2020 SUPERIOR FALL TRAIL RACE CANCELLATION DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – WRITTEN BY RACE DIRECTOR JOHN STORKAMP

I apologize in advance, this communication is really long – there is simply no way to put what I have to say into soundbites or a couple of paragraphs. This communication will take you at least 10 minutes to read and I ask that you all do so. If now is not a good time, set it aside until you have the time, but please read it.

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 will spare you by not providing (here at least) the complete timeline of COVID-19’s impact on Rocksteady Running’s events thus far this year, as it has been quite the journey. Instead, for those interested, I have provided a comprehensive timeline at the very end of this correspondence.

Please read on for specific information regarding the cancellation of the 2020 Superior Fall Trail Race.

In accordance with our registration policy, the Superior Fall Trail Race will not be rescheduled for a later date, and we will not be issuing refunds, deferrals, or credit to future events. Rescheduling and / or issuing refunds, deferrals or credit would be both logistically prohibitive and financially punitive, if not devastating to our organization. There are early season, upfront and non-refundable costs associated with all of our events as well as a significant baseline cost of operation / overhead. We have always maintained an explicit no refund policy in order to ensure the future viability of the races and ultimately our organization in the event of cancellation. In order to produce our season of races, we are cash-flow dependent. Races operate on thin margins and there simply is no “war chest”. All of that said, we realize that these are extraordinary times and we want to help those in need, I address how we can help those in need later in this correspondence.
In the coming weeks and months we will take the following actions:

1.) We will continue to use registration funds to pay bills that are due for this year’s race, cover overhead and ensure the long term viability of the Superior Fall Trail Race in order to safeguard it in hopes that it can continue to be run in the future. A lot of good has come from the Superior Trail Race over the past 30 years – it is our position, and the position of our community, that these races are worth investing in, fighting for and saving.

2.) 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.

3.) 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 of the 2021 race will be Friday September 10 and Saturday September 11, 2021.

4.) We will make our annual financial donation to the Superior Hiking Trail Association. This crisis will have long-term downstream impacts on funding of our trail / natural resources as individual donors, county, state and federal dollars are diverted to fight the pandemic. Our race would not, could not, and will not continue to exist without the Superior Hiking Trail and they are going to need our help more than ever.

5.) As / when social distancing guidelines allow, we will perform tree clearing and scheduled trail work projects on the Superior Hiking Trail like we do every year. Supporting the Superior Hiking Trail through hands-on volunteerism is a huge part of our mission. We need to continue to work on and invest in the trail – this is our responsibility.

I understand and appreciate that the forfeiture of your individual entry fee is not without financial impact. Additionally, as trail / ultrarunners ourselves, we can empathize with the disappointment of not being able to participate in a race that you have trained so hard for. Rocksteady Running’s mission is to “provide experiences that facilitate connection”. As such, our priority is to ensure the long-term viability, sustainability and ability to hold our races going forward in order to continue to fulfill this mission in the years and decades to come. This means keeping the Superior Trail Race and the trail-systems and public lands where our races are held viable and whole. We thank you for your individual sacrifice to the greater good, our trail running community and our trail partners. If the reality of the no refund policy that you agreed to when signing up for Superior is ultimately a “bridge too far” for you, we encourage you to use this experience to help inform and guide your race registration decisions in the future – we all get to decide which organizations we support. We will continue to communicate clearly, operate transparently and for our own protection and dignity, keep clear and unambiguous boundaries. Personally, I was signed up for four trail / ultra races this year and one big-city marathon. All of these races cancelled, each with their own unique cancellation policies. For those that were offering any kind of refund or credit, I donated it back to them and for each I simply left them a public note of support, encouragement and appreciation on their social media and/or sent them an email. I want the races that I love to be there in the years to come so I can continue to participate in them in the future. I would hate to see any of my fellow race organizations / directors carry more than their fair share of the burden as ultimately they are providing a service for our community of runners.

