Aid Stations 101

From the runners standpoint, aid stations at a trail-race / ultramarathon exist so they have a place to get food and water so they can continue running and finish the race.  From the race organizations standpoint, it gives us a place to check on the runners to make sure they are doing ok and are able to continue running – aid stations are also a place from where we track runners progress, record their numbers etc.  Simply put, the primary reason we have aid stations is for the runners safety and to help the runners accomplish their goal of finishing the race.

At times you may go hours without seeing any runners and at other times, you may be dealing with a mass of runners all coming in at once.  Runners needs will differ greatly – some will fill their own water bottles and will be in and out in a matter of seconds – others may want you to fill their hydration backpacks, make them a sandwich and then may sit and rest for 5 or 10 minutes or longer.  Be sure to ask runners what they need and provide assistance wherever you can.  Offer encouragement and generally be of assistance wherever you can.


Working an aid station – simplified:

  • Be sure to spend some time studying all the sections of the website to learn as much as you can about the race – this will help you and will also make you a resource for other volunteers and most importantly, the runners.
  • Try to visit the Race Director and others from the race organization at the start / finish area prior to your shift – you will have to arrive early to do so.  This is a good time to get acquainted, ask any last minute questions and get your volunteer shirt.
  • Arrive early / before the posted time your aid station is scheduled to open or before the time you are scheduled to start. Times posted are estimates, runners may arrive earlier so you should plan to arrive early. Familiarize yourself with all of the information in your aid station manual / folder and with all of the equipment that you have been provided with.
  • Introduce yourself to your aid station mates and to the Ham Radio Operator(s) who are stationed at your aid station as well (cell phones are not reliable in this area, we rely on Ham Radio Operators for the majority of our communications – they can provide communication from aid station to aid station, from your aid station to the start / finish, from your aid station to the race director and in the event of an emergency can call for emergency services.)
  • Get the aid station equipment set-up, put out food, mix HEED and be ready for the first runner.
  • Fill water bottles, help find drop bags, help get and prepare food – generally just be of assistance to the runners and offer encouragement. When not in use, keep food covered, cold, protected etc.
  • If a runner is having a medical problem, notify the Ham Radio Operators immediately so they can radio for help if needed.
  • If a runner drops out of the race, make sure you notify the Ham Radio Operators right away.
  • When runners are come in to and are ready to leave the aid station and continue running, the HAM Radio Operators will record their race numbers and times in and out of the aid station – help to ensure that the runner is heading the right way on the trail when they leave. Please also offer any assistance to the HAM Radio Operators in recording numbers and times especially during “peak” times when there are many runners coming in and out of your aid station.
  • The trail “sweeps” will be shortly behind the last runner on the last loop. The sweeps are there to make sure that nobody is left behind / hurt on the trail, pick up course markings and pickup any garbage left on the trail. When the “sweeps” arrive, that is your cue that you can close your aid station.
  • When you start packing up your aid station, please wash your dishes (if you are able) and pack all the equipment back in one box, pack all food into another and all soda / soft-drinks into another. Fold up your table, take down the tent and leave in a neat pile with a water jug or something heavy to weigh down the food bin. Do not empty full water jugs, this water can be transported down the course to another aid station.
  • If your aid station has a “cutoff” it is NOT your responsibility to enforce it, the only people that will enforce cutoffs are the “heads” of the sweep or the race director – you do not have to worry about this.
  • Be sure to take care of yourself while volunteering. Get some rest from time to time, stay fed and hydrated throughout.
  • Depending on where your aid station is located, there may not be any restroom facilites so runners and volunteers will have to make use of the woods – if this is completely foreign to you, this is a good place to start LINK
  • Make sure you get a t-shirt – if one is not brought to you, please ask for one.
+ Click HERE for Quick Info

Superior Spring Trail Race
50KM & 25KM
Lutsen, Minnesota
Saturday May 20th, 2017
50KM 7:00AM
25KM 8:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Opens Sunday January 1st, 2017 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Sunday January 15th, 2017 – 11:59PM CST
* Due to high demand, registration for the Superior “Spring” Trail Race is held via a lottery, more details about the lottery can be found HERE

Directions to Race Start:
Caribou Highlands Resort / Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, MN 55612
Google Maps Directions HERE
Approx Travel Times
1:15 North of Two Harbors, MN
1:45 North of Duluth, MN
4:00 North of Minneapolis, MN

Terrain / Course Description:
The Superior 25KM and 50KM Trail Races are extremely hilly, rugged and technical out-and-back (100% trail) trail-races which traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches northern Minnesota .  The course parallels Lake Superior, the greatest freshwater lake in the world, climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests and crosses whitewater rivers and serene streams while meandering through mystic Boreal forests.  The races start and finish at Caribou Highlands Resort in Lutsen Minnesota.

Superior 50KM
25KM Out & Back Course = 50KM (31MI)
Elevation Gain 4,200 FT
Elevation Loss 4,200 FT
NET Elevation Change 8,400 FT
4 Aid Stations
9 Hour Time Limit
Starts at 7:00AM Saturday
Compete 50KM Info HERE

Superior 25KM
7.5KM Out & Back Course = 25KM (15.1MI)
Elevation Gain 2,300 FT
Elevation Loss 2,300 FT
NET Elevation Change 4,600 FT
1 Aid Station
8 Hour Time Limit
Starts Saturday at 8:00AM
Complete 25KM Info HERE

More About the Area:
The North Shore of Lake Superior runs from Duluth, Minnesota at the Southwestern end of the lake, to Thunder Bay and Nipigon, Ontario, Canada, in the North to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in the east. The shore is characterized by alternating rocky cliffs and cobblestone beaches, with rolling hills and ridges covered in boreal forest inland from the lake, through which scenic rivers and waterfalls descend as they flow to Lake Superior. The shoreline between the city of Duluth to the international border at Grand Portage as the North Shore.  Lake Superior is considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world’s third-largest freshwater lake by volume and the largest by volume in North America.  The Superior Hiking Trail, also known as the SHT, is a 310-mile long distance hiking single-track hiking trail in Northeastern Minnesota that follows the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior for most of its length. The trail travels through forests of birch, aspen, pine, fir, and cedar. Hikers and runners enjoy views of boreal forests, the Sawtooth Mountains, babbling brooks, rushing waterfalls, and abundant wildlife. The lowest point on the trail is 602 feet above sea level and the highest point is 1,829 feet above sea level.