2021 Moose Mountain Marathon Participant Guide
About this document:
The following is REQUIRED reading for anyone planning to register for the 2021 Moose Mountain Marathon. There are also versions of this document specific to the 100 Mile and 50 Mile race distances. Prior to registering, runners must review this document in its entirety. It should also be reviewed again as we get closer to the event as it is subject to change.
This is a long read, over ten minutes, but it is imperative that you read it.
Thank you for your interest in, and support for, the Superior Trail Race. We love you, we miss you, and we hope to see you.
The ‘2021 Moose Mountain Marathon Participant Guide’ intends to achieve the following:
• To provide an overall event guide for participants, outlining everything that they can expect from this year's event; beginning with the registration process, during, and after the event has concluded.
• To communicate the ways in which this year's race(s) will, or could, be different / modified from years past. The general theme is that registrants will need to be flexible, willing to adapt right up until race day, and be more self-sufficient than in years past. Runners should not register for this year's race if they are not willing or able to do so.
• To communicate to the United States Forest Service (USFS), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA), Cook County, Lake County, local emergency managers, surrounding communities, participants, staff and volunteers the manner in which our event will be conducted in light of the vast majority of Covid restrictions being lifted in the state of Minnesota, but with full awareness that the disease still exists.
We feel that outlining this information in plain language via a single unified document will provide the greatest level of transparency and understanding of the entire event among all stakeholders. By intertwining all of the specific event information along with Covid-19 considerations, everyone that would like to participate will be compelled to read this document.
Acknowledgement of an improving Covid-19 pandemic while setting expectations for race modifications:
*** For everyone's happiness, anyone that is not comfortable with, unwilling or unable to adapt to these modifications or potential modifications should not register for this year's race. It is important to note that significant elements of the race could change even after you register. Once you register there are no retractions or refunds. We encourage you to view this all in a positive light; an opportunity to be flexible, adaptable and resilient. Regardless of how it is, it is going to be awesome. ***
While the Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to improve and nearly all Minnesota gathering, masking and physical distancing guidelines have been discontinued, this year’s Superior Fall Trail Race could still be significantly modified for reasons directly or indirectly related to the pandemic. We have been, and will continue to work on these details right up until the race.
The reasons for potential modifications may include but are not limited to; the potential for a surge in Covid-19 cases and corresponding reinstatement of state restrictions, a significantly busier than ever North Shore, Superior Hiking Trail and Superior Hiking Trail Trailheads (the location of our aid stations), less volunteers available due to personal comfort level, complicated personal schedules, change in priorities, or rearranged race and volunteer schedules (other major races and events have rescheduled on or around Superior race weekend), and what at times seems like a never-ending number of other unintended and indirect consequences of the pandemic. Runners who are considering participating in the 2021 event can expect a safe and fun event but should generally be prepared for things to change right up until the last minute and to be more self-sufficient than in years past.
Some examples of the items subject to change are as follows:
• Pre-race events / packet pickup format, times, locations
• Race start logistics
• Crew and spectator access to aid stations, start and finish lines
• Aid station food options
• Finish line amenities
• Amount of race photography available after the race
* Update; on August 22 we sent AN EMAIL to runners providing updates on the items listed above that were / are subject to change. After the tumultuous last year and a half, we provide these updates with an ongoing disclaimer that things are still subject to change between now and race day, so stay nimble, but contained within the email is what we are currently planning for and in turn you can start planning for as well.
Covid-19 Preparedness, Protocols & Key Considerations:
The Covid-19 situation is continuing to improve and almost all Minnesota gathering, masking and physical distancing guidelines have been discontinued. Below are the specific Covid-19 considerations that we will observe.
• Runners, spectators, volunteers and staff are required to stay home if they are Covid positive, have been exposed to someone that is Covid positive in the past 14 days, are not feeling well or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed HERE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html
• While masks are no longer required in Minnesota, we have absolutely no problem with anyone that would like to electively wear one. Masks WILL BE REQUIRED on the shuttle buses to race start(s).
• Anyone that is not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain 6’ of physical distance anytime they are indoors at a race-sanctioned event. (100 mile pre-race meeting or drop-bag dropoff, bus ride to the start of the race, Gooseberry Falls Visitors Center / bathrooms at the start of the 100 mile race, inside the Finland Rec Center for the 50 mile start, at the finish in any Caribou Highlands building)
• Proper and frequent hand hygiene will be encouraged and numerous hand sanitizing stations will be available.
