2021 Race Date: TBD, More info HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/superior-spring-2021-updates/
Start Location – Caribou Trail / Cook Co. Rd. 4
Finish Location – Caribou Highlands Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, Minnesota 55612
Google Maps Link HERE
Race Start Time: 9:00 AM
Shuttle Bus to Start Departs Caribou Highlands at 8:15AM
*Important Note: Your only option for transportation to the start of the 12.5K is the shuttle bus, friends / family / spectators are not allowed at the start of the race. Due to the remote nature of this course there is no aid, runners will be expected to carry the nutrition and hydration that they need with them. There are no oportunities along the course for spectators to see runners.
Superior 12.5KM Trail Race Description:
The Superior 12.5KM Trail Race is an extremely hilly, rugged and technical point-to-point (100% trail) trail-race 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 race starts on / near Caribou Trail / Cook County Road 4 and finishes at Caribou Highlands Resort in Lutsen Minnesota. Due to the remote nature of this race, there are no aid stations on the course. Although the distance of this race is not extremely long, this is not recommended as a first-time trail race.
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 from the city of Duluth to the international border at Grand Portage is known 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.
Registration will be handled via a lottery process; complete registration details and information can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/registration-info/
Refunds – Transfers – Switches:
Please note that entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance, race registrations are not transferable to other participants or future years races, additionally we do do not allow transfers between distances. Please consider these factors carefully before registering – thank you. Emails requesting any of the above will not be answered.
The Race Director reserves the right to modify or cancel the race or course for safety concerns, trail condition concerns, natural disaster or pandemic. In such cases there will be no refunds of race entry fees. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid. There is no complimentary race entry to a future race. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date – including course preparation, race supplies, permits and administration. We will make every effort to produce a fair and safe event for all participants. Any decision we make that impacts the race date or potential cancellation is carefully considered and based on the overall event safety, sustainability and manageability.
What you get:
Bus ride to the start and a well-marked course. All runners will receive a beefy wood finisher’s medal – see it HERE. Each runner will receive a complimentary post-race meal. All participants will receive a high quality cotton / tri-blend t-shirt – see past shirts / swag HERE.
The race start is approximately 1:15 North of Two Harbors, 1:45 North of Duluth and 4:00 North of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis (MSP) has a large international airport and Duluth (DLH) has a smaller regional airport.
Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN is the race host hotel – the race finishes at Caribou Highlands and the finish-line will be just a short walk to your room. We recommend that you stay here and support Caribou Highlands as they do a great job supporting us! Special room rates are available if you mention you are a Superior racer. Call 1-800-642-6036 or visit their Website at http://www.caribouhighlands.com. Caribou Highlands’ address is 371 Ski Hill Road, P.O. Box 99 in Lutsen, MN 55612.
Friday May 15, Caribou Highlands Lodge Village Chalet 4:00 to 7:00 PM and Saturday May 16, 5:30 – 8:00 am. The Village Chalet faces the outdoor pool (and the outdoor pool is right next to the finish line by the patio area behind Caribou Highlands).
There are no drop bags for the 12.5KM race.
An optional pre-race briefing will be held on the Caribou Highlands Lodge Patio / Superior Trail Race finish line on Friday, May 18th, at 7:00 pm. We will also do a quick runner briefing at 8:50 AM on Saturday at the start-line just prior to the start of the race.
Weather and Clothing:
Early Mid-May in Northern Minnesota – we can have highs in the mid 80′s and lows in the mid 30′s or, believe it or not, a combination of both! Rain is not uncommon and either is mud. All of the snow is usually gone but you may see a small patch here or there. Be prepared, watch the forecast and plan accordingly.
Saturday May 16, 9:00 am – All runners must check in at Caribou Highlands on race morning prior to getting on the bus otherwise you are unofficial / not in the race (this is your responsibility!) ALL RUNNERS MUST RIDE THE BUS TO THE RACE START AND MAY NOT BE DROPPED OFF. FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS MAY NOT COME TO THE START OF THE RACE.
Please note that there are no locations or opportunities on the 12.5K race course for spectators to see runners – only at the finish line and along ski hill road south of the trail.
