TARC Don't Run Boston
Join us for the 2024 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 14, in Milton, Massachusetts
Start/Finish Location: Blue Hills Reservation Houghton's Pond Parking Lot Hillside Street, Milton, Massachusetts, 02186.
It's twisty, turny, rocky and unmarked. It's cheap and fun. DCR Blue Hills Reservation is located about 10 miles south of Boston, covering an area of about 11 square miles. The TARC Don't Run Boston course starts and finishes at Houghton's Pond.
The course has many turns and navigation is as big an obstacle as the rocky hills for new runners. If you can't train on the course your best bet is to follow someone on race day that has run before.
Course Markings: The course is the responsibility of the participant to navigate! 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, you must backtrack, as opposed to making up your own version of the course.
Cutoff Times: The TARC Don't Run Boston course officially closes at 7:30 p.m 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.
To be updated
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).
To be updated
Sunday, April 16, 2023 | Race Day
6:00 a.m. | 50M Start & Yeti Howl
8:00 a.m. | 50K Start & Yeti Howl
7:30 p.m. | Course Closes for All Participants
Spring Course Preview Runs:
We run frequently on the trails at Blue Hills Reservation. Details can be found on Facebook and our Monthly Group Runs page. Join us for some casual training miles throughout the spring on sections of the TARC Don't Run Boston course. Come on out and learn from veterans of the event.
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 actually free. Please donate to Mass Audubon Blue Hills Trailside Museum in lieu of an entry fee. Thanks in advance for supporting the trails.
Switching Distances or Canceling Registration:
Participants will have to email the Race Director in order to cancel their registration. In order to combat the problem of too many people withdrawing from the race after signing up, the following policy will be in place. If you sign up and then later withdraw, to restore your eligibility to enter in any future year you must:
Withdrawing before selection day (to be determined): no donation required
Between selection day and 10 days before the race: Donation of $10 to Blue Hills Trailside Museum
Ten to two days before the race: $20 donation to Blue Hills Trailside Museum
Within 48 hours or "no show ": $31 donation to Blue Hills Trailside Museum
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.
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.
We need volunteers to help make this special day happen and to give our participants the experience they deserve! 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 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.
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 Blue Hills Reservation Houghton's Pond parking lot (Hillside Street in Milton).
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!
Looking for folks to run and train with? Here are some local groups:
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
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Held on April 13, 2007
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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
50K Male Record: 04:45:00 | 2017 | Josh Katzman (37) & Matt Picard (32)
50K Female Record: 05:53:00 | 2017 | Elyse Deroo (26)
50K Non Binary Record: To be determined
50M Male Record: 08:10:00 | 2013 | Josh Katzman (33)
50M Female Record: 09:52:00 | 2017 | Elyse Deroo (26)
50M Non Binary Record: To be determined
Reviews & Reports:
Let us know if you have any reviews or reports of TARC Don't Run Boston that you want to share with the community!