In November of 2021, after hosting a season of Covid-modified races, I was updating our race website(s) for what we hoped would be (and thankfully was) a mostly “normal” 2022. While doing so, I decided to include a preface to our Participant Guide(s) titled “Setting Expectations for 2022”. It was a great way for Cheri and I to pull back the curtain and share our experience of the pandemic as race directors. It was a way for us to temper expectations for an upcoming season with many lingering unknowns. It also ended up being a valuable touchpoint for connection with you; our participants, volunteers and partners. I am taking the opportunity to do something similar again this year. In the interest of real-estate, it will not be front and center in the participant guide, instead it will reside in THIS blog post – we would appreciate it if you took the time to read it.

The pandemic took its toll on all of us. As individuals, friends/family members, parents, athletes, employees, and businesses owners. The loss of life, the emotional toll, the educational strain on our children, the disruption of routines, the complications and financial pain of being an employee, or a small business owner. So many of you have shared stories with us of the hardship you faced over the past few years. You have also shared how important your running, and our races, continue to be in your lives. A place to process, cope, heal, laugh, celebrate, and just feel some freedom and normalcy. I felt this way about the races I got to run in 2022; Arrowhead, Curnow, Voyageur, Paavo Nurmi, Twin Cities and Hixon. I was grateful to just BE there.

The emotional, financial, and regulatory challenges Cheri and I (Rocksteady Running) have faced over the past few years have been significant. Only through the support of the running community have we had the strength, resources, and tenacity to persist. Not all races have been so lucky. While it is not easy to read the tea leaves – it is evident that some races have struggled, while others folded. Between the lingering effects of the pandemic, inflation, a heightened regulatory environment, and unpredictable weather / climate events, producing races is significantly more challenging today than it has ever been. As a running community we cannot take races and the organizations that produce them for granted. There is no guarantee they will persist, they need our support. A handful of ways in which you can support are; Read all of the information on event websites prior to showing up on race day, Volunteer at races or help with setup the days prior or cleanup the day(s) after, respect no-refund policies – small event organizers incur significant risk to produce races and we ask you to shoulder some of that risk with us in the form of your entry fee, pay more for your entry fee or make a donation if it is an option, buy some swag, be kind. Thankfully, we find that 99.9% of our participants are operating on this vibe – I hear similar things from other local trail / ultra-directors.

Inflation is real. I likely don’t need to tell you that, any trip to the grocery store is evidence enough. Event costs were up significantly over the previous year. Some of the costs that suppliers and vendors passed onto us were significant. This is not a criticism of those suppliers or vendors, they are in most instances small businesses doing the best they can in a challenging environment. That said, we have made the decision to NOT increase entry fees for the 2023 race season. We will see how this year goes and adjust for the 2024 season if needed. We will again give participants who are able, the ability to pay a little more / make an additional contribution to their entry fee when registering. If you can contribute in this way, wonderful. If you can’t, we totally understand. We don’t want entry fees to be a barrier to participation. If you ever need help with your entry fee, please reach out.

While we have our challenges like everyone else, Cheri and I are doing well – we count our blessings daily. We are continually humbled by the running communities’ support and are grateful for the ongoing opportunity to facilitate these incredible experiences. I have said it before, and I will say it again… we do not do this alone. There is a core group of individuals that have made producing these races alongside us their vocation – working their butts off, event in, event out – a couple of vendors, most are volunteers. There are the 100’s of beautiful volunteers who contribute at each individual race, who give joyously and selflessly of their time. Then there are the runners and the community that together we all comprise – a community that is as dedicated, considerate, selfless, compassionate, caring and talented as any I have seen in my 30 years as a runner and 17 as a race director. Thank you for being great.

Cheri and I had the privilege of guiding these events from the small niche events they were in the early 2000’s to what they have become today… much larger niche events 😉 There came a time for us when the demands of the events grew to a point that rather than them being our “part time job”, we embraced the races as our “full time job” and got new part time jobs to supplement. Today we find ourselves back to full-time careers outside of the races, and consider ourselves blessed to have two full-time jobs each. We ask that when you come to one of our races, or any other trail / ultra race, that you consider that besides a few outliers, these trail and ultra-races are “mom-and-pop” affairs, put on by your peers / fellow runners, people with careers and families, people who do it for the love of running and their fellow runners. You should understand that the level of event production, the amenities and experience will vary from event to event. Hopefully each race organization clearly articulates what is, and what is not included in order to set racer’s expectations. It is then incumbent upon runners to review the information provided. This diversity of events is part of our niche sports charm. While Cheri and I have significant commitments outside of running, we will always provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about whether or not you would like to race with us, and what that experience will be like. All of that said, you should generally expect the same professional level of event production, the same incredible volunteers, the same transcendental experiences on the trail and the same awesome vibes as years past. Our mission remains undiminished, “to create experiences that facilitate connection.”

It is an honor getting to do this with you, and for you. We are grateful for your support, and we never take that support for granted. Please reach out if you need anything. We are looking forward to connecting with you in 2023.

John and Cheri Storkamp
Rocksteady Running


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.