The Superior Spring Trail Race hosts three races simultaneously, the Superior 50KM Trail Race (starts at 7:00 AM Saturday) and the Superior 25KM Trail Race (starts at 8:00 AM Saturday) and the Superior 12.5KM (starts at 9:00AM Saturday). Each distance will have its own unique race number (unique color and number series) so runners can be easily identified by race officials, volunteers, spectators and other runners. We ask that all competitors wear their number on the front of their body on their outer-most layer at all times. If we cannot see your number we cannot take your finishing time at the finish. More info and a graphic illustration can be found HERE
Your timing chip will be affixed to the back of your race number. Do not remove your timing chip. Do not bend or fold your timing chip or crumple your race number – this may break your timing chip. Your race number and your timing chip must be pinned on your outer-most layer at all times. Above guidelines must be followed in order ensure that split times and finish times are recorded. This chip is disposable and does not need to be returned. HERE is a rendering of the back of your race number / bib illustrating where your timing chip will be placed.
The course will be marked with Orange flags, which will always be on the left hand side of the trail. The Superior Trail 12.5KM primarily follows the Superior Hiking Trail – you can also look for the official Superior Hiking Trail signs and blue paint blazes on trees for assurance that you are on the right trail. Throughout the race you will encounter intersecting trails and Superior Hiking Trail “Spur-Trails”, in the 12.5KM the only time you will ever take a “Spur-Trail” or a trail that is not the superior hiking trail is just after the start and right at the finish as you follow the road to the Poplar River / the SHT trail-head on the way into the finish – this will be clearly marked.
It is unfortunate but is not unheard of at many of the major trail races that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by small minded individuals – it is important that you study the course maps prior to running and have a concept of where you are going – also, always remember, you are supposed to be on the Superior Hiking Trail only – except in those specific instances listed above.
Due to the remote nature of the terrain between Caribou Trail and Lutsen there are not aid stations in the 12.5K race. Please keep in mind that runners in the 25K race only have access to one aid station, at the 12.5K mark, so this is good training for the 25K!
It is not yet mandatory at our event but we may be heading in that direction, please exercise common sense and carry a water bottle or hydration pack. Miles do not click off during a trail race as fast as they do in a road race and aid stations are not always as frequent – this lends to a real sense of “aloneness” and adventure at times but if you are not carrying a water vessel can also lead to thirst and dehydration.
Pacers are not allowed.
Due to our past experience with people wearing headphones on trail runs such as these, we discourage their use however we won’t tell you can’t wear them. Full awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability to communicate with other participants, race volunteers, and trail users not associated with the event are critical to everyone’s safety. Please use common sense.
Out Loud Music:
Out loud music is prohibited and participants playing music out loud from phones or external speakers will be disqualified.
Don’t do it. If you see some trash someone else has dropped, pick it up. Keep the trail clean at all costs.
Any racer who finishes after 4:00 will receive a finisher’s award but his / her time will not be recorded.
1st Place Overall Male and Female
1st place Open (age 39 – under) Male and Female
1st place Masters (age 40 – over) Male and Female
1st place Grand Masters (age 50 – over) Male and Female
* There will be no official awards ceremony, we will hand out awards shortly after runners finish.
Caribou Highlands Lodge will furnish shower facilities and towels for runners who are not staying at the lodge.
We will have complimentary meat and vegetarian chili with corn-bread, fixings and cookies for you when you finish! We have had a few issues in the past where there was not enough food left for registered runners / finishers because family and friends were helping themselves and early finishers were having more than one helping. Please note that we plan for enough chili for registered runners to have one helping. If you or your friends / family need something additional there will be a cookout on the patio with reasonable prices and there is a restaurant on the property. Thank you!
Results will be updated regularly at the finish. Preliminary results will be available on the website within a couple of days of the finish – final results (with any corrections) will be posted on our website within a few weeks of the end of the race.
Lost and Found
Any personal items left after the race will be donated to a charity. We will not ship items to you.
We are always looking for great volunteers! You can learn more by visiting the volunteer section(s) of the website or you can contact us!
Superior Hiking Trail Association
A portion of the race proceeds will be donated to the Superior Hiking Trail Association. Consider becoming a Superior Hiking Trail Association member to help further support the trail. Learn moreby visiting the Superior Hiking Trail Association online HERE
Next year’s race date:
Historically the Superior “Spring” Trail Race is held the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.