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TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival

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Join us for the 2024 Trail Animals Running Club Stone Cat Trail Festival at Willowdale State Forest, with 10K, half marathon, marathon, 50 mile, and 100K distance options, and the free youth fun run! You can read all the exciting details below!

Saturday, November 2, in Ipswich, Massachusetts

 

Please note: This race sells out, and there are no refunds, no transfers, and no deferrals (except for emergencies)!

Fundraising Initiatives:

The history of Stone Cat goes back more than two decades, with the first edition of this classic event held on November 10, 2001. Through our entry fees, the event has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the local trails and community. All donations received will be evenly distributed between the Appalachian Mountain Club, Department of Recreation and Conservation, Essex County Trail Association, and Greenbelt: Essex County's Land Trust, four organizations who are helping steward the trails at Willowdale State Forest and surrounding trail networks in the region. All participants will be given the opportunity to fundraise when they register. Participants should consider sharing their fundraising pages with family and friends who might want to support their run!

 

The main fundraising page can be viewed here.

North Shore Trail Series:

The Stone Cat Trail Festival Marathon and Half Marathon are part of the 2024 North Shore Trail Series that is being revived! The ​North Shore Trail Series features seven of the region's top trail races spread across seven months. Over the course of the series participants will experience gentle carriage roads, rocky single track, ocean vistas, and the best of what Massachusetts' North Shore trails have to offer. The calendar of events and series rules and scoring details can be found here.

Course Details:

 

Start/Finish Location: Paul F. Doyon Memorial School at 216 Linebrook Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 01938

The new for 2024 TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival course is a mix of double track and single track, in Willowdale State Forest, with its fair share of roots and rocks throughout. The course is constant rolling terrain, with around 1,100 feet of elevation per 12.5 mile loop. With the race held in November, fallen leaves may obscure the footing.

100K, 50M, Marathon, & Half Marathon: The 100K, 50M, Marathon, and Half Marathon will all utilize the same 12.5 mile loop in Willowdale State Forest. The 100K will consist of five main loops, the 50M will consist of four main loops, the Marathon will consist of two main loops, with two additional 1K loops around the field and school at the start, and the Half Marathon will consist of one main loop, with one additional 1K loop around the field and school at the start.

Map (to be updated for 2024)

Strava Link (to be updated for 2024)

10K: The course will be one 10K loop. The beginning four miles will share the course of the 100K, 50M, Marathon, and Half Marathon, and then the 10K course veers off for around one mile before rejoining the 100K, 50M, Marathon, and Half Marathon course for the closing stretch back to the start/finish at the school.

Map (to be updated for 2024)

Strava Link (to be updated for 2024)

Course Markings: The course will be well marked with reflective flagging all along the trails and with reflective signs at any major intersections 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, you must backtrack, as opposed to making up your own version of the course. Review of GPS files will be done if it is believed the course was not followed by any given participant. Participants found to have not done the course as marked may be unable to get an official finish time. Please let the volunteers know at the aid stations if there are any navigation issues and we will work with you and others to sort them out.

Cutoff Times: Participants must start the final 12.5 mile loop for the 50M by 3:00 pm to continue on the course (37.5 miles in 10 hours). Participants must start the final 12.5 mile loop for the 100K by 4:00 pm to continue on the course (50 miles in 11 hours). The course closes for all participants at 7:00 pm (14 hours from the start). 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: The 12.5 mile course will have one aid station at the start/finish and one aid station around halfway through the loop. The 10K course will not have any aid stations other than the start/finish. Please note this is a cupless race and you will need to bring your own hydration system (bottle/cup/vest/etc.). The aid stations will not have any disposable cups, bowls, or utensils for participants. This is in an effort to reduce waste at the event. That includes no cups for soup or soda. Please be prepared for this. Run with fluids if you think you will need more than one aid station in 12.5 miles.

You can expect the following at each aid station (everything listed below is vegan friendly) in addition to other surprises:

  • 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!)

  • Bananas & Oranges

  • 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

  • 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 Stone Cat Trail Festival 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).

Food & Drink Donations:

In previous editions of our events, much of our aid stations were made up of food and drink donations from our participants. We would like to keep that tradition going, and invite everyone to bring food and drink donations for the aid stations. Please drop off any food donations at the start/finish when you go in to get your bib (one of the tables will be labeled for the donations). Any extra food and drink donations will be brought to the food pantry after the event (as long as the items are nonperishable).

