2019 Superior 100 Women’s winner Kelly Teeselink W/ Her Crew – Photo Credit Amy Broadmoore


An interview with 2019 Superior 100 Mile winner Kelly Teeselink (KT). Interview conducted by Kevin Langton (KL)



KL: Kelley, congrats on winning the Superior 100 (25:23). Please tell us about yourself.

KT: I live in Iowa City, Iowa and have since I was 18 and came here for college. It’s a gem of a little city and the only thing I’d change is more trails and vert! I am one of the lucky ones who was able to turn a passion into a job and am the executive director of Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa, an after school program that uses running to inspire girls ages 3rd-8th grade to be joyful, healthy, and confident. I began running in 2010 using the Couch to 5k program and ran my first ultra in 2013. I live with my boyfriend, Ross (aka crew chief for life), and our three hilarious cats.


KL: You know this course well—you’ve placed first in the 50 miler and last year placed third in the 100. What keeps you coming back to Superior and what is your key to success there?

KT: Superior has this way of both scaring and exciting the hell out of me and I think it’s this perfect balance that keeps me coming back to see if I can do better on an unpredictable course. My experience at the 50 in 2017 was awesome—the course, the RD’s impeccable attention to detail, the BEST volunteers, and my fellow runners all made the day great. And my experience has only gotten better which makes it hard not to come back. I think my personal key to success so far is experience—both as an ultrarunner and with the course. Every time I’ve run this race, I become more knowledgeable, more in tune with the SHT. We also spend a week in the summer on the North Shore, allowing me to get 4-5 days of solid training on the course. (Shout out to Ross for letting me plan our vacations around training.) I feel like I know the course well which helps me mentally prepare for the tough sections.


KL: What were your plans or goals for the race and how did the race play out for you?

KT: My “A” goal was to finish with a time that started with “25” (my time was 26:31 last year) but I also know that as much as I try, I can’t control what legs are going to show up on race day. I didn’t rely or look at splits or anything like that; I just ran by feel, ran my own race, and hoped everything would align with my goals. I did not want to try and hit certain aid stations by specific times and force my body to do something that would result in digging myself in a hole. I told my crew to not tell me split information until the second half of the race and only if I asked. Overall, the race went great. I am a pretty conservative runner and getting stung three times at mile seven made that even more so 🙂 I had a mild allergic reaction that caused my heart rate to skyrocket for 10 miles or so but eventually everything went back to normal. After that was behind me, the day was fairly uneventful in a good way. In addition to not paying attention to splits, I also try not to pay attention to placement until later on (obviously, sometimes it’s hard NOT to know). After Tettegouche, I passed a few women and I think I was in 4th. One of the women I passed was April Anselmo—that would be the first of MANY times. I think we passed each other 5-6 times over the next 50 miles and a few times throughout the race we ran together. Running with April was a highlight of my race. By Oberg, I left the aid station thinking I was in second but my crew told me I was in first which was surreal to say the least. They hadn’t told me until then and I think it was a smart move. I was also really bummed to hear Mallory dropped. I then ran terrified the last seven miles thinking April would pass me one final time. My two pacers, Cristi and Michele, were awesome and kept my spirits up—and tried to get me to stop looking over my shoulder every two minutes! Other highlights included seeing my friend and volunteer, Tanya, at County Rd 6, running with my friend Mike for a few miles, the AMAZING volunteers, and cheering my fellow runners in on Saturday. Oh, and I lost my shoe to a mud pit a few miles before Finland—point, and THEN pull, people! (Thanks to Michele for that tip). I did get the shoe out, FYI.


KL: What best prepared you for this race?

KT: I honestly think it was consistency and experience. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary—just got the miles in, did the speed and hill work, and embraced recovery. Knowing the course is pretty dang valuable, too.


KL: What’s something non-running that helped you at Superior?

KT: Strength training is something I usually let slip but I was able to usually get in two sessions in every week this training cycle. Nothing crazy—mostly core and body work stuff, and also a lot of single leg work with TRX bands. I also prioritize recovery—my recovery runs are really, really easy, I get regular deep tissue massages, and I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep.


KL: Did you have any low points during the race? If so, what helped you through it/them?

KT: Nothing too terrible but I think the Sugarloaf section was one of my lowest. I wanted to run but there are sections that are just technical enough and covered by grass that I felt like I could not get a good rhythm going. I just kept reminding myself that it wouldn’t last forever. I think during this section I turned off my headlamp at one of the open spots and took in the stars for a a few seconds (definitely recommend even if you’re not in a low spot).


KL: Bonus question: Please make your own question (and answer) that reveals something you think we should know about.

KT: I get a lot of questions about training for a race like Superior in Iowa. While Iowa is definitely flatter than the North Shore (and many other places), a lot of folks would be surprised how hilly Iowa can be, especially on the east and west borders. I’m about an hour from the Mississippi and can find really good trails to train on in Dubuque and in the more NE corner of the state. I’ve also used the treadmill, which isn’t ideal, but can provide sustained climbing if needed.

I also want to comment on how kickass everyone at Superior is—volunteers, runners, and spectators, from the start to the finish. Every interaction I had was so incredibly positive. There are so many little moments throughout the day that I will never forget and it makes me feel pretty grateful to be part of this community.

Also, shout out to the woman at the starting line who was trying to get more ladies to the front!! I appreciate you!




Photo Credit – Ian Corless


Photo Credit – Mike Wheeler


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.