Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bay Circuit Trail's Ultra Past

While doing some research on the Bay Circuit Trail I came across this article about a 50 mile race on the BCT hosted by GAC back in 1998.  I see a few familiar names on the list of finishers.   It would be pretty cool to see an ultra return to the BCT. Any RDs out there looking for a challenge?

The Bay Circuit Trail 50 Mile: All Guts, No Glory

By Don Allison

Had you come across the Boxford, Mass community center on Sunday, you probably would have paid little attention to the small gathering of people out front: just a couple of tables with drinks, food, and supplies, along with a couple of dozen folks in lawn chairs. Then you might have seen the moving liquid figures on the chronomix clock and deduced that a race was in progress.

Had you stuck around to investigate a little further, you would have seen an occasional runner saunter up to the supplies table every five or ten minutes, stop to chat while drinking and eating, then saunter off in the opposite direction after a while. Boy, this is some kind of relaxed race, you might have said to yourself. A check on the clock however, already at six hours and counting, would have solved the puzzle: it was an ultramarathon race.

No, there were not any booming public address announcers, no thronging masses pushing and shoving for a look at the finishers, no media truck with cameras and notebooks at the ready, no volunteers in lime-green Adidas jackets. But if you were looking for plenty of good running, with the emphasis on plenty, you would have been in the right place.
Under the direction of Gil's AC and the irrepressible Jim Gilford, the 2nd Bay Circuit Trail 50 Mile took place on Sunday on Boston's North Shore. Not only was the race nearly twice as long as the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles, the course was held over changeable and often rugged off-road terrain of the Bay Circuit Trail.

The BCT is a network of trails that runs from Boston's North to South Shores. It is the dream of BCT officials to have an uninterrupted 200-mile route completed by early next century. Some of the best-maintained and most scenic parts of the BCT are on the North Shore in the towns of Boxford, Ipswich, Rowley, and Gerogetown, where the race was held.

A group of about 50 hardy ultrarunners set off at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday to conquer the 50 miles of trail. Some were competing for top placement while others were merely hoping to sneak in before the 12-hour cutoff. Although 12 hours for 50 miles is only 14 minutes per mile, don't be deceived. Fourteen minutes for a mile goes by pretty quickly when you have been slogging on a rocky and rooty trail, 10 hours into a run on a hot spring day. Everyone who completed this run possessed all the requisites of the true ultrarunner.

For Harry Lepp from Danielson, Connecticut, this race offered redemption of sorts. The soft-spoken Lepp had gone off course in the inaugural edition of this race last year, while leading at mile 30. By the time Lepp was able to get back on track, a top finish was beyond reach. This time, he seized the race early on, establishing a commanding lead. There would be no mistakes; he went on to win in a superb time of 6:46:33. That's just over eight minutes mile for 50 off road miles.

Lepp is an experienced distance runner, having racked up dozens of ultras and 2:40 marathons. In fact, just a few weeks before the BCT, he won the Holyoke Marathon in 2:46. No biggy, just an easy 26.2-mile jaunt. After the race he seemed as composed as was on the trails all day, and not a bit sore, as walked about in no apparent discomfort. "I enjoyed the race," he said. "It was a nice day and the course was very scenic." Like many of the runners here, Lepp has bigger fish to fry in the near future. He is headed off for the Vermont 100 Mile in July, a race that draws runners from across the USA, and in which he recorded a top ten finish in 1997.

On the women's side, Christy Cosgrove, a Gil's AC disciple, ran a fine 7:32:16 to finish sixth overall and capture the women's division. Cosgrove had the full and very vocal support of her Gil's AC teammates throughout the day as she tallied up the trail miles."You've got sub-eight, you've got sub-eight!" bellowed Gilford as Cosgrove passed the 40-mile mark. The declaration was made with such authority that surely Cosgrove never doubted the sub-eight hour finish would indeed become a reality.

Cosgrove will tackle the legendary Western States 100 mile in California next month with several of the Gil's teammates, including Gilford himself. Unlike Lepp, she was not quite so nimble after the BCT race. Asked for a photo by an intrepid CR journalist, she began to try to unfold her sore and exhausted body from the lawn chair in which she was sitting, With a little effort, she was able to complete the task. Ultrarunners-they always finish what they start, no matter how tough the task. 

Results of the Second Annual Bay Circuit Trail 50 Mile Run

Place Time      Sex  Age  Name   
  1.   6:46:33   M    41  Harry Lepp
  2.   7:05:53   M    33  Jerry DeZutter
  3.   7:12:00   M    37  Hans Put
  4.   7:25:41   M    39  Joe Clapper
  5.   7:25:41   M    33  Al Paine
  6.   7:32:16   F    37  Christy Cosgrove
  7.   7:47:57   M    46  Steve Pero
  8.   7:56:24   M    55  Roger Welsh
  9.   7:59:49   M    41  Rick Silverman
 10.   8:08:19   M    29  Marc Eaton
 11.   8:08:57   M    37  Dave Leslie
 12.   8:24:59   F    34  Donna D'Agostino
 13.   8:42:06   F    35  Karen Hammond
 14.   8:49:38   M    46  James Gawle
 15.   8:51:33   M    54  Ray Lavigne
 16.   8:53:17   M    35  John Berard
 17.   8:55:06   M    51  Nick Palazzo
 18.   9:03:03   M    39  Stephen Peckiconis
 19.   9:12:50   M    47  Paul Hoffman
 20.   9:14:04   M    45  Rich LeBoeuf
 21.   9:27:01   M    44  Lee Dickey
 22.   9:27:40   F    44  Diane McNamara
 23.   9:28:58   M    37  Dave Ackerman
 24.   9:28:58   F    34  Tracy Reusch
 25.   9:38:45   M    56  Don Platko
 26.   9:45:58   F    33  Amy Hummel
 27.   9:56:09   M    35  Nick DiBenedetto
 28.  10:18:33   M    35  Charles Nasser
 29.  10:19:02   M    40  Wayne Smokler
 30.  10:23:22   M    45  Len Gibely
 31.  10:33:16   F    53  Jean Boswell
 32.  10:38:16   M    52  Bert Meyer
 33.  10:49:33   F    49  Peg Ryan
 34.  10:50:00   M    54  Vincent Croce
 35.  10:54:21   F    41  Melanie Kalafatis
 36.  11:08:07   M    43  Fred Gruhle
 37.  11:13:15   M    68  Richard Busa
 38.  11:29:58   M    60  Timothy Kourounis
 39.  11:33:21   M    40  Nick Leighton
 40.  11:34:37   M    51  John Horvath
 41.  11:38:48   F    32  Julie Burnett
 42.  11:42:43   F    28  Tammy Seed
 43.  11:44:27   F    36  Cheryl Hood
 44.  11:54:00   M    59  Art Gulliver
 45.  12:11:39   M    65  Dick Sullivan
 46.  12:35:41   M    34  Ken Gulliver 

1 comment:

  1. Dan, I'm so glad you posted this article! We could co-RD or help Bob C out? Might need to tweak the original course with all those if I don't go and negotiate that--given my surname and all...
    Trail Pixie Trespas


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