Event Information
All Events start at 9:00 a.m.

Freestyle Farm, 188 Mack Hill Road, Amherst, New Hampshire
October 12, 2019

Runners and hikers alike are invited to the Joe English Trail Challenge and to participate in either a 30-kilometer, 25-kilometer, 12.5-kilometer or 5-kilometer trail run/hike. The courses are tough but rewarding, a challenge both physically and mentally. Train and have fun! The event is hosted by the Amherst Land Trust and Freestyle Farm LLC. All proceeds support conservation.

Challenge Stats

5-Kilometer Sprint Course
Start time: 9:00 a.m.
Length: 5 kilometers
Elevation gain: 550 ft
Hill slopes: 2 ascents > 20%
Water/aid stations: 1
Registrants: up to 300
Path width: 2 to 12 feet
Race duration: 30-75 minutes

12.5-Kilometer Red Course
Start time: 9:00 a.m.
Length: 12.5 kilometers
Elevation gain: 1,300 ft
Stream crossings: 5
Hill slopes: 5 ascents > 20%
Water/aid stations: 5
Registrants: 500
Path width: 2 to 12 feet
Race duration: 1.3-3 hours

25-Kilometer Yellow Course
Start time: 9:00 a.m.
Length: 25 kilometers
Elevation gain: 2,550 ft
Stream crossings: 6 (up to 9 if high water)
Hill slopes: 11 ascents > 20%
Lakeshores: 3
Water/aid stations: 7
Registrants: 500
Path width: 2 to 12 feet
Dirt road: 1/2 mile (0.8k)
Race duration: 2.5-6 hours

25 Kilometer Yellow Course Records

Men's Open: Philip Mason (29) 1:56:08

Men's Masters: Sylvain Olier (40) 2:12:13

Women's Open Kirstin Scott (32) 2:42:35

Women's Masters: Michelle Roy (43) 2:51:38

12.5 Kilometer Red Course Records

Men's Open: Kurt Hackler (38) 58:15

Men's Masters: Erik Paddleford (41) 1:08:46

Women's Open Susan Macleod (38) 1:17:39

Women's Masters: Kathy Key (50) 1.23:01

Event specifics


7:30 a.m. - Registration & Number Package Pickup
9:00 a.m. - All Distances


Registration: Now open, click here.

5K Registration fee:
January 1 to January 31 - $30
February 1 - March 31 - $30
April 1 - May 4 - $30
Youth (17 and Under) January 1 - May 4 - $25
Day of Race - $35

12.5K Registration fee:
January 1 to January 31 - $35
February 1 - March 31 - $45
April 1 - May 4 - $50
Day of Race - $55

25K & 30K Registration fee:
January 1 to January 31 - $50
February 1 to March 31 - $55
April 1 - May 4 - $60
Day of Race - $65

Challenge goodies: bib, T, swag bag
Parking: fields, onsite, click here
Course time limit: 7 hours
Course map: click here
Driving Directions: click here
Mapquest directions: click here.

On the trail

The Challenge begins in the fields of 300-acre (1.21km^2) Freestyle Farm, a private venue for horse riding. Pick up your bib, T-shirt and swag bag at the indoor arena. Check out and thank our sponsors. Find the start/finish just to the south of the arena.

25 Kilometer Yellow Course

In the first 2 miles (3.2km), the 25 kilometer course loops around the hilltop pond on wide equestrian trails and enters the woods. At mile 3.5 (5.6km), it passes the first water station and drops from the hilltop into the backcountry of 558-acre (2.38km^2) Joe English Reservation. At mile 4 (6.4km), the course begins more than 8 miles of moderate to steep ascents and descents on mostly single-track trails with multiple stream crossings. At least two ascents are too steep to run. At mile 10 (16.1km), the course begins the first of three, rugged 300-foot (90m) climbs back to the Freestyle hilltop. The race ends by rejoining the Freestyle Farm trails and circling the pond where it began.