Land Acknowledgement:

The TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival is held on land that was originally home of the Agawam ("beyond the marsh") and Pawtucket ("great falls") people, 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. Running on Native lands gives us all the opportunity to connect with and reflect on the history of the land and the communities who have lived here for centuries.

Schedule:

Saturday, November 2, 2024 | Race Day

4:10 a.m. | Bib Pick Up Opens at the Paul F. Doyon Memorial School

4:45 a.m. | 100K & 50M Prerace Briefing

5:00 a.m. | 100K & 50M Race Start (& Yeti Howl!)

5:45 a.m. | Marathon Prerace Briefing

6:00 a.m. | Marathon Start (& Yeti Howl!)

6:45 a.m. | Half Prerace Briefing

7:00 a.m. | Half Start (& Yeti Howl!)

7:45 a.m. | 10K Prerace Briefing

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

10:00 a.m. | Free Youth Fun Run briefing & Start (& Yeti Howl!)

3:00 p.m. | 50M Last Loop Cutoff at the Start/Finish Area

4:00 p.m. | 100K Last Loop Cutoff at the the Start/Finish Area

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

Fall Course Preview Runs:

We will be hosting two course preview runs in October. Details can be found on Facebook and our Monthly Group Runs page. Join us for some casual training miles at Willowdale State Forest.

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 Stone Cat Trail Festival across all distances (with the exception of the free youth fun run) 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:

TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival participants can edit their registration and distance through RunReg. Go to Account History and then Registration History and click "Edit" next to the TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival. Change to the distance you desire and click "Update Registration." You will have the ability to edit your distance up to Monday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m. This gives our timing crew enough time to manage the bibs for all participants before race day. If you need help or have any questions, you can email the Race Director, but please try these methods first to expedite the process!

 

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

Pregnancy Deferral Policy:

We understand there are many barriers for new parents and pregnant runners within the sport of trail running. Participants who become pregnant prior to race day or are the parents to a recent newborn can defer their entry to our event for up to two years. The race reserves the right to require additional proof of pregnancy. Please reach out to the Race Director at least one week prior to race day to process your deferral.

 

Refund Policy:

TARC races maintain a no refund policy. There will be no refunds for any reason. Any requests for a refund will be politely directed to this blurb. Please consider your race entry a donation to the trails, but one where you also get a chance to challenge yourself physically and mentally while taking in all the beauty the landscape has to offer.

 

USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail Running Youth Initiative:

 

To raise awareness of trail races among young runners and increase participation, the American Trail Running Association has partnered with the USATF MUT Youth Initiative to create a “Youth Trail” certified program for race directors. The TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival is one of the early adopters of their program, and we offer discounted entries ($10 off) across all distances for youth 19 years old or under.

 

Please reach out if you are looking to register yourself or someone else through this program.

 

Trail Sisters Approved Event:

 

The TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival is proud to be Trail Sisters Approved! The commitment includes, when applicable, equal podium spots, equal prize money & awards, women’s specific swag & apparel, menstrual products at aid station porta potties, and equal opportunity/space for women on the starting line. You can learn more about the standards and their awesome organization here.

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.

Pacers & Crew:

Pacers are not allowed for any distance at the TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival. Participants who do not adhere to these rules risk disqualification. Crew access is allowed only at the start/finish aid station. Crew should not attempt to visit the on course aid station. This is to allow for the necessary parking access for volunteers and other visitors of Willowdale State Forest. Please be aware that parking at the start/finish will be tight until around noon on race day, and parking spots are not guaranteed for crew unless they carpool with their runner(s). Participants are welcome to leave their gear by the start/finish area and they will pass it every 12.5 miles if they are running the 100K, 50 miler, or marathon. Participants can also set up tents (no bigger than 10x10) near the start/finish but must check with volunteers to make sure their tent is out of the way.

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 marshals" 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 in November.

View and register for the various shifts here.

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. The looped nature of the course allows for the opportunity to frequently see other participants, so 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 finish.

Parking & Travel:

*Please note that carpooling is highly recommended! Most participants will have to park around 0.4 miles away!*

 

Parking is available for 100K and 50 mile participants right at the start/finish area at the Paul F. Doyon Memorial School (216 Linebrook Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts, 01938). When 100K and 50 mile participants arrive at the school they will be directed to available parking spots by volunteers. Please do not park in the fire lane in front of the school and please tell any friends and family arriving later the same (cars that park here will be towed).