ALL OF THAT SAID… Our refund policy never considered or imagined a global health pandemic where we would need to cancel all of our events in a single year, while other organizations were also having to cancel theirs. This has only reaffirmed the necessity of our no refund policy – without it, the races would cease to exist, Rocksteady would go out of “business”, and personally we would go bankrupt. Please know that it is very difficult for us to have to stick with these policies knowing that everyone is being touched by this crisis in some way. Having to talk about money during these times is not fun. Serving and providing a positive experience for people is in our DNA – it is at the absolute core of what we do – you don’t direct races otherwise. If you are under financial duress due to the loss of a job or reduction in hours we strongly urge you to file for unemployment benefits. If you are in the USA, please stay informed regarding additional assistance that will be coming in congresses phase four stimulus package. If you are still struggling, or for some reason you are not eligible for the assistance, we want to help. For anyone that is hurting and in need, you can email me at racedirector@superiortrailrace.com – Cheri and I will write you a check for 25% of your entry fee (less the portion that our registration provider UltraSignup keeps), and we will stick it in an envelope and mail it to you. We realize that in the grand scheme of things that this is not a lot of money, but also realize that any little bit may help right now. Additionally, if you are food insecure, we have lots of pre-purchased race food here we could send you (until it is gone); soup, peanut butter, jelly, etc. We can only do a limited number of these , but we will do our absolute best to help any of you that are in need. Please only take advantage of this if you are truly in need. If you don’t need it, please let others that are in need take advantage of it.

Please keep in mind that year in and year out; we cover the race expenses, cover overhead, pay two “employees” (Cheri and I), and then hold on to enough for startup capital for the following year. We repeat that cycle every year. We really hope to be able to hold the races next year and in the years to come, but we are already on track to start 2021 in the red – if we go too far into the red, the races are in jeopardy of not happening but we are committed to holding on as long as we can. Finally, please know that all races are different, some may be able to do more than us and some less – each race and each organization is different in how they are structured, which informs how they are able to respond during this crisis – so please take it easy on the race organizations and directors of the races that you love running. I have never met anyone that directed races for the wrong reasons, the only reason you do this is because you love running and you love serving people. If you would like to learn more about the nuts and bolts of all of this, please see the FAQ at the very end of this / below my signature.

Time to land this plane…

In looking into the origins of the phrase, “Desperate times call for desperate measures” both Hippocrates and Erasmus have similar mottos. Hippocrates seems to have understood long before our current societal solution of social-distancing that “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable”. Erasmus stated: “Malo nodo malus quaerendus cuneus: A tough and harsh knot, is not to be attempted to be cut by a fine tool; it can only be overcome by the application of a strong wedge. Great difficulties or diseases are not ordinarily subdued, but by powerful remedies, which may not be applied, perhaps, without some degree of danger.”

As we have all witnessed, there is an abundance of both good information and misinformation out there and it is not always easy to decipher one from the other. Organizationally, we believe in science and place the findings and guidance of the scientific community along with the guidance from our state government first. Our thoughts and prayers are for the health and safety of our frontline medical professionals and of course with our most vulnerable citizens who are ultimately composed of our family, friends, neighbors and fellow runners. May we each show love, compassion and grace to our fellow human beings both during these extremely difficult times and always.

Respectfully,

John Storkamp

Race Director
Superior Trail Race /
Rocksteady Running

You can reach me at: racedirector@superiortrailrace.com

If you would like to, you can learn more about Rocksteady Running below. Additionally we have provided a FAQ with some more information.

 

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Sources for COVID-19 information:

Minnesota Department of Health https://www.health.state.mn.us/

University of Minnesota http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19

World Health Organization https://www.who.int/

National Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/

 

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About Rocksteady Running:

Even though we have pretty good sized events, we feel incredibly fortunate to know the vast majority of our participants, and we are blessed to call so many of you friends. Some of these trail / ultrarunning friendships that we have made are closing in on two decades. For those that do not know us, we thought that during these unprecedented times it would be a good time to introduce ourselves and give you a little bit of background about us.

Rocksteady Running was formed on January 1, 2012 by myself (John Storkmp) and my wife Cheri Storkamp as a way to pull together several of Minnesota’s existing / legacy trail and ultrarunning races; including the Zumbro Endurance Run (founded 2009), Superior Spring Trail Race (founded 2003), Afton Trail Run (founded 1994), Superior Fall Trail Race (founded 1991) and the Endless Summer Trail Run Series (founded 2012). We do not do this alone, we are supported by several trusted advisors, many what I would call “full-time volunteers” and an army of race-weekend volunteers throughout the year – Rocksteady Running is truly a community effort.

