Superior 50 Mile Trail Race Information

2021 Race Date: TBD – More info HERE
Start: Finland Rec Center, Minnesota
Finish: Caribou Highlands / Lutsen, Minnesota
Start Time: 5:15 AM
Shuttle to race start from Caribou Highlands / race finish leaves at 4:00AM
Course Maps and Aid Station Charts can be found HERE

What is This Page All About?
This page and included links are your race booklet, please read in its entirety and keep in mind that information may be updated and changed up until the race as needed.  Nearly everything else you need to know about the race can be found on this page and THIS page. Registered runners can expect a welcome email from us with any new / additional information around 1 week out from the race.

Quick Stats:
State – Minnesota, Race start is 3.5 hours north of the Minneapolis (MSP) International airport, 52.1 Mile point-to-point 100% trail ultramarathon – 95% single-track, Founded 1990, Elevation Gain 12,500 FT, Elevation Loss 12,500 FT, NET Elevation Change 25,000 FT, 7 Aid Stations, 16.5 hour cutoff, Field is limited to 210 runners, Registration Via Lottery, Reputation as one of the toughest, most scenic and best marked trail 50’s in the country .

Superior 50 Mile Trail Race / Endurance Run Description and History:
The Superior 50 Mile Trail Race is a point-to-point (100% trail) ultramarathon 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 countless whitewater rivers and serene streams while meandering through mystic Boreal forests.  The race starts at the Finland Aid Station / Finland Rec. Center outside of Finland Minnesota, and finishes at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen. Runners will have access to seven aid stations between the start and finish, and will never go more than 9.4 miles without an opportunity for aid.  The Superior 50 Mile is put on by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.

Registration is handled via a lottery and there is a qualifying standard for the 50 mile race – complete registration dates, details and information can be found HERE

Refunds – Transfers – Switches:
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. Please consider these factors very carefully before registering. Thank you.

Cancellation Policy:
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 and administration. 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.

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, see it HERE.  A complimentary post race meal.

The race start is approximately 4.5 hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Minneapolis has a world-class international airport and traveling to the race is a breeze.  There is also a regional 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!  Special room rates are available if you mention you are a Superior 50 Mile racer. Call 1-800-642-6036 or visit their Website at 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.

Packet Pick-Up
Friday September 11, 5:00 – 8:00 pm, Caribou Highlands Lodge, in the Village Chalet. You can also pick up your packet on Saturday 4:30 – 5:00 am at the race start / Finland Rec Center.

Optional Pre-Race Briefing
TENTATIVE, MEETING MAY BE SUSPENDED FOR 2020 RACE SO RACE DIRECTOR CAN VISIT 100 MILE AID STATIONS ON FRIDAY EVENING. Friday, September 11, 7:00 pm. There will be a non-mandatory pre-race briefing at Caribou Highlands Lodge, on the patio by the pool or in the Village Chalet (if raining).

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 .  If you did not pick up your packet and race number on Friday night you may get it at the race start.

Bus Transportation to Starting Line
Runners should plan to be on board the shuttle buses at 3:45 am, for a 4:00 am departure. It is about a 45 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 race. Drinking water is available at this race start.  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 inside the Finland Rec Center for the start of this race.

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.

Drop Bags
Please keep your drop bags as small as possible.  Your drop bag may be no larger than 15″ L x 10″W x 7.5″ H.   Drop bags must be left during packet pickup on Friday evening. Absolutely no drop bags will be accepted at the start on Saturday morning. Each drop bag must be clearly labeled with the runner’s name, race distance, race number, and the drop bag’s destination aid station name.  Make sure you items are in a plastic bag or something waterproof as we cannot guarantee that they will stay dry.  Do not put valuables in your drop bag.  Do not put canned liquids in your drop bag (Red Bull, Coke, Etc.) as they have the tendency to break open. 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.

You will need a headlamp for the first hour of this race.  If you want to dump your light later you will need to have a drop bag at one of the aid stations to put your light into (drop bag must be labeled per the information in the drop bag section.)  Lights are also required after 5 pm in order to leave the Oberg aid station.  Know your pace and your approximate finishing time – if you are a slower 50 mile runner you will need lights to navigate the course and finish the race, plan accordingly.  Look at past finishing times, this is not a fast 50 miler!

Weather and Clothing:
Early Sept. in Northern Minnesota – we can have highs in the mid to high 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.

Race Start
Saturday September 12, 5:15 am – Finland Rec Center.  All runners must check in race morning prior to starting otherwise you are unofficial / not in the race (this is your responsibility!)

Race Numbers:
Race numbers will be assigned prior to the race and available to view on the website.  You must wear your race number and it must be clearly visible at all times.  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.  Racers registered by August 15th will receive their name custom printed on the race number as illustrated below – if you register after this date, your name will not be on your number.  Your emergency contact information will be printed (in small print) on the front of your race number.  If you have any medical conditions, allergies etc. you may write this information on the back of your race number  so emergency personnel will have access to information pertinent to your care should something happen.

Blue Ribbon In Lieu of Back Bib:
Because the 50 mile race is not the only race happening during race weekend we have often thought about implementing a “back bib” / race number for 50 mile runners, rather than do that and make it mandatory we came up with the idea of a piece of blue ribbon.  You are welcome to take the piece of blue ribbon and tie it to the back of your hydration pack, waist belt etc. so you can easily be identified by runners doing the other distances and you will get tons of encouragement! It is NOT mandatory that you participate in this but those who have in the past have nothing but good things to say about it.  100 milers will similarly be issued a pink ribbon.

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

Course Markings:

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 Superior Trail 50 Mile 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 50 miler the only time you will ever take a “Spur-Trail” or a trail that is not the superior hiking trail is at the Sonju Lake Road Aid Station – follow the Spur trail to the Superior Hiking Trail parking lot / Sonju Lake Road aid station, (check-in and get aid) then return to the Superior Hiking Trail on the same trail you came in on.  The other instance is at the race 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.

