Sunday, September 7, 2014

Relentless, Rugged and Remote - the Superior Trail 100

This past weekend, I journeyed north to the relentless, rugged and remote Superior Trail 100 Run.  This race while living in Minnesota and only reaches a maximum height of 1830 feet, it has more elevation gain then Big Horn 100, Leadville 100, and Western States 100.  And very similar gain to Run Rabbit Run 100, Black Hills 100 and the Bear 100.   All these mountain races are well known and tough, but most have forgotten one of the oldest 100's in the world and arguably harder.   What makes this race a challenge is not the altitude, not the multiple hour climbs, but instead the non-stop ups and downs that never allow your body to rest.  A constant battle of the body and the spirit.

I was to crew Aaron Ehlers in his quest to complete the race for the first time.  Since his wife, Mary would be along for the first 10 hours, I managed to sneak out and get a few photos on the course for the first 50 miles.   Interspersed among the race photos are some of my favorite shots taken nearby.   If you want more, be sure to check out Ian Corless's Photos, host of Talk Ultra and renowned photographer shots.

The Superior Hiking Trail - 304 miles of wild and wonderful Minnesota.  100 miles of it are given up to the runners for 38 hours or less.

Aaron's intensity sets in 15 minutes before the start of the race.

Just to the right of the runners on the starting line, Lake Superior peaks through the trees.

The runners will soon run beside and over the cascades of Gooseberry State Park.

The early crowds from the 200 plus runners heading over their first bridge.

A perfect north woods stream and patches of birch line many miles of the trail.

Before the first crew accessible aid station at mile 20.1, lies Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

An early runner in a tunnel of trees.

A runner in good form rocking it out along the boardwalks over swampy trail sections.

Shimmering birch in the early light.

The peal of birch bark, a perfect fire-starter.

Aaron makes his way into the Silver Bay aid station.

More Cowbell!

Leaving Silver Bay a short rise makes good use of the magic sticks.

Palisade Head - A perfect spot for a 30 min crew pit Stop.

Views of Lake Superior at another time of day.

Wet Superior Rocks.

Descending down stairs near High Falls in Tetteguche State Park.

More fun with stairs.

The lead woman in the early stages of the race, passing over the Baptism River.

Aaron running just above the baptism River.

Aaron on his way to the half way point in Finland.   

The trail continues on through Crosby Manitou State Park, past Temperance River State Park, scrambles up Carlton peak, rounds Oberg Mountain and up and over Mystery and Moose Mountain before finishing in Lutsen.   

Congrats to all the runners - that course is a beast.


  1. I really enjoyed you pictures. I especially liked the blurry birch shot, the moon over the lake/rocks, and the wet rocks!