Hi John, Just wanted to say thanks very much for all your work up at Lutsen this last weekend. I ran the 12K for the first time and don’t know how your team was able to do all the work on that remote trail. Was my brothers comeback run as he had stage 4 lung cancer and is now cancer free. We were able to run in together at the end so that was great. Awesome trail with great views. Hope you have a great week and thanks again. – Kurk
Many thanks for all you and the volunteers did to make Saturday possible. It was my first Superior trail run and it was a perfect day. I’m an old pokey runner … and had a blast. – Jim
I hope all is well today. Thanks so much for a great race weekend. I have run the 12.5K in 2018, and the 25K in 2019. I was scheduled to run in 2020 and 2021. I was wheezing and had Pneumonia in December of 2020. I was wasn’t getting better with antibiotics. Had a cat scan January of 2021 . Saw the doctor and the first thing I said to him was I have a Trail race in May can I start running again . He said “ No, we have some things to Talk about. I had Stage 4 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. They only gave me 18 Months. I had a rough winter and spring of 2021. But I don’t have it anymore All clear by December of 2021. I got Lucky I matched up with new special drug that matched my cancer cells and kills them and keeps them away – Targeted Therapy. If I didn’t have this pill I probably would not be around. So this race was a milestone for me . See the attach. I am in the grey Me and my Twin brother ran the 12.5. I was a half hour slower that I was in 2018. But I finished and felt good after the race. Was a great time. Great weather. Sorry for the long note. It was a special race for me. Thank you. I was going to come up and talk to you but you were busy. Thanks again. – Kris
I really appreciated the way you emphasized community and social engagement. It’s such an important part of life. Thanks so much for all you do (seen and unseen) to make these races a success. – Michael
I’m still in a bit of a daze after this weekend with you and the RSR community at Superior. I’m sure your daze is much deeper considering the responsibilities you carry for all of us, so perhaps it’s “too soon” for either of us. However, let me risk just a few more words… I had e-mailed you previously about tacking on an extra 20 miles after the 50k to get in a needed 50 mile qualifier for a race later this year. Saturday was the tail of two runs. In the 50k, I abandoned maturity, plans, splits, and caution. Running and dancing merged in a movement through that timeless landscape. I heard the roots and stones echoing my song and the Poplar River called me home. Until it didn’t, and it bid me adieu as I plotted back into the forest for 20 additional miles after crossing the finish line of the 50k. I found myself alone, dehydrated, and sunburned as I ground out miles 30-50 north and back again. And yet, it was the same river, the same roots, and the same mud calling me back. It was indeed hard, but I was never alone. I was enough, and it meant so much. It’s taken me a lot of years to be enough and to not feel alone. Whether the appreciation goes to you, the RSR community, or truly the rock, root, and stone of the SHT…I am thankful to all of you regardless. I can’t fathom the energy and commitment you have made to navigate the constant changes, to clear out 10 million trees from the trail, or to deal with emotional runners like me. But my heart leaps everytime I get to volunteer at Zumbro, enter an RSR lottery, or occasionally run alongside you and the RSR community. Thank you so much to you and Cheri for inspiring so many of us. Leadership is really hard. Thank you for stepping into it. You’re an incredibly kind, compassionate, and thoughtful leader. It’s a rare gift and it’s really appreciated. – Scott
Just a quick note of thanks for putting on such a great race/experience…. Unbelievable job with the communication, organization and execution! Everything was so well thought out. I am sure there are hundreds of things that have to happen behind the scenes that most people like myself take for granted. Appreciate you and your team of volunteers for making an experience like this possible. I plan on coming back to participate (I don’t race, I survive 😊) next year, but only if you can remove all the roots from the course. I don’t know if you were aware how many are out there, but if you could take all of those out and smooth out the trail that would be aweome. – Eric
THANK YOU! For putting on an amazing race this year. I literally have no complaints – the course markings were clear, volunteers were amazing, helpful and plentiful, and the atmosphere was beyond beautiful and energizing. This was my 3rd attempt to run this race (kinda) – fall 2021 my wife got covid, spring 2022 I got covid – so to finally show up and run this section of the SHT meant a lot to me. I sprained my ankle at mile 2, but I finished and I have ZERO regrets continuing. We’re lucky to have you putting on this race. Thanks! – Logan
I’m sure you get inundated with emails, but I just wanted to say thank you for yet another amazing race. It’s been a rough spring for me and being out on that trail was just what I needed. I had so many moments where I was overcome with gratitude – for the SHT, everyone who maintains it, nature, my fellow runners, the volunteers and, most of all, you for making it all possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you. – Courtney
Thanks so much for an amazing race — such a fun race experience, an incredibly well-organized event, and the love for the sport and the community was very evident. – Alecia
Thank you for a great race this spring. I was so glad we were on the trail this year. Superior trail is beautiful! I did the 50 K and then hiked the 12.5 K route the next day. I so appreciate all the work you and the volunteers put into clearing the trail for race and all the time spent putting it on. I wish it was closer, I enjoy so many things about Minnesota, but I am getting back to doing my different states. I started a little bucket list goal, unfortunately in my later 50s, of doing a marathon or 50 k in every state. I usually don’t do more than 2-4 a year, it’s my get out and see America thing. I pick what looks like a beautiful race, a race director with values I believe in and a nice area to visit. You guys are my Minnesota, and I picked well. Love and gratitude. – Jana
