2024 Superior Spring Trail Race 12.5KM Participant Guide

Race Date & Time:
Saturday May 18, 2024

Superior Hiking Trail
Lutsen, Minnesota

Lottery Registration Period:
January 1st – 15th, 2024

About This Page:

The information on this page and associated links comprise the official Superior Spring Trail Race 12.5KM Participant Guide. It contains all of the information and links you will need in order to research, register for and run the race. Runners are required to review this page, along with the registration info page in their entirety prior to registering for the race. This information should then be referenced as needed in the months and weeks leading up to the race. Keep in mind that information may be updated and changed right up until the race, so a final review of the information about a week out is encouraged. Registered runners can expect a welcome email from us with any new / additional information about one week out from the race. This page contains the following sections:









Quick Stats:
Race founded in 2003, Start / Finish is in Lutsen Minnesota, Race start is about 4.5 hours north of the Minneapolis (MSP) International Airport, 12.5KM point to point trail race on 99% single-track trail, Elevation Gain 600 FT, Elevation Loss 600 FT, NET Elevation Change 1,200 FT, NO Aid Stations, 7 hour cutoff.


A Kind Word of Caution:
While the distance of the 12.5K (7.75 mile) race may be inviting to newer trail runners, we do not suggest this as a first trail race for everyone. It is important to note and feel comfortable with the following prior to registering for this race… that; a.) this is a very rugged, technical and hilly course b.) there is no aid along the way / you will need to carry everything you need (food and calories) with you from start to finish and c.) the race is held on a very remote section of trail with no opportunities to bail out. If you are comfortable with these variables, you are in for a real treat as this is a stunning section of trail and is one of our favorites.


About the Superior Spring Trail Race:
The Superior Spring Trail Race 50KM, 25KM & 12.5KM are extremely hilly, rugged and technical trail-races which traverse the Sawtooth Mountain Range via the Superior Hiking Trail in far Northern Minnesota. The 25KM and 50KM races are run out and back, starting and finishing at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen Minnesota and the 12.5K is point to point, finishing at Caribou Highlands Lodge.  The race is approximately 4.5 hours North of Minneapolis. The course parallels Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world by surface area, climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests, and crosses whitewater rivers and serene streams while traversing through boreal forests.


What is Superior Like?
A picture is worth a 1000 words. You can get a good feel for the Sueprior experience by looking through the photos on the home page of our website HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/


You can hear past participants experiences HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/testimonials/


About Rocksteady Running:
The Superior Spring Trail Race is organized by Rocksteady Running and directed by John Storkamp. Rocksteady Running produces several trail and ultrarunning races in the state of Minnesota. Our races are put on by longtime trail and ultrarunners. Our focus is on sustainability, runner safety, runner experience and giving back to the trail, parks and communities where our events are held. Our mission is to create experiences that facilitate connection.​ All credit is due to our army of volunteers and our wonderful Minnesota trail running community.


All Are Welcome:
Rocksteady Running welcomes everyone to our events and into our broader trail running community. You are welcome and valued regardless of your race, gender, sexual identity, orientation, or preference, religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socioeconomic status, age, how quickly or slowly you run. Please be kind, and treat others as you would like to be treated.






Lottery / Registration:
Registration for Superior is held via a 15 day lottery registration period beginning on January 1. Do not register until you have reviewed this page (Superior Spring Trail Race 12.5KM Participant Guide) in its entirety. Once registration is open, complete details including entry fees, field limits, and the link to our registration page on UltraSignup (third party registration provider) can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/registration-info/


There are No Refunds, Transfers or Switches:
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance. Entry fees will not be refunded if a runner chooses not to, or is unable to race, for any reason. Entry fees will not be refunded if the race is canceled, for any reason. Race registrations are not transferable to other participants, to future years races or to other Rocksteady Running events. Transfers are not allowed between race distances.  Runners should consider these factors very carefully before registering. Runners who are not comfortable with these policies should not register.


Waiting List:
Once a race distance sells out, we do not keep a waiting list – instead we accept extra runners up front so that everyone has the same opportunity to train, make reservations, get a babysitter, etc. This means that a withdrawal from a sold out race prior to race day does not create an opening in the race field – it just brings us down to our predetermined field limit which is set in agreement with our permitor(s). We have found that a percentage of those who register will not make it to the starting line due to injury, illness, or other real life interventions and adjust the number of allocated spots accordingly year to year based on historical averages.


