Borrowing from the fable, Tortoise & Hare is a race for all paces—victory lies in finishing. Our closest trail race to Ithaca is a good introduction to both trail running and local trails, while Buttermilk Falls provides a spectacular backdrop. It’s a great way to cap off your holiday weekend! The 10K+ (roughly 6.5-mile) course covers beautiful, varied terrain, including the easy Larch Meadow Trail, the semi-technical Bear Trail, and the rolling Treman Lake Trail. There is one long, steep hill that climbs about 450 feet in under a mile, lending another interpretation to the race name—up slow, down fast.
Don’t miss the free 1-mile fun run for kids of all ages, which sends kids around the Larch Meadow Trail loop at the start. It’s noncompetitive and won’t be timed.
This race is dedicated to the memory of its founder, Rich Lawrence, who died in a canoeing accident in 1998. Special thanks to Rich’s close friend Cynthia Lange for her continued support and help at this race.
Tortoise & Hare is 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 is held at Buttermilk Falls State Park: 106 E Buttermilk Falls Road, Ithaca, NY 14850. The start is at the lower park’s ballfield, on the side of Sandbank Road opposite the playground.
Parking is available, but be prepared to pay the $9 vehicle entrance fee or present an Empire Pass. This is important—park personnel will ticket cars parked illegally! It’s possible to park for free less than half a mile away, at the little mall on Route 13 east of the park.
The race starts at 9:00 AM. Please arrive at least 30 minutes early to pick up your bib.
The 1-mile kids’ fun run starts at 9:15 AM.
- Online registration is required and is open until 2 hours before the race.
- Registration for the 10K is $20.
- 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.
You can load RunGo turn-by-turn directions onto your phone or Apple Watch.
- Run across the ballfields and around the marshy Larch Meadow Trail loop.
- Leave the field to cross Sandbank Road, pass the playground, cross the footbridge, run past the falls, and ascend the paved campsite road.
- Turn right onto the unpaved service trail and run the steep uphill for about a half mile.
- Turn right at King Road, cross the bridge, and take an immediate left onto the Bear Trail. (Watch for traffic here!)
- After almost a mile, turn right and run across the open fields.
- Pass the restrooms and go up the asphalt path to Treman Lake.
- Keep right, and run counterclockwise around the lake for about half a mile.
- Turn right on the orange-blazed spur of the Finger Lakes Trail—if you get to the lean-to you’ve gone too far!
- Turn left onto Yaple Road, and take another left at Comfort Road.
- Bear left back onto the service road.
- Continue counterclockwise around Lake Treman.
- Merge back onto the trail you previously ascended.
- Enjoy the long downhill to the end! Retrace all the trails back down to the finish line at the playground.
Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female runners in these age groups: Under 18, 19–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69, and 70+.
- There are nearby restrooms and a bathhouse with cold showers!
- Post-race, take a refreshing dip in the Buttermilk Falls swimming hole (pending park operations)!
- Water and food will be available to all runners post-race.
- Results will be available via Webscorer and the FLRC Web site.
- This race is part of the Finger Lakes Trail Circuit, for all you Pebbleheads, Stoneheads, and Boulderheads. Check your standing on the Trail Circuit leaderboard.
- For remaining questions, contact race director Laurel Gilmer (email@example.com).
- Look for flags and arrows marking the trail or you’ll end up off course! As with all trail races, it’s on you to pay attention.
- Unlike road races, the footing is not level. It is uneven and can be dangerous. A fall or injury is possible.
- Insect bites, mud, treacherous footing, fallen logs, and vehicles at road crossings are all possible hazards.
- No dogs, headphones, or jogging strollers. 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.