After two years of cancellations or virtual-only options, two Berkshire Ultra Running Community for Service (BURCS) trail- and ultrarunning events are resurrecting their in-person options in 2022.
Both the Vegan Power 50K/25K and Free to Run 50-Mile/Marathon/Half-Marathon trail races will return to in-person running. The races were last held in 2019. The 2020 and 2021 editions of both were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the BURCS offered virtual options for Vegan Power to continue raising funds for the charities it supports. All BURCS races are fundraisers for charitable organizations. Vegan Power has raised more than $25,000 for a variety of animal sanctuaries since its first running in 2014.
The Free to Run Trail Races event takes its name from a non-profit international organization, Free to Run, which was founded by professional ultrarunner and human rights lawyer Stephanie Case. The organization seeks to empower women and girls in conflict areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq through involvement in physical activity, including running, hiking, and camping. The BURCS’ event has raised $26,000 for Free to Run since the event’s first running in 2015, in addition to amassing dozens of shoe donations.
The Free to Run organization played host to virtual races in both 2020 and 2021. BURCS member Alex Bancroft is a member of the Free to Run board, and she was involved in the organization of the virtual races.
Both Vegan Power and Free to Run events will return to their traditional formats and courses at Pittsfield State Forest in Pittsfield, Mass. Vegan Power will take place on Saturday, June 18, using a 25K loop course of rolling singletrack trails that runners will complete once or twice. Entry fee for both 50K and 25K distances is $85 until April 30, and $95 after. Registration can be done at this link.
The Free to Run Trail Races will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17, on a 12.5-mile loop course that includes several steep climbs and descents and some technical sections, amassing around 2,500 feet of vertical gain per loop. Entry fee is $100 for the 50-miler ($120 after July 31), $95 for the marathon and $75 for the half marathon. Registration can be done at this link.