In March of 2020, the To Hale and Back 6-Hour Ultra and 5K became the first Massachusetts trail ultramarathon to be a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just seven weeks earlier, the Trail Animals Running Club had played host to the TARCtic Frozen Yeti 30-Hour Ultra on some of the same trails at Hale Reservation in Westwood, Mass., in the first of what was supposed to be a 10-race season for the TARC Trail Series.
To Hale and Back and the eight other remaining races all were ultimately canceled as in-person events. A year later, To Hale and Back was once again canceled as the pandemic raged on in Massachusetts and worldwide, with vaccines just beginning to be administered.
Now, following a two-year hiatus, To Hale and Back will return on Saturday, March 26, 2022. The 5K will begin at 8 a.m. and the 6-Hour Ultra will start at 8:05 a.m. at Hale Reservation’s Powisset Lodge.
The entry fee for the 6-Hour run is $32 while the 5K is $20. Registration is handled at RunReg at this link. Registration opened today, Nov. 26.
The race will once again take place on an approximately 3.25-mile loop consisting of a few technical spots and short climbs, but mostly singletrack trails winding through the reservation and around two ponds. Given the time of year, the trails may be dry or buried in snow.
Runners should come prepared to spend the entire day outside. In prior years, runners have had access to the inside of Powisset Lodge but access may not be available due to the ongoing pandemic.
The 2022 race will be the fifth edition of To Hale and Back. The men’s course record of 38.5 miles was set by Joe McConaughy and matched by Patrick Caron and Eric Ahern during the inaugural race in 2016, and later matched by Brian Burke and Kyle Bergemann at the 2019 race. The women’s course record of 35.0 miles was set by Elise DeRoo in 2017 when she took home the overall win.