February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the ultrarunning calendar, especially here in New England. Sure, several folks were willing to endure the sub-zero conditions of the TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-Hour Ultra, but beyond that the ultrarunning calendar is mighty quiet. Still, while folks were battling the cold at the Frozen Yeti, there were several New Englanders who opted for warmer climates to race during the Feb. 4-5 weekend. A handful of New Englanders raced the Rocky Raccoon 100-miler in Texas and another competed at a 50K in California’s Bay Area. We have them covered in this edition of the roundup.
Rocky Raccoon 100
The Rocky Raccoon 100 has long been a popular destination race for runners seeking a first 100-mile finish or a personal-best time for the distance. The five-loop course on rolling trails through the tall pine forest of Huntsville State Park makes the race highly runnable and crew accessible.
A pair of New England men made it their first 100-mile attempt on Feb. 4-5 in Huntsville, Texas, and both were successful. Sean Blythe, 26, of Tiverton, R.I., had a dynamite debut performance, placing 46th overall in 22:23:46. Additionally, 26-year-old Davis Clarke of Winchester, Mass., built upon his speedy 60-mile performance at Ghost Train in October by kicking off 2023 with his first 100-mile finish in 24:06:41.
In addition to the 100-mile first-timers, two more New Englanders added the Rocky Raccoon belt buckle to their collection of 100-mile finisher awards. Eli Buraikian, 44, of Brownsville, Vt., earned his 10th 100-mile finish and first at Rocky Raccoon with his 96th-place finish in 25:01:02. Additionally, Emilio Navarro, 55, of Cranston, R.I., followed-up his 100-mile debut at the Midstate Massive Ultra-Trail last October by finishing Rocky Raccoon in 27:17:53.
Of the 388 runners who started the race, 248 finished within the 32-hour time limit. Daniel Frank, 39, of Columbia, Md., and Tatiana Rypinski, 29, of Houston, Texas, topped the men’s and women’s fields in 13:42:18 and 17:38:51.
An additional 139 runners took part in the 100K race at Rocky Raccoon, with 111 ultimately finishing. Among the finishers were four New England residents. Clelia Sigaud, 33, of Wilmot, N.H., led the way for the runners from the region, placing 74th overall and 15th in the women’s field in 17:47:03. Additionally, a trio of Massachusetts men finished together as 51-year-old Rob Jackson and 52-year-old Matt Jackson of Marlborough and 47-year-old Joshua Lewis of Hudson, Mass., crossed the line seconds apart in 18:52:41, 18:52:45 and 18:52:47, respectively.
Andrew James, 44, of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, fended off 43-year-old Adam Valenstein of Bellaire, Texas, for the overall win. James earned the victory in 9:44:11 and Valenstein followed 21 seconds behind in 9:44:32. Starshine Blackford, 47, of Columbus, Ohio, was the first-place woman in 11:46:45.
Golden Gate Trail Run
The San Francisco Bay Area is steeped in ultrarunning tradition, and Emily Anderson got a taste of it when the 28-year-old resident of Somerville, Mass., took part in the Golden Gate Trail Run 50K on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Sausalito, Calif.
The race started and finished at Rodeo Beach, offering runners panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands as they raced along the singletrack and amassed more than 6,500 feet of climbing. Forty-two runners finished within the nine-hour time limit, and Anderson was right in the middle of the field placing 20th overall. Her time of 6:44:24 also was good for a tie for third place in the women’s field. Anderson and 30-year-old Jennifer Yu of Palo Alto, Calif., both logged the same finishing time. Debbie Solis, 37, of San Jose, Calif., topped the women’s field in 6:13:27 while 26-year-old San Francisco resident Quinn Todzo led the men in 4:35:32.
*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.