Marathon, half marathon, 10K, and youth fun run participants will be required to park at the Mile Lane Fields lot off of Linebrook Road and approximately 0.4 miles away from the Paul F. Doyon Memorial School (start/finish). Mile Lane, Ipswich can be used as the GPS address and the fields are on the left when entering the lane from Linebrook Road. Volunteers will direct everyone where to park in the Mile Lane Fields lot in order to make the most use of the space. Marathon, half marathon, 10K, and youth fun run participants will then walk to the school after parking. Any cars parked on Linebrook Road near the school will be ticketed/towed.

Participants can post in the Trail Animals Running Club Facebook Group or on the TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival Facebook event page coordinating carpools. Friends and family coming as spectators are encouraged to travel with the participants they are supporting. No camping is available at the school or the Mile Lane Fields lot.

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 very chilly 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 Stone Cat Trail Festival:

Held on Nov 10, 2001

Held on Nov 09, 2002

Held on Nov 08, 2003

Held on Nov 13, 2004

Held on Nov 12, 2005

Held on Nov 06, 2006

Held on Nov 10, 2007

Held on Nov 08, 2008

Held on Nov 07, 2009

Held on Nov 06, 2010

Held on Nov 05, 2011

Held on Nov 03, 2012

Held on Nov 02, 2013

Held on Nov 08, 2014

Held on Nov 07, 2015

Held on Nov 05, 2016

Held on Nov 04, 2017

Held on Nov 03, 2018

Held of Nov 02, 2019

Scheduled on Nov 07, 2020 (canceled)

Held on Nov 06, 2021

Held on Nov 05, 2022

Held on Nov 04, 2023

Scheduled on Nov 02, 2024

Historical Results:

Starting in 2023, all results for the TARC Stone Cat Trail Festival can be found here.

Course Records:

10K Male Record: 52:07 | 2023 | David Catarius (54)

10K Female Record: 58:31 | 2023 | Abigail Postlewaite (24)

10K Nonbinary Record: 01:02:53 | 2023 | Jillian Mulligan (26)

Half Marathon Male Record: 01:38:36 | 2023 | John Kinnee (44)

Half Marathon Female Record: 01:48:22 | 2023 | Lindsay Weigel (31)

Half Marathon Nonbinary Record: 03:09:31 | 2023 | Audrey Murphy (31)

Marathon Male Record: 02:54:33 | 2012 | John Dudley (34)

Marathon Female Record: 03:16:15 | 2013 | Aliza Lapierre (33)

Marathon Nonbinary Record: To be determined

50K Male Record: 03:49:42 | 2019 | Jason Smith (29)

50K Female Record: 04:13:58 | 2022 | Lila Gaudrault (20)

50K Nonbinary Record: To be determined

50M Male Record: 06:10:55 | 2013 | Sebastien Roulier (39)

50M Female Record: 07:16:13 | 2011 | Aliza Lapierre (31)

50M Nonbinary Record: To be determined

100K Male Record: 12:07:45 | 2023 | Mat Ridley (33)

100K Female Record: 10:49:42 | 2023 | Lila Gaudrault (21)

100K Nonbinary Record: To be determined

Reviews & Reports:

2007 Race Report by Ian Parlin

2008 Race Report by Dan Scotina

2008 Race Report by Ian Parlin

2010 Race Report by Valerie Abradi

2010 Race Report Danielle Triffitt

2010 Race Report by Dan Scotina

2011 Race Report by Mark Manz

2014 Race Report by Carly Eisley

2015 Race Report by Ben Kimball

2016 Race Report by Caleb Daniloff

2017 Race Report by Nick Lunger

2018 Race Report by Rebecca Weston

Some one sentence summaries from past participants!

"Gorgeous day, gorgeous trail, a whole lot of fun!"

"Excellent first real trail race for me!"

"This was a wonderful day in the woods running a difficult but enjoyable race."

 

"Amazing course, great aid stations, great people; an amazing first ultra!"

"It was an absolute blast!"

"Starting the half with the sunrise was unexpectedly perfect and the race overall was challenging and fun!"

"The race was incredible; the participants, the organization, the volunteers; everyone was super friendly and supportive, which made the event incredible."

"Oh, so much FUN!"

"Great introduction to trail racing!"

"An awesome day of fun, windy singletrack!"

"Challenging, but satisfying, day of running!"

"Really fun and felt very supported!"

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

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