MassUltra Roundup: St. Croix Scenic, Coldwater Rumble, HURT, and Long Haul

Snow has started making its way into New England, and a handful of ultrarunners from the region headed for warmer climates to race during the Jan. 14-15 weekend. A few headed to the U.S. Virgin Islands, including Maine’s Nikolas Franks who capped the trip with a course-record performance. Others traveled south to Florida for the Long Haul 100, while a few more traveled to Hawaii and Arizona for 100-mile ultras, including Rhode Island’s Justin Hetherington who raced to a podium finish at the Coldwater Rumble. Those warmer weather races produced some feel-good results for New Englanders, and we have them covered in this edition of the roundup.

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Good Vibes, Great Weather as G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K Kicks Off 2023 Season

TOPSFIELD, Mass. – A few things have changed through the years at the G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K. There was the change of venue in 2003, the shift from the last Saturday in December to first Saturday in January starting in 2005, and the new start/finish area in 2022 to allow for more sun.

Still, plenty has stayed the same. It’s still free to participate and there are no bibs. You just show up and run. Additionally, the most important details – the people, the low-key atmosphere and the all-are-welcome attitude – have remained consistent through the years, and they were once again on display for the 23rd running of the event on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Bradley Palmer State Park.

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MassUltra Roundup: Bandera, South Mountains, and Sandy Bottom

Bandera, Texas, was the main attraction for North American ultrarunning during the Jan. 7-8 weekend, and a handful of New Englanders were there to join in the fun, including Vermont’s Kasie Enman and Massachusetts’ Elena Horton who secured top-10 finishes in the 100K. Additionally, Vermont’s Nigel Bates traveled to North Carolina and brought home a 50K victory, and New Hampshire’s Kerri Haskins kicked off the year with a 50K in Virginia. The 2023 season is off to a fast start, and we have it covered in this edition of the roundup.

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Photos: 2023 G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K

The 2023 Massachusetts ultrarunning season officially opened on Saturday, Jan. 7, when Gil’s Athletic Club played host to the 23rd running of the G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, Mass. Around 200 runners took part in the free, laid-back event, completing anywhere between one and five loops of the approximately 6.2-mile loop course. The following are a sample of the photos taken by MassUltra Editor Chris Wristen, who also ran two loops of the course. A larger gallery can be viewed on the MassUltra Facebook page here. Additionally, a much larger photo gallery courtesy of Patrick Caron can be viewed here.

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MassUltra Roundup: Across the Years and Run Undead

The 2022 ultrarunning season is officially over and 2023 is under way. A handful of New Englanders seized one last opportunity to log a 2022 ultra or opened the new season in its earliest hours by taking on events between Dec. 28, 2022, and Jan. 3, 2023. For Sudbury’s Seng-Lai Tan, that meant a trip to Alabama for 100K ultra in the final hours of the year. For several others, that meant a trip west to Arizona for the multi-day Across the Years Endurance Festival. We have both of those events covered as we close out 2022 and welcome in 2023 in this edition of the roundup.

Across the Years

Seven New England residents closed out 2022 and welcomed in 2023 with successful races in a variety of the distance and time-based offerings at the Across the Years Endurance Festival from Dec. 28, 2022 – Jan. 3, 2023, at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix, Ariz.

The pioneering fixed-time, multi-day ultramarathon running event has been held annually since 1983, with the exception of two years ago when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 38th edition offered 6-day, 72-hour, 48-hour, 24-hour, 12-hour, 6-hour, 100-mile, marathon and last person standing races, all of them on a 1.686219-kilometer dirt path.

New Englanders competed in the 6-day, 100-mile, last person standing, 24-hour and 12-hour races, and a few of them were among the top performers.

Eojin Kim of Somerville, Mass., had the biggest performance of the New England contingent. The 24-year-old was among 67 participants in the 6-day race, and he finished fifth overall with 348.902 miles. Two runners surpassed the 400-mile mark with 40-year-old Budjargal Byambaa of Bellevue, Wash., topping the men’s field with 463.108 miles and 50-year-old Annabel Hepworth of Sydney, Australia, leading the women with 403.386 miles. For Kim, it was the final big performance in a year where he also completed the Silverheels 100 in Colorado, the Rio Del Lago 100-miler in California and the Bigfoot 200-miler. Kim is entered in the Triple Crown of 200s for 2023.

Joining Kim in the 6-day race was 66-year-old Scott Perrapato of South Burlington, Vt., who finished 29th overall with 201.169 miles.

Two other big performances from New Englanders came in the last person standing and 12-hour races where the women’s champions hailed from the region. Liz Derstine, 37, of Melrose, Mass., finished fourth overall out of 20 runners in the last person standing race and led the women’s field with 108.96 miles. It was her first time racing the last person standing format and first time achieving the 100-mile mark. Five runners surpassed 100 miles, led by 51-year-old Paul Nielsen of Wellington, Colo., with 140.39 miles.

In the 12-hour race, 24-year-old Krista Fasciano of Berlin, Conn., was the women’s winner and third overall finisher out of 23 runners with 55.531 miles. Mark Hammond, 37, of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, led all runners with 74.290 miles.

In the 100-mile race, 52-year-old Gregory Legier of Biddeford, Maine, finished 15th out of 33 runners in 30:57:19. Additionally, two New England residents were among the 154 participants in the 24-hour race with 44-year-old Mike Kendra of Cranston, R.I., finishing 57.626 miles and 71-year-old Gordon Smith of East Winthrop, Maine, completing 32.48 miles. 

Run Undead Ultra Trail Party

Seng-Lai Tan closed out 2022 in style with one final ultramarathon in the closing hours of the year. Tan, 51, of Sudbury, Mass., took part in the inaugural Run Undead Ultra Trail Party on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Pelham, Ala. The event – which billed itself as an “All Night Rave in Guise of a Trail Race!” –  offered 100-mile, 100K, 50-mile and 50K ultra distances on a flat 5-mile loop course through Oak Mountain State Park.

Tan was the lone New England resident in the field. He was one of three 100K finishers, completing the distance in 17:49:00. Yuri Force, 39, Newnan, Ga., led the way in 13:29:50, followed by 25-year-old Emily White of Grovetown, Ga., in 14:39:20.

Another 16 runners completed 100 miles, 16 finished 50 miles, and an additional 17 completed the 50K.

*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.