Trail race to protect Mount Tom: Inaugural fundraiser will benefit conservation efforts

  • Danielle and Joe Arsenault, of Holyoke, take in the view at Mount Tom Reservation, Thursday, May 21, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Published: 10/21/2021 11:09:59 AM

EASTHAMPTON — The inaugural Mount Tom Trail Race will be held this Saturday to benefit Kestrel Land Trust’s conservation efforts to preserve land on and around the mountain between Easthampton and Holyoke.

In partnership with Beast Coast Trail Running LCC and New City Brewery, Kestrel Land Trust is hosting this event to support public access to and protection of Mount Tom’s distinctive geology that supports uncommon plant communities, habitats for wildlife, and scenic hiking and picnicking.

Amy Rusiecki of Beast Coast Trail Running said, “The trails at Mt. Tom are amazing, and it’s an especially popular area for local trail runners, so we’re thrilled to offer the opportunity for runners from across New England to experience this local gem.”

Rusiecki, the coordinator of this weekend’s event, has experience helping organize dozens of other popular races across New England, including the Vermont 100 Endurance Race and the Seven Sisters Trail Race on the Mount Holyoke Range.

The 12-mile Mount Tom Trail Race will start at Millside Park in Easthampton at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. The race will finish back at the park near New City Brewery, which will host post-event refreshments and festivities, including a free pint of local beer in a commemorative pint glass-free pint of beer.

The race will top out at around 200 participants. Kari Blood, the community engagement director of Kestrel Land Trust, said that “it’s probably pretty close to sold out already.” The online registration deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m. but day of registration will be available if the race isn’t full by then.

The cost of a solo race is $55 and the cost of a two-person relay team is $98, with all money going toward “supporting public access to trails and parklands around Easthampton and Holyoke,” Blood said.

One of Kestrel Land Trust’s current projects is to create a parking space along East Street that will connect to a gathering area and a scenic trail overlooking Mount Tom’s historic “Picnic Parcel.” Another project is supporting Easthampton’s endeavor to save five acres of woodland on Reservation Road that serve as an access point to Mount Tom from being lost to private housing development.

Registration details for the Mount Tom Trail Race are available at https://www.runreg.com/mt-tom-trail-race.


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