I started running marathons in 1996 at the age of 16. In 2003, I started training for my first ultra and in 2004 completed my first ultra, I have since gone on to run 125 races at the marathon distance and beyond – the point is, that I, like you, simply love to run. I started volunteering at trail and ultra races shortly after I started running them, and in 2008 took over as the race director of the Afton Trail Run from a close friend of mine. Afton State Park, more or less in my backyard and a park that I have been visiting since I was a kid. I took on this commitment while raising my daughter Emma with my wife Cheri, as I pursued a demanding career in commercial construction project management. Within a few years of taking over that first race, ultrarunning entered a period of exceptional growth. With this growth came increased expectations; not just from runners, but from the permitting agencies, local communities, insurance companies, and so on. This in turn required increased time, attention, responsibility and expertise on the part of race directors and race organizations. Folks like me, who had demanding full time careers, were raising families, doing our own running and racing, were on overload trying to direct a single event and the burnout rate was high. Several of my mentors who had been directing the races I was volunteering at were a year or two beyond ready to give up their directorship to focus on their careers, families and quite frankly restore their sanity. As a relatively small community at the time, we tried to find directors for several races, but pickings were slim for the exact reasons the current directors were wanting to get out. Cheri and I decided to take a leap of faith, but this would require me leaving a good paying career with vacation, bonuses and benefits in order to have enough time during race season to commit to the events while still maintaining some modicum of sanity. We turned our lives upside down, moved out of our home and in with my parents, I started working as a freelance graphic and web designer and within a year had started directing all of the races that we do today. Cheri was more or less the sole breadwinner for us, we lived off of her income, we completely exhausted our retirement, savings and all of the equity in our home. We often wondered what the hell we were doing – believe me, there were many “dark nights of the soul”, and I guess with COVID-19, we are kind of back to that. These were stressful times, but it was rewarding. As a former project manager, working on large and complex projects, I was well suited for the rigors of organizing races. We got to work with so many extraordinary volunteers, and met and hosted so many great runners from all over the world. More young and diverse people started coming into the sport. We increased our philanthropic giving and rolled up our sleeves, doing a lot of work on the trails where we raced, and beyond. Our local trail and ultra community continued to grow and flourish in really wonderful ways.

Fast forward… we eventually got back on our feet, moved back into our home; we had been renting it out in order to scrape by. Races as a viable business is basically not a thing, there are a few exceptions to that rule around the country, but very few. And while we do receive compensation for the time that we put in during race season, race directing is not our only gig. In all honesty, having done and continuing so much volunteering in the trail / ultra world, it actually took me a few years to be OK with this, to value myself and my time enough to say, “this is OK” and to not put myself last. Self-esteem can be a funny thing, but as I have aged I have (mostly) gotten a handle on it! I continue to do graphic and web design, and I work other odd jobs as well – Cheri does contracting work as an accountant as time allows. Having come from the (actual) business world, it is not lost on me that the “business model” of races is so terribly flawed, it is almost laughable when viewed through that lens. But the paradox is that this is what saves it, it takes buy-in from everyone, this is where the magic lies, it is what you feel when you come, it is why people want to be a part of it, it’s why we want to be a part of it. Among race organizers, volunteers, or runners in the trail / ultrarunning community, it is rare to find anyone here for the wrong reasons – it is all just too hard to do with superficial intent. There are no superficial rewards. Whether it is directing, volunteering or running – it takes dedication and it takes pain. The struggle is real, but it is a labor of love for Cheri and I because it is a beacon of authenticity in a world filled with a lot of noise. Even though it is a labor of love, we still hold ourselves to the absolute highest standards and always strive to conduct ourselves professionally and operate transparently. At the same time we are under no illusion, we know that at some point, before we get too much older (I am 40, Cheri 47) we will have to set what we love free and hand the reins of these races over to someone else so we can finish out our careers somewhere, build up some savings and hopefully retire some day – once we do so, maybe we can direct a little race again – it gets in your blood.

