It was with heavy hearts that the Trail Animals Running Club announced in August 2016 that it would be discontinuing the organization’s namesake event, the TARC 100, following a four-year run.
The event underwent a variety of changes, including venue relocation and a move from June to October, but it struggled to gain traction at a time where runners were presented with new 100-mile races all over the country – in particular during the race-heavy summer and fall months. On top of that, the Trail Animals had taken over the Ghost Train Trail Races – an annual 30-hour event in October – meaning the club had to organize major volunteer efforts just a few weeks apart. It was a daunting task, and after four years of hard work, creative problem-solving, and occasional frustration, the club decided to take a step back. The TARC 100 was mothballed after the 2016 race with organizers noting that “we realized that having two 100 milers for the club is too much right now.”
The term “mothballed” was carefully chosen because it indicated that the race wasn’t necessarily gone for good, rather it was being set aside for a time. Josh Katzman, one of the TARC 100 organizers, noted at the time that the race might return in a different form in the future. He was hopeful that it would, but he made no promises.
It turned out Katzman wasn’t the only hopeful person. Longtime TARC volunteers and runners Surjeet Paintal and Carolyn Shreck were hopeful, too, and it was their hope and optimism that ultimately led to the race being reincarnated for 2019 in the form of the TARCtic Frozen Yeti Trail Races. The event will use a 30-hour timed format and take place starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Hale Reservation in Westwood, Mass. Continue reading Frozen Yeti to Bring TARC 100 Out of Hibernation as 30-Hour Ultra
While hundreds of ultrarunners from New England were recovering from Ghost Train, a handful of Massachusetts runners spent Oct. 27-28 tackling the trails across the country. A few logged their first 100-milers, first ultramarathons, or turned in personal records. Benjamin Simanski returned to Kansas for a second crack at the Kansas Rails-to-Trails 100-miler, and he returned with a PR and a podium finish. Additionally, runners from the Bay State competed at ultras in Vermont, Arizona, Colorado and Mississippi, and we’ve got them all covered in this week’s roundup. Continue reading MassUltra Roundup: Kansas Rails-to-Trails, Norwitch, Javelina, Sage Burner, and Way’s Bluff
For eight years the Nougat 100K was a mostly “underground” event on the Massachusetts ultrarunning scene. The annual fatass-style event put on by Jeff Lane and Greg Esbitt was a deliberately small gathering of friends at the Lynn Woods Reservation that focused more on fellowship than running. In fact, the advertised distance was rarely achieved – a point driven home on the Nougat website that darkly offered preliminary results as “100% DNF – congrats to all.”
A handful of runners were credited with a 50K or marathon finish through the years, though finishing wasn’t really the point. The Nougat was about spending a day in the woods with friends. That’s why when Lane and Esbitt handed over the reins to Salem residents William Jackson and Kristen Smith to organize the event – now rebranded as the WJKJ 50K – the focus remained on bringing friends together. Continue reading Inaugural WJKJ 50K Keeps Nougat Spirit Alive
For New England ultrarunners, the Ghost Train Trail Races have long served as a source of wonder about the human potential for speed and endurance. Continue reading Jinks Hauntingly Fast for 100 Miles at Ghost Train
The Ghost Train Trail Races may have attracted hundreds of ultrarunners from Massachusetts and greater New England on Oct. 20-21, but it wasn’t the only race that lured runners from the Bay State. Adrian Will-Orrego and Daniel Coppersmith hit the road to Pennsylvania for the Sinnemahone Ultra – the first ultramarathon for both men – while Padraig Mullins and Alicia Rich earned a small piece of the sport’s biggest spotlight event of the weekend when they traveled to Bell Buckle, Tenn., and took part in the last-person-standing Big Backyard Ultra. Those races are featured in this week’s roundup. Continue reading MassUltra Roundup: Big Backyard Ultra and Sinnemahone
The 10th annual Ghost Train Trail Races and eighth annual 30-hour event took place Oct. 20-21, 2018, in Brookline, N.H. Runners took part in 30-hour and 15-mile events at the Trail Animals Running Club event. Seventy-six runners completed 100 miles within the time limit. Continue reading Results: Ghost Train Trail Races
Out-of-state ultramarathons attracted runners from the Bay State to the trails of Virginia, Maine, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Arizona during the Oct. 13-14 weekend, and Salem’s Kristen Smith and Medford’s Kara Olivito highlighted the weekend races with their 103-mile journey together on the tough trails of Virginia, climbing more than 26,000 feet on their way to finishing the notoriously tough Cloudsplitter 100. That race, as well as the Big Brad Ultras, Water Gap 50K, Indian Creek Fifties, and the Canyon De Chelly 55K are featured in this week’s roundup. Continue reading MassUltra Roundup: Cloudsplitter, Big Brad, Water Gap, Indian Creek, and Canyon De Chelly
Who didn’t run 100 miles last weekend? When it came to the Massachusetts ultrarunning community, Oct. 5-7 was one of the biggest weekends of the year for 100-milers not involving the popular and nearby Vermont 100 or Ghost Train. Bay State residents traveled to five out-of-state 100s and brought home finisher’s belt buckles. The largest contingent traveled to Virginia for the difficult Grindstone 100, where Woburn resident Samantha LeBlanc snagged a spot on the women’s podium. Additionally, Boston’s William Hafferty gutted out a finish at the tough Bromont 100 in Canada, while others finished the Tesla Hertz 100 in New York, the Hennepin Hundred in Illinois, and the Oil Creek 100 in Pennsylvania. We have them all covered in this week’s 100-mile-specific roundup. Continue reading MassUltra Roundup: Grindstone, Bromont, Tesla Hertz, Hennepin, and Oil Creek
It sure seemed like everyone ran a 100-miler last weekend. Massachusetts ultrarunners took part in five different 100-mile trail races Oct. 5-7 in various North American locations beyond the Bay State, and we have those covered in a separate 100-miler-only roundup. Shorter ultra distances shouldn’t be overshadowed, so they get their own roundup this week. John Schwartz-Moore highlighted the four non-100-mile races with his win at the Farm to Farm Ultra 50-miler in Maine. We’ve also included Ralph Crowley’s race at the Cuyamaca 100K in California, Kevin Diguglielmo’s ultramarathon debut at the Blues Cruise 50K in Pennsylvania, and Chris Carmody’s solid 50-mile effort at the Bay Ridge Endurance Runs – formerly the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 in California. Continue reading MassUltra Roundup: Farm to Farm, Cuyamaca, Blues Cruise, and Bay Ridge
All eyes were on Patrick Caron when the 50-mile runners stepped to the starting line of the TARC Fall Classic on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Mass. The attention was understandable, and well-earned. Caron made his ultramarathon debut on this course in 2015 when, at age 18, he raced to a second-place finish. That year it took a course record by Billy Preston (7:52:53) to keep Caron from victory. Caron has returned each year since then, and each time he has bettered Preston’s mark with a new course record. Continue reading Lenane, Caron Crush Course Records at Fall Classic