12.5 Kilometer Red Course

The 12.5 kilometer short course is run on the equestrian trails for the first 2 and last 2 kilometers. After leaving Freestyle Farm the course enter Joe English Reservation and follows the Hammond Brook trail to the Peabody Mill Environmental Center where it ascends Hemlock Trail to the top. The course then picks up the newly named 4 kilometer backcountry Denning Loop and returns to Hemlock Trail. There are steep ascents and descents and three stream crossings on the Denning Loop. Hemlock Trail returns runners to Hammond Brook and back to Freestyle Farm and the finish.

5-Kilometer Sprint Course

The first 2+ kilometers of the new 5-kilometer sprint course follows the 25-kilometer course loop around the hilltop pond on wide equestrian trails and enters a new single track trail for the next 2 kilometers. There is one steep ascent and descent between 1.2 and 1.7 kilometers. The single-track trail consists of numerous switchbacks, small knolls and hills, boulders and other demanding trail conditions. The final kilometer returns to the equestrian trails with a short segment of single-track trail along the pond.

Remember to bring substantial trail running shoes. The courses will be marked with colored flags and a white, lime line and/or signs at critical junctions. After leaving the Freestyle Farm trails, expect to run on footpaths with roots, rocks, downed trees, water crossings, all typical of the granite hills of New Hampshire. The trail is flat in only a few places. Turns are a constant. For the 1.7 miles at the start/finish, the trail follows rolling, groomed equestrian trails. For one half mile in the middle of the 25-kilometer course, it follows a level gravel road. But most of the trail is bumpy, winding, and pitches up and down. Most of the course goes cross-country on established trails through boulder-strewn woods. If it is wet, expect mud. This is great fun, if you're psyched and prepared.

See the Map Page for the Course Map & Profile

Goodies and food

All entrants receive a unisex T-shirt made of high-quality cotton. We suggest women order a size down. You will receive the shirt you order when registering. These are top-quality sportswear printed with the challenge logo. You will also receive a bib and swag bag.

Hot and cold concessions are available. Go to the indoor arena or start/finish to find snacks, drinks, fruit, coffee, grilled items, chili and much more.

Aid and first aid

We will have seven aid stations along the 25 kilometer route, at kilometers 3, 6, 10, 12, 19, 19, and 21. The five aid stations on the 12.5 kilometer course are at 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 kilometers. Stations will have water, Gatorade, gel, granola bars, and other goodies. Restroom facilities are at Aid Station #3.

We'll also have an athletic trainer and EMT squad stationed at the start/finish and at Aid Station 12/19 on the 25 kilometer course. Emergency response will be available via cell phone. We'll post the EMTs' phone numbers at the indoor arena. We'll ask you to program the number into your phone if you take it with you on the course.

Friends and family

The amphitheater setting of the start/finish offers a great view of the course. You can also view runners/hikers from several vantage points along the course. Spectators should look for course maps in the indoor arena and at the start. Coaches, friends, family, and others may walk the first part of the course on the Freestyle Farm trails. Please do not interfere with participants. Stay to the side, and walk single file. Give them right of way! Spectators are not permitted to follow the course route in Joe English Reservation.


To honor the spirit of the Joe English Trail Challenge, to finish ranks right up there with winning. The first, and last, place finishers will both earn a custom medals. The awards will be given next to the start/finish line, or in bad weather, in the indoor arena. All official results will be posted online, broken out by class (age, gender, and hiker versus runner).


All parking will be on field/grass at Freestyle Farm. Click here for a map
. . Parking for officials, buses, and the handicapped is near the start/finish. Parking is not allowed outside designated areas or on Mack Hill Road. Violators may be towed. For directions to parking, Click here.

About Freestyle Farm

Freestyle Farm is a privately owned, 300-acre equestrian center located at 188 Mack Hill Road in the northern part of Amherst. The center provides boarding and training of event horses and welcomes the public to visit and to participate in equestrian and other events. The farm works to maintain the rural and agricultural character of Amherst through preservation of open space. The trails and other facilities are not open for use by the general public.

