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TARC Don't Run Boston

Join us for the 2023 Trail Animals Running Club Don't Run Boston at Blue Hills Reservation, with 50K and 50 mile distance options! You can read all the exciting details below!

Sunday, April 16, in Milton, Massachusetts


Course Details:

Start/Finish Location: Hart Barn Ski Center & field at 1018 Lowell St, Carlisle, MA 01741

The DCR Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, Massachusetts is stunning and is the perfect New England fall setting for running trails with friends. Our courses feature rolling, scenic trails, and have the usual roots, rocks and other "trippables" with which to contend. This event is great for first time trail runners as well as veterans who want to set their PR. 50K and 50M participants start at 6:00 a.m., and the 10K and Half Marathon start at 8:00 a.m. 50K and 50M runners may want to start with headlamps/lighting (sunrise is at 6:20 a.m.). Mandatory trail briefing at 5:45 a.m. for the 50M/50K and at 7:45 a.m. for the 20M, Half, 10K, and Fre Youth Fun Run.


50M & 50K: The 50M/50K course will consist of 10 mile loops with aid every 3 to 4 miles. 50K participants will do one loop around the open field at the start of the race before rejoining the 10 Mile Loop. Volunteers will direct 50M participants left and 50K participants right at the start, but be sure to take the proper turn for your registered distance.

Map (scroll to the bottom)

Strava link

20M, Half, & 10K: The course will consist of 10K loops with aid only at the Start/Finish area. Half Marathon particpants will do one loop around the open field at the start of the race before rejoining the 10K Loop. 20M participants will do the 10 mile loop twice.

Map (scroll to the bottom)

Strava link

Course Markings: The course will be well marked with flagging and signs so that participants can easily stay on route (as long as they are paying attention!). Participants should be sure to review both the course maps and the course description beforehand to understand the general layout of the various distances. We recommend participants also download the GPX file and load it onto their GPS watches if they have one for additional reassurance. If you go off course on race day, please try to backtrack, as opposed to making up your own version of the course. Let us know at the aid stations if you have any issues and we will work with you and others to sort them out and make sure you get the proper distance.

Cutoff Times: Participants must start their final 10 mile loop for the 50K/50M by 4:00 p.m. The course officially closes at 7:00 p.m (participants have 13 hours to complete the 50K/50M). Additional cut off times will also be enforced at the road crossing aid station. Participants have to depart the road crossing aid station no later than 5:00 p.m. on the way out (mile 3 of the 10 mile loop) and no later than 6:00 p.m. on the way back (mile 7 of the 10 mile loop). Please respect the cutoff times enforced by our timers and volunteers. We will do everything we can to help you finish within the allotted time. The cutoffs are in place for both runner safety as well as the time commitment of volunteers and DCR park staff. No race day changes of distance or drop downs. For your finishing time you must complete the distance you signed up for.

Aid Stations: We will have two aid stations on the 10 mile loop used for the 20M, 50K, & 50M and one aid station at the start/finish of the 10K loop used for the 10K & Half Marathon. The start/finish area aid station is accessible to all participants and will be every 10 miles for 20M, 50K, & 50M participants and approximately halfway through the course for Half Marathon participants. The road crossing aid station (for 20M, 50K, & 50M participants) is 3 miles into the 10 mile loop (you will pass this aid station at both 3 miles into the loop and 7 miles into the loop on your way back to the start/finish). Please note this is a cupless race and you will need to bring your own hydration system (bottle/cup/vest/etc.). Run with fluids if you think you will need more than two hydration stops in 10 miles for the 20M, 50K, & 50M participants or more than one hydration stop in 10K for the 10K & Half Marathon participants.

You can expect the following at each aid station (everything listed below is vegan friendly):

  • Hyle Hydration, Soda, Water, & Ice (if you want to try out Hyle Hydration before the event, they were generous enough to give us the discount code TARC20 for everyone's personal use!)

  • UnTapped Energy Gels & Waffles

  • Watermelon, Orange, & Banana Slices

  • Assorted Dried Fruit

  • Joe Joe's, Oreos, Girl Scout Cookies, Fig Newtons, Teddy Grahams, Nutter Butters, Chocolate Chips

  • Sour Patch Kids, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Jujyfruits

  • Potato Chips, Pringles, Fritos

  • Peanut Butter/Nutella Sandwiches

  • Boiled Potatoes

  • Vegan Quesadillas

  • Pickles

Please let us know what additional requests you might have, and we will see what we can do!


Leave No Trace: The TARC Don't Run Boston has a Leave No Trace policy. Please adhere to the Leave No Trace principles during the duration of the event (and we hope whenever you are out in nature).


Land Acknowledgement:

The TARC Don't Run Boston is held on land that was originally called Musketaquid, an Algonquin word for “grassy plain,” and was home to the Musketaquid Indians, the original stewards of this territory. We encourage our participants to educate themselves on the history of the land we will be running on as well as the history of the land where you train and call home.



