The 2002 version of the USATF New England Mountain running circuit wrapped up at Ascutney Mountain on June 22nd. This was the seventh running of the circuit. Forty runners completed the four-race circuit, which included Ascutney, Kearsarge, Wachusett, and Pack Monadnock. An additional 11 athletes took part in three of the four races. The trend of many 40+ and 50+ runners taking part continued in 2002. A good sign was the growth of the womens open group, which had sixteen runners score points.
As in the past the circuit winners were decide by a system which awards points based on a percentage of the winners time (for ex. If the winner runs 30 minutes and you run 60 minutes you would get 50 points 60/30 = 50). There were some close contests heading into the final race.
Cathy Pearce set a course record by almost 3 minutes to take the victory. Suzy West ran the 2nd fastest time on the course, but needed a victory to take the overall crown. Marcia Masland set a 50+ record by 7 minutes. Eric Morse won his 2nd straight Ascutney with a time that was 3 seconds faster than his CR from last year. Mike Casner, who just turned 40, set the course record in finishing 3rd overall. His time ranks 6th overall. Keith Woodward won the 50+ race setting a CR by almost 3 minutes. His time was also the 2nd fastest for 40+, he finished 7th overall in the race.
Mountain circuit Champs: Ann Kucharski 50+, Donna Smyth (2nd year in a row) 40+, Cathy Pearce (in a close contest with Suzy West). Richard Busa 70+, Eldon Burkinshaw 60+, Richard Stockdale (7th overall in points) 50+, Robert Chasen (4th best point total) 40+, and Eric Morse (2001 USATF Mountain runner of the year and USATF NE Circuit champion in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001) winning 3 of the 4 races.
Circuit 1996 - Present
Appearances: Mike Casner leads with 25 of 26 appearances, having only missed the 1997 Kearsarge race (he thought it was a weekend later than it had been run). Dave Dunham, Eldon Burkinshaw and Fred Ross are the only others with 20 or more appearances. Lisa Doucett leads the ladies with 17.
Points: Casner leads by 180 points over Dunham. Morse is only 3.89 points under a perfect 1900 points! Doucett again leads the ladies with Donna Smyth and Suzy West about 100 points behind with over 1000 points each.
Thanks: To the RDs for all of their work in putting on each of these fine races. To the volunteers at each race without who they would not be held. Rich and Eric for there assistance in setting up the booth and doing the final scoring at Ascutney in my absence. Steve Vaitones for his assistance in checking all entrants against the rolls at USATF, and always supporting the sport of mountain running.
Big Thanks: All the runners who came out, had fun, and ran up some great mountains!
Points and Appearance leaders attached .
Race Results (1996 - 2002)