The G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K is one of the longest running New England ultramarathons, as well as a favorite of many runners throughout the region. The classic event has kicked off the new year 21 times since 1998, with only the 2004 and 2018 events canceled due to inclement weather.
The 22nd annual event was slated for Jan. 2 at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, Mass., where runners would tackle anywhere from one to five 6.2-mile loops of the course. The COVID-19 pandemic has been relentless this year, however, with cases surging in Massachusetts and throughout the country as the cold winter weather settles in. Additionally, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker reimposed some of the pandemic-related restrictions, including reducing the size of groups allowed to gather outdoors to no more than 50 people. For reference, the 2020 Fat Ass 50K drew around 150 runners.
The G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K is the second 2021 ultra in Massachusetts to officially announce its cancellation due to the pandemic. The Trail Animals Running Club recently announced that it won’t play host to the TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-Hour Ultra in 2021 and will instead begin preparations to bring back the race in 2022. The Frozen Yeti is traditionally held the first weekend in February at Hale Reservation in Westwood.
The G.A.C. Fat Ass 50K is one of two local events of that format typically held during the first few weeks of the year. The other one – the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K in Barnstable – has yet to formally announce if its 15th annual event will happen in 2021.