An email of gratitude. My first experience with your races was the 2022 Superior Spring Trail Race 25K. I came across your website through a simple Google search, and was intrigued, as I had never done a trail run before. Due to the changes of the course I was hesitant to show up race morning but decided I would show up to packet pickup and see what Rocksteady was all about. From the moment I set foot near the packet pickup tent, your team of volunteers blew me away. I was treated with so much kindness, joy and support…it literally melted my heart. The next day’s run in the “pit” was pure joy. I don’t have words to express the impact the community of volunteers and runners had on me. I called my husband after that run and told him that he needed to be a part of the run the following year. He had been called out of the country for work that weekend and was unable to run his spot in that 2022 race. We decided we would take our guaranteed lottery spots for 2023 and run the 50k. This past weekend was so incredible. The volunteers, the runners and the beauty of the trail I will carry in my heart as some of the best moments of my life. I don’t say that lightly. Thank you for all you’ve done to create an environment of beauty and support. I was that girl in school who would fake being sick if she knew she had to run the Presidential Fitness Test in gym class. I was so insecure as a child often telling myself, “ you aren’t good enough, you aren’t fast, you don’t fit in, you look dumb running” so I’d find any possible way to get out of running in gym. As a 41 year old woman, my experience on the trail this past weekend brought much different voices in my head , “you are strong, you belong here” and as I observed those incredible runners ahead of me, I found myself thinking and saying to them “look how strong they are, look how they are persevering, look at the joy they radiate”. Such a shift in my internal world. I have five children and their births were moments of joy that very little in life can compare to. When I crossed the finish line on Saturday, I was met with a deep internal joy that I will never forget. That joy came from the hours of overcoming self on the trail, cheering others along as they passed me, listening to encouraging words from volunteers and runners, helping each other as we struggled to put one foot in front of the other. You’ve created an environment of healing for some (I’m not unique in my insecurities), challenge for all, and most importantly; a place where people seem to genuinely care for and encourage each other. As I told my husband, the tears that ran down my face as I approached the finish line on Saturday were not tears stemming so much from the accomplishment of finishing the race – they were tears of pure gratitude for the people I had encountered from packet pick up through the finish line – tears of gratitude for the people I had encountered within the incredible environment you’ve created.
First off thank you so much for pulling off the Trail race on Saturday. You truly pulled a rabbit out of your hat! I’ve signed up for this race for 4 times and was finally lucky enough to be selected this year. I will say when I found out we weren’t going to be able to run the SHT, I was pretty disappointed. And when I read the update/announcement about the loop race, I was pretty uninspired, but still grateful to be running. I wasn’t sure what to expect at the starting line on Saturday, but after running the first loop, I loved the format! I’ll get to run many more trail races in the years to come (hopefully) but this was truly a unique and awesome race and one I will always remember! I enjoyed it so much, even though I only signed up for the 25k/4 loops, I decided to run an extra loop for fun. You should be really proud of what you and your team accomplished, what a great event. Can’t wait to sign up next year, hoping for your sake its back to the “normal” routes! – Tim
Thank you so much for the hard work you did to make sure this race happened. You can’t control the weather and its repercussions but you sure made the best of a bummer situation. Everyone I talked to who ran had a great time! – Karin
I just wanted to thank you again and tell you how much we appreciate you! You have been put through the wringer these last couple years and given every reason to just throw in the towel yet you keep on doing this for us. Your ability to persevere and just roll with the punches with humor and class is admirable and something I wish I was better at. I’ll be honest, I was not excited to run this year when the first course change was announced. I’m sure the plan “C” was not initially received well by many but I think that everyone that still showed up had more fun than they imagined and maybe even more so than they would have with plans “A” or “B”. I witnessed so many more smiles, cheers and high fives by runners on Saturday than I have in any other event. As a personal bonus it turned out to be the perfect training run for my upcoming 100. My mom always says everything happens for a reason and it’s true. Thank you for all your sleepless nights and the stress you take on to give us the best possible experience no matter what gets in the way. We love you! – Laurel
I think the coolest thing about Saturday’s route was being able to see fellow runners multiple times! You got to see everyone in different stages of their run – fresh, quiet, struggling, then a surge of motivation on the final lap. We got to know each other more than any other race I’ve done. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to making it happen. Please extend my gratitude to the volunteers for their relentless energy on the course. – Claire
