NMTC

Northern Minnesota Track Club

Author: rhendrickson

Zapps Loop (NMTC Run on 9/20) – Location and Course Information

Zapp’s Loop is our next NMTC Wednesday Night Run!

Directions to race start:

  • Take Hwy 23 (Commonwealth Ave.) through Gary/New Duluth and continue on to Fond du Lac.
  • Take a right on W 131st Ave. W.
  • Race start is at park immediately to your left.

There is construction in Fond du Lac this year which limits parking. Please respect all road closure signs due to the sensitive nature of work being done in the area.

There has been a course change this year as a section of the historic Mission Creek Trail is currently undergoing rehabilitation. The closed section of trail has been marked with survey ribbon. Please honor this closure to allow that section of trail to heal. We will use the Superior Hiking Trail to loop back to Fond du Lac (a right hand turn about 2.3 miles into the course).

All course flagging is located on the LEFT or center part of the trail outbound, including turns. The only time you will encounter flagging on the right hand side of the trail is on the short “stem portion” of the lollipop (out and back section). Flagging is placed at least every 0.1 miles, more frequently at trail intersections/corners. If you see a lot of flags in a series, pay attention!

See you at 6:00 pm tomorrow evening!

Next up! Long races for a long summer!

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Well, the Spring Series is complete, and a good time was had by all. Final overall standings and results are available on the Race Schedules page. Next up are the two summer races, a couple of selections that will test your mettle:

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon
Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon

Hope to see you out there, on one side of the aid station table or the other! Also, the NMTC Fall Series schedule is also available – but, hey, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. 😉

NMTC Run on 5/31 – Will be held at the Woodland course!

Morningside Gravel Pit on Jean Duluth Road (south of Martin Road).

NMTC Spirit Mountain Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

The Spirit Mountain Run is one of the grand old men of Twin Ports area races. Dating back to 1974, only the Park Point 5 Miler can claim a longer lineage (1972). The event was originally founded by the North Shore Striders, then adopted by the Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC) when the Striders stepped away from holding the race in the mid-1980’s. Over time the race has varied between it’s original 10-mile distance and a slightly shorter 15K (9-ish) mile version, though all have used the western section of Skyline Parkway for the course.

Recently, the run returned to the full 10-miler and it’s original starting line below the Spirit Mountain chalet. The run is a simple out-and-back, following Skyline Parkway out to Becks Road, and returning along the same route. This is a very straight-forward dirt / gravel course leveraging a portion of a rather historic feature of Duluth. Following is a little bit of background we hope you will enjoy.

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Back in the late 1800’s William Rogers had a vision. The Ohio transplant had an affinity for a natural formation that lay high up on the Duluth hillside; a terrace formed by the once lapping waves of an ancient lake. Over the course of 10,000 years, after the last of the glaciers had receded, the land upon which the ice had previously existed rebounded. The rising land, in concert with the falling lake level left behind a ghost of sorts – that of Lake Superior’s ancestor, glacial Lake Duluth – in the form of a natural bench that now sat at an elevation some 475′ above the current Superior shoreline.

Rogers appreciated the beauty of the vistas this bench offered those who could travel along it, and determined that it should be incorporated into a system of parks that he hoped would someday span the length and breadth of the fast-growing city of Duluth. The ancient shoreline, as he envisioned, could be developed as a parkway providing the backbone connecting parks and green spaces that criss-crossed the hillside. As a banker and head of the city’s first park board, William Rogers secured funding and began to make good on his plan. Skyline Parkway, though it was not called that at the time, was born. The year was 1889.

Two years later the first segment of the parkway was complete, drastically over budget but beautiful to behold. Only 5 miles of roadway were in place, from Chester Creek west to Miller Creek, but the route was terrifically popular among locals and visitors alike. Unfortunately, William Rogers left the city of Duluth shortly thereafter. The baton was set down, waiting for another champion.

The wait lasted over three decades, until Mayor Sam Snively appeared on the scene. Snively shared Rogers’ vision of the city-spanning parkway, and firmly established the political momentum and financing that would rekindle and sustain construction. Under Snively’s tireless leadership, the avenue expanded quickly and significantly. To the west it soon stretched as far as Fond Du Lac. It would also meander eastward and eventually connect with another road – which Snively had privately funded, built and donated to the city – called Snively Road, now known as Seven Bridges Road. In 1929, the road was given its current name, Skyline Parkway. By 1937, the final segments were completed to give the parkway its full 25 mile reach.

