*Below is a copy of the email that was sent to all registered runner pertaining to the cancellation of the 2020 Superior Fall Trail Race on 7/30/2020.
It is with great sadness that today, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are announcing the cancellation of what would have been the 30th Annual Superior Fall Trail Race on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota. Race weekend includes the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race, Superior 50 Mile Trail Race and the Moose Mountain Marathon. The races were scheduled for September 11 & 12, 2020 / the weekend after Labor Day, just as they have been for the last 30 years.
I am so sorry that we cannot come together as a community to race this year. I will miss greeting you at the finish line in Lutsen. More than that however, I am sorry for any of you personally, your friends or family, that have suffered firsthand effects of the virus and for the collective toll that this pandemic is taking on all of us.
In my last update, which was about six weeks ago, I promised that we would continue with a wait and see approach. During that time we continued making preparations for the race – heck just yesterday we got the 100 mile finisher sweatshirt name patches in the mail, my heart sank when I opened the package and looked through all of the names. In mid June we felt that there was at least some cause for optimism that come Fall, a modified race might be possible. Minnesota had seen some progress with COVID-19 cases, the state moved into Phase 3 of its reopening plan and we were hearing some rumblings that we might be on track to begin Phase 4 sooner than later. Since that time, the country as a whole has seen increased cases, with increased safety measures implemented. Talk of further reopening in our state has gone quiet.
As of today and for the foreseeable future, Minnesota state guidelines do not allow an event of our size and scope to take place, even with modifications. Our major permitting agencies are bound by state guidelines and are administering our permits accordingly. As a result, we are unable to proceed with the Superior Fall Trail Race.
I would like to take extra care to note that just as this decision was out of our hands, it was also out of the hands of our permitting agencies. State guidelines and ultimately the trajectory of the virus made this decision for all of us. We believe that the safety of our runners, volunteers and communities that our race interfaces with should be the greatest priority. We remain grateful to our permitting agencies and all of our community partners for their longstanding support of the Superior Trail Race. These relationships have been fostered over three decades of the Superior races, and working closely and collaboratively with these partners in the coming year will be crucial as we make plans for the races to return in 2021.
I know I have subjected you all to a lot of updates and a lot of reading this year, so thank you for bearing with me. Rather than blow up your inboxes with what is a significantly longer and more comprehensive writeup regarding the cancellation, I am providing a link to it below. I encourage you to read it when you have time. https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/covid-19-update-7-30-20-2020-superior-fall-trail-race-cancellation
Below are just a couple of key takeaways I want to touch on before closing:
Assuming that sufficient progress is made with virus in the coming months / year and we are able to proceed with the Superior Fall Trail Race in 2021, everyone that made it through the lottery this year will be guaranteed acceptance into next year’s race should you choose to register. You will still need to register yourself during the lottery registration period (dates TBD) and you will be required to pay the 2021 entry fee in full. You will not have to requalify – meaning, you can use the same qualifying race that you used when entering the 2020 race. We will stay in touch with you over the Winter as we continue to monitor progress with the virus, coordinate with our permitors and stakeholders, and zero in on when / if we can open registration for the 2021 race. Should we be able to proceed, the date(s) of the 2021 race will be Friday September 10 and Saturday September 11, 2021.
We will be mailing you this year’s t-shirt. Expect to receive it around the time that the race would have been held. We will use the mailing address that you provided when you registered. If your mailing address has changed since you registered, shoot us an email so we can get it updated in our records. Please keep in mind that the Superior t-shirt is not a finishers shirt – this is the same shirt all runners (regardless of finishing or not) and volunteers receive and that your friends and family have the ability to purchase after each year’s race. Rather than finishers shirts, our shirts are Superior-experience / Minnesota-proud–trail-lifestyle shirts. We think you will like them and hope that you will wear them to show your support for and solidarity with the race.
As ultrarunners, we go out and do what many people consider impossible and we never shy away from a challenge. But, in order to have a long and healthy running career, or to become a race on the cusp of its 30th annual, we need to take the long view. What that means to me in this case is that taking a DNS ‘did not start’ means that we ‘did nothing stupid’ and DNF ‘did not finish’ means that we ‘did nothing fatal’. Sometimes you just have to live to fight another day; there is no shame in that, whatsoever. We learn, we adapt, we grow and we come back better than before. We will race again when the time is right.
Finally, I think I can sum up my feelings, and speak to many of your feelings by saying that I am just plain sad that this cancellation is what will punctuate our race season. I cannot tell you how much we miss sharing the trails and the experiences with all of you. Until we can all share the trails again, please take great care of yourselves and each other.
If you need anything or if you have any questions, please reach out and I will get right back to you.