Superior Fall Trail Races Ultra Marathon

50 Mile

2016 Superior 50 Mile Trail Race:
Race Date: Saturday Sept. 10th 2016
Start Location: Finland Rec. Center (Superior Hiking Trail trailhead outside of Finland) Northern Minnesota
Start Time: 5:30 AM
Shuttle to race start from Caribou Highlands / race finish leaves at 4:00AM
Be sure to view this page as well:

Quick Stats:
State = Minnesota | Race start is 3.5 hours north of the MSP International Apirport | 52.1 Mile point-to-point 100% trail ultramarathon – 99% single-track |  Founded 1990 |  Elevation Gain 12,500 FT | Elevation Loss 12,500 FT | NET Elevation Change 25,000 FT | 7 Aid Stations | 16 hour cutoff | Field is limited to 150 runners | Reputation as one of the toughest, most scenic and best marked trail 50’s in the country | Field limit will be met early.

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 will be handled via a lottery process and there is a qualifying standard for the 50 mile race, complete registration 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.

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.  A wood finishers medallion.  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 9, 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Caribou Highlands Lodge, in the Mountain View Conference room. You can also pick up your packet Saturday September 10, 4:30 – 5:15 am at the race start / Finland Rec Center.

Pre-Race Briefing
Caribou Highlands Lodge, on the patio by the pool, or in the Mountain View Conference room(if raining), September 9th, 7:00 pm

Bus Transportation to Starting Line
A bus will be available to transport participants from Caribou Highlands to the starting line in Finland. The bus will leave Caribou Highlands promptly at 4:00 am.  It is about a 45 minute ride to the race start. There is no additional charge to ride the bus.

Drop Bags
Please keep your drop bags as small as possible.  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.  Bring your drop bag(s) to Caribou Highlands Lodge, downstairs conference room between 5:00 and 7:30 pm on Friday, September 11th.  All drop bags must have the runner’s name and aid station name clearly printed on the outside of the bag.  All dropbags for aid stations must be brought to the Friday night packet pickup.  1 bag for pre-start gear will be transported from the start at Finland to the dropbag area at Caribou Highlands.  All aid station drop bags will be delivered to the finish area by aid station personnel by 8:30 pm on Saturday.

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 10, 5:30 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, once made, number assignments can be found HERE –  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.

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 (runners please Share this with your crews):
Cell phone coverage is poor to unavailable along the course.  Internet access to the race website / race directions and documents is unlikely and unreliable at best –  Please print any and all documentation you think you may need as we will not have any of these printed materials available for you.  Crews may only visit the aid stations that are crew accessible per the aid station spreadsheet HERE and may only give aid to runners at aid stations and nowhere else on the course.  Crew members should exercise extreme caution when driving between aid stations keeping in mind that many of the roads you will be traveling on are narrow, remote country roads so please keep your speed at or well below the posted speed limits and exercise extreme caution when approaching aid stations as in these areas the trail and runners almost always cross the road.  Crews park in designated areas only and where parking lots are not available pull well off to the side of the road, only parking on one side of the road – do not unload in front of an aid station and then go to park, you may have to haul gear quite a ways so make use of a backpack or a cart.  NO RVs OR CAMPERS ARE ALLOWED AT ANY OF THE AID STATION.   Best case – failure of crew members to obey any of the above guidelines will result in a time penalty being assessed against their runner – worst case will be the disqualification of their runner.  A Minnesota State Park pass is required for any and all vehicles entering any Minnesota State Park – for your convenience you may want to purchase one in advance .

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 unassociated 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 16.5 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.

LocationMileDayTime of Day
Sugarloaf21.1Saturday11:45 AM
Cramer Road26.7Saturday1:40 PM
Sawbill39.5Saturday5:30 PM
Oberg45Saturday7:00 PM
Finish / Lutsen52.1Saturday10:00 PM

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 40 to 49) Male and Female
There will be NO duplication of awards, and NO ties. Ties will be broken at the whim of the RD – trust us, you don’t want that! Awards will be presented immediately after the 50 mile awards at approximately 8:00 PM Saturday.

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. We will also have loaves of bread 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.

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:
Likely date BUT (subject to approval of permits / subject to change) Sept. 9, 2017

The Superior 100 Mile Trail Race is a Rocksteady Running LLC event and is put on by ultrarunners for ultrarunners.  Race Director: John Storkamp