In the meantime and until that day, through good times and bad, we continue to pour our hearts and our souls into this. When it is bad, it is a stark and sometimes scary reminder of all of the personal risk that we take on to do this, but when it is good, it is the grandest of projects. We love doing this with our friends and family. We are only able to do this because of the grace that others continually show us; our family, our friends, our volunteers and our runners. There are countless people that sacrifice so much, give so much of their time to make this all possible – we are not the only ones who have sacrificed, and anytime we think about giving up, we think of these people. Like our mission statement imparts, we are here to “create experiences that facilitate connection”, and while we have to put those in-person connections on hold for a little while right now, we will all connect again when the time is appropriate. We thank you all for your continued support. Finally, on a personal level, aside from running and racing, we extend the invitation to all of our runners and volunteers – if there is something that Cheri and I can do to help you and your family during these extraordinary times, please reach out, we are here for you, just as you have been there for us.

 

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FAQ

Why does Rocksteady Running have a no refund, no discount and no deferral policy?

Rocksteady Running has a no refund policy for race registrations. This policy is published in several places on our race websites. Runners are required to review and agree to this policy before they are able to complete registration. This policy applies when a runner is personally no longer able to attend a scheduled race and it also applies when a race has to be canceled no matter the reason. If a runner is not comfortable with this policy, they can always forgo registering and are free to seek out other races with different policies. Examples of reasons that we may need to cancel a race include, but are not limited to; safety concerns, trail condition concerns or natural disaster – in the current case, the reason is a world-wide pandemic. We have seen the argument (elsewhere / not directed at us) that races should abandon this policy given the unique and unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19. Antithetical to this argument, unique and unforeseen circumstances are the exact reasons that we have a no refund policy in the first place. The current situation only reaffirms the need for it. When a race is canceled it means that something has gone very wrong, but even so, we still need to be able to cover event specific costs, overhead, race director compensation and still have enough funding left over at the end of the year for startup for the following year. Not unlike many other mom and pop organizations, our organization is cash flow dependent, there are not massive reserves on which to draw. Without these policies we would not be able to continue hosting races in the future. Rocksteady Running produces nine races a year. Several of these races are large, complex, and require an incredible amount of full-time effort to organize. These races involve specific costs such as permits, venues, insurance, promotion, rental trucks, medical services, tenting, toilets, sanitation, aid station food and supplies, t-shirts, medals, timing services, photography services, bib numbers, timing chips, volunteer lodging, post-race meals / parties, other vendors, philanthropic initiatives and more. We do save on some of these costs if an event is cancelled early enough but many things are designed, contracted, ordered, created, produced and purchased well in advance of an event. There is also a significant ongoing baseline cost of operation which in business terms is called overhead that we are responsible for paying every month. Some of these overhead items include warehouse / equipment storage, work space, offsite storage, office space, business insurance, health insurance, taxes, legal and accounting fees, websites, vehicle expenses, office supplies and equipment, race equipment upkeep, new equipment, philanthropic initiatives, employees / labor and more. When an unexpected event causes the cancellation of a race, RSR loses sponsorship dollars, tourism grants, and vendor participation and sponsorship. Furthermore, we lose the opportunity to sell merchandise at our events. These things account for a significant portion of Rocksteady’s annual income. Race registration fees alone do not cover all of our race / operational costs – we rely on the aforementioned income sources in order to operate. We have always tried to offer the most accessible experience possible to the community – as such, we have always maintained entry fees as low as possible in relation to our costs. Note that I say “as low as possible in relation to our costs”. We are not trying to say, for instance, that $95 for a 50K is not a lot of money. That is a lot of money to us, and we know it is to many of you as well. So, in determining the registration fees, we cover overhead, then event specific costs, and try to have just enough left over for the following year for startup. If an unexpected event causes us to cancel a race, a refund simply does not work because we have already lost revenue and our costs do not stop; bills for the cost of operation are due every month and there is always the next race coming up that needs to be paid for. These same dynamics that dictate our no refund policy also apply to deferrals and discounts. If we defer or discount everyone for next year, there would be no new, or greatly reduced, revenue to cover next year’s overhead, compensation and expenses.

 

Why does Rocksteady Running have a no reschedule policy?

