a tough run for the fun of it

Runners take to the hills for inaugural Megunticook 50 ultra marathon

Sat, 09/12/2020 - 5:15pm

CAMDEN — Approximately 130 runners took to the trails of Camden Hills State Park, Saturday, Sept. 12, for the inaugural running of the Megunticook 50 (an ultra marathon race of 31 miles) and its younger sibling, the Wicked Tough 10K (6 miles). The event also marked the first-ever organized running race to be held in the Park.

Ultra winner Chance Simonton, of Lebanon, New Hampshire crossed the finishline with a time of 5:19:52 before tossing himself to the ground for his first moment of rest.

Approximately 20 minutes later, having walked a cooldown on legs that fell twice along the run, hydrating and chomping a banana, he admitted his body ached “very, very badly.”

Billed as a brutal yet beautiful race, Simonton was one of 100 ultra runners from all over who enrolled, before the race capped at 100, to test their running athleticism along the uphill, narrow, rocky trails of Camden and Lincolnville.

Simonton is an ultra runner with an estimated 10 such races under his shoelaces. Until now, all of those races have been out of state. He found this race through the website “Ultra Sign Up,” where he sought races within 250 miles from home. This one was nearby, and it wasn’t canceled due to the pandemic.

Simonton described the route as diverse and “kind of frantic.”

Where as many 50K’s have big pushes, big downhills, according to him, this terrain had small uphills, small downhills.

“A lot of elevation drop and gain,” he said. “You just didn’t feel like you get very comfortable – it’s kind of like it’s got you on your heels.”

Within a minute of Simonton’s finish, Tyler Deangelis (5:20:04) also finished. Deangelis, formerly of Readfield, is a teacher working remotely from his new town of Islesboro.

The race was fun, he told third place finisher (and first female) Jennifer Britz, of Bar Harbor (5:32:14) and Deangelis’ girlfriend, 4th place finisher Ann McKee (5:39:35).

Deangelis has run three or four other ultras, including the Pineland 50k in New Gloucester. That race is largely flat, open trails on gravely roads, and “reasonable elevation,” according to him. Today’s race took about an hour and ten minutes longer than Pineland. However, he has also run an ultra that was 16,000 feet in elevation gain that took him almost ten hours. This makes the Megunticook 50 a middle ground for two extremes.

For Deangelis, today’s race produced a lot of calf strain due to steep uphills and downhills, and the gravely roads, which shifts the body mechanics for a longer stride, quicker speed and more body wear and tear.

For Deangelis, the day began with an easy 20-minute ferry ride to a park familiar to him.

For Simonton, the day was completed with a search of the immediate Midcoast for a good glass of beer.


See our introductory article regarding this race:

Megunticook 50K, 10K race in Camden Hills State Park envisioned for Sept. 2020


Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com