• Touchpoints and surface areas will be routinely cleansed.
• Currently neither the State of Minnesota nor the bus company we use require masks on charter busses. At this time masks will not be required for the shuttle bus ride to the start of the races. The current mask mandate for Federally regulated transportation (i.e. airplanes) is set to expire on September 13. If there is some indication in early September that this mandate is being extended, we will take this as a sign that we should consider requiring masks for the shuttle to the start and will notify you if they will in fact be required.
• Inherent to a running race, a database / list of runners is maintained and could be leveraged for contact tracing if needed.
• The vast majority of event activities will be outdoors.
• Runners in the 100, 50 and 26.2 mile point-to-point (one-way) races, will naturally be physically distanced as they spread out over great distances along the Superior Hiking Trail.
• Aid stations will be simplified, will generally have less options and will contain more pre-packaged food items than in years past.
• All runners registering will be prepared to adjust should we need to enact more Covid-modifications, should cases increase and state mandates be reimposed, such as; masking, physical distancing, rolling vs mass starts, less aid station support, and more.
Registration is now closed. Registration information that appeared on this page previously has been moved to the general registration info page HERE https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/registration-info/
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance, race registrations are not transferable to other participants, future years races or other Rocksteady Running events and transferring between distances (up or down) is not allowed.
The Race Director reserves the right to modify or cancel the race or course for safety concerns, trail condition concerns, natural disaster or pandemic. In such cases there will be no refunds of race entry fees. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid. There is no complimentary race entry to a future race. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date – including course preparation, race supplies, permits, administration and overhead. We will make every effort to produce a fair and safe event for all participants. Any decision we make that impacts the race date or potential cancellation is carefully considered and based on the overall event safety, sustainability and manageability.
GENERAL 26.2MI INFORMATION:
State – Minnesota, Race start is 3.5 hours north of the MSP International airport, 26.2 Mile point-to-point 99% trail ultramarathon – 99% single-track, Elevation Gain 5,500 FT, Elevation Loss 5,500 FT, NET Elevation Change 11,000 FT, 3 Aid Stations, 14 hour cutoff.
What you get:
Transportation to the race start from Caribou Highlands. A well-marked course with plenty of aid and tons of friendly, experienced volunteers. A high quality Tri-Blend T-Shirt, past years shirts HERE. A wood finishers medallion.
The race start is approximately 5 hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis has a world-class international airport and traveling to the race is a breeze. There is also an (2nd tier) airport in Duluth MN.
Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN is the race host hotel – the race finishes at Caribou Highlands and the finish-line will be just a short walk to your room. We recommend that you stay here and support Caribou Highlands as they do a great job supporting us! Call 1-800-642-6036 or visit their Website at http://www.caribouhighlands.com. Caribou Highlands’ address is 371 Ski Hill Road, P.O. Box 99 in Lutsen, MN 55612.
There are many camping options in the area but the best bet is probably one of the Great Minnesota State Parks! Below is a DNR Map showing all of the state parks on the North Shore. Gooseberry and Split Rock are very close to the start – Tettegouche is more in the middle between the start and finish and Temperance and Cascade are closer to the finish (although Cascade is on the far-side / past the finish in Lutsen). Crosby Manitou is in the middle as well but the camping is not very close to Highway 61 – you have to take a lot of back roads to get in and out of there. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/
Packet Pick-Up & Drop Bag Drop-Off:
Friday September 10, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. New packet pickup location for 2021 – Caribou Highlands Lodge rec area as illustrated HERE
Drop bags are only accepted on Friday night between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM.
You can also pick up your packet on on Saturday September 11, 7:15 am, at the race start (Cramer Road) but keep in mind you will receive your t-shirt at this time as well – you can send your t-shirt back to the race finish via the “warmups to finish”. We do not accept drop bags on race morning.
Optional Pre-Race Briefing:
CANCELLED FOR 2021
Drop bags will only be accepted on Friday night during the at packet pickup. As a result of what we expect to be more drop bags than ever, we will be strictly enforcing our pre-existing drop bag policies – we admit to some lax enforcement in years past. You may have one drop bag at each aid station that accepts drop bags (not all do). Your drop bags may be no larger than 15″ L x 10″ W x 7.5″ H. Do not put liquids in your drop bag (Red Bull, Coke, Etc.) as they have the tendency to break open. Drop bags will not be protected from the elements, so use waterproof bags if the contents inside cannot get wet. Do not put valuables in drop bags. Drop bags need to be clearly marked with your name, bib number and the aid station for which it is intended. Once the aid stations close, drop bags will be delivered to the finish line and likely will not be available until after 8:30PM Saturday night. Drop bags will remain outside, unattended / unmonitored near the finish line until approx 9:00AM on Sunday. Unclaimed drop bags will not be mailed to you and will be donated to charity.