Thank you SO much for today. I wasn’t super excited about running out and back hill repeats, but it ended up being so much more fun than I could have imagined. I love the normal solo hours during the normal course, so I was shocked at how much I absolutely loved getting to see all the people over and over. Maybe after all the isolation of the last couple years, this race was exactly what we all needed. Just took the universe forcing us all into it? I had a blast and was still left with the post hard effort exhaustion bliss. It all worked out perfectly! – Y
Thanks for a great race! Tough choices to make along the way but you put together a nice challenge. -Greg
I just wanted to thank you for another great, albeit very different and a little weird, event. When I arrived at check-in on Friday evening, and learned of the final course change, I almost bagged it and headed home. It didn’t take to long to remember that Rocksteady always works hard to make every race the best that it can be, and I figured, as I’m sure many others did…”it’ll just be a training run with a couple hundred of my best friends”. There’s an old saying that seems very appropriate here: When life gives you lemons, what do you do? You make lemonade.” It was excellent lemonade on Saturday. The course was challenging, and knowing it a little better with each lap was actually pretty cool. Seeing familiar faces was new, and the smiles, knowing glances, and words of encouragement were multiplied by the fact that the usual small group that you run with in some cat ‘n mouse on the SHT expanded ten-fold. And of course, as promised, the view at the top was spectacular. Overall, a great experience, and one that you rightly summed up at the start…the 2022 Superior Spring Trail Races, the Gravel Pit Hill Repeat Race, will NEVER be forgotten! I’d prefer not to do it again (or at least PAY to do it again), but it will remain as another fantastic day on the trail. Best Regards – Scott
Thank you so much for making this event happen after all the changes!! Your group did an exceptional job!!! Best race I’ve ever been a part of. – Larken
I hope that you are sleeping in or at least take a break this week and enjoy some rest. The trail race yesterday was not anything I expected but we had a blast. To be able to see the 50k runners fly by, to cheer certain ones on (136 i think had his bib upside down) and to meet Alison who was challenging herself to just make the cut by lap 8 and we helped her get up her 6th uphill, it was just great. My husband and I wanted to do 17 on our 17th wedding anniversary. So we did 4 laps and then felt so good we did an extra. I can’t believe this 45 yyear old body did 21.3 miles yesterday! the views on top were amazing. That cliff! I didn’t get muddy enough but only tripped once on a root (i found the lone root on the road). The food and help at the turn around was perfect. My soul is refreshed by the people and the smells and the woods. The weather was perfect. I need to come volunteer sometime soon. It was just such a grand day. God bless you and all you do for us. – Sandi
I just wanted to send you a huge heartfelt thanks for putting this together. My first year scheduled to do this was covid canceled so I have been itching to try it. I normally don’t travel for races but this just has always sounded like the trail running experience to have with people. What an experience it was yesterday! The best! I would hands down do this again every year. The positivity that came with each and every loop from people was phenomenal. Being able to cheer people on and talk and still see them again along the course was so awesome. Absolutely loved it. The volunteers were amazing at every loop. And so many! There was even people out there taking great photos! Oh I forgot to mention the view at the top! Spectacular! I am hoping to sign up again next year and I am looking forward to the true superior race experience but if this happens again or anything else similar-just know that you and your team did an amazing job and no one will feel shorted out of the event. Thanks a bunch and enjoy your day. – Aurora
I have done the Spring Superior 50k once before. And, yes, i loved running on the SHT. BUT, today’s alternate course was awesome! I soooo appreciate that we did not mess up the SHT today. I also enjoyed running out and back and being able to cheer on every runner. And, yes, that view from the top was awesome! So, thank you. Thank you for being a thoughtful race director who cares not only for the safety of the runners, but who cares just as much for the trails that we run on. That means so much to me. I know (well, not really because I am not a race director) that these last few years have not been kind to you as a race director with all the unexpected weather and pandemic events. But I hope you are not discouraged. I hope you get some well deserved rest, and I hope you know that you are so appreciated. Your race volunteers are the best also. Sincerely – Laura
First time running in this Superior trail race today and a race you have organized. Wanted to let you know how impressed I was with you keeping us all informed through your e-mails. I can tell you are very passionate about these events and the runners. Thank you for all your hard work! I enjoyed today! – Kara
I wanted to take a quick minute to offer a virtual high five and thanks to you and the crew for a great day on Saturday. Even with all the curve balls you were thrown with the course conditions and the logistics, you were able to turn lemons into lemonade. So many others would have just punted on the event. Ultimately, it ended up being a great day to share with everyone on the trails, even though it wasn’t the trail that we were all hoping to be on. Ultimately, you still got a great trail running community together, which was awesome and no small feat this year! Please know that all the hard work you and the crew put in did not fall on blind eyes and deaf ears and was greatly appreciated by all of us runners. Hopefully you can take a breather and get some rest now! Thanks – Joe.