Written by: R. Hendrickson, with help from zenithcity.com.
For more great Skyline history, check this out: Skyline Parkway & Seven Bridges Road

Each Spring, NMTC runners embark on the Spirit Mountain Run, ambling 10 miles out-and-back over a section of roadway that is the product of the dreams and fortitude of William Rogers and Sam Snively. Shortly after the start, as you approach the beautiful Stewart Creek Bridge, you will see the recently restored granite of a reflecting pool and its feeding channel on the right hand side of the road. This monument was constructed to honor the man who drove most of the construction of Skyline Parkway, Sam Snively.

As you run by, maybe give the monument a little tip of the hat, for Sam Snively’s sake, and for that of his predecessor, William Rogers. Thanks guys. We enjoy the view. And it’s also a nice place for a run…

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Photo Credit: Ron Hendrickson

Current Standings and Results

Fall is upon us! The NMTC Fall Trail Series is off and running! Schedule and current overall standings / results are available on the Race Schedules page.

A quick word from our legal department…

We do require a waiver to be filled out for participation in the NMTC race series. To speed up registration on race day, feel free to print one off and bring it with you on race day (NMTC Waiver Form). We will also have forms available at the race for you to sign. You only need to sign the waiver once for the entire year.

Waivers for the Eugene Curnow Marathon and Minnesota Voyageur are included in their online and paper registration at their respective web sites.

NMTC Point Pine Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

NMTC runs tend to take on titles that reflect the personality of their course. So, while this route heads out to the end of what’s commonly called Park Point, it was aptly named the NMTC Point Pine Run – as the title encompasses two important aspects of the surroundings.

First, the course follows Minnesota Point. So, we have the “Point” part covered, but let’s throw this out there as well. Combined with Wisconsin Point, this stretch comprises the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. No kidding. Now that’s a nice conversation starter at a party. The “Pine” aspect honors the fact that much of the run flows through old-growth White and Red Pine, some of which is over 200 years old.

This out-and-back route starts at the end of Minnesota Ave. on Park Point, and follows the well-established Minnesota Point Hiking Trail, 2 miles out and 2 miles back. And we hear ya’, you trail runners want an elevation profile. So, here you go:

Seriously flat...

OK, we kid. But not much. Not a lot of up and down here – 60 ft. of calf-crushing gain and loss over 4 miles, about a foot at a time. But, don’t worry, the trail will throw in a little sandy surprise to make up for the lack of grade.

Along the way you’ll note a couple interesting structures. Almost at the end stand the ruins of the Minnesota Point Lighthouse, constructed in 1858. It operated for 20 years under a single keeper before being abandoned in 1878. Nearby is the old U.S. Lighthouse Station Depot, a concrete structure that once was used to store buoys and the acetylene used in batteries for the lighthouse back in Canal Park.

And, of course, the trail’s most distinguishing feature lies just north. We hear there’s a big lake there…

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

NMTC Western Waterfront Run

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

The NMTC Western Waterfront Run has become the traditional season opener for the NMTC Spring Series. Like a grizzled, veteran starting pitcher, the solid surface of the course provides a reliable option for the first race of the year, unflinching in the temperamental Duluth spring weather.

The course is an out-and-back, run on a 2.4-ish mile section of the trail starting in the trailhead lot behind the Willard Munger Inn. The easy-to-follow course traverses west, staying on the Western Waterfront Trail to Spring Street, where it turns-around and returns from whence it came.

If you’re still shaking the rust out of those those early season legs, the trail’s non-technical nature and flat profile will let you ease on in. On the other hand, if your engine is already revving, the wide trail allows you to grip it and rip it. As for what you’ll see, the Duluth Trails web site’s simple description tells it well:

As you amble about this 8-foot wide level, graveled pathway, you will likely note some of the 270+ bird species or aquatic mammals along the banks of the St. Louis River estuary. Several marsh habitats along nine miles of shoreline make this a gem in the park system of Duluth. This trail was designed specifically to provide non-motorized access on an old railroad right-of-way, on a route that provided service between Duluth and St Paul in the late 1800′s.

Excerpted from: http://duluthtrails.com/western-waterfront/

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Photo Credit: Tone Coughlin

Whoo! Hoo! The 2017 race schedules are available!

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Photo Credit: Paula Barry

Are you ready? The NMTC Spring and Fall Series schedules are now available. See them here: Race Schedules

The dates for our long trail races, the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile are also set – and registration is now open!

Come on out and play in the woods…

Welcome!

Photo Credit: Kris Glesener

Photo Credit: Kris Glesener

Founded in 1981, the NMTC is a grass roots running club, promoting trail running and managing races in the Duluth / Superior area.

Our goal is to provide trail-running events we can all participate in and have fun at. Many of our races take place on challenging courses, which is part of the fun. Everyone is welcome to participate regardless of ability. Our trail runs are places where you can test and improve your fitness, enjoy the outdoors, and mingle with fellow runners.

© 2017 NMTC

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