Race Morning Check-in:
Even if you attended packet pickup on Friday Night, you still must check-in on race morning, this is a safety precaution so we can track exactly who started the race. Check-in will take place at the start-line starting at 7:15 AM. For those riding the shuttle buses, we will take your bib number as you get off of the bus.
Bus Transportation to Starting Line:
Runners should plan to be on board the shuttle buses at 6:50 am, for a 7:00 am departure. It is about a 25 minute ride to the race start. Runners will give us their bib numbers as they exit the buses at the start location, thus effectively checking back in. Toilets will be available at the start of the marathon. There is not drinking water at the start of the marathon. Runners will have the opportunity to send “warmups / warmup clothes” back to the finish of the race. If runners had not checked-in / picked up their bib at Friday nights packet pickup they can get their bib at the start of the race – they will get their t-shirt at this time as well and can send their shirt back to the finish with the “warmups”. Runners wait outside for the start of this race / there is no building. New for 2021, shuttle bus pickup will be in the gravel parking lot across Ski Hill Road from Caribou Highlands – exact shuttle pickup location can be viewed HERE
You will have the option of sending “warmups” / clothing from the race start back to the finish – please place in a plastic bag (these bags will not be protected from the elements) and label as “Warmups” with your name, race distance and race number. Do not put valuables in bags as these bags will get placed outside, near the finish line and will unattended / unmonitored.
Know your pace and your approximate finishing time – if you are a slower marathon runner you will need lights to navigate the course and finish the race, plan accordingly.
Weather and Clothing:
Early Sept. in Northern Minnesota – we can have highs in the mid 80’s and lows in the mid 30’s or, believe it or not, a combination of both! Rain is not uncommon. Be prepared, watch the forecast and plan accordingly. The official average high is 65F and the average low is 47F. Records are 81F and 37F. One item that we highly recommend for runners is a plastic bag, poncho or rain jacket in case we get cold rainy weather – don’t succumb to a DNF because you did not have the proper clothing!
Saturday September 11, 8:00 am at the Cramer Road Trail Head. Bus transportation will be available from Caribou Highlands to the Marathon start. Please plan to be on board at 6:50 am, for a 7:00 am departure. All runners must check in race morning prior to starting otherwise you are unofficial / not in the race (this is your responsibility!)
Race numbers will be assigned prior to the race and made available on the website. You must wear your race number and it must be clearly visible at all times. If you are registered by August 15th you will have your first and last name custom printed on your race number, if you register after this date, you will not. The Superior “Fall” Trail Races host three races simultaneously, the Superior 100 Mile, the Superior 50 and the Superior / Moose Mountain Marathon. Each distance will have its own unique race number (unique color and number series) so runners can be easily identified by race officials, volunteers, spectators and other runners. We ask that all competitors wear their number on the front of their body on their outer-most layer at all times. Runners will be tracked coming into and out of each aid station. If we cannot see your number, we cannot track you or take your finishing time and if we cannot do that, you will be disqualified and will not earn an official finish. There is space provided on the back of your bibs for your to write your emergency contact information – we ask that you fill this out (fine tip Sharpies will be provided at packet pickup). More info on and a picture of the bib numbers can be found HERE https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/category/race-numbers/
Your timing chip will be affixed to the back of your race number. Do not remove your timing chip. Do not bend or fold your timing chip or crumple your race number – this may break your timing chip. Your race number and your timing chip must be pinned on your outer-most layer at all times. Above guidelines must be followed in order ensure that split times and finish times are recorded. This chip is disposable and does not need to be returned. More info can be found HERE https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/chip-timing/
A comprehensive section on course markings with photos can be found HERE
The course will be marked with Orange flags, which will always be on the left hand side of the trail. For sections encountered at night, the flags will also have reflective strips tied to them. Danger areas such as cliffs or drop offs will be marked with reflective X’s. The Moose Mountain Marathon primarily follows the Superior Hiking Trail – you can also look for the official Superior Hiking Trail signs for assurance that you are on the right trail. Throughout the race you will encounter intersecting trails and Superior Hiking Trail “Spur-Trails” – in the Marathon the only time you will ever take a “Spur-Trail” or a trail that is not the superior hiking trail is near the finish – shortly after crossing the Poplar River you will get off of the Superior Hiking trail and will follow orange / reflective flagging into Caribou Highlands / the finish line at the pool behind the building.
