Yes, it’s that time of the year again. This fall’s Superior 100 Mile Trail Race, to be run Friday September 9th, will also include a 50 miler and a 26.2 mile marathon distance -all along a rough portion of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). The first 100 miler was in 1991; forty-seven runners started and twenty-seven finished.
The 100 mi. race starts at Gooseberry Falls and finishes at Lutsen Mountain. The Superior uses a lottery system, and there are 250 spots allocated for this year’s 100 miler, 175 places for the 50 miler, and 325 spots for the marathon – all filled within the 12-day registration period that began February 28th. Both the 100 and the 50 mile races have qualifying requirements. All races run on the SHT and finish at Lutsen. See this article by Sarah Barker, for an excellent description of the terrain covered and a good historical overview of the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race. It should be noted that the Superior 100 Trail Race is not associated with the Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) – and be sure to check out their new website!
What a challenge. I’ve hiked the entire SHT north of Two Harbors, much of it many times, and I’m all too familiar with the constant ups and downs associated with the dozens of river and stream valleys all along the big lake. And the rocky and root-lined trail drops down into into each and every valley and then climbs up and over the next ridge, hill and mountain. It will be a challenge for the runners and I’m sure they have chosen their foot wear carefully.
We have many options today as far as hiking and running footwear are concerned. The 100 mi. section of the SHT these runners will face is pretty challenging terrain, and it would be interesting to see just what these athletes will be wearing on their feet!
I met my blogging-friend Jonathan, on his blog, sweetwilder, as he recently thru-hiked the Long Trail in Vermont and posted about his adventure daily, including some great pictures. Jonathan’s posts on the Long Trail caught my eye since I’d hiked a short portion of it in the Green Mountains of Vermont, and I even visited the Long Trail Brewery, while on my way to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Baxter State Park in Maine a couple of years earlier.
More recently Jonathan posted his thoughts on hiking footwear, mainly ‘trail-runners,’ on his blog here. While Jonathan admits to an affinity for the more traditional, heavier hiking boots, he sounds pretty sold on the newer, light-weight, trail-running variety for understandable reasons on most of the trails he hikes out east. Be sure to check out Jonathan’s blog (above).
Naturally I had to comment to Jonathan about my affinity for the more traditional leather hiking boots such as Vasque and Zamberlan, among others, that I tend to wear when hiking in mountainous areas out west, and in other rocky places like the SHT, the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, or Glacier NP. You can read our brief discussion in Jonathan’s post referenced above. In my comment to Jonathan, I included a link to a recent review by Drew Robinson on new ‘trail-runners’ expected to hit store shelves later this fall or early next year.
And more recently, Drew posted another interesting article on how to choose the perfect trail shoe for running and hiking, on his blog Trail to Peak. I originally started following Trail to Peak because of Drew’s outdoor adventures and his photography – some very stunning photos of the many beautiful places he’s hiked! Many of Drew’s photos brought back good memories for me! Be sure to check out Drew’s blog (above).
And if you’re interested in running in next year’s Superior 100 mi., 50 mi. or 26.2 mi. races, mark your calendar now so you can get your ducks in order in a timely fashion!