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TARC To Hale and Back

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Join us for the 2025 Trail Animals Running Club TARC Hale & Back at Hale Reservation, with 6 Hour and  3.5 Mile distance options! You can read all the exciting details below!

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

Saturday, March 22, 2025 at Hale Reservation, Westwood, Massachusetts.

Stay tuned for event registration to open in November 2024.

Winters can be long in New England. Very long. We invite all our Trail Animals friends to crawl out of hibernation and welcome dirt and longer days. Come and join us because TARC IS GOING TO HALE AND BACK! This race is scheduled for the last weekend in March, hoping that we can avoid feet of snow pack and maybe get a chance to feel some fresh dirt under our paws (er, shoes). The 3.5 Miler and 6 Hour will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2024 with the 3.5 Miler starting at 8:00 am and 6 Hour starting soon after at 8:05 am (bib pickup starts at 7:00 am, and the hearty volunteers will be there before 6:00 am). So come on out, shake all that winter snow off your back, and join the pack To Hale and Back! AHHHHHWWWWOOOO!
 

Course Description and Aid Station:

 

The course map (mostly accurate) is available here: TARC To Hale and Back Course Map

Strava Link

Some years have required a bit of a last minute reroute due to snow, flooding, etc. so follow all signs on race day! The course is certainly not the easiest 5K you've ever run. It is largely singletrack, with a few short/stout climbs, but overall, just a general flow of up/down/side to side. There is technical footing, but the reward is following the shores of two idyllic ponds (dare you to jump in!), and getting out onto nice stretches of singletrack.

There will be ONE aid station at the start/finish with water and Tailwind available, plus a variety of food that folks have come to associate with TARC. Plan on being OUTSIDE ALL DAY, with no indoor access.  And finally, PLEASE DO NOT WEAR SPIKES/TRACTION IN POWISSETT LODGE (trick point here, because you should plan on NOT GOING INTO THE LODGE AT ALL!)

Given the time of year though, we may have to adjust the course because of snow banks that limit parking. If, like in 2015, we get some 100+ feet snow, it will severely limit where we can park, which may also require adjusting the course and adding in some sections of road to let you actually run and not posthole for 6 hours!

Course Marking: The course will be well marked with flagging all along the trails and with 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.

 

Let There NOT Be Cups:

We will NOT have cups for your drink OR soups. Please plan accordingly: ESPECIALLY for after you finish (bring a nice bowl or mug and a spoon; that way you can eat more!). We strive to do everything we can to limit our impact on the places we like to spend our time. Please simply use your water bottle, or bring a lightweight, collapsible cup with you. It takes just a little more planning on your part, and means we won't have pre-poured soda and drinks, but it will mean our impact on Ma' Nature is significantly less than it could be.

BE PREPARED FOR THIS! WE ARE SERIOUS! THERE WILL BE NO CUPS, EVEN AFTER YOU FINISH

Land Acknowledgement:

The TARC To Hale and Back is held on land that was originally home of the Wôpanâak (Wampanoag) 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.

 

Getting There & Parking:

The start/finish will be at Powissett Lodge in Hale Reservation. Use 80 Carby St, Westwood, Massachusetts, 02090 for the GPS address, and then drive down the road about 1.5 miles (it's the last building, on the left, down the road). Please drive very slowly through the reservation as there will likely be other users on the road.

Please start arriving at the start/finish no earlier than 7:00 am to give us time to setup beforehand. You may have to walk as much as 0.75 miles from your car to the start/finish. Bear with us (see that, because BEARs are Trail Animals!), and hope that all the snow is gone by the middle of March!

Parking locations will be shared closer to race day, as this can change based on availability and snow! Parking at Hale Summer Club is typically always an option as it is a large lot, so avoid the hassle of parking at Powissett, please seriously consider going straight to Hale Summer Club, parking there, and then following the course to Powissett Lodge (this is about 2/3 to 3/4 mile walk). This lot is located opposite 576 Dover Road, Westwood, MA. Practice this! Plan for it, and it will help the volunteers tremendously.

As always, parking will be tight. Given the potential for complications from huge amounts of snow, parking will be EXTRA tight at this event. If at all possible, run/bike/carpool to the race. The fewer cars we have onsite, the happier we will all be. We will send out details on where to park as the event gets closer, but plan to have at least some amount of walking to get to the start/finish area.

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 To Hale & Back is $32 for the 6 hour and $22 for the 5 Miler. 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.

Event Waitlist:

Once the race is full, the waitlist will open! If you sign up for the waitlist, be aware that as spots open up, your credit card will automatically be charged and you will be let into the race; there is no option to accept or decline the entry into the race. If you do not want to remain on the waitlist at any point in time, please contact us to remove you from the waitlist.

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 or deferrals 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. If you sign up and are unable to attend the race, please contact us to withdraw your entry so someone on the waitlist has the opportunity to participate.

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 To Hale & Back 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 To Hale & Back 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 parta potties (where applicable), 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 either event and participants who do not adhere to these rules risk disqualification. Crew access is allowed only at the start/finish aid station. Please be aware that parking at the start/finish will be tight and crew should carpool with their runner(s). Participants are welcome to leave their gear by the start/finish area and they will pass it every 3.5 miles.

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 March.

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. 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.

Running in the Woods & Weather:

Please prepare for all manner of weather, insects, critters, trail rash, etc! Historically, this race has nice, cool temperatures! 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

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 To Hale & Back:

(To be updated)

Course Records:

(To be updated)

Reviews & Reports:

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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