wins in 2017, 2019 and 2021 by finishing third overall this year in 4:17:29. He was the lone top-10 finisher to have previously completed Seth’s.
Matthew Duffey, 46, of Boston, Mass., finished fourth overall and rounded out the men’s podium in 4:28:46, just three minutes ahead of 56-year-old Chris Llinas of Portland, Conn., who finished in 4:31:55.
Joining McBride on the women’s podium were Emily Kisicki and Katherine Van Kirk. Kisicki, 37, of Montpelier, Vt., finished sixth overall and earned the women’s runner-up spot in 4:35:36 while Van Kirk, 25, of Cambridge, Mass., followed in 4:46:05. Kisicki’s time was the eighth-fastest on the women’s course record board and Van Kirk’s was the ninth-fastest.