Rocksteady Running produces nine races each year. Each race takes months of pre-planning. Each race is coordinated with local, county, state and federal agencies in addition to lodging partners, suppliers, contractors, vendors and more. For each race, we consider the best and most appropriate time of the year for that race to be held while balancing other uses of the area / resource, such as other forms of recreation, other events, hunting, logging etc. Heck, one of our event dates is dictated by when the turtle nesting season is. Operationally, within the Rocksteady Running calendar there are no opportunities to reschedule a race as our events span Spring to Fall, taking place every few weeks. Additionally, there are only two employees to execute the pre-planning of each event. Furthermore, there are a significant number of other trail / ultra events in our region throughout the year, and we do not want to double up dates and potentially hurt another race by siphoning off their participants. Besides, many of our runners and volunteers like to run these other races as well. Finally, our races would not be possible without an army of volunteers at each race. Our volunteers do so much for us. We have to be very careful to not overtax our volunteer pool. And many of our volunteers volunteer at other races, and the current Minnesota race calendar is very full.

 

Why can some races / organizations offer full refunds / rollovers to next year or discounts while others cannot?

Each race organization is different. Some races are one-off races organized by one or several individuals. Oftentime, these organizers have outside work / full time employment not associated with their race. These races are oftentimes much smaller, not as complicated / involved and often have very little overhead outside of race-specific costs. That is actually how we started and operated for many years: with one race and working outside, full-time jobs. We did this until the races and the demands of those races grew to the point where we couldn’t manage them along with our full-time careers without one or the other suffering. In this scenario, where the organizer has a majority non-race income source, all or at least most of the hours to plan and execute the race are donated by the individuals (this is super good of them!), and essentially the events are subsidised by their “free labor”, their full-time employment, their employer provided vacation days, etc. Even a simple race can require upwards of 20 hours a week of a race director’s time starting months out from a race. And within weeks of and just after a race, those numbers can jump upwards of 40 hours a week. Most of the races we direct were done like this at one point or another. One of the downsides of this is that these race directors carry a very heavy load and are subject to burnout – their personal relationships, families and jobs can suffer as a result. Another reason some organizations may be able to offer high percentage refunds, deferrals or discounts is that they may have a larger organization with more income, may have higher entry fees, other significant income sources that subsidize their events, have major title sponsors that pay for a large portion of the event, or are willing to go into debt and put themselves and their organization at risk. And with the above, some organizations do have residual profit left at the end of the year to create a warchest. Also, some organizations have less overhead than others and some do not offer as many amenities at their race. Regardless of the way an organization decides to structure itself and manage its affairs, it is our belief that it is an organization’s prerogative to operate however they see fit as long as they communicate their policies upfront and clearly. In this way, participants can make an informed decision when deciding which races they choose to register for and run.

 

Why aren’t you offering a virtual race?

Given the current state of things, we do not feel comfortable encouraging anyone to push themselves too hard over ultra distances, as many of us find we have lowered immune system response after ultra efforts / races. Additionally, we do not want to encourage any kind of potential group gathering or unnecessary travel during the pandemic. There is a time to race and a time to get out and enjoy the trails on our own – now is a great time for the latter. We encourage you to get out and explore the trails on your own or with those couple of close friends who are in your bubble. Take your time, slow things down, absorb all of the sights and sounds, swim in the rivers, nap on a rock half way through and truly enjoy the experience of a long day in the woods. There will be more than enough racing in the years to come.

 

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Rocksteady Running COVID-19 Timeline


March 11, 2020:
The World Health Organization classifies COVID-19 / Novel Coronavirus as a pandemic.

March 13, 2020 (Morning): Rocksteady Running releases a statement putting participants and volunteers on notice that the Zumbro Endurance Run (scheduled for April 10 & 11) is subject to cancellation, and that we were continuing to monitor the situation as it related to the Superior Spring Trail Race, along with our other events taking place later in the year.

March 13, 2020 (Afternoon): The state of Minnesota declared a state of emergency and issued guidance to limit gatherings in Minnesota to fewer than 250 people.

March 15, 2020: The National Centers for Disease Control issued guidance to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for the next 8 weeks. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announces the temporary closure of all Minnesota K-12 public schools from March 18 until March 27.

March 16, 2020: The White House issued guidance that for the next 15 days (taking us to about April 1), all events of 10 people or more should be cancelled. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz orders the closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation.

March 20, 2020: We canceled the Zumbro Endurance Run which was scheduled for April 10 & 11.

March 25, 2020: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a “stay at home” order effective for two weeks, starting on March 27 and extending through April 10. This requires all Minnesotans to stay at home and suspend all unnecessary trips. He also closed all “non-essential” business and extended the mandatory ban on dining in at bars, cafes and restaurants through May 1. Schools are closed until May 4.

