STOWE – Ironwood Adventures chose the steepest scrambling trails on the Trapp Family Lodge property for Sunday’s half marathon and marathon races. Four Craftsbury runners completed the winding 13.1-mile half marathon loop to the summit of Round Top Mountain and back. One Hardwick runner completed the two-loop ultra on the mix of double track trails, dirt roads, and serpentine single track.
Ira O’Meara-Costello, 40, was the lone local marathoner among 98 finishers. O’Meara-Costello did the Trapp Lodge half marathon in 2016. This was his first attempt at the full marathon. With high hopes going into the race, he conserved energy and took it easy on the first loop. The second loop became a painful struggle. He had to abandon his goal of running up all the hills.
“The first lap, I passed a lot of people, but the second lap I got some pretty wicked cramps in my inner thighs and didn’t make up the time I was hoping for,” said O’Meara-Costello. “Instead of cruising the last three miles, I mostly tried to keep my legs loose, throwing them in front of my body like they were lifeless chunks of wood. A terrible cramp got me about 1/4 mile before the finish. I was doubled over in pain for about a minute until I could run to the end.”
The marathon attracted entries from 22 states, the District of Columbia, and the province of Quebec. O’Meara-Costello placed 12th, finishing the grueling marathon 3:54:41. He logged over 4,000 feet of elevation gain during the race.
Philippe Paradis, 30, from Quebec, won the marathon in 3:23:23. Maddy Pfeifer, 28, from Williston, topped the women’s division in 3:53:29.
Peter Johnson, 51, from Craftsbury, was the top local finisher in the half marathon. Johnson placed ninth of 285 finishers, in 1:45:29. Oscar Defrancis, 22, from Northampton, Mass., won the race in 1:32:52. Alicia Freese, 35, from Tunbridge, was the fastest woman. She finished in 1:45:58.
Alayne Tetor, 37, from Craftsbury, was the fifth female finisher. Tetor, who teaches art at Craftsbury Academy, placed 30th overall in 2:00:20. Lucy Hamel, 39, from Craftsbury, placed 44th in 2:05:21.
Hamel ran the half marathon for the first time. “What a beautiful setting!” she exclaimed. “The mix of single-track, steep hiking trail, and field running kept me focused and engaged the whole time. The race went by faster than I anticipated; I was surprised to reach the nine-mile mark and be cruising downhill already.”
Erin Magoon, 44, rounded out the trio of Craftsbury women. Magoon placed 126th with a time of 2:27:53.
Local Masters Romp at Kingdom Challenge
ST. JOHNSBURY – Forty-one runners raced Saturday at the 15th Annual Kingdom Challenge. The point-to-point half marathon from Lyndonville to St. Johnsbury involved 1,440 feet of uphill climbs and 1,519 feet of descents. Three local runners were among the top six finishers.
Dressed in shorts and singlets, Hazen Union cross country coach, Netdahe Stoddard, 46, and technical education teacher, Maxfield English, 47, knew the race would heat up quickly.
Stoddard took the early lead, cruising at an average pace of 6:25 per mile for the first five miles. English followed a few paces back, along with Jack Billings, from St. Johnsbury. Billings, 27, was a cross country standout at North Central College, in Naperville, Ill.
English closed the gap during mile six. He dropped a 6:05 split for mile seven, leaving Stoddard and Billings behind. Mile eight was English’s slowest split (7:21) as he climbed the steepest hill of the course and conquered the daunting 228-foot elevation gain.
“It was nice to have the company of comparable runners in Netdahe and Jack,” said English. “We paced together for the first 8k. I tried to put distance between us on the ascents, and stride out the rest. The hills were challenging, but it was a great, scenic course. Given running a full marathon a week earlier, somehow it worked out.”
“Conditions were perfect, with no wind, cloudy skies, and temperatures in the 40s,” said Stoddard. “Max and Jack are faster and stronger. I couldn’t get either one to take the lead during the first five miles. They let me pick the line and pace. I went out faster than I would ordinarily, which caught up to me later on. It was a good strategic race and joyful to run together.”
English sealed the win with a 5:55 split in mile 10 and a 5:54 split in mile 13. He crossed the line in 1:24:06. Billings garnered runner-up honors in 1:25:18. Stoddard was third in 1:28:55. Allan Heathman, 66, from Woodsville, N.H., finished a strong fourth in 1:35:08.
Damian Bolduc, from Craftsbury, rebounded from a lower back injury, two weeks earlier. Bolduc, 46, went out conservatively, pacing the first two miles with Tara Nelson, 49, from West Glover. Nelson has run the Kingdom Challenge multiple times and was a past women’s division winner.
After pulling away from Nelson, Bolduc passed the lead woman, Jennifer Mackenzie, from Peacham. Mackenzie, 48, won the women’s division in 1:51:45. Bolduc was the sixth male finisher, in 1:44:17.
“The course was challenging but designed to have adequate recovery after hard efforts,” said Bolduc.
“The views were picturesque, with hillside farms and sugar lands, expansive mountain vistas, and covered bridges.”
The concurrent 5k race had 78 runners and walkers, ranging in age from six to 76. Mike Giberti, 31, won handily in 17:40. Madeline Isaacs, 14, was the top female finisher, in 22:21.
English finished the half marathon in time to cheer on several members of the Danville cross country team, who turned out for the 5k race. “I miss coaching them, so it was nice to catch up again and congratulate them on their running achievements,” he said.
Libations and Medals Lure Runners
STOWE – A thirsty horde participated in the Heady Trotter four-miler on October 15. With 1,506 finishers, the event is among the largest of Vermont races. Proceeds benefited Green Mountain Adaptive Sports.
Ben Groleau, 30, from Monkton, and Danielle Winslow, 30, from North Ferrisburgh, were the men’s and women’s champions. Their respective times were 20:50 and 23:22.
Christopher Trajkovski, 33, and Samantha Trajkovski, 31, were the top finishers from towns covered by the Hardwick Gazette. The running couple from Wolcott crossed the line together in 29:30 to place 118th and 119th.
Bess Powers, 62, Marshfield, placed 331st. Her time of 33:31 was the fifth fastest in the F60-64 age group.
East Hardwick’s Christopher Eckerlin, 35, and Cassandra Stewart, 34, finished 270th and 271st. They finished together in 32:38.
Elizabeth McCarthy, 70, from Walden, was the gold medalist for the F70-99 age group. McCarthy finished in 38:04 to place 656th overall. McCarthy’s husband, Tim Hogeboom, brought home the silver medal for the M70-99 age group. Hogeboom, 72, placed second to Gordon McFarland, 75, from Burlington. Their respective times were 34:49 and 31:51.
Parker Wins Sky Run Marathon
WAITSFIELD – Sterling College grad Lance Parker tested the limits of his physical strength and mental fortitude at The Endurance Society’s Sky Run, on October 7. Held at Mad River Glen Ski Area, the 26.2-mile marathon involved repeated climbs from base to summit, with over 14,000 feet of elevation gain.
Just three of eight marathoners made it to the finish line. Parker, 29, lives nearby in Moretown. He won a hard-fought contest with Joshua Fiore, 42, from West Lebanon, N.H. Their respective times were 6:25:51 and 6:39:42.
“I had a surprisingly smooth race, with a fairly consistent descending speed,” said Parker. “It got cold in the fifth lap around mile 20 and it was raining hard. I warmed up after getting off the summit and my morale stayed high.”