Kasie Enman (Huntington, VT) and David Sinclair (Peru, VT) kept their powder dry* early in the race and lit up the trails over Ragged Mountain to bring twin victories home to Vermont at the USATF 50 km Trail Championships. Fresh off a win at the Speedgoat 50K, Sinclair moved into the lead at mile 16 and opened a gap of 20 minutes on Olympic cross country skier Simi Hamilton, and by the end of the race finished in a course record time of 4:17:36. According to Sinclair, “In spite of the rain it was a great event and I had a much more pleasant race than some I’ve done recently. The road runners took it out fast at the beginning as I was only in 10th place at 5 miles. At 11 miles I picked it up on the technical single track and moved into the lead by mile 16. Once in the lead I cruised until about mile 26 where I pick up the pace again for the final push over Ragged Mountain to the finish.”
The Ragged 50K is a point to point trail race from Sunapee, New Hampshire to Ragged Mountain Ski Area and follows the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway, a 75 mile route around Lake Sunapee on single-track trail, dirt roads and a few paved roads connections.
For much of the race, Enman ran in a pack of talented ultra-trail runners that included Sarah Keyes (Saranac Lake, NY), Tara Richardson (Glenwood Springs, CO), Leah Frost (Portland, ME) and local favorite Kassandra Marin (Merrimack, NH). At the end of the race, Enman emerged from the cloud covered mountain top looking fresh and in control to enjoy the win in a course record time of 5:11:23 – nearly 10 minutes clear of second place finisher Leah Frost. According to Enman, “This is a great race which I enjoyed because the trails were just like those in my back yard. 100%, the single track was my favorite part of the Ragged 50K course.”
Second place finisher & 2016 JFK 50 Miler Champion Leah Frost said of her race, “This course kicked my butt, it was really hard and I had bad leg cramps at the end. I even sat down at the top of the mountain and talked my legs into getting back in the trail. Also, this course is way steeper, more technical and longer than what I typically run on at home in Portland, Maine.” Frost finished in 5:20:12and 12th overall.
Local favorite in the women’s race was Marin who resides just down Interstate 89 in Merrimack, NH. According to Marin, “Finishing in 16th place at the USATF Mountain Running Championships last month in Lincoln, NH was not my best race. For this longer championship I tried to stay not too far back from the top women early in the event. Other girls would pull away from me on the roads and I’d catch back up on the technical trails so I’m very happy finishing 4th. The last 3 miles up and over Ragged Mountain were my favorite. It was a party for me running downhill and hearing the music from the finish thru the fog.” This is Marin’s second ultrarunning race and her first 50k.
Former sprinter Coree Woltering (Ottawa, IL) was cruising early on in the race holding down a solid 6th position over the fast dirt and paved roads up to mile 9. A graduate of Greenville College, Woltering ran 400 meter and 800 meter races but switched over to ultra races in November 2014. Since then he’s raced 20 ultras and finished 25th at the 2018 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. According to Woltering, “I told myself I’m going to keep going and hopefully stay with the lead pack. I was trying to push the whole time and be efficient on the trails. The final 1400′ climb was really awesome and the whole course was beautiful.” Woltering had a tough second half and finished 19th in 6:09:15.
Sarah Keyes jumped over Vermont from New York to race the 2018 USATF 50 km Trail Championships as a tune up for UTMB later this month in Chamonix, France. “I felt really good most of the time. Leaders took it out fast so I dialed it back as I’m preparing for a 100 mile plus race. I was definitely more comfortable on the technical trails than the fast roads. For UTMB I’m planning to ease thru 70 miles, eat a lot and see what happens. I would love to podium!” Keyes is a nurse in the small Adirondack town of Saranac Lake and raced in the Snowshoe World Championships in Spain last winter.
In the masters race, husband wife team of Trisha and Uli Steidl (Seattle, WA) each finished 8th in their respective races and were the top 40 and over runners. Uli took the Men’s 45-49 50 km trail national title while Trisha won the Female 40-44 title.
Second in the men’s masters race was North Carolina’s Aaron Saft (1st place in Men’s 40-44). Todd Callaghan was the third overall men’s master and 2nd in the 45-49 age group. Kehr Davis (Great Barrington, MA) was the second female masters finish and 2nd in the female 40-44 age group. Debbie Livingston (Bolton, CT) was third master and also in the female 40-44 age group.
