Barely a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy Rusiecki’s world as a race director began to crumble.
The first race of the 2020 season that she was slated to direct – the Mt. Toby 50K – was forced to cancel as orders from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker restricted the size of public gatherings, schools were closed, and businesses statewide largely shut down or transitioned to work-from-home environments. A few weeks later, Rusiecki was forced to cancel the popular 7 Sisters Trail Race as the pandemic worsened. As the year wore on, her three remaining events all were canceled.
Continue reading After VT100 Cancellation, Resilient RD Rusiecki Finds New Ways to Support Vermont Adaptive
Ever since he was young, Eric Hollis has had a strong curiosity about and deep empathy for the homeless, a part of the population that he says is largely misunderstood and too often ignored.
“I’ve always felt that the homeless community has been forgotten about or misinterpreted,” Hollis said. “I remember being young and going to visit some cities with my family and always wanting to give money to the homeless, who were obviously struggling. Throughout my entire life, I’ve heard the generalized argument about how homeless people did this to themselves, and that they’re just addicted to drugs or alcohol and that was their choice. I’ve always felt like that was the wrong viewpoint and that if given the opportunity to hear their stories the perspective would likely be different.”
As he grew older, the empathy Hollis felt during those trips to places like Boston and New York City only strengthened. Continue reading Hollis Running to Support Massachusetts Homeless Community Hit Hard by Pandemic
The Trail Animals Running Club’s annual TARC Spring Classic is one of the most popular trail-running events in Massachusetts, drawing more than 300 runners to the trails of Weston each April to tackle distances from 10K to 50K. The 10th annual Spring Classic was scheduled for Saturday, April 25, and it was shaping up to be another busy day on the trails with hundreds of runners once again signed up to race.
As the global pandemic caused by the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, expanded its spread across the state and the country, the race’s future was put in doubt. Then, following an order by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker limiting the size of gatherings to no more than 50 people to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Spring Classic co-Race Directors Annie Gagliardi and Michael McDuffie announced on Wednesday, March 18, that the race was canceled.
The Spring Classic was the second TARC race and third in Massachusetts to cancel due to COVID-19. That number has since grown to eight cancellations, three postponements, and another that will take place as a virtual race. That means that after kicking off the year with the G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K and the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K in January and the TARCtic Frozen Yeti on Feb. 1-2, the earliest the next in-person ultra in Massachusetts might take place is July. That’s a long time for ultrarunners to go without connecting with their trail tribe. Some race directors are doing what they can to minimize that disconnect even if races can’t take place in person at the moment by introducing virtual races, a concept that has exploded in popularity nationwide during the pandemic. Continue reading Race Directors Embrace Virtual Options to Keep Runners Motivated During Pandemic
For several months, Timothy Furtado eyed the ultramarathon world with curiosity. He’d been a runner for several years, completing distances from 5K through the marathon on numerous occasions, but the idea of going farther intrigued him. Continue reading Pandemic Doesn’t Deny Furtado His 100K Dream
March 20 wasn’t a typical Friday in Lynnfield, Mass. In fact, it may have been the strangest of Fridays in recent memory for residents of that town and many others throughout Massachusetts, for it was the Friday that closed out the first week of a partial statewide shutdown to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Schools had been shuttered on short notice, forcing parents and teachers to scramble to figure out childcare solutions. Many people transitioned to working from home while some were laid off. Restaurants closed. Barber shops and hair salons locked their doors. Parks and playgrounds were deemed off limits. These were strange times, indeed. Continue reading Mitchener Uses Running Superpower to Bring Laughter to Neighbors During Pandemic
Christopher Agbay stood at the trailhead and stared into the woods ahead of him. The sun was still rising, gradually illuminating the trail he was about to take on. On good days, the Wapack Trail packs a serious punch. On days where conditions aren’t so great—days like this—it can be downright grueling. Thunderstorms had recently soaked the area for several hours. Now here he was, at 6:45 a.m., ready to embrace whatever the trails had in store for him. Continue reading Ultra Lessons Propel Agbay, Bakery to Find Opportunity, Optimism Amid Pandemic
While out for a run on the Ware River Rail-Trail on Tuesday, March 31, Steve Levandosky encountered a sign that inspired him to stop, pull out his phone and snap a photo.
“Use of this trail is a privilege & not a right,” the sign read.
The message resonated with Levandosky—both the first and second parts of it. Continue reading For Levandosky, Land Conservation is Key to Protecting, Expanding Trails
Standing at the base of Horn Pond Mountain, Samantha LeBlanc caught her breath, gathered herself, and stared up the trail toward the summit.
Towanda, she thought as she steeled herself for what she was about to do. She took a deep breath, gritted her teeth and charged forward.
Towanda! Continue reading For Woburn with Love: LeBlanc to Take on Towanda to Benefit Community
Since running her first trail ultramarathon in 2015, Marie Gryszowka has steadily pushed her limits, tackling more mileage, taking on bigger adventures, and never backing down from a challenge. The 2019 season was her biggest yet, with at least seven ultramarathon finishes – including her first two 100-milers. Continue reading With Ultras On Hold, Gryszowka Makes a Difference One Mask at a Time
Whether you first started reading the site this year or you’ve been following along from the beginning in early 2016, you likely came to MassUltra because you care about your local ultrarunning community. You’re here because you want to know the latest news, because you draw inspiration from the people around you, or because you simply want to feel a little more connected. It’s probably some combination of all of those reasons; in fact, all of them played a role in my decision to launch this site four-plus years ago, and they are why it continues today. Continue reading From the Editor’s Desk: Telling Stories While Our Sport Presses Pause