I just wanted to thank you and your team for pulling off such a fantastic event this past weekend. You gave the opportunity to once again show how amazing this community is. Race related, I thought the format was incredible. Spectating ability. Seeing and supporting everyone all day. I’d do it again that’s for sure! Thanks again for doing what you do. Cheers to more adventure ahead – Jake
I just wanted to say you and everyone on the team did a great job this past weekend. Well done in crazy circumstances. – Aaron
While you were given increasingly difficult hurdles to clear – I as a first time participant kept my knees bent for whatever next update you sent. It was not the trail run I was anticipating back in January, but it was an adventure, and a challenge I won’t soon forget. I want to give you and the entire crew that made the event occur massive kudos. Kind volunteers, facilities, lots of smiling, supportive people, and the level of communication throughout the spring- thank you for all that you managed to do! – Mary
I can’t thank you and all of the volunteers who put on this weekend’s event enough. It was oddly serene and calming to walk around Caribou Highlands Saturday night before I went to bed. Like being in an ancient and sacred site, with people milling about in their silence. Driving north, passing all the familiar 100-miler aid station landmarks, brought a similar feeling. After 14-plus months of decidedly not normal, just racing – however different in format – was a small dose of normal, a baby step toward a post-pandemic life, whatever that looks like. And for giving us silly runners that dose, grateful are we. – Matt
I just want to say thank you so very very much for all the hours of work and effort you and so many others put into putting on the race this past weekend ! I cannot tell you how good it feels to be back into the ultrarunning community again. I feel so very thankful so very fortunate to be part of such a welcoming community . Thank you again. I am hoping to register for the fall superior 100 . I will await your emails later this summer about that. – AJ
I had to leave right after the race Thursday so I did not get a chance to thank you for for such a great race. I love to run and volunteer for your races because they are so well organized, you take care of all the details which makes your races so much fun.
I know Sheri does tons of work also so give her a big thank you too. Looking forward to Afton! – Gary
Hi! I just wanted to thank you one more time for putting this race on this weekend. I can’t even put into words how much my soul needed to be out on the SHT. Even though I felt like it chewed me up and spit me out on Friday, I haven’t felt that satisfied in far too long. You, your family, and your volunteers are amazing! Thank you so so much! – Yaniha
Just wanted to shoot you an email thanking you for putting on an awesome race. I can happily say I finished. The weather for Saturday was how you say less desirable than one would hope for. But such is the nature of this sport and is one of the reasons I enjoy it. It’s safe to say my goals of how and when I wanted to finish the race drastically changed mid race :-). But my goal is always to cross that finish line and I accomplished that safely and feeling good. I am already looking forward to returning for this race again and more of your races as well. Thanks again and happy running! P. S. Please give a huge shout out and thank you to your entire group of volunteers at all the age stations, start, finish and road crossings. They were amazing! – Matt
/ Older Testimonials
Thank you for yesterday. I had an amazing experience out there. It was a honor and privilege to race on that trail. What an inspiring field of runners. What an amazing stretch of Mother Earth. I will be back next year if allowed. I need more time out there. 50k next time. As always a world class event. You now how to throw a party. With insane respect, See you at Afton. – Scott
I just wanted to say a giant THANK YOU for all that you do for everyone. I had the absolute perfect day and had soo much fun out in Lutsen on Saturday. None of that would have been possible if it weren’t for all of your hard work and dedication. Not to mention, if you didn’t endorse Trail Transformation I wouldn’t have found a coach that was affordable and so much help to work with. I still don’t see how I pulled off what I did, but I’m still over the moon excited about it. Just sad that the fun weekend is already over! I am so grateful to get to be a part of the trail running family, I love the comfort and easy going attitude of all of it, and can’t wait to get more opportunity to give back and to run more. It’s also appreciated that there are vegetarian options for me at the races. I am so used to going to races and not having that, which I am totally okay with. I don’t care to be catered to and will always just take care of whatever I need myself. But it’s always an exciting thing to get to join in on the after race food. You guys are all so amazing! Thank you so much!!