The oldest finisher was 70 year old Bob Kennedy (Durham, NH) who also won the USATF 70-74 age group national title in 9:59:14. 57 year old Deborah Towle (Dover, NH) was the oldest female finisher in a time of 9:07:41.
Taking a break from his day job training for cross country sprint races, Simi Hamilton had this to say about the race: “The Ragged Mtn 50 km was a super cool race, and the fact that it was the 50 km Trail Running National Championships made the event all the more exciting. The course was challenging but very fun… the perfect combination of fast roads, technical single track, big climbs, tricky descents, beautiful forests, and great New Hampshire vistas. As a cross country ski racer who specializes in 3 minute sprint races, I was pretty unfamiliar with how to go about tackling a 4+ hour running race like this. But when it comes down to it, you experience a lot of the same emotions even though they are very different events. Whether you finish a race like this in 4 hours or 12 hours, you learn some pretty cool things about yourself. You learn that as you long as your mind believes you can keep pushing than your body will follow, you learn that nothing is more satisfying than moving by your own power through our beautiful mountains and forests, and you re-learn time and again that we’re all incredibly lucky to be part of a community that celebrates these lessons and each other. Thanks so much to Six03 Endurance and USATF for putting on such an awesome event, I’ll definitely be back!”
Winning the first of three selections races for the 2019 U.S. Trail Team, Sinclair and Enman also earned automatic team spots and can represent the United States at the 2019 Trail World Championships in Mirandha do Corvo, Portugal on June 8.
This was the second year the Ragged 50K and 75 Mile Stage Race has been organized by Tom Hooper and SIX03 Endurance. According to Hooper, “The race went awesome; it was great to see West coast guys and gals racing here in New England. As a race director you always wish for more, but I’m happy with the turn out. As with any race, nothing’s ever perfect, but we’re always trying to improve and would love to host a USATF championship again in the future.”
The Ragged 50K also featured a strong connection to U.S. cross country skiing royalty. Following the race from start, at several road crossings and at the finish was 89 year old John Caldwell (Putney, VT). John represented the U.S. at the 1952 Winter Olympic Games, has been a U.S. Ski Team coach, authored books on cross-country skiing, and founded the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA). In 1968 he and other members of the U.S. Ski Team set a trail running FKT on the 273 mile Long Trail of 9 days.
Other cross country ski racers at the event included John’s grand-daughter & 2-time Olympian Sophie Caldwell, 3-time Olympian and second place finisher Simi Hamilton, race winner David Sinclair, USATF Championship Liaison Richard Bolt, US Ski Team coach Matt Whitcolmb and Isabel Caldwell.
The 2018 USATF 50 km Trail Championship had $4,000 in Prize Money.
1st place $750 M&F (David Sinclair & Kasie Enman)
2nd place $600 M&F (Simi Hamilton & Leah Frost)
3rd Place $350 M&F (David Kilgore & Elizabeth Ryan)
4th Place $200 M&F (Brandon Newbould & Kassandra Marin)
Top Masters $100 M&F (Uli Steidl & Trisha Steidl)
USATF New England Association Championship had an additional $1,500 in prize money for members.
1st place $300 M&F (David Sinclair & Kasie Enman)
2nd Place $200 M&F (Simi Hamilton & Leah Frost)
3rd Place $150 M&F (David Kilgore & Kassandra Marin)
Top Masters $100 M&F (Todd Callaghan & Kehr Davis)
FUN RACE FACT: Trail running in the “Beast Coast” means you might see a beast. Race winner Sinclair saw a mother black bear and cub just off the trail in Gile State Forest about half way thru the race. Following bear encounter best practices, Sinclair shouted at the bear and waved his arms causing the bears run off only to have the trail curve around where he saw the cub for a second time.
The results with age group awards listed above are USATF members only. There were 125 overall finishers of the 2018 Ragged 50K out of 170 runners who signed up for the 50K and 3 day stage race. Overall race results can be found at: http://ultrasignup.com/m_results_event.aspx?did=51874#id1547134
Even more race photos by Richard Bolt on Google Photos.
Official USATF results will be posted here soon.
* Editors Note: The phrase “keep your powder dry” means to “always be prepared to take action yourself if necessary” and is a fitting reference in New England; home of the Paul Revere’s ride, the American Revolution and the Ragged 50K.