*It is unfortunate but is not unheard of at many of the major trail races that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by small minded individuals – it is important that you study the course maps prior to running and have a concept of where you are going – also, always remember, you are supposed to be on the Superior Hiking Trail only – except in those specific instances listed above.
You must visit (and be recorded) at every aid station / you may not skip any aid stations. You can help by showing the HAM Radio Operators your bib number. Our aid stations are manned by volunteers, many of them spending a good part of their weekend out on the race course – please be sure to thank the volunteers! A complete list of the aid stations can be found HERE.
Aid Station Water (Covid Protocol):
We are a cupless race, if you want to drink water or soda out of a cup, you have to have your own (each aid station will have a small stash of paper cups should you lose your reusable cup along the way.) If you are not familiar with these reusable cups they are easy to find and procure, HERE https://hydrapak.com/products/speed-cup-200-ml is an example. Note that we WILL provide disposable cups for things like coffee and soup. Secondly, as far as filling your water bottles / bladders goes, the protocol will be as follows. We ask that you DO NOT fill your own water out of the water jugs, instead, take the cap off of your water bottle, soft flask or open your hydration bladder and hold it out for a volunteer to fill, from a pitcher.
Aid Station Food:
Aid stations will have THESE https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/2021-aid-station-snacks-and-food/ salty and sweet pre-packaged snacks (it is our understanding that all of these but the Goldfish are vegan, but of course, do your own research if you are concerned). We are encouraging aid station captains to procure some fun-size candy as well. We will have Coke and Ginger Ale. From the County Road 6 aid station through the finish, we will be providing the aid stations with chicken noodle and vegan soup mix and aid station captains / crews will also be providing their own unique hot food item or two (usually simple things like grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, etc.) We will not have any gels, electrolyte tabs or sports drink – procure your own and make use of your drop bags. Over the last number of years everyone seems to have their own preferred brand and we spend more time reading expiration dates and throwing things out than you do ingesting them, and we can no longer justify the waste.
Pacers are not allowed for the Marathon. Obviously you can “pace” with another registered runner, but any runner found running with a pacer who is not a registered runner (“a bandit”) will be disqualified.
Info For Crews, Spectators and Family (runners are required to share this info with your crews):
It is unlikely that anything a runner does will ever put another participant, crew, pacer, spectator or the Superior Trail Race as a whole in jeopardy – more likely it would be a runners crew or a spectator inadvertently doing something in a vehicle near or at an aid station that could negatively impact the race – thankfully, to date, we have had very few problems! Please review the following link and forward this link on to your crew, pacers, family members and spectators. https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/crew-pacer-family-member-spectators-information/ – REMEMBER THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NEW CREW OR SPECTATOR ACCESS ALLOWED FOR THOSE IN THE MARATHON AT THE TEMPERANCE RIVER AID STATION AS SPACE IS SEVERELY LIMITED – YOUR CREWS / SPECTATORS SHOULD UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE VISIT THE TEMPERANCE RIVER AID STATION AND IF THEY ARE FOUND DOING SO, YOU (THE RUNNER) WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.
The 100 mile race starts on Friday at 8:00AM and the 50 mile race starts on Saturday at 5:15AM. 100 mile runners have red bib / race numbers and may also have a pink piece of ribbon affixed to their hydration pack, waist belt etc so you can easily identify them. 50 mile runners have blue bib / race numbers and may also have a blue piece of ribbon affixed to their hydration pack, waist belt etc so you can easily identify them. Please give these runners, especially the 100 milers the right of way since they will have been on the trail a long time by the time you see them.
Due to our past experience with people wearing headphones on trail runs such as these, we discourage their use however we won’t tell you can’t wear them . Full awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability to communicate with other participants, race volunteers, and trail users not associated with the event are critical to everyone’s safety. Please use common sense.
Don’t do it. If you see some trash someone else has dropped, pick it up. Keep the trail clean.
