MassUltra Roundup: Sri Chinmoy 100K, Traprock, Orcas Island, Desert Rats, and the Rattler

In this week’s roundup we take a look back a few weeks to April 3 when Padraig Mullins of Norton, Mass., represented his local ultrarunning community and his native Ireland proudly with a personal-best day at the Sri Chinmoy 100K in the United Kingdom. Additionally, we highlight the always-tough Traprock 50K in Connecticut, ultrarunning debuts at the Orcas Island 50-miler in Washington and Desert Rats 50K in Colorado, as well as a local runner’s return to the Rattler Trail Race in Colorado Springs.

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MassUltra Roundup: Squatchapple, Zion, Eagleton Trail, Shore2Shore, Lake Sonoma, and Singletrack Maniac

April is off to a strong start for New England ultrarunners. The impressive month includes multiple victories and podium finishes for runners from the region during the April 8-10 weekend, as well as hard-earned finishes at some tough races around the country. Quincy resident Brain Malger and North Haven’s Jamie Miller made sure the men’s and women’s victories at the Squatchapple 50-miler in New Jersey were earned by runners from the region. Meanwhile, Lexington’s Seth Cutler put an exclamation point on his ultra debut with a runner-up finish at the Eagleton Trail Challenge in Pennsylvania. Additionally, several runners from the region took on various distances at the Zion Ultras, including Lakeville’s Shaun Daylor who pushed hard on the fully exposed course and raced to a seventh-place overall finish in the 100-miler. Those performances and more are highlighted in this edition of the roundup.

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Pandemic Provided Perfect Opportunity for Kimball to Craft New Trail-Running Guidebook

Ben Kimball has been a recognizable presence on the New England road-, trail- and ultrarunning scene for more than a decade as a photographer, capturing memories for runners at events ranging from local 5Ks, cross country races and track meets, to the gnarly trails of the Seven Sisters Trail Race and legendary events like the Vermont 100.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many races throughout New England, Kimball’s photography workload diminished. Rather than panic, he pivoted and dedicated his time to a project years in the making: he wrote his second trail-running guidebook, “Trail Running Eastern Massachusetts.”

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The Lynn Woods: Finding my Tribe and Passion for Ultra Running

Armed with a brand new pair of trail shoes and a can of bug spray, I arrived for my first trail race in the Lynn Woods on a hot and humid Wednesday night in 2018.

I had never run trails before. But that night, I pretended I knew what I was doing as I charged up steep, rocky hills and over rolling single track sprinkled with pine needles. At the end of the race, along with the new friends I had made along the way, I crossed the finish line to cheers and flashing cameras. 

That night would change the course of my running, and ultimately, my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had just begun chasing an ultramarathon dream.

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Needham Running Club to Play Host to Backyard Ultra

The Needham Running Club made its first foray into playing host to an ultrarunning event in 2021 when it organized the Needham May Day Distance Classic, a 14-hour and 5-minute fun run on the trails of Cutler Park. The free, no-frills event was a success with 38 runners turning out to log mileage on the dry, sunny day.

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MassUltra Roundup: Umstead, Gorge Waterfalls, Trail Trashed, and Naked Prussian

Lance Doherty returned to the Umstead 100-miler for the second straight year, and for the second straight year the resident of Somerville, Mass., earned a spot on the podium in North Carolina. Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, former Boston resident Joe McConaughy hammered a top-three finish at the Gorge Waterfalls 100K. Also in the West, Cambridge resident Richard Mountfield was victorious after 50 miles in Nevada. Those performances and more are included in this edition of the roundup.

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After 2-Year Hiatus, Runners Savor Every Last Minute of To Hale and Back

WESTWOOD, Mass. – On paper, Robert Lynch’s decision to go back out for one more loop seemed like wishful thinking.

Lynch already had seven loops and 24.5 miles on his legs. His previous three trips through the 3.5-mile course had taken the 46-year-old from Sharon, Mass., 47, 48 and 54 minutes, respectively. If he wanted to complete one more and have it count, he had to do it in less than 46 minutes.

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MassUltra Roundup: Antelope Island, Behind the Rocks, and Spring on the Trails

The center of New England ultrarunning during the March 25-27 weekend was Hale Reservation in Westwood, Mass., where the Trail Animals Running Club welcomed runners back to the To Hale and Back 6-Hour Ultra following a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, but a handful of runners from the region headed elsewhere to explore new trails. Two of them delivered head-turning performances in Utah, with Newton’s Nick Poles placing second overall in his 100-mile debut at Antelope Island and Rhode Island’s Ben Quatromoni earning a podium spot in Moab. Those performances highlight this week’s roundup.

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Going beyond the marathon in Massachusetts