Cancellation Policy:
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’s Included With Your Registration:
A well marked course with plenty of aid and tons of friendly, experienced volunteers. Knowledge that you are supporting the Superior Hiking Trail; to date we have donated 10’s of thousands of dollars and 1000’s of volunteer hours. Runners who register by April 10 will have their name custom printed on their race numbers. Chip timing. All finishers will receive a WOOD MEDAL.  For 2024 we will either do a a t-shirt or a hat (TBD). If it is a t-shirt it will be the same awesome Rocksteady Running Tri-Blend ( non-technical / casual cotton blend ) t-shirt with a super cool design. Shirts are unisex but fit both genders really well – you can see past years race shirts and hats HERE  https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/category/shirts-swag/. Post race refreshments and chili. Knowledge that you are supporting the Superior Hiking Trail; to date we have donated 10’s of thousands of dollars and 1000’s of volunteer hours.


How We Will Communicate With You If / When You are Accepted to Run Via the Lottery:
If / when you are accepted into the race you will receive a registration confirmation email from our registration provider UltraSignup. Your name will also be added to the list of registered runners which can be found on our website under the menu item(s) RACE > REGISTER > WHO’S REGISTERED. You will receive a welcome email from us with any last minute updates about a week before the race. About a week after the race we will send out a thank you email / race recap. We will email you at the address that you have one file with our registration provider UltraSignup. Please make sure that your email is up to date with UltraSignup / was inputted correctly – if it is not, you will not receive our communications. You may also want to add [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] to your email providers ‘do not block’ / ‘do not spam’ / ‘white list’ / ‘safe’ list. A copy of every race email sent will be immediately added to our website HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/news-and-updates/ Most importantly, everything you need to know can be found on the Superior Spring Trail Race website. If at any point you have questions, please contact us https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/contact/. You can also ask questions of your fellow runners in our online community / forum HERE https://community.rocksteadyrunning.com/


If You Have Registered and Can No Longer Run:
If you are registered to run and can no longer make it, you DO NOT need to notify us. Once a runner is registered, we do not remove them from the roster until race day, if / when they don’t show up. We handle it in this way because it is not uncommon for a runner to notify us that they will not be running, then notify us that they will be, then notify us again they won’t be, and so forth – this sort of thing creates confusion and leads to check-in and timing mistakes when we start modifying the runner database. We will know if a registrant is not running when they do not check in / pick up their race number on race day. You WILL NOT be publicly listed, or “reported” as a DNS / Did Not Start.


Race Date:
Saturday May 18, 2024


Start Time:


Race Start / Finish Location:
Caribou Highlands Lodge
371 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, Minnesota  55612
Google Maps Link HERE


The race start is approximately 1:15 North of Two Harbors, 1:45 North of Duluth and 4:30 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!  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.

There are also other lodging options right on Lutsen Mountain including Eagle Ridge https://eagleridgeatlutsen.com/ and the Mountain Inn https://odysseyresorts.com/mountain-inn-at-lutsen/

Finally, there is no shortage of lodging and camping options throughout Cook County https://www.visitcookcounty.com/stay/


Lutsen Mountain graciously allows racers to park in their large surface gravel parking lot, across Ski Hill Road from Caribou Highlands for both the Spring and Fall races. They have asked us, to pass a note to race participants that camping or sleeping in your car, van, truck, etc. is not permitted in their parking lot or anywhere on their property. Failure to comply with this could negatively impact the race. If you need somewhere to camp the night before or after the race we suggest one of the following fantastic options; Temperance River State ParkLamb’s ResortGrand Marais Recreation Area / Municipal CampgroundCascade River State ParkBlack Beach Campground (Silver Bay), or Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. There are several other options in the area, here are some additional resources Visit Cook County and MNDNR / State Parks.


Emergencies / Hospital Information:
Cook County North Shore Hospital & Care Center
515 5th Ave W
Grand Marais, MN 55604
(218) 387-3040


Race Number Pickup:
Friday May 17 2024, Caribou Highlands Lodge 4:00 to 7:00 PM and Saturday May 18 2024, 5:30 – 8:00 AM. All runners must check in / check back in race morning prior to starting otherwise you are unofficial / not in the race.


Shuttle Bus to Race Start:
The Superior 12.5K is the only Superior Spring Trail Race distance that is point to point, the other race distances (25K & 50K) are out and back. The shuttle bus to the race start on / near Caribou Trail departs Caribou Highlands Lodge at 8:15AM sharp. Your only option for transportation to the start of the 12.5K is the shuttle bus, you may not drive yourself or be dropped off by friends or family.  Friends, family and spectators are not allowed at the start of the race.


Race Start
Saturday at 9:00 am


Drop Bags
There are no drop bags for the 12.5K 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.


Cell Coverage:
Cell coverage is intermittent on the race course. The majority of the time, you will not have cell coverage. Coverage is most reliable at geographical high points. There is cell coverage at the race start and there is good coverage at the race finish / Caribou Highlands Lodge.


Race Numbers:
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.  Runners will be tracked coming into and out of each aid station.  If we cannot see your number, we cannot track you or take your finishing time and if we cannot do that, you will be disqualified and will not earn an official 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 the front of your body, 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.


