BURCS's Mission Statement
Since its founding in 2013, the Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service (BURCS) has committed itself to providing an authentic, responsive, and generous foundation for western Massachusetts's ultra community. We have dedicated ourselves to donating 100% of proceeds to non-profits that seek to provide freedom and sustainable quality of life experiences for our four legged and two legged friends.
It all started when...
February 2013 - BURCS is founded in Michael Menard’s living room. Ideas and much vegan cheer was shared. Plans to take over the ultra running scene through activism were hashed out.
April 2013 - The three founding members of BURCS, Michael Menard, Ana Wolf, and Benn Griffin came together to run for Sea Shepherd at the Lake Waramaug Ultra, completing 50 miles in just about 12 hours. Together with support from family and friends they raised nearly $3,000.
July 2013 - Ana Wolf (Founding Member) suggests an idea for a vegan-themed ultramarathon race for the 2014 season. She collaborates with Michael Menard and together, the Vegan Power 50K is born. A life-long activist, Ana has continuously pushed for responsible, eco-conscious, sustainable lifestyles and compassion for the voiceless animals in the world.
August 2013 - On August 17th, BURCS Founding Member and Race Director Benn Griffin hosted the first BURCS-Sponsored Race in Pittsfield at Clapp Park. Runners from 13 states and D.C. showed up to run loops around the dirt track for up to 6 hours. Grant Stieglitz of Indiana won the marathon in a time of 2:53:23. Alicia Eno ran 3:16:44 to win for the women’s race. The 6-Hour saw Shaun and Shamus Evans run 44.375 miles for the men, with the women’s race going to Daniele Cherniak, who logged a respectable 40.47 miles.
September 2013 - On September 21st, BURCS Founding Member Michael Menard hosted the 2nd Annual Hancock Shaker Village 50 Mile Ultramarathon. New this year he added a marathon option. Billed as “Simply grueling!”, it lived up to its name with virtually every mile of the race canvassing the technical terrain of Pittsfield State Forest. Bill Boyer won the men’s division of the 50-Mile in a new course record of 10:14, with Autumn Bush taking home honors for first woman in 13:24. Just 9 runners finished the 50-Mile event. In the marathon, Henry Pratt won in a time of 4:33 with Kenneth Wilson just 6 minutes behind. Stacey Sarber took home first place in the women’s division in a fine 5:30.
June 2014 - Vegan Power 50k Debut - The debut of the VEGAN POWER Ultra saw a nailbiting finish on the 6 loop course. Shaun Evans took first in a then course record 4:16:22, with Niko Viglione and Blaise Brochard tying for second in a time of 4:20:58. Laura Kline ran an astounding 4:48:36, a record which still stands.
August 2014 - Sweltering Summer 8-Hour - In its first expansion, Sweltering Summer 8-Hour saw noteworthy performances. Shaun Evans (52.185 mi) and Daniele Cherniak (51.83 mi) ran new course records, with Jake Dissinger logging 50.055 miles for third. Scott Baver (45.44) and Pete Colaizzo (44.375) rounded out the top 5. The marathon distance saw Mark Bell of Sudbury, MA narrowly beat Gregory McCullough of Springvale, Maine 3:14:12 to 3:14:21. Jennifer Bell of Dalton, MA took 1st place overall in the women's race in 4:12:31, followed by Cami Breen (4:21:48) and Caroline Posiadlo (4:26:11). BURCS reaches $10,000 in donations since it's inception to charity.
September 2014 - Hancock Shaker Village 50/26.2 - The 50-mile saw a close finish between Keith Somers (10:18) and Josh Rapp (10:42). Katherine Kulig (12:21) was the sole woman to finish the 50-Mile. Introducing the more manageable marathon distance, BURCS saw 22 finishers of the shorter distance. The race at the front came down to :01 second with Nick Curelop narrowly edging Shaun Evans 4:49:11 to 4:49:12. Bill Boyer came in for third in a time of 5:15:22. On the women's side Michele Hammond won in 5:42:16, with Rebecca Kibbee taking 2nd place in 5:59:59.
June 2015 - Vegan Power 50k/25k/Relay- In the second running of the VEGAN POWER, Jason Mintz runs to victory in a time of 4:19:41 on the men's side. Laura Kline repeats her 2014 performance, winning the women's 50k in 5:24:11, the second fastest performance on the course. The 25k is won handedly by Tim Goric in a time of 2:12, with Kaitlyn Snyder taking the women's race in 2:46:20. BURCS donated more than $3,500 on behalf of runners to animal sanctuaries.
July 2015 - Inaugural BURCS Summer Fatass - In its first year, the BURCS Summer Fatass saw 13 runners log laps at Greylock Glen in Adams, Massachusetts. Jake Dissinger ran an impressive 34.25 miles, with Benn Grififn (31.51) and Amy Paige (28.77) taking 2nd and 3rd.
