A jam-packed opening weekend of May means another two-roundup week to highlight all of the action for the New England ultrarunning community. In Part 1 of our roundup of May 5-7 weekend ultras we focus on the events that took place right here in New England – the Riverlands 100 in Maine, the White Lake Ultras in New Hampshire, and the Blue2Blue Challenge in Connecticut.
A year ago, heat ravaged the runners at the Riverlands 100-miler in Maine. This year, it was all about mud and manageable temperatures. Still, there was no easy running at the sixth edition of the Riverlands 100 on May 6-7 at Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner, Maine as runners had to navigate four out-and-backs on singletrack trails and jeep roads through forests, rocks, roots, dirt and mud to successfully finish.
Of the 71 starters of this year’s race, 31 finished within the 32-hour time limit. Daniel Grip did so faster than anybody, but the 43-year-old resident of Belchertown, Mass., endured plenty of pain along the way to his first 100-mile victory. Grip dislocated a rib during a fall just as he began loop two. He already held a comfortable lead, but he endured pain and discomfort the rest of the way until finishing first overall in 20:39:22. Runner-up Danny Mejia, 28, of Portland, Maine, followed in 23:30:47. Defending champion Israel Agront, 28, of Medford, Mass., placed third in 23:36:33, an hour faster than in 2022. Jason Geroux, 38, of Orrington, Maine, and Ryan Fecteau, 29, of Framingham, Mass., rounded out the top five in 25:19:12 and 25:29:01, respectively.
In the women’s race, 37-year-old Emily Kisicki of Montpelier, Vt., turned several months of hard training into a stellar race weekend. She ran consistently throughout the weekend and gradually expanded her lead as the loops went by. She ultimately finished first in the women’s field and seventh overall in 26:55:59. April Farnham, 56, of Plainfield, Vt., was a distant second in 30:28:29, while 36-year-old Melissa Andersen of Steep Falls, Maine, rounded out the podium in 30:39:42. Drew Effie, 30, of Gray, Maine, followed 10 minutes later in 30:49:38.
White Lake Ultras
The White Lake Ultras returned for its fifth edition of a lake-side beach party with 24-hour, 12-hour and 6-hour running events sprinkled in on May 6-7 at White Lake State Park in Tamworth, N.H.
Runners tackled a three-mile loop course with slight elevation change and mild technicality, starting and finishing each loop on the beach.
Twenty-one runners took on the 24-hour race and all achieved at least 10 loops for 30 miles or more. After winning the 6-hour race with 48 miles in 2022, 33-year-old Keith Nadeau of Fairhaven, Mass., returned to tackle the 24-hour event. He was victorious once again as he hammered out 105 miles to easily outdistance the rest of the field. He was the only runner to surpass the 100-mile mark, achieving his 105 miles in 23:20:45. Runner-up Robert Aftosmes-Tobio, 37, of Sharon, Mass., completed 30 laps for 90 miles. Derek Gray, 37, of Meredith, N.H., rounded out the men’s podium with 78 miles, one loop more than John Buzansky, 61, of Jamson, Pa., and Eric Matta, 41, of Maynard, Mass., who each finished 75 miles.
In the women’s race, the top two finishers matched each other’s mileage and were separated in time by just six minutes. Olivia Sharp, 25, of Pelham, N.H., completed 75 miles in 23:39:17. Jennifer Morse, 36, of Maynard, Mass., also finished 75 miles but did so in 23:45:49. Kimberly Fischer, 35, of Portland, Maine, finished third in the women’s field with 66 miles.
Twenty runners took part in the 12-hour race. Of that group, 15 surpassed the marathon distance, the top 10 went beyond 40 miles, and the men’s and women’s winners both achieved at least 60 miles. Michael Fenzel, 47, of Norwich, Vt., blazed to the men’s and overall victory with 60 miles while 44-year-old Jasmine Fowler of Morrill, Maine, placed second overall and first-place female with 60 miles – a new women’s course record for the time-based event. Sam Locke, 27, of Allenstown, N.H., was the men’s runner-up and third overall finisher with 57 miles, followed by Rick LeClerc, 39, of Sudbury, Mass., and Rob Fowler, 45, of Morrill, Maine, with 51 miles apiece. Women’s runner-up Emily Wivell, 34, of Barre, Vt., joined them with 51 miles while finishing sixth overall. Kendall LeClerc, 40, of Sudbury, Mass., and Melissa Anderson, 40, of Minnetonka, Minn., followed with 48 miles apiece.
In the 6-hour race, 30 runners took part, 16 surpassed the marathon distance and 12 achieved 30 miles or more. Jake Movsessian, 24, of New Ipswich, N.H., and Michael Conley, 39, of Gorham, Maine, led all runners with 42 miles apiece, but Movsessian completed the distance in 5:40:46 to Conley’s 5:48:07. Ryan Grimaldi, 37, of Milton, Mass., finished third with 36 miles. Four more runners logged 33 miles apiece: Ian McBee, 42, and Cassidy McBee, 14, both of Salem, Mass.; Steven Blase, 44, of Barrington, N.H., and Rob Bean, 35, of Hampton, N.H.
In the women’s race, the top three finishers all completed 10 laps for 30 miles. Valerie Moore, 31, of Quincy, Mass., finished first in 5:38:05, followed by Angela Poulin, 44, of Hollis, N.H., in 5:44:02 and Elsa Cipriani, 45, of Deery, N.H., in 5:52:31.
The fifth annual Blue2Blue Challenge 50K took place on Sunday, May 7, in New Haven, Conn., and once again tested runners on two of Connecticut’s toughest trails in its Blue trail system – the Regicides Trail and the Quinnipiac Trail. Runners amassed more than 6,300 feet of climbing while covering endless miles of technical trails.
Of the 25 starters, 19 runners ultimately finished. It was a Connecticut sweep of the podiums as Lee Davis, 41, of Hamden, Conn., led all runners in 6:11:29. Jacques Saarbach, 32, of New Haven, Conn., and Fred Willis, 38, of Cheshire, Conn., joined him on the men’s podium in 6:23:27 and 6:37:27, respectively.
Julia Maurer, 27, of Milford, Conn., topped the women’s field in 7:48:53, followed by 40-year-old Jamie Miller of North Haven, Conn., in 8:09:52. Tricia Dowcett, 52, of Cheshire, Conn., finished third in 10:13:08.
*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.