[ A long email, but an important read since you are running next week. It will take you about 8 minutes to read this. Thanks in advance for taking the time. ]

I am super excited to see you at Superior next week! I had the opportunity to run from Carlton Peak to Lutsen about a week ago and the trails were in great shape, it was an awesome morning on the trails. I am sure we will get some rain in the next 10 days, but overall I expect above average conditions. That said, it is Superior, make sure you come prepared for anything; mud, inclimate weather, etc.

For those of you that have been paying attention, there has been a lot of Covid news this past week; first from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz with the announced easing of more Covid restrictions (especially for outdoor activities), then today from the CDC with new national guidance on masking for vaccinated individuals. This is all great news and bodes well for the rest of our running season! That said, the protocols set forth for this year’s race will generally remain in place as outlined HERE – further explanation of the “why’s” of this can be found HERE – the only changes to our plan are 1.) You are welcome to have your travel companion(s), or a family member or two come cheer you at the finish of the race (please just ask them to do so close to your finish time / no need to arrive too early) and 2.) feel free to apply a little more common sense when it comes to masking… obviously you are not required to wear a mask while running, but also, as long as you are outdoors and you are not in a crowd of people outside of your bubble, feel free to breathe in the fresh North Shore air! Mostly, I just ask that you please be super respectful of others, since even though some restrictions are easing, everyone has a different risk tolerance and there is going to be a somewhat awkward period of adjustment each time these restrictions are modified.

Below are some updates and last minute bullet points before next week’s race(s), but most importantly you should be completely familiar with the information provided HERE :

• If between now and the event you contract Covid, are exposed to someone that is Covid positive, begin not feeling well or have any symptoms, please do not come to the race. Please contact me and we will get you squared away.

• As outlined during the registration process you have been guaranteed the time slot / window that you signed up for. In order to make sure that the Covid situation did not take a turn for the worse and force a cancellation of the event, we did not charge your card right away when you signed up – we are going to start charging cards today.

• Check in will be on the morning of your race only. Check in will take place adjacent to the start-line (not in the conference room on Caribou Highlands property as in years past). You can check in up to 15 minutes before your start time / window, no sooner. Then, starting at the time you signed up for, you have up to 15 minutes to enter the start area, then start your run, example: if you are signed up for 8:00AM, you can start anytime between 8:00AM and 8:15AM. We will not call or gather runners together on the start line, we will not yell “go”, you will just walk up to the start line / flag, make sure the timers see your number, cross over the timing mat and you will start your run, either alone or with your friend / family member from your bubble that you signed up with (I noticed a lot of that – it is awesome).

• The start and finish locations will be ever-so-slightly different than in years past. The race start will still be on Ski Hill Road close to where it has historically been, the difference is that we will not be calling a group onto the road to start, instead you will be starting in a sliver of the parking lot as shown in the provided link. Please keep in mind, the paved road (Ski Hill Road) that you start (and finish) your run on is not closed, so use caution. We are going to make some final decisions on the exact finish location next week, but it will likely be just past the traditional finish area as there is a touch more room for folks to spread out. See HERE

• There will be no food / nutrition / calories or cups on the course. You will need to carry enough nutrition (or for the 50K runners, make use of your drop bags) in order to complete your race. The aid stations will have water only. We have devised a hands-free bottle filler… if for some reason we have any kind of a malfunction with that, you will self-serve your water from a normal spigoted water jug. Hand-sanitizer will be available.

• Please remember, crew / spectators are NOT allowed at Sawbill or Oberg. We want to keep our footprint as small as possible this year so other non-race-related day users can get out and enjoy the trails from those trailheads without (our) crowds to navigate. PLEASE respect this request.

• Information about course markings, cutoff times etc. is available on our website via the link provided above. One special note… leaving a course marked for four days leads to increased chances of course vandalism. We will be running a safety sweep each day (volunteers coming behind the last runners, looking for any runners in distress, picking up any litter and checking the course markings), that said, you as runners should generally have an understanding of where you are going in case any markings are tampered with overnight; In the 50K you are running from Lutsen to the Summit of Carlton Peak and back (to the old fire-tower location where the concrete footings still remain), in the 25K you are running from Lutsen to the Oberg Mountain Trailhead parking lot (where there is a water stop) and back, and in the 12.5K you are running from Lutsen approximately 6.25K towards Caribou Trail and back. All turnaround points will be clearly identified by our markings. The Superior Hiking Trail is easily navigated to these locations even without our supplemental markings.

• For those in the 25K and 50K there are only two places you need to worry about vehicular traffic. At Oberg (25K & 50K) where the trail dumps into the parking lot and at Sawbill (50K only) where the trail crosses Cook County Road 2 / Sawbill Trail. Due to the lower numbers of runners this year and needing to keep our volunteer numbers down, these intersections will only have volunteers at them for Saturday’s races (Saturday by far and away has the greatest number of participants)… so, please be very heads up at these two locations; stop, look both ways and proceed with caution when you cross just as any other trail user must do.

• When you finish, make sure that the timers can see your bib number, rotate your shirt or shorts or your body so they can clearly see it. Timing will be more challenging this year than normal as everyone will have a unique start time and a unique finish time, even though we are chip timing like normal, for our backup we want your help in making sure that your number is manually recorded.

• As a reminder, in order to not charge anyone far in advance, shirts and medals will not be available on race day. We will be producing them after the race and mailing them to you – this will take up to a few weeks. Note that the medals are a new design that allow us to ship them more easily than the old design – I am stoked about them. Also note that not everyone may receive the same color shirt, as Covid has created supply chain issues in the clothing world – regardless, we think you will like this year’s shirt and medal. You can check out this year’s shirt design HERE

• Results will be available on our website within a few days of the event concluding, maybe sooner, but no guarantees.

That is all I have for you today. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I am grateful for your support of the Superior Spring Trail Race. We will see you soon.

Thank You,

John Storkamp
Race Director
[email protected]