Course Markings:
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 right at the finish as you follow the road to Lutsen / Caribou Highlands / the race 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.


NO Aid Stations:
Due to the remote nature of and the terrain between Caribou Trail and Lutsen there are no aid stations in the 12.5K race. You will need to carry all of the hydration and food / calories that you need in order to complete the distance, start to finish. 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!


Support Crew and Spectator Access to Aid Stations:
There is no crew / spectator access for the 12.5K race.  Your friends, family and spectators should plan to wait for you / see you at the finish at Caribou Highlands Lodge.


Pacers are not allowed.


Cut-off Times:
12.5K runners will have 7 hours to complete the course. You must finish by 4:00PM to earn an official finish.


DNF?… Not Possible:
There are no opportunities to bail out on the 12.5K course, short of an emergency evacuation.  You should only start the 12.5K if you are very confident that you will be able to complete the distance.


Headphones are allowed. Please keep the volume low, or one earbud out so you can hear what is going on around you. 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.


Out-Loud Music:
Playing music out-loud from your phone or other speakers is not allowed.


Trekking Poles:
Trekking poles are allowed, please be cognizant of those around you when using your poles.


You may not run the race with your dog. Supervised on-leash dogs are welcome at the race, with your crew, family and spectators at the race finish.


Please help to keep the trail clean.  Try not to drop anything, and if you see something that someone else has accidently dropped, please pick it up.


Current year results will be available on our website under the heading Race > Results. As long as we can maintain internet connectivity, results will be published in real time as runners finish. Past results can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/12-5km-results/ Course records can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/records/


We do not do specific overall winner or age group awards.  Every finisher will be handed a medal as they finish.


Post-Race Clean-Up:
Caribou Highlands Lodge will furnish shower facilities and towels for runners who are not staying at the lodge.


Post-Race Meal:
A huge thank you to Caribou Highlands / Moguls Grill and Taproom for doing a wonderful job catering Chili that is donated by Captain Ken’s. We will have meat and vegetarian chili for participants after they finish the race. We will also have canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water). For crew, pacers, family members OR runners that need something more, Caribou Highlands / Moguls will be doing a cookout, selling burgers and other items near the finish line as well.


For those interested in volunteering, more information can be found HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/read-first/


Online Community / Forum:
The Rocksteady Running Community is an online forum designed for community members to have civil conversations about all things pertaining to Rocksteady Running events (Zumbro, Superior Spring, Afton, Superior Fall, ESTRS), trail / ultrarunning in general and more. We intend for this to be a safe place to connect. This online community has been built on our own platform and is free of advertising, tracking, addictive features and invasive algorithms. Feel free to discuss registering, training for and racing our events. Discussion about the race courses, terrain, training, gear, challenges, triumphs and more are welcomed and encouraged. https://community.rocksteadyrunning.com/


Superior and RSR Swag:
We sell Superior and Rocksteady Running merch both at the race, and online.


UMTR Trail Run Series:
The Superior 12.5K race is part of the Upper Midwest Trail Runners Trail Run Series https://umtr.org/Trail-Run-Series – About UMTR: “Upper Midwest Trail Runners members like to run on dirt, grass, gravel, rocks, mud, snow—really, any trail that isn’t paved. UMTR encourages more people to run trails and have fun before, during, and after runs. You can learn more about UMTR / membership HERE https://umtr.org/


Superior Hiking Trail Association
The Superior Trail Races (both Spring and Fall) take place on the Superior Hiking Trail. The Superior Hiking Trail Association is the non-profit organization that builds and maintains the Superior Hiking Trail. The Superior Trail Races / Rocksteady Running make an annual donation to the trail association, organize volunteer efforts, promote membership and generally advocate for the trail. If you are not already a Superior Hiking Trail Association member, we encourage you to join, you can do so HERE https://superiorhiking.org/joinsuperior/ – if you are already a member and would like to make an additional donation, you can do so HERE https://superiorhiking.org/donatesuperior/ – we thank you for your support of the Superior Hiking Trail!


Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) Fundraising Opportunity:
Rocksteady Running is proud to have Mile in My Shoes as an official Superior Spring Trail Race charity partner. Earn amazing swag and incentives, or even guaranteed / lottery-bypass entry into the race, while supporting a great cause by becoming a Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) FundRacer!  Learn more HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/mile-in-my-shoes/


Sponsors & Partners:
Our sponsors and partners provide critical support the Superior Spring Trail Race. We are very fortunate to work with so many great businesses and organizations. Please check out our sponsors HERE https://www.superiorspringtrailrace.com/sponsors/ and please if possible support them with your dollars / patronage, and / or drop them an email and thank them for supporting our event.


Next years race date:
Historically the Superior “Spring” Trail Race has been held the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. The 2025 race will be held on May 17, 2025.