The Trail Animals Running Club won’t be haunting the Brookline to Milford Rail Trail this year. After holding out hope for several months that the club’s popular TARC Ghost Train Rail Trail Races could take place as scheduled on Oct. 17-18 in Brookline, N.H., Race Directors Theresa and Kurt Berna announced Wednesday evening on Facebook that the 12th annual event was canceled.
“We know that this is a challenging time for all – and it’s adding stress and anxiety to many,” Theresa Berna wrote in the announcement. “I have heard from several of you regarding how the cancellation of several races is adding to the anxiety level and disappointment. It is with deep sadness that we announce Ghost Train 2020 will join the list of canceled races this year.”
The cancellation of Ghost Train comes just days after the TARC Summer Classic was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is the sixth event in the TARC Race Series to be canceled this year. The TARC Fall Classic on Oct. 3 at Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Mass., is still scheduled to take place, though that is subject to change.
Ghost Train has been one of the most popular ultras in New England for several years, and the not-for-profit event’s proceeds benefit the Milford and Brookline Conservation Commissions. There were 400 runners entered in the ultra event which included distance options of 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 100 miles and beyond during a 30-hour time window. Another 23 runners were entered in the 15-mile race, and three relay teams also were registered for this year’s event.
Registered entrants in this year’s event were given the option to donate their entire entry fee to the conservation commissions and receive guaranteed entry into the 2021 Ghost Train Rail Trail Races (though still needing to pay the 2021 entry fee), receive a full refund or receive a partial refund with some money going to the conservation funds.
While Berna acknowledged the disappointment she and Kurt shared with the many runners and volunteers who were preparing for this year’s event, she expressed thanks and optimism for the ability to run, connect online, and focus on the future.
“Most importantly, I am thankful for all of you,” she wrote. “Please continue to share what you are doing. There is a lovely #seensolo on the TARC Facebook page. Use this time to explore your backyard and witness change with the seasons. I am looking forward to following your adventures until we can share our Ghost Train adventure together.”
The full announcement can be found on the Ghost Train Facebook page at this link.