Chesterfield Ultramarathon set for this weekend

  • Chesterfield Gorge in West Chesterfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO

For the Recorder
Published: 5/30/2019 7:44:46 PM

CHESTERFIELD — Imagine running along a scenic river as it makes its way through the Chesterfield Gorge, surrounded by a hemlock, ash and oak forest. This is what over 150 participants in the Chesterfield Ultramarathon will experience this weekend.

Organized by competitive runner Amy Rusiecki, the ultramarathon is the only event of its kind in the state, offering 50K, 50-mile, 100K, and 100-mile distances to runners, as well as a 25K race. An ultramarathon is any race longer than a standard marathon of 26.2 miles.

There is no pavement on the entire course, which is a wide rolling trail with permanent mile markers along the way and a few rocks, though it is not considered a “technical trail,” which is characterized by steep inclines and natural obstacles.

Rusiecki, who also organizes the popular 12-mile Seven Sisters Trail Race along the ridge crest of the Holyoke Range, said that registration for the ultramarathon has already doubled from last year.

“About 50 percent of the people are from western Mass with a good number from Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island,” the South Deerfield resident said, noting runners also coming in from places like Ohio and Indiana. “One guy from out there wants to run a 100-mile race in every state, so this race will allow him to check the box for Massachusetts.”

The race is a fundraiser to benefit the Hilltown Land Trust, which works to conserve wildlands, working lands and scenic beauty in the Hilltowns.

“Amy contacted us a couple of years ago hoping to organize an ultra marathon and asking if we would like to be the beneficiary of the race,” said Katie Carr, development and communications coordinator at Hilltown Land Trust. “Of course we thought that was a great idea.”

Carr said Rusiecki was unsure about how well the race would do in its first year and the land trust was not expecting much.

“We really weren’t expecting anything and then a check arrived for around $1,700,” Carr said. “We were thrilled.”

Rusiecki said that she hopes to be able to double that donation this year.

“Choosing the Hilltown Land Trust as a beneficiary just made sense,” Rusiecki said. “We run on the land that they have helped to preserve and it is just beautiful.”

Originally from eastern Massachusetts, Rusiecki said that she developed a deep love and appreciation for the natural beauty of the western part of the state after attending college at UMass.

“One of the best things about doing this race is introducing people who have never been to this region, to the real beauty of western Mass,” she said.

For the ultramarathon, check-in is​​​​​​ on Saturday between 5 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. and the entrance fee is $100. Participants can choose the race length when they sign in. The 25K race is on Sunday; the entrance fee is $40 and check-in is between 7 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. The event takes place at the Chesterfield Gorge Reservation, 1 River Road, West Chesterfield.

“Things went really well last year and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun,” Rusiecki said. “So we are looking forward to this.”

For more information visit

Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906


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