2021 SSTR 12.5K Sweepers; Greg, Maria and Mike – Photo Credit Kevin Langton

Thursday May 27, 2021

TO: Superior Spring Trail Race Volunteers

‘Professional’. Maybe a word you don’t normally associate with your role as a volunteer at races. Starting with trail marking on Tuesday, then moving into setup on Wednesday and throughout the rest of event ‘weekend’, I kept razzing Travis, telling him how ‘professional’ of a job he was doing.  “You marked that intersection very professionally” or, “That is how a professional would load the trailer”. I am not sure if you all caught it, but on Sunday we woke up to some grim and tragic news… a 100KM trail running race in China reported a staggering and unprecedented 21 deaths. The early word is that runners died (on-course) of exposure after a storm containing hail, freezing rain and high winds rolled through the mountains.  While trail and ultrarunning comes with some inherent and unavoidable risks and weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, given the scope of this tragedy it is likely that there was a breakdown in risk mitigation, emergency preparedness and generally at the race operations level.  While I do not know a group that has more fun or engages in more banter and sophomoric humor than us, I also don’t know a group of more highly skilled, thorough or thoughtful individuals working races.  This year, as a result of Covid and in the absence of some of our usual tasks, we have found ourselves without the need for as many volunteers and at times haven’t been as “busy” as normal (or as busy as some of us would like to be). While many of the race accoutrements have fallen to the wayside this year, our most important mission, creating a safety net for our participants, remains unchanged; i.e. advanced communication leading up to an event, a well planned and marked course, providing water / hydration, runner tracking and radio communications, having experienced sweeps, accurate timing (which allows us to account for every runner at the end of the day), competent medical volunteers and so forth.  With most of us being experienced outdoors people, runners and ultrarunners who are familiar with the North Shore and the Superior Hiking Trail, it can be easy to take for granted how monumental it is for some of our participants to get out and run in such “wild and remote” places.  As a result we have the responsibility to not only create a fun experience for those individuals, but to remain cognizant of the challenges and risks that are present when runners with varying degrees of experience are out pushing themselves over challenging terrain that may be unfamiliar to them.  It is your experience, expertise and professionalism that allow these participants, your fellow runners, to have such unique and life-enriching experiences, while doing so as safely as possible. I encourage you to internalize and remind yourselves of this often.

On a lighter note, I know at some point things will go back to (just about) normal and there will not be the need for four day races – but man, the couple that we have done have been fun.  Getting to spend some extra time with all of you has been a blast.  I know we all do a lot of stuff; professionally, personally, recreationally, etc., but I can honestly say, some of my favorite times and best memories originate with and revolve around working these races.  Thanks for doing it with me, I love and appreciate each and everyone of you.  I hope to see many of you at Afton this Summer and at Superior this Fall – in the meantime, don’t be strangers.


John Storkamp
Race Director
Superior Trail Race


Superior Spring Trail Race
50KM, 25KM & 12.5KM
Lutsen, Minnesota
Saturday May 16, 2020
50KM 7:00AM
25KM 8:00AM
12.5KM 9:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Opens Wednesday January 1st, 2020 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Wednesday January 15th, 2020 – 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 12.5KM, 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
12.5KM 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

Superior 12.5KM
12.5KM Point to Point Course. 12.5KM = 7.75MI
Elevation Gain  900 FT
Elevation Loss 1,050 FT
NET Elevation Change 1,950 FT
NO Aid Stations
7 Hour Time Limit
Starts Saturday at 9:00AM
Complete 12.5KM 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.