About your donation to the Amherst Land Trust

All proceeds from the event go to the Amherst Land Trust for the protection of open, scenic, agricultural, and undeveloped lands in Amherst and nearby towns. Founded in 1975, the trust has worked to educate the public about conservation and protect thousands of acres of land similar to those in the Joe English Reservation, across which most the challenge course runs. Please click here to learn more about the trust, its land-protection work, and membership. The trust encourages and celebrates the use of conservation land for recreation.


Whatever you carry in to the event, please carry out. Permission to access the trails you will use in the Joe English Challenge is generously provided free of charge by four private landowners and the Town of Amherst. We ask that you respect the privilege of access and refrain from dropping any litter or containers on the course or elsewhere on the site.

For more information

Contact the race director or any of his associates. The contacts below are for the Joe English Challenges. We are happy to help you with any questions concerning these three races. Thank you and see you in May!!! If you would like to volunteer for either race, please use form below.

George Bower, Race Director, TrailChallenge@Joe-English.org
Randy Chapman, ranchap@gmail.com
Bill Birchard, bbirchard@aol.com

Food and Lodging Information

Joe English Challenge Series
Freestyle Farm, 188 Mack Hill Road, Amherst, New Hampshire

There is no lodging in Amherst or nearby the event site, which lies at the end of the road at the top of a hill. Participants planning to spend the night have many choices within 10 miles, either in the direction of Manchester, NH, or Nashua, NH. Some ideas are below.


Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Merrimack, NH
4 Amherst Rd
Merrimack, NH 03054
(603) 429-3600

Hill-Brook Motel
250 Route 101
Bedford, NH 03110
(603) 472-3788

Comfort Inn Merrimack
242 Daniel Webster Highway
Merrimack, NH, US, 03054
Phone: (603) 429-4600

Hampton Inn Nashua
407 Amherst Street
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 883-5333

Crowne Plaza Nashua
2 Somerset Parkway
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 886-1200

Courtyard by Marriott Nashua
2200 Southwood Dr
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 880-9100

The Bedford Village Inn
2 Olde Bedford Way
Bedford, NH 03110

Zahn's Alpine Guest House
97 S. Main St.
Mont Vernon, NH 03057
(603)673-2334, Toll Free: (888)745-0051

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Merrimack/Nashua
246 Daniel Webster Hwy
Merrimack, NH 03054
(603) 424-8100


There is no camping near Freestyle Farm. The closest commercial campground is about 25 minutes away in New Boston, just north of Amherst:

Friendly Beaver Campground
79 Mont Vernon Rd.
New Boston, NH 03070
(603) 487-5570


There are many restaurants in Amherst and neighboring towns, all at least several miles from Freestyle Farm. The closest convenience store and sandwich shop is on the Amherst Village common, just a minute or two from the route to Freestyle Farm. It is Moulton's Market, 10 Main St., (603-673-2404) which sells fresh sandwiches, soups, and donuts as well as coffee, snacks and groceries.

A sampling of locally favorite restaurants:

167 Union Square
Milford, NH 03055
(603) 672-5333

Pasta Loft
241 Union Square
Milford, NH 03055
(603) 672-2270

103 New Hampshire 101A
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 578-9696

Black Forest Cafe
212 New Hampshire 101
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 672-0500

bluAqua Restaurant
292 New Hampshire 101
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 673-4321

Joey's Diner
1 Craftsman Ln
Amherst, NH 03054
(603) 577-8955

Chiang Mai Thai
63 New Hampshire 101A
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 672-2929

524 Nashua St #1
Milford, NH 03055
(603) 673-3939

Mi Jalisco Restaurante Mexicano
586 Nashua Street
Milford, NH 03055-4992

LongHorn Steakhouse
124 State Route 101a
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 579-6975?

LaBelle Winery
345 New Hampshire 101
Amherst, NH 03031
(603) 672-9898