MCDONALD, Penn. ̶ Elizabeth McCarthy of Walden shook off adversity to excel in track and field at the 2023 National Senior Games. McCarthy and her husband, Tim Hogeboom, were among the 10,000-plus athletes who converged on Pittsburgh, July 7 to July 18, for the biennial Olympic-style senior competition.
McCarthy’s fifth trip to the National Senior Games was not easy. She dislocated a toe and contracted COVID-19 in early June. After being treated with Paxlovid, she experienced an initial recovery. Ten days later, the virus rebounded with a vengeance. On June 27, McCarthy was struggling with fatigue and having difficulty going for a walk.
McCarthy and Hogeboom remained optimistic. Hogeboom was fortunate to escape the virus. McCarthy recovered in time for their drive to Pittsburgh on July 5 to July 6. On July 7, McCarthy watched Hogeboom earn a sixth-place ribbon for his age group in the 10k road race. On July 9, they competed together in the 5k road race. Hogeboom returned to the podium, earning an eighth-place age group ribbon. McCarthy narrowly missed the podium with a tenth-place finish.
On July 10, McCarthy and Hogeboom switched to their second sport, track and field. McCarthy’s first event was the javelin. U.S. Masters champion Linda Cohn was the favorite to win. Cohn did not disappoint. Her top throw of 97 feet, one inch set a new USA Track and Field F70-74 age group record.
Cohn loaned McCarthy a javelin to use for the event. McCarthy set a new personal record with a throw of 56 feet, seven inches. Her effort earned a fifth-place ribbon out of 13 competitors in the F70-74 age group.
The 800m race was next on McCarthy’s playlist. Sixteen athletes competed in two heats on July 13. McCarthy was seeded in the faster heat. She went out with the lead pack of five runners. Maintaining a steady pace, she held on to earn the fifth-place ribbon for the F70-74 age group. Her time was 4:01.38.
Hogeboom and McCarthy ran next in their respective 1500m races. Hogeboom placed 17th of 23 athletes in the M70-74 age group. His finish time was 7:01.82. McCarthy earned her third ribbon of the games. Among 16 competitors in the F70-74 age group, she placed sixth with a time of 8:06.34.
“I felt pretty good,” said McCarthy. “Not as fast as I had hoped, but then that was pre-COVID reality. “It was muggy and the air was thick, though cooler when my group ran at 8:35 a.m. than when Tim ran at 10 a.m.
“I found the camaraderie heartwarming; so many wonderful people from all over the country. Many noted concern when they learned we were from Vermont. They asked how we were doing and offered their condolences and best wishes for our state. I made new friends and connected with others I met in previous years, reminding me how these events are more than winning a race.”
Ultramarathoners Exceed Century Mark
WINDSOR, Mass. – Lee Pellerin, from Walden, April Farnham, from Plainfield, and Ira Wheeler, from Danville, earned their 100-mile belt buckles, July 7 to July 10, at the Notchview Ultramarathon. Organizers offered six different race options. Runners could choose to cover as many loops of a 1.9-mile course as possible during a six-hour, 12-hour, 24-hour, 48-hour, or a 72-hour time frame. A 100.7-mile (53-loop) race was also in the mix.
Pellerin, 45, chose the 100.7-mile race, which started on Friday, July 7. Runners repeated a 1.9-mile loop on a rolling cross country ski trail. The double-track and single-track course ran through woods and a grassy field. Pellerin won the race in 22 hours, 21 minutes, and 18 seconds. He finished 14-1/2 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
Farnham, 56, and Wheeler, 44, chose the 72-hour race, which they were familiar with. At the 2022 Notchview Ultra, Farnham and Wheeler completed 100.7 and 152 miles, respectively. Last year’s winner, Taylor Verville, from Keene, N.H., covered an astonishing 216.6 miles in three days.
Weather conditions were extreme for this year’s Notchview Ultra. During the event, Farnham and Wheeler encountered three days of high heat and humidity, followed by non-stop torrential downpours that turned parts of the course to mud.
Verville, who moved to Kingston, Mass., went even further this year. The 32-year-old runner covered 237.5 miles to place first among 61 participants, male and female. An amazing 43 runners completed 100 miles or more, with three runners going over 200 miles.
Wheeler rallied after suffering from the effects of the heat during the first 20 miles. He made it to 102.6 miles. Farnham completed 60 loops totaling 114 miles. After waking up cold and wet on Monday morning, July 10, the duo decided to end their races. They had gone beyond their 100-mile goals.
“You never know who you’re going to end up with on the trail,” Farnham posted on Facebook. “You run with complete strangers, and at the end of the event you feel like you’ve made friends for life. It’s such a great experience.”
After recovering from the ultramarathon, Farnham put her limitless energy to work assisting with flood relief in Barre. At 7 a.m., on Monday, she responded to a volunteer call from Enough Ministries.
Working with another volunteer and a member of the congregation, Farnham sorted through food donations for the ministries’ food pantry, and restocked their giving closet with clothes and shoes for people in need. She then went on another volunteer mission to form a bucket brigade to empty a basement filled with sludge.
“Hours later, with people working together, covered in sludge, the basement is empty,” posted Farnham on Monday night. “The owners were extremely grateful the people who showed up were there to work hard and the result was amazing.”