Sunday, April 16, 2023 | Race Day

5:00 a.m. | Bib Pick Up Opens at the Hart Barn

5:45 a.m. | 50M & 50K Prerace Briefing

6:00 a.m. | 50M & 50K Race Start (& Yeti Howl!)

7:45 a.m. | 20M, Half, & 10K Prerace Briefing

8:00 a.m. | 20M, Half, & 10K Race Start (& Yeti Howl!)

4:00 p.m. | Last Loop Cutoff at the Start/Finish Area

5:00 p.m. | Last Loop Cutoff at the Road Crossing Aid Station (On Way Out)

6:00 p.m. | Last Loop Cutoff at the Road Crossing Aid Station (On Way Back) 

7:00 p.m. | Course Closes for All Participants


Spring Course Preview Runs:

We will be hosting two course preview runs this summer, one on 07/29 and one on 08/26. Details can be found on Facebook and our Monthly Group Runs page. Join us for some casual training miles at Great Brook Farm State Park.


Cost & Registration:

We keep the cost of all TARC events low to try and make our events as accessible as we can. The cost of the TARC Don't Run Boston is $25. Please see below for information on our discounted youth entries. Our event profits are donated to land conservations & trusts in support of our trail running passion. Please reach out if the cost is in any way a barrier to you. We want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the incredible trails and community at our event.

No race day registration is offered, and online registration closes at the beginning of race week. We recommend registering early in advance, as this event will sell out.


Switching Distances or Canceling Registration:

Participants will have to email the Race Director in order to cancel their registration.


Trail Sisters Approved Event:


The TARC Don't Run Boston is Trail Sisters Approved! The commitment includes, when applicable, equal podium spots, equal prize money & awards, women’s specific swag & apparel, menstrual products at aid stations, and equal opportunity/space for women on the starting line. You can learn more about the standards and their awesome organization here. Menstrual products at our aid stations will be located in all of the Porta Potties (at both the start/finish area and the road crossing aid station).​


Pride on Foot Partner:


Pride on Foot works with run groups, race directors, and fitness organizations who want to understand how to be more accepting and inclusive of Transgender, Genderqueer Intersex, Gender non conforming, and Non binary people. Through education and policy changes they create affirming, inviting, and safe spaces where everyone can be free to workout while living an authentic life.

Adaptive Athletes:

We welcome the participation of adaptive athletes at our event!

  • Adaptive athletes must be able to run the course.

  • Tethers and guides may be used for athletes with a visual impairment.

  • Leg prosthetics may be used for amputees.

  • Crutches, braces, or poles may be used if indicated/necessary, with approval from the Race Director.

  • Please reach out with any questions or to let us know how we can best support you and your race day needs.

  • Guides for adaptive athletes can register as participants if they want their own time/result.


Volunteer Opportunities:

We need volunteers to help make this special day happen and to give our participants the experience they deserve! This includes help with bib pickup, course directing, aid stations, course sweeping, start/finish area support, parking guidance, etc. Volunteers are what make TARC events so fun and also run so smoothly. No experience is required, and it can be your first time attending one of our events! If you are bringing along family or friends to spectate, we encourage them to also get involved by volunteering. If you are running one of the shorter races, consider hanging around to help out afterward. Even if you can't make it on the day of the race, there are still opportunities to get involved. If you need service requirements for other races, we can also sign off on your hours! If we get enough folks, too, it's never a problem for our volunteers to become "course marshalls" and get some running in on the trails. All we ask is you help fill up some water bottles and tell runners they look awesome.

Please reach out if you or your organization are interested in volunteering. We welcome running clubs, hiking groups, sports teams, local businesses, and more to join us.

Registration for the various shifts will open around two months before the race date, but feel free to email us beforehand if you or your group is interested in volunteering.


Participant Camaraderie:

Whether you are competing for the win or bringing up the rear of the pack, we are all out on the trails to have fun and move our bodies in nature. All of our participants are incredible for just getting to the starting line, and you all have impressive journeys for getting there. On race day, we hope you will be everyone else's top cheerleader, cheering on and providing support for one another throughout the morning. Be sure to spread the love and joy with your fellow trail animals. We also welcome and encourage you to bring chairs and stick around after your own race to cheer on other participants as they come through the start/finish area.


Parking & Travel:

Parking is available for participants right at the start/finish area in the field next to the Hart Barn Ski Center. Here is the address. Please note the parking fee at Great Brook Farm State Park is $3 per car. You can pay for parking through the Yodel app or at the kiosk on race day. Please help us out by carpooling with as many fellow trail animals as possible. Participants can post in the Trail Animals Running Club Facebook Group or on the TARC Fall Classic Facebook event page coordinating carpools. Friends and family coming as spectators and traveling in different vehicles will need to pay for parking. No camping is available at the park.


Running in the Woods & Weather:

Please prepare for all manner of weather, insects, critters, trail rash, etc! Historically, this race has fluctuated between nice and cool days and uber duber hot ones! In New England, we have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best!


