Press Release: Superior Spring and Fall Trail Races will Switch to a Lottery Registration Process.
Dear Friends of the Superior Trail Races;

After careful consideration it has been decided that the Superior “Spring” Trail Race 50KM & 25KM and Superior “Fall” Trail Race 100MI, 50MI & 26.2MI events will be migrating from a conventional “first come first serve” registration process to a “lottery” style registration process.  In this letter I will outline the circumstances leading to this decision and as the race director tell you why I believe this is the best option for the event and our runners going forward.

Back in the Spring of 2014 we were blown away when we saw the Superior “Spring” Trail Race 50KM & 25KM reach its field limit in about 7 days, the previous year it had taken 7 weeks and before that it had never reached capacity.  Later that year we saw the “Fall” races Marathon and 50 miler sell out in record time and witnessed the 100 mile race very quickly approach capacity even after increasing the number of spots allocated – a far cry from the situation in 1991 when the race was first held with less than 40 entrants.  In the Spring of 2015 we knew that the “Spring” 50KM and 25KM had the potential to sell out even quicker than the previous year, possibly filling in half the time (3 or 4 days). While we had known for some time we had an  event that people loved – just a few years prior the possibility of selling out this quickly was simply unimaginable.  In the weeks leading up to registration opening we thoroughly tested our registration system with the knowledge that we would process a high number of registrations in a short period of time.  Within minutes of opening registration our web-server crashed – the cause, over 200 people beginning the registration process nearly instantaneously with more new users coming on by the second.  As registrations started to stall out or fail all together, users were madly hitting the “refresh button”, re-initiating the registration process and checking the registered runners list (making yet more demands on our already stressed web-server). Our registration system which performed well for us for many years gave way under the load.  Eventually after a few delays we were able to get registration back up and finish out registration until the field limit was met.

While we are always thrilled to see the passion and excitement that people have for our races we were devastated to see that so many people had a negative and stressful experience while trying to register for our event – it had been reduced to a fast-finger contest for those who were able to be at the computer and ready to go the second registration opened that day.  Ultimately the field limit for 2015 “Spring Race” was met in a total of 7 hours which would have been more like 4 hours or less if we would not have had the issues described.  This experience was not unique among ultras in 2014 and 2015 and many events nation wide have had to make changes to their registration process as a result.

As race director, acting in concert with our race committee, I decided that something had to change for us as well and the result is a “lottery” for the “Spring” 50KM & 25KM and the “Fall” 100MI, 50MI and 26.2MI.  While we have personally been around long enough to remember actual race-day registration; walking up to the table, slapping down your money and pinning on a race number at some of the biggest and best events around – we are realists and know we have to change with the times to ensure fairness for all who would like to run one of our races. While it has been proven that demand is high for both the Spring and Fall versions of the Superior Trail Race there is evidence suggesting that a good majority of people who enter the lottery will get in and we would hate to see the implementation of a lottery viewed as a negative or a deterrent for people wishing to run one of our races – we encourage anyone with aspirations of running one of the races to enter the lottery.  Ultimately we feel that this change will be a net positive, will reduce the stress of signing up and will afford the greatest and most diverse range of people possible the opportunity to participate in one of our races from year to year.

In its implementation we have borrowed many of the best and most well established practices from races around the country in order to craft lottery protocol to meet the specifics of our event – complete details regarding the lottery process have been published on our website.  As a further convenience to our runners we will be using the well reputed and well established UltraSignup to host the lottery and registration process for us.  With all of that said, at the end of the day we are only human and realize that in time there may be a need for further changes or improvements in this process and will work to identify those needs as they arise and will do what is necessary to implement changes or fixes in order to fine tune the process.

We thank you for your continuing support of the Superior Trail Race(s) – these very special events held on the Superior Hiking Trail on the shore of Lake Superior, the greatest fresh-water lake in the world.

Compete details regarding Lottery Registration / Application Information and Procedures can be found HERE


John Storkamp
Race Director
Superior Trail Races

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.