The Moose Mountain Marathon has intermediate and race finish cutoff times that will be strictly enforced. The finish line cutoff for an official finish is 14 hours (Saturday, 10:00 pm). Intermediate cutoff times are listed in the table below. All cutoffs will be strictly enforced – we do however reserve the right to pull (or allow to continue) any racer as we see fit – if you are uncomfortable with those terms, consider running another race.
If You DNF:
Should you need to drop out of the race you need to report this (providing your bib number) to the HAM radio operators at the aid station you are dropping at – if you are not sure who that is ask around until you find them. If you leave the course and fail to notify race officials, you will be asked not to come back to our race in the future.
The Superior Trail Race takes place on a very rugged, single-track hiking trail, running on such a trail comes with inherit risks that runners accept upon entering the event. In addition to trail conditions other potential dangers include but are not limited to of note to; Wet / slippery trail conditions (mud, roots and rocks), wet / slippery boardwalks and bridges, bees / bee stings, road crossings (use caution when crossing just as you would if you were a regular hiker on the trail or like you do on your training runs) and steep drops / cliffs. Hydration, all runners should have sufficient water carrying capacity to make it from aid station to aid station (water bottle or hydration pack / system).
Medical & Emergencies:
Emergencies dial 911.
Two Harbors / Lake County
*For use from Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls (Race Start) to Cramer Road Aid Station
Lakeview Memorial Hospital
325 11th Avenue
Two Harbors, MN 55616-1360
(218) 834-7300 Lake County Sheriffs Office
Lake County Law Enforcement Center
613 Third Avenue
Two Harbors, MN 55616
Grand Marais / Cook County
*For use from Temperance River Aid Station to Lutsen / Caribou Highlands (Race Finish)
Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center
515 5th Ave West
Grand Marais MN 55604
218-387-3040 Cook County Sheriffs Office
Cook County Law Enforcement Center
143 Gunflint Trl
Grand Marais, MN 55604
There will be no overall or age group awards / trophies. For many years we did overall and age group awards. Early in 2021 at our Covid-modified events we did away with awards / awards ceremonies for the sole purpose of eliminating one more congregation / touch point. Where things stand today, and the fact that everything is outside, we could obviously resume awards… that said, we have really liked the vibe, resonance and lack of duality of not having these awards and we are going to roll with it for a bit and just see how it feels. Note this is just the dozen or so overall and age group trophies… all runners will still grab their t-shirt at packet pickup. All finishers will be handed a medal as they cross the finish line and 100 milers will be handed their buckles. 100 milers will grab their finishers sweatshirts and name patches (if they have not received one in the past), and all 100 mile finishers will grab their star under the tent.
Caribou Highlands Lodge will furnish shower facilities and towels for runners who are not staying at the lodge.
We are planning to provide pre-portioned cups of chili (regular and vegetarian), cornbread and cookies in a sanitary, grab-and-go format for runners once they finish. Please remember the chili is for registered runners only and please only have one serving, so the last runners will be able to have some too. Caribou Highlands will then have both a quick / burger-stand and sit-down dining options for you and your family / crew / spectators (to purchase) once you are ready or obviously you are welcome to grab your own stuff or go out elsewhere.
Results will be published in real time as runners finish the race. A link to results will be available on our website and you can pull them up on your phone at any time.
Lost and Found:
Any personal items left after the race will be donated to a charity or to local runners in need. We will not ship items to you.
The Superior Fall Trail Race are qualifying races for a number of races throughout the world. The information contained on this page is not intended to be a comprehensive list of those races, instead highlights just a few of them. Participating in any of the Superior Fall Trail Race(s) that are qualifiers for other races does not guarantee you entry into any of those races. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with those races qualifying and registration / lottery requirements and procedures well in advance of any race that you would like to run. https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/qualifying-races/
We are always looking for them. Do you have friends and family coming but don’t really need them to follow you around to crew – see if they want to volunteer. Learn more by visiting the volunteer page.
Superior Hiking Trail Association
The Superior Hiking Trail is one of the premier long-distance single-track hiking trails in the WORLD (not exaggerating). We cannot thank you all enough for your donations to the SHTA. The trail would not be this well maintained without all your help. Consider becoming a Superior Hiking Trail Association member, it is very affordable and each contribution makes a world of difference. Learn more by visiting the Superior Hiking Trail online HERE
Next years race date:
The Superior Fall Trail Race is always held the weekend after Labor Day weekend.