Community Resources:

Looking for folks to run and train with? Here are some local groups:

TARC Blue Hills & Great Brook Farm State Park Monthly Group Runs

Northeast Trail Crew Weekly Runs

Pioneers Run Crew Weekly Runs

Unnamed Run Crew Weekly Runs

Berkshire Trailheads

Forest Hills Runners

Lynn Woods Running Crew

Somerville Road Runners

Wampanoag Road Runners

Tri Valley Front Runners

Greater Framingham Running Club


Looking for trail shoes and gear? Here are some local stores we recommend:


Marathon Sports (multiple locations)

Heartbreak Hill Running Company (multiple locations)

Fleet Feet/JackRabbit (multiple locations)

Recreation Equipment Inc. (multiple locations)

New England Running Company & Trail (Beverly)

Charles River Running (Norwood)


Who We Are:

The Trail Animals Running Club is a nonprofit running club rooted in the Boston area. We aim to act as community stewards by providing equitable access to trail running and promoting positive trail running culture. We welcome people of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, ages, and abilities. Our event profits are donated to land conservations & trusts in support of our trail running passion. You can RSVP for emails about our runs here.


Trail Animals Running Club Apparel:

You can purchase our fun club apparel here! We are working on offering additional apparel which will be added to this page!


History of the TARC Don't Run Boston:

The "Trail Animals Running Club Don't Run Boston 50K", or "DRB" as it is now referred to, grew out of the desire to add more trail ultras to the New England schedule in the 1990's. At that time Howie Breinan was a graduate student at MIT and one of the early members of the Trail Animal Running Club started by Chris Haley. There were just a handful of true ultras in the area... primarily the Vermont 50 miler in the Fall and the Vermont 100 miler in July. The Nipmuck Trail Marathon was well established, but only 26.4 miles. The Pisgah Mountain Marathon in New Hampshire also claimed baby ultra status at 27.7 miles before stepping up to the 50K distance in later years. DRB may have beat out Don Allison's Bay Circuit Trail 50 by two months as perhaps the first true Massachusetts trail ultra.

The Blue Hills was already in use for the Skyline Trail Run, about 7 miles, organized by Jeff Saeger. With the large expanse of trails, it was a logical location for a longer event. Howie envisioned an alternative to the Boston Marathon for those who weren't into the big crowds and running on pavement at high speed, hence the race's moniker. (editorial note... Howie loves the Boston Marathon as an event and means no disrespect. There have been a couple of ultratough runners who have completed both races in the same weekend, as described in "doubling" down below.)

Sidelined with a groin injury and not able to explore on foot, Howie laid out the course only using the Blue Hills map, calculating mileage with dental floss and approximate adjustments for vertical based on the elevation change off the topo map. These measurements have proven to be about as accurate as you could hope given GPS results from runners over the years. As a resident tutor at an MIT dorm he envisioned a marked course with pie plates on sticks and an army of MIT undergraduate volunteers. In fact the layout was designed to get out across Rte 28 and back quickly to minimize the expected need for a police detail. However, when his request for a permit was denied, the idea of an unpermitted run staying under the stated need for a permit for "parties of 25 or more" was born. Sometime prior to the first running Howie hiked the whole course and developed the first edition of the course description (which to this day remains very similar to the original version.) Many of the sketchier trails such as early climbs over Buck Hill and Hawk Hill have become more clearly defined, presumably in part due to DRB use. The first major course change came with the closing of Hemlock Bound trail circa 2011. If the trail ever reopens it will be added back to the run. For many years the maps were xerox copies that Howie personally highlighted according to the color scheme he developed for the first year... hence the "pink", "blue", "yellow", "green", and "orange" sections. These colors once better coordinated with DCR (at that time MDC) markings. In 2014 the manned aid station was removed and the start was changed, eliminating the out and back to the end of the pond, in order to allow runners to access their cars at mile 16 for aid. With the first permit obtained in 2016 officially allowing use of the aid station across from park HQ, the route reverted to the original version.

Held on April 20, 1997

Held on April 19, 1998

Held on April 13, 1999

Held on April 13, 2000

Held on April 13, 2001

Held on April 13, 2002

Held on April 13, 2003

Held on April 13, 2004

Held on April 13, 2005

Held on April 13, 2006​

Held on April 13, 2007

Held on April 13, 2008

Held on April 13, 2009

Held on April 13, 2010

Held on April 13, 2011

Held on April 13, 2012

Held on April 19, 2013

Held on April 18, 2014

Held on April 15, 2015

Held on April 10, 2016

Held on April 30, 2017

Held on April 29, 2018

Held on April 28, 2019

Scheduled on April 03, 2020 (canceled)

Scheduled on April 09, 2021 (canceled)

Held on April 10, 2022

Held on April 09, 2023


Course Records:

50K Male Record: 40:11 | 2016 | Eric Ahern (39)

50K Female Record: 45:05 | 2012 | Katy Agule (25)

50M Male Record: 01:23:56 | 2022 | Matthew Johnson (29)

50M Female Record: 01:37:23 | 2018 | Nora Weathers (23)

Reviews & Reports:

Let us know if you have any reviews or reports of the Fall Classic that you want to share with the community!

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