2011 TARC Summer Classic 6 Hour & 12 Hour Ultra

Yesterday was another ultramarathon day. We were at the TARC Summer Classic 6 Hour & 12 Hour Ultra in Medfield, Massachusetts. The race was held on a 6.5 mile loop in the 204-acre  Noon Hill Reservation. Debbie was the first overall finisher in the 12 hour race. She completed nine laps for a total of 58.5 miles in 11 hours and 31 minutes. The rules of the race stated that you had to make it to either the halfway aid station or the finish in order for your mileage to count. So, with 3.5 miles or so to get to the checkpoint, and only 29 minutes to do it, she called it a day. 3.5 miles in 29 minutes sounds like a piece of cake, but not after already running 58.5.

She accomplished her task. The TARC race was a very low key event about 15 miles southwest of Boston. This was the inaugural edition and it the registration was limited. Only 40 or so runners toed the line for the 7:00 A.M. start. She needed this event as a training run and the convenience of the race appealed to her. This quote from the race website says it all, “This race is an oasis in a month that is a virtual desert with respect to trail race options in New England and is perfectly positioned for those training for a late summer or fall trail ultra.”

Spending all day in the woods was the best part of the race. Noon Hill is a lovely little park tucked in between residential sub-divisions and the Medfield Sportsman’s Club property. The chatter of the chipmunks and chirps of the birds were occasionally interupted by the sound of gunfire coming from the club’s shooting range. Every once in a while, a major blast would sound off. Somebody had a cannon and was happy to be using it on a Saturday afternoon.

The course itself was a winding affair with lots of twists, turns, ups, and downs. There was only one small asphalt road section for a couple hundred yards. The rest of the course was singletrack or doubletrack on dirt and pine needles. There were a fair number of rocks and roots, which contributed to a handful of falls. This course would be great for a first ultra. The high point on the course was 358 foot Noon Hill, which you ascended every lap. There were approximately x feet of elevation gain each lap, so it was a little hilly. The whole course was undulating.

I spent the day with our 21-month old daughter. We hiked a lap of the course. We went for our own run on some lovely roads. We hung out, cheered for Mom/Deb, took photos, and snitched food from the aid station. Race Director, Chris Haley, his family, and the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC) volunteers were fantastic; and we met many new friends.

The race race more than $700 for the Trustees of Reservations, a non-profit group that has protected more than 100 reservations and 25,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. The weather was August-like. It started out mild, warmed up when the sun got higher in the sky, got really muggy in the afternoon, and then dried out a bit as the sun dipped late in the day. It looked like a sweatfest for the runners, especially when the temperature climbed into the mid-80’s (Fahrenheit).

Debbie ran strongly all day long. Her first lap was a bit quicker, but then she settled into a range of 1:18 to 1:23, with the last couple of laps at the midpoint of that range, which is fantastic. One of the TARC volunteers was recent Hardrock finisher, Julian Jamison. It didn’t take much convincing for him to run the last lap with Debbie. She didn’t need the support, but it was welcome and helped her finish strongly. It is no secret that Hardrock is at the top of her “to do” list, so hopefully his mountain leg strength and Hardrock lottery luck rubbed off.

Race Results

Printroom Photos

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Addendum (15 August 2011):

We saw a lot of wildlife at the Noon Hill Reservation. We saw a lot of chipmunks, squirrels, birds, and we even saw a muskrat. The most interesting siting was a large black snake that slithered right behind our 21-month old. I picked her up in a nanosecond when I heard the rustling in the brush. The snake went out onto a branch overhanging the pond (see photo above) and then into the water. Our daughter has seen several snakes, but nothing like this one. Several runners said that they also saw snakes on the course.

Michelle Roy inspired all by “honoring a friend” when she carried her wooden log for 50+ kilometers. She got the log at the Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont.

Thankfully, the swollen ankle in the photos, isn’t Deb’s. Unfortunately, it is Wendy Cashen Akeson’s, and I’m sure it hurts. She sprained it badly after four laps, bravely walked a fifth, and wisely quit. I did my ankle like that at the 2001 Savoy Trail Race Sampler, and it still hurts. I’m not kidding. It was also a hot August day. As soon as I removed my shoe and sock, my ankle blew up like a balloon, just like Wendy’s.

I was stubborn, stupid, and didn’t ice it quickly enough. I can’t believe it has been 10 years. It is one of my worst ever injuries. I should have never started that race. My big objective was the Mt. Washington Bicycle Hill Climb, one week later. With a heavily taped/braced ankle, I still finished the bike race, three minutes off of my best (2000) time, but haven’t been back since. Then, the day after the race, I hiked Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams with Debbie; and proceeded to do several adventure races in September. If I had broken it (bone), instead of spraining it (tissue), then I would have been better off. I don’t think my ankle will ever forgive me.

I shared the “clicking sound” in my ankle with Wendy in an effort to motivate her to get her foot up and get it iced. If she treats it well, she could be running again in a month. If I were her, I would be sticking to a bike or the pool for a while. Then again, the NipMuck Trail Marathon is in early October…

5 Responses to “2011 TARC Summer Classic 6 Hour & 12 Hour Ultra”


  1. 1 Tracy Lyn Larkin 20 August 2011 at 7:03 am

    Hi Scott,
    Nicely written!
    I am looking forward to following your’s and debbie’s training!
    Once again, it was a pleasure meeting you and you family in Medfield. Give your little girl a squeeze from Tuukka, the little puppy she so badly wanted to pet. : ) : )
    Train hard, play fair and have fun! ( What I say to my 3 boys every time they walk out my door! : )
    And keep writting!


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