Greetings Runners,

You are receiving this email because you are registered for the Superior Spring Trail Race on Saturday May 20th, 2023. The following is an important update regarding conditions on the North Shore and our race course. I always try to err on the side of keeping you informed / giving you too much information, vs surprising you if things don’t go according to plan.

We had a lot of snow on the North Shore again this Winter. We had a really nice period of thawing and snow melting the week of April 10 (something we did not get last year until after the first week of May). It was starting to look pretty good! Then on April 16 we got around a foot of new snow. On April 20 we received another foot. Since that time it has been cold and cloudy and we are still sitting with a good amount of snow on the trail for May 1. As of right now we are optimistic that the snow will melt, the ground will thaw and things will set up and dry out so we can hold the Superior Spring Trail Race as normal, on the Superior Hiking Trail. If / when this does happen, it may not come good until the week of the race. That said, if it stays cold, we get more snow, or frost is coming out of the ground the week of the race, we may elect to (or may be asked / required to by the US Forest Service) to use the alternate race course that we used last year. My suspicion is that much of the frost is already out of the ground and once the snow melts, the trail should set up fairly quickly. Some mud is well within our tolerance for hosting the race, running on trail that is not ‘set up’ / ‘frost-out conditions’ are not.

Since the Superior Spring Trail Races inception in 2003, last year was the first time that the race was modified due to trail / climatic conditions. The Superior Fall Trail Race, founded in 1991, has never been modified due to trail or climatic conditions. As we all know, weather and climate has been unpredictable the last number of years. Regions all around the country have been impacted by more frequent and unusual snow, rain, flooding, landslides, high wind events, forest fires, and more. These impacts have been felt by races around the country whether they are held spring, summer, fall or winter. There seems to be few predictable months / windows for hosting races. Zumbro was modified this year due to flooding but overall we got lucky and ended up with a good window for holding the race. A week before Zumbro we had a significant snowfall and our race course flooded in key areas – almost forcing us down to a 5.5 mile loop. Three days after Zumbro we had all-time record temperatures reaching 90F. Ragnarok, a long-standing gravel bike race in the area Zumbro is held, which falls a week before Zumbro, was heavily modified due to flooding. The long-established Trail Mix Races in the Twin Cities area, held a week after Zumbro, were canceled due to flooding (it is not easy to offer a modified race and understand that not all organizations have the ability to do so). Races throughout the West are facing a lot of uncertainty due to extremely heavy snowfall this Winter, after extreme fire last summer and fall. Many races, like Western States have published very similar statements to the one I am providing today.

Here is my ask of all of you regarding this year’s race. If the race cannot be held on the Superior Hiking Trail this year, please keep your lodging plans, come up, and participate. Last year’s modified event ended up being an extremely special day of celebration and community. You can see some photos from last year HERE

And HERE is what I wrote in my recap, the week after last year’s modified event… “The following is an understatement. What ensued on the (modified) race course on Saturday was special. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation talking, but this day, that on paper could only be a compromise or even a disappointment, was one of the most inspirational and high-vibrational days on a trail that I have ever witnessed. The normal linear energy of small pods of runners going from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’ or out-and-back on a trail, was now a unified group running in a harmonious loop of gratitude, positivity, encouragement and spirit-conjuring throughout the day. 12.5K runners with 50K runners, young with old, all connected in this movement. Religious or secular, the concept is available to all – if you have never had a spiritual experience or knew what one was, now you have, and now you do. I have put together a page of thoughts, experiences and testimonials from our runners from this years race HERE

I was hoping this year’s giveaway would be appreciated upon receipt, and put to use on chilly nights this Spring / Summer, or this coming Winter, not needed on race weekend – hopefully it won’t be. You can check it out HERE

Bib assignments for this year’s race have been made and can be found HERE

Next steps. We are hopeful that we can race on the trail and are working diligently towards that end. Should we need to use the backup course, here are the preliminary details Over the next couple of weeks we will be clearing trail, keeping a close eye on conditions by spending a lot of time on the trail, and staying in contact with our permitting agencies. I will provide you with additional updates as things develop.

Please enjoy Spring as it emerges, train well, and be ready for either a race on the traditional Superior Spring Trail Race courses, or another “party in the pit” or “soiree in the quarr-ay”? I don’t know, I am still working on the name.

Thanks for being awesome. I will be in touch.


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.