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Who We Are

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Founded in 1994 by Chris Haley and Howie Breinan, the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC) is the original trail running club of the Boston metro area. The club’s membership is diverse, including runners of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and goals, who’ve come together to share their love of trail and ultrarunning. While our club makes its home on the trails around Boston, Massachusetts, our members include residents of all New England states, as well as from coast to coast, as well as Canada, Australia and beyond.


Once numbering just a few dozen runners, our global community is now more than 8,500 Trail Animals strong and growing. Many members get together on weekends to run trails or compete in and/or organize trail running events. Our “home base” is the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Massachusetts, with locals also running on trails in the western, southern and northern suburbs of Boston including our second “home” in the Middlesex Fells in Stoneham, Massachusetts.

In 1997, TARC sponsored its first ultra event, Don’t Run Boston 50K (“DRB”), held in the Blue Hills. Led by race director and course designer Howie Brienan, DRB has run annually ever since on the third Sunday in April, a day before the Boston Marathon. Originally it was meant to be an “alternative” run to the highly commercial and pavement covered Boston Marathon, but more and more members have raced DRB and then used Monday's marathon as a “warm down” the next morning.

We introduced the TARC Trail Series in 2011 as a group of ten trail races of varying distances from 10K to 100 Miles. The series has grown and evolved through the years, and today we play host to a dozen races, offering distances from 5K to 100 miles and beyond. Whether you’re a first time trail runner or a seasoned veteran, we have a race for you and a place for you in our community.

Membership is free and the trail humor is priceless. We welcome anyone who is interested in trail running to join and come run with us. Simple? Easy? Welcoming? You’ve come to right place.


Mission Statement

The Trail Animals Running Club aims to act as community stewards by providing equitable access to trail running and promoting positive trail running culture.


Guiding Principles

Equitable Access: We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the outdoors and engage in trail running, and are committed to providing support and addressing barriers through low cost entry fees and scholarships, beginner friendly group runs, gear swaps, educational workshops, mentorship, and more. 


Respect for Nature: We believe in promoting environmental stewardship by respecting and preserving the trails we run on and practicing Leave Non Trace at all events.

Environmental Sustainability: We aim to lead by example and keep the environmental impact low for all of our events through minimizing waste, recycling, composting, and reusing when possible.


Giving Back and Amplifying Impact: We aim to give back to the trails where we run, through trail maintenance and donating our event profits to land conservations and trusts, and emphasize giving back to the community by being an entirely volunteer led organization and encouraging volunteer engagement at local races and events.


Passion for Movement: We believe in the power of movement and trail running, and the benefits both have for one's physical and mental wellbeing, and aim to help foster love for the sport amongst the local and global community.


Commitment to Community: We embrace a spirit of camaraderie and friendship, fostering a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for all members to thrive and grow in their running journey. We actively seek to welcome diverse participants, including historically excluded groups, and view all people as part of our community. We work to cultivate, deepen, and grow community relationships with local organizations that share our values. 


Inclusivity and Support: We welcome people of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, ages, and abilities. We believe in club and trail culture that honors the diversity of life circumstances, identities, perspectives, and interests of our community members.  We offer encouragement and provide support to each other on and off the trails.


Safety First: We prioritize safety during all club activities. We encourage staying informed about trail conditions, carrying the necessary gear, and looking out for fellow runners to ensure everyone's wellbeing.

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