Aid Stations.
Our aid stations are manned by volunteers, many of them spending a good part of their weekend out there – please be sure to thank the volunteers!  A complete list of the aid stations can be found HERE. Food and Drink – Aid stations will have the following beverage and food choices available: (All aid stations) Water, Hammer Heed, Hammer Gel, Soft Drinks, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Potato Chips, Potatoes & Salt, Cookies, Candy, Fruit (Mile 50 and Later) Soup, Coffee, Misc. Hot-Foods *If you have special dietary requirements, please make sure to make use of your drop bags.

Pacers & Crew:
Pacers are not allowed for the 50 mile race.  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.  Your crew members may offer support but at the aid station locations only, no other spot on the course is acceptable.

Info For Crews, Spectators and Family (runners please share this 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. – REMEMBER THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NEW CREW OR SPECTATOR ACCESS ALLOWED FOR THOSE IN THE 50 MILER AT THE SONJU LAKE ROAD OR TEMPERANCE RIVER AID STATIONS AS SPACE IS SEVERELY LIMITED – YOUR CREWS / SPECTATORS SHOULD UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE VISIT THESE AID STATIONS AND IF THEY ARE FOUND DOING SO, YOU (THE RUNNER) WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

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.

Cut-off Times:
The Superior 50 has intermediate and race finish cutoff times that will be strictly enforced.  The finish line cutoff for an official finish is 16H 45M (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.  Please keep in mind that these cutoffs are meant to give runners the benefit of the doubt that they can speed up after a tough section but we find that those that are pushing any of these cutoffs within as much of a half hour will struggle to finish – please do your own analysis of the course to determine proper pacing.

Intermediate Cutoffs – SUBJECT TO CHANGE

If You DNF:
Should you need to drop out of the race, remove your number and your chip and give them directly to the HAM radio operators at the aid stations 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.

Safety Considerations:
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
(218) 834-8385

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

1st Place Overall Male and Female
1st place Open (age 39 – under) Male and Female
1st place Masters (age 40 to 49) Male and Female
1st place Grand Masters (age 50+) Male and Female

Awards will be presented at approximately 8:00 PM Saturday – if you have won an award and have to leave early please let us know and we will get it to you before you leave.

Post-Race Clean-Up:
Caribou Highlands Lodge will furnish shower facilities and towels for runners who are not staying at the lodge.

Post-Race Meal (Subject To Change):
We will serve meat and vegetarian chili with fixings and cookies. Food is for registered runners only, not for crew and family members. One meal per registered runner, please.

Results will be updated regularly at the finish.  Preliminary results will be available on the website within a couple of days of the finish – final results (with any corrections) will be posted on our website within a few weeks of the end of the race.

Lost and Found
Any personal items left after the race will be donated to a charity. We will not ship items to you.

Qualifying Races:
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.

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.

Superior Fall Trail Race
100MI, 50MI, 26.2MI Trail Race(s)
Lutsen, Minnesota
(approx 4hrs North of Minneapolis, MN)
September 11 & 12, 2020
100MI Friday 8:00AM
50MI Saturday 5:15AM
26.2MI Saturday 8:00AM

Registration / Lottery:
Registration via 15 day lottery registration period.
Opens Wednesday January 1st, 2020 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Wednesday January 15th, 2020 – 11:59PM CST
Complete Lottery / Registration Details HERE

100MI Start: Gooseberry Falls State Park, MN HERE
50MI Start: Finland Rec Center – Finland, MN HERE
26.2MI Start: Cramer Road – Schroder, MN HERE
Races Finish: Carbibou Highlands – Lutsen, MN HERE

The Superior Fall Trail Races 100MI, 50MI & 26.2MI are run on rugged, rooty, rocky, 95% single-track trail with near constant climbs and descents.  The race is held on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Sawtooth Mountains paralleling Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota / not far from the Canadian border.  The race located approximately 4 hours North of Minneapolis, Minnesota.   The Superior Fall Trail Races are very difficult / challenging races and are probably not a good choice for your first trail or ultra race (see Registration Info for qualifying requirements).

100 Mile:
Point to Point 103.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 21,000 FT
Elevation Loss 21,000 FT
NET Elevation Change 42,000 FT
13 Aid Stations
38 hour time limit
Complete 100MI Info HERE

50 Mile:
Point to Point 52.1 Miles
Elevation Gain 12,500 FT
Elevation Loss 12,500 FT
NET Elevation Change 25,000 FT
7 Aid Stations
16.75 hour time limit
Complete 50MI Info HERE

26.2 Mile:
Point to point 26.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 5,500 FT
Elevation Loss 5,500 FT
NET Elevation Change 11,000 FT
3 Aid Stations
14 hour cutoff
Complete 26.2MI Info HERE

More About the Race:
The Superior Trail 100 was founded in 1991 when there was no more than a dozen or so 100 mile trail races in the USA, back then if you wanted to run a 100, you had choices like Western States, Hardrock, Leadville, Wasatch, Cascade Crest, Umstead, Massanutten and Superior . Superior quickly earned it’s reputation of its namesake today – Rugged, Relentless and Remote and is known as one of the tougher 100 mile trail races.  Superior lives on now as one of the “legacy 100 milers” and is considered by many to be one of the most challenging, prestigious and beautiful 100 mile trail races in the country. Shortly after the inception of the 100, the Superior 50 was started and in the early 2000’s the Moose Mountain Marathon was added. None of the history or tradition of this race has been lost and is a great event for those looking for a world-class event with a low-key, old-school 100 miler feel.  The Superior Trail Race is put on by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.

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.