March 29, 2020: The White House extends mass-gathering and social-distancing guidance (originally issued on March 16), through April 30.

March 31, 2020: Cook County Minnesota (the county in which the Superior Spring Trail Race is held) issued the following statement; “The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to issue a “travel advisory” for the purpose of discouraging travel into the county during a period when the number of positive tests for COVID-19 increases daily and community transmission of the novel coronavirus is occurring. Because we have a larger than average population of senior citizens especially vulnerable to the illness and extremely limited medical facilities, second-home owners and would-be travelers were requested to stay home. The advisory also requests that, if an individual has recently arrived in Cook County or decides to come despite the advisory, they self-quarantine for a 14 day period.”

April 2, 2020: Rocksteady Running puts Superior Spring Trail Race participants on notice regarding a likely cancellation of the race which is scheduled for May 16.

April 8, 2020: The Minnesota “stay at home” order is extended through May 4.

April 9, 2020: The Superior Spring Trail Race which was scheduled for May 16 is canceled.

April 13, 2020: Rocksteady Running sends Endless Summer Trail Run Series participants an update regarding the possibility of the first couple of races in the series possibly being canceled.

April 17, 2020: Minnesota Governor Walz announced that it was now permitted for people to engage in various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and motor-boating so long as they maintained a safe and reasonable distance from other people. As well as allowing people to engage in various outdoor activities, he allowed golf courses and bait shops to open. The prohibition on mass gatherings remains in place.

April 30, 2020: The Minnesota “stay at home” order is extended through May 18, while some non-essential businesses are slated to start reopening (with modifications) on May 4.

May 4, 2020 (Morning): Dakota County Parks publicly announces the cancellation of all special events / special event permits and facilities rentals through May 21 while reserving the right to extend this as needed.

May 4, 2020 (Afternoon): Endless Summer Trail Run Series Lebanon 10KM scheduled for May 20 was canceled.

May 17, 2020: The Stay Home MN order expires.

May 18, 2020: The Stay Safe MN order is enacted, Phase 1 allows for group gatherings of no more than 10. Large public gatherings are prohibited and must be cancelled.

June 1, 2020: Phase 2 of the Stay Safe MN order goes into effect. Phase 2 allows for group gatherings of no more than 10. Large public gatherings are prohibited and must be cancelled. Three Rivers Parks District / French Park have cancelled all facilities and pavilion rentals through the end of June.

June 3, 2020: Endless Summer Trail Run Series French 5K scheduled for Wednesday June 17, 2020 is canceled.

June 10, 2020 (morning): Phase 3 of the Stay Safe MN order goes into effect. Phase 3 allows for groups of 25 or less in social settings and this includes nearly all types of running races. MN DNR puts out public guidance that all special event permits will be cancelled through the end of June.

June 10, 2020 (afternoon): The 2020 Afton Trail Run scheduled for Saturday July 4 is cancelled.

Mid to Late June 2020: Covid-19 cases start to rise again nationally and within Minnesota, our suspicion is that we were on track for Phase 4 (and potentially larger group gathering sizes) until this increase in cases.

June 22, 2020: Our permit for the Endless Summer Trail Run Series Lebanon 7 Mile scheduled for Wednesday July 8 cannot be honored due to state guidelines.

June 24, 2020: The Endless Summer Trail Run Series Lebanon 7 Mile scheduled for Wednesday July 8 is cancelled.

July 16, 2020: The two remaining Endless Summer Trail Run Series Races, Murphy 5KM and Spring Lake Park 5MI were cancelled due to state guidelines still prohibiting events of the size / scope of ESTRS races.

July 22, 2020: The state of Minnesota institutes a statewide masking requirement. COVID-19 cases continue to increase nationally. During the Governor’s press conference no additional changes to state guidelines were announced.

July 30, 2020: Minnesota state guidelines still 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 scheduled for September 11 & 12 2020 and its cancellation is officially announced.

COVID-19 Update 7/30/20

The 2020 Superior Fall Trail Race has been canceled due to COVID-19. Please follow the link provided to learn more. https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/2020-superior-fall-trail-race-cancellation-email-sent-to-runners-on-7-30-20/

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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

Directions:
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

Terrain:
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.