August 2015 - Sweltering Summer - The 3rd Annual Sweltering Summer Marathon was won handedly by Grant Stieglitz (3:01:49). Hiro Tatesu (3:25:46) and Jay Silcox (3:31:56) took 2nd and 3rd respectively. The women's race saw Shira Catlin log a formidable 3:38:19 en route to a championship placing, with Lindsay Croshier 2nd in a time of 4:02:16 and Jennifer Bell 3rd in 4:28:55. The 8-Hour event saw Greg Soutiea set a new course record of 55.794 miles, with Frank Alessandrini (49.042 mi) and Alicia Eno (48.331 mi) rounding out the top 3. Greg Bombassei (47.265 mi) and Wendy Andre (44.777) took 4th and 5th in the race. 11 runners joined the 40+ mile club. BURCS reaches $25,000 in total donations to charity since its inception.
September 2015 - Free to Run Trail Races - After transitioning from the HSV50 to the FTR50, BURCS saw some commendable performances this year. Tim Goric (4:31:38), Kanietakeron Martin (5:10:52), and Thomas Diaz (5:43:49) took the top three marathon places on the men's side. The women's side saw Jessica McBeck (5:50:48), Pin Gao (5:53:36) and Eleni Peterson (5:53:36) take the podium on the women's side. The 50 Mile saw just 5 finishers. Jason Mintz took first in 10:57, with Ralph Crowley (11:19), Louis Caporale (11:29), Jeffrey Fedor (13:42), and Bill Kellner (14:02) rounding out the list of finishers.
June 2016 - Vegan Power 50k/25k - Jason Mintz returned to the 2016 event determined to prove that running in the reverse direction was quicker. He went on to run a 4:08:49, solidifying his position as the vegan champion. In the most impressive installment of Vegan Power yet, Mintz rallied his western NY contingent. Daven Oskvig finished 2nd in 4:16:23, and Rochester native Michael Welden ran a solid 4:36:14 for 4th. Poughkeepsie resident Ian Shultis held 3rd in 4:34:17. Blaise Brochard and Karim Mabrouk also snuck in sub-5 hour finishes in 5th and 6th respectively. On the women's side Medford, Massachusetts's Samantha Leblanc took 1st in a time of 5:33:25, with Jasmine Brooks of Peru, ME (6:17), and Lara Ezor (6:25) taking 2nd and 3rd. The 25k saw both men's and women's records set by Jonathan Perino of Woburn, MA (2:09:38) and Risa Le Pera (2:36:36). More than $6,000 was donated to animal sanctuaries.
July 2016 - BURCS Summer Fatass 6-Hour - With a last minute change, the Summer Fatass was changed to Notchview Ski Resort due to invasive plant species. BURCS saw a record 33 runners toe the line and log laps at the fatass event. After 6 hours, Wallingford, CT's Diane Keenan ran away from the competition, logging 34.2 miles. Justin Heinz of Albany, NY took 2nd in 32.3 miles, with Benn Griffin logging 30.4 miles for 3rd. Ann Alessandrini (30.4) and Jenn Bell (28.5) finished in the top 5.
August 2016 - Sweltering Summer - In fine fashion, 2015's returning overall champion Greg Soutiea pushed to a 59.703 mile performance, taking the overall championship again. Padraig Mullins took second in a commendable 52.595 miles, with Alicia Eno taking third and first overall female again in 48.686 miles. Keith Duffy took third male in 45.843 miles, with Ann Alessandrini notching another solid performance with 45.133 miles. Oakville, Ontario's Nikolay Ryabkov took first in the marathon in 3:20:56, with Sarah Amin of North Attleboro, MA taking second overall and first female in 3:32:27. Caleb Marcinkovich of Austin, Texas ran a 3:46:45 for 2nd overall male, followed closely by Errol Yudelman (3:54:31) and Chris Longo (3:55:31). 26 runners completed the marathon, and 27 completed the ultra.
August 2016 - Inaugural Jug End Loop Ultra - The Jug End Loop Ultra was a race that BURCS Founder Benn Griffin created in early 2016. In its first year, 30 runners completed at least 1 x 4.2 mile loop of the Jug End Loop Ultra to earn the coveted "mug". Syracuse's own Jason Mintz ran an impressive 41.52 miles in 6 hours, with Tim Goric (38.0 mi) and Jake Dissinger (35.56 mi) taking 2nd and 3rd. BURCS alum and ULTRA badass Ann Alessandrini took 1st overall on the women's side in 29.6 miles. Ana Wolf (27.84 mi) and Ella Lombardi (26.28) rounded out the podium.
September 2016 - Free to Run Trail Races - BURCS saw a record number of runners compete in the 2016 Free to Run Trail Races. In the 50-Mile, Jason Mintz's previous course record fell to Scott Gregor's 9:12:58. John Kemp (10:00:29) and Charles Hornbaker (10:06:46) took 2nd and 3rd overall. The women's race saw 5 finishers, the first time that has happened at Free to Run. Maartje Bastings took 1st on the women's side in 11:23:54, with Ella Lombardi (14:56) and Tara Porter (16:16) rounding out the podium. The Marathon was won in 4:10 by Jason Mintz, and Amy Paige won on the women's side in 5:48. BURCS reaches $40,000 in total donations since starting their donations.