Northern Minnesota Track Club

Author: rhendrickson (page 1 of 2)

Welcome to the NMTC Trail Challenge!

The Challenge is for you to run in each of the trail locations that our Fall Series races are held on. Distance doesn’t matter. Neither does speed. We aren’t even requiring that you run the exact race courses. The NMTC trail series in the fall (and the spring) purposely positions races in various uber-runnable locations throughout the Twin Ports area. Introducing runners to these parks and trail systems, and keeping them coming back, is a key part of our mission.

We want you to take some time to enjoy these trail areas on your own. So, let’s get out there, and visit each one! And because we know runners love to log runs almost as much as they love to actually run them, we offer you… the NMTC Trail Challenge!

How it works:

  • Starts: September 2nd
  • Ends: November 1st
  • Do a run in each of the 9 locations (in any order), using a route of your choice.
  • Log each of your runs using our handy-dandy Google Form!
  • Be one of the first 125 people to complete the Challenge and you will receive a prize!

The Challenge locations:
Some suggested trail options to get you started in these 9 areas are available on our Race Schedules page. GPS coordinates are also included.

  • Lester Park
  • Zapp’s Loop (Mission Creek Area)
  • Hartley Nature Area
  • Ely’s Peak
  • Rolling Stone (Spirit Mountain)
  • Brown’s Point (Superior Municipal Forest)
  • Woodland Run
  • Bull Run (Jay Cooke State Park)
  • Hawk Ridge

Spring Trail Series and COVID-19

The NMTC Committee, after much deliberation, has made the tough decision to cancel the entire Spring Series. With so much uncertainty as to the spread and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area, we believe that it is our duty to our runners and volunteers, as well as our broader community to do our part to keep everyone healthy and safe.

We are still moving forward with plans for the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon, as well as the NMTC Fall Series. Unless we have to cancel more races, the Fennessy Award can still be earned by those who participate in or volunteer at, all of our remaining races in 2020.

This pandemic will not last forever. We will get back to running our races and participating in activities with our friends and family. In the meantime, please continue to take care of yourself and stay in touch with your loved ones.

NMTC Series Schedule and Results

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

If you need help finding the races, check out our maps here: Directions
Click on the markers for more detail.

A quick word from our legal department…

We do require a waiver to be filled out for participation in the NMTC Spring and Fall 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 registration at their respective web sites.

Mission Creek Restoration Work by SWCD (Update)

Work is being done in and around the Mission Creek stream channel in Fond du Lac by the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Contractors are beginning work on a Mission Creek tributary, Wednesday Oct. 30th. This affects the SHT spur trail, as it crosses this work area and they are planning to remove one of the wooden bridges (temporarily). Work should take a week to ten days, and during that time SWCD is asking that hikers and runners stay away from the area for safety. Heavy equipment will be operating and many large trees will be coming down.

We’re looking forward to seeing the Mission Creek stream channel return to a more natural meander as a result of this project, as well as having work on the tributaries re-establish sustainability. Thank you for all of your hard work, SWCD – and thank you trail users for your patience and understanding.

Directions to Bull Run Course

The start for this run will be at the Spruce Loop trailhead on Hwy 23! This is just down the hill toward the St. Louis River from the traditional Bull Run start from years past.

The course will take in the full Spruce and Upper (Lost) Lake trails, totaling 10.5 KM (6.5 miles).

The (Really Full of) Bull Run

To get there, from Duluth:

  • Head south on I-35.
  • Take the Hwy 23 / Grand Ave. exit.
  • Stay straight on Hwy 23 through Gary/New Duluth and Fond du Lac.
  • After crossing the St. Louis River just after Fond du Lac, the trail head will be a ways (about 1.5 mi) up the hill on the right.

Please park safely, with your car as far on to the shoulder as possible. Or, an overlook is just up the hill on the right, with a small parking lot.


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.

Mission Creek Restoration Work by SWCD

Following is a release from the South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), who will be doing some work in and around Mission Creek in Fond du Lac. This is in the area where the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead is located. From Ann Thompson:

Hello Trail Users,

The South St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is about to begin restoration of Mission Creek. Our work will be contained in the stream corridor, and we won’t be closing any trails. But we do want to make sure you are safe.

Construction will be taking place in the Fond du Lac neighborhood near the SHT spur trail, Indigenous Land bike trail and 131st Avenue West. Please be aware of your surroundings and stay away from equipment and the construction zone. Keep pets on-leash for their safety.

Please call Ann at the SWCD office with any questions or concerns (218-723-4867).

Mission Trail User Letter

Volunteer Opportunity – Jay Cooke Annual Candlelight Event

Jay Cooke’s annual candlelight event is coming up this week, Saturday February 9 from 6 – 9 pm. This year it looks like everything is coming together (bathrooms – working, water – running, snow – YES!) so we’re looking forward to holding this event. This event attracts 100’s of participants, so we really appreciate all the volunteers that help us with setting this up. This is where we hoping you might be interested in participating.

We are looking for volunteers to help with any one of our three shifts.

Some basics:

  • We have people work in teams, so you’re not out there by yourself
  • Although the entire trail is 1.8 miles we only have volunteers work a section of it so you’d need to be able to walk/ski about ½ – ¾ mile.
  • We love volunteers of all ages, so if you want to bring your young one along please do. As long as they are supervised by yourself and can contribute to the task they’re welcome to join us.
  • You can walk, snowshoe or ski. We have snowshoes to borrow if you wish. We use sleds to carry the bags and candles.
  • This involves bending. Filling the bags with snow, placing the candles, lighting or taking it all apart depending on the shift.
  • Bonus! – As a thank you we feed you … volunteers are welcome to join the staff potluck.

The shifts:

  1. Set-up 1 – 3 pm (depending on the number of volunteers this is often shorter). Set out the bags and candles on the event trail.
  2. Lighting 4:30 – 6 pm Right before the event starts we send out our volunteers to light all the candles.
  3. Take down 9 – 10 pm Blow out the candles, pick up the bags and candles.

If you are available to help with this event please let me know:

  1. Who? (if you’re volunteering more than one person)
  2. What shift are you available for?
  3. Are you walking, snowshoeing or skiing? (this help me pair up people)

Thanks for your consideration, and regardless we hope to see you out on the trail!


Kristine Hiller
Interpretive Naturalist | Minnesota Parks and Trails
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Jay Cooke State Park
780 Highway 210
Carlton, MN 55718
Phone: 218-673-7005
Email: kris.hiller@state.mn.us

Powerlines Trail Remediation

This request remains in effect. While the powerline corridor work is complete, the remediation will take some time to gain a foothold.

Hello, trail community