The race takes place within Hammond Hill State Forest and this year consists of an 8.5-mile loop that is run twice for the 17-mile distance and three times (plus a mini loop) for the 26.2-mile marathon. The rugged, challenging course uses the Finger Lakes Trail and the forest’s extensive DEC trail system to traverse rolling hills. Out in the woods, you’ll enjoy the flora—oaks, beeches, maples, and evergreens—as the plant life will be turning bright green and filling in nicely in mid-May.
There are two aid stations on the course—one midway through the loop, and another at the start/finish for those running the 17-mile or marathon. The 2023 race will continue with last year’s format, with a start/finish adjacent to the Hammond Hill parking lot, adding about 0.3 miles to the traditional loop.
Home base for the race is the field just inside the trail start at the Hammond Hill parking lot across from the Hammond Hill-ton warming hut. Simply park at the main lot and walk up Yellow 1 past the kiosk.
The Thom B Trail Runs are part of the FLRC Trail Circuit, and results are included in the annual Pebblehead/Stonehead/Boulderhead rankings.
If you’ve never run a trail race before, check out our First-Timers FAQs for Trail Races.
The race starts and finishes by the Hammond Hill parking lot. The lot’s address is (roughly) 100 Hammond Hill Road, Freeville, NY 13068. Do not follow GPS directions via Harford Road—it is not passable. Instead, make sure to come via Irish Settlement Road. Parking in the lot is limited; we strongly encourage carpooling to reduce the number of cars and help fight climate change—sign up to get or give a ride!
Directions from Ithaca: Take Route 13 north toward Dryden. Before entering Dryden, take a right onto Irish Settlement Road. After going through an S curve you will go up a big hill, then continue a couple more miles. Take a left onto Hammond Hill Road. Soon you will come to a Y intersection. Take the right fork. At the top of the hill is a parking lot on the right. Park here, or along Hammond Hill Road or Star Stanton Road along only one side of the road.
The marathon starts at 7 AM, the 17-mile race at 8 AM, and the 8.5-mile race at 9 AM. Please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your race to pick up your bib.
Online registration is required and is open until 2 hours before the race. The race is limited to 150 participants total, across all distances.
- 8.5 mile and 17 mile: $20; Marathon: $35
- FLRC members may deduct $5.
- Runners 18 and under may register for free.
- If financial considerations would prevent you from entering this race, please use coupon code FLRCRUNFREE2024 during registration to waive the entry fee.
- There is no in-person registration at the race.
On race day all turns will be well marked with arrows and flags. However, with so many interconnected trails, Hammond Hill is an easy place to get lost, especially during solo training runs on the course. In this description, all mileage is approximate and may not correspond exactly with your GPS watch or map. Stay alert for sharp turns, and be sure to carry enough food and water. The color/number trails are all part of the state’s DEC trail system.
For real-time, turn-by-turn directions, download the free RunGo app to your phone and search for “Thom B”. You can run with your phone and use the app to give audible cues when and where to turn. The map is GPS-based, so lack of cell service in the forest will not affect navigation. Direct link to the route. Note that the Thom B race day course and the 2021 FLRC Challenge Hammond Hill course are one and the same—the 2022 FLRC Challenge Hammond Hill course is different.
Start on Hammond Hill Road next to the parking lot. Follow the dirt road for a mile. As the steep hill levels out, watch for trail Blue 1 on your left. Make the hard left onto Blue 1 and follow this for half a mile, then merge right onto Yellow 5. Continue straight-ish on Yellow 5 to a T intersection, then turn left to stay on Yellow 5.
At mile 2.8 you’ll come to a dirt road. Turn right for a slight downhill, then a quick left onto Red 1. At mile 3.8, you’ll merge with Red 2 for a very sharp left—almost a U-turn. Follow Red 2 back uphill. Around mile 4.0, Red 2 merges with the white-blazed Finger Lakes Trail. Stay on this trail—you’ll see both white blazes and Red 2 DEC markers—and pick up the pace as you cruise downhill into the bed of pines.
Continue on the white-blazed FLT, even as Red 2 merges onto Yellow 4 near mile 4.9. Stay on the FLT until it splits with Yellow 4. Continue straight onto the smooth, wide, Yellow 4 and follow this trail until you reach Canaan Road—the wide dirt road at the top of the hill.
Turn right onto Canaan and then another quick right onto the chewed up Star Stanton Road. Continue on the gentle downhill but then watch for the Yellow 2 trailhead on your left. (If you follow the road for more than a few hundred meters it means you’ve gone too far and missed the trail!) Turn left and charge uphill on Yellow 2. Merge right onto Yellow 1 at mile 6.5.
Yellow 1 is the trail that will bring you on home! Follow Yellow 1 straight across the dirt road at mile 7.2 and proceed down the hill. This is one of the fastest sections of the course and is almost the end of the loop! Around mile 7.6 you’ll take a right to stay on Yellow 1. Continue all the way in to the Hammond Hill parking lot. If you’re ready for more fun, hit up the aid station, then run back downhill on the dirt road and repeat.
To get the full 26.2 experience, marathoners will complete a 0.7-mile “baby loop” at the start of the race, then proceed to run their three 8.5-mile loops.
Prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female winners and to the top male and female Open (under 40), Masters (40+), and Vets (50+) runners, along with “Best Blood” and “Midpack” awards and a couple of grab-bag items.
13K: Garret Wagner— 47:50 (2005) and Emily Germano— 57:19 (2002)
26K: Tyson Sacco— 1:45:57 (2004) and Valerie Curtis— 2:03:32 (2005)
42K (2018-present): Ian Golden—3:37:05 (2019) and Ellie Pell— 3:55:24 (2019)
52K (2014-2017): Cole Crosby— 4:15:00 (2014) and Nancy Kleinrock— 5:22:22 (2015)
- Look for ribbons and flags marking the trail or you’ll end up off course! As with all trail runs, it’s on you to pay attention.
- Mud, treacherous footing, fallen logs, vicious mother ruffed grouse, and vehicles at road crossings are all possible hazards.
- Carry a water bottle, as it could be hot. Bring warm layers, as it could be cold. Bug spray is usually welcome.
- The Central New York Wilderness Search & Rescue crew will be on hand to help. Let’s try to ensure they’re bored.
- 17-mile cut-off: Runners have 2 hours to finish Loop 1 and begin Loop 2.
- Marathon cut-off: Runners must complete each loop of the marathon within 2 hours.
- Port-a-potties are available at the start/finish.
- All human refuse and remains on the trail must be buried. Because… blech!
- Results will be made available shortly after the race via Webscorer; visit the FLRC Web site for full results later.
- This race is part of the Finger Lakes Trail Circuit, for all you Pebbleheads, Stoneheads, and Boulderheads.
- For remaining questions, contact race director Gary McCheyne (email@example.com).
- No dogs, headphones, or jogging strollers are allowed. These make the race dangerous for everyone.
- The race directors reserve the right to reject any entry for any reason.
- Entry fees are non-refundable, even if the race is canceled because of an act of nature or mankind.
- If you need accommodation for a disability to participate in this event, please contact the FLRC Diversity and Inclusion Committee chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- This race is organized by the Finger Lakes Runners Club and insured by the Road Runners Club of America.