Hi, I just ran the 12.5k race in Lutsen, and I wanted to let you know how grateful I am that you offered this shorter distance race. I LOVE trail running, but I’ve never been able to participate in this kind of single-track trail race before as my bad knees will not allow me to train for very long races. My sister has run the 25k there before but due to her training/racing schedule, the 12.5k was the best distance for her this year as well – so we were both able to participate and share the experience and that made it even better! So thank you for offering this distance, I was so glad that I could be part of this type of race. It was a different atmosphere from road-racing and I enjoyed every minute of it. My sister said it’s the only race she’s ever seen me run where I looked happy at the finish line! – Kirsten
I want to make sure that you, along with the volunteers know how appreciative I am for their compassionate help. I’m not emailing for a big response or anything, I just really want the volunteers and you to know how much I appreciated everything they did!
My husband and I were literally the second to last people to finish. NOT what we were hoping for, but have had a few physical setbacks the past few months, I’m having major ankle surgery in a few weeks, and it was a nightmare juggling our two young kiddos with family trying to train. Even with this lackluster result, we are still pretty damn proud we finished…BARELY. Damn mud!
I truly believe that we wouldn’t have been able to finish if it weren’t for the volunteers at the aid stations. I have completed more races than I can count, but nothing to this extent. The volunteers made sure that we were refueled, restocked, cleaned up, and as comfortable as we could be.
Oberg Station there was a taller man with red hair and goatee (I think). He was so incredibly helpful, insistent; and the initiative he took grabbing my hydration pack off my back and filling it up, throwing food/water down my throat and giving me electrolyte tabs in plastic baggies to keep with me was enough to make me believe that I could keep going. On the way back to the finish I had a little mental freak out session, and this man told me right to my face to go and that we will finish. Although I honestly didn’t think so, his blunt but compassionate “get outta here” tone of voice was just what I needed.
Sawbill Station there was a guy who had a beard and sunglasses, and didn’t talk much 😉 He was all over my husband and I having things ready before we even knew we needed them or had to ask. He brought a chair over for me to sit on while we wiped our feet off and changed socks, he grabbed food, water, everything we needed. It was him as well who gave me a little jolt of “I can keep going”.
This was our first ultra, I swore I would never do another one, but you know how it goes….you forget the hell you went through and want to do another one. I am eager to sometime (not too soon ha!) to redeem myself some year. You organized and put on a wonderful, wonderful event. I want to thank you for the opportunity to push myself a million times farther than I thought was my max.
As for the volunteers, even though we were dead last, I felt like everyone treated us as if we were in first place. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for everything they did and said! Again, it was truly them who got us physically fueled to the finish. It means so much. Thank you again!
I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I appreciate what you do leading up to and during the races. This was my 5th time running one of the two races, and it is a special weekend every year for me. You have given me an opportunity to really connect to a very special place. It is easy in our society to avoid doing hard things, you have helped countless people break that cycle and learn that they can do hard things. Don’t underestimate the power of that in every person and that persons family. You embody this northern trail running community and for that I am very thankful. I can’t imagine how you are feeling at this moment but remember all the lives and whole communities that you have impacted for the good. Thank you!
I competed for the first time in the Superior Spring Trail race yesterday. It was a tremendous experience. Here’s why: Volunteers: To a person, each volunteer was outgoing and enthusiastic. On my best day, I am a middle-of-the-pack runner, but from the enthusiasm at the Oberg turnaround, it felt like I was a pretty big deal. Even at the check-ins / packet pick-ups, the volunteers were pleasant and quick. Organization: Everything went very smoothly and as expected. The quality and variety at the aid station was great. I thought the finish line was going to be a cluster since it was in a small space, but was pleased with how efficient everything flowed. The only fault I could find was the chili being empty for an extended period, but, on further reflection, perhaps this was a blessing in advance of the five hour car ride that afternoon. Participants: You cannot choose personalities through a lottery, but it ended up being a great group of people. Lots of encouragement from other runners. There were a few people who threw gel wrappers on the trail (I picked up 6), but that is out of your control. Trail: I have backpacked a little bit (CDT, GET) and it still humbles me to come back to my own backyard and enjoy the Superior Hiking Trail. This section is perfect for these two distances. I hated climbing Moose Mountain with a backpack and it was just as difficult in a Trail Race. (I’ve donated $ to the SHTA over 5 years in a row.) It was a great route for a run, but on Friday it was a great hike through the woods. Please pass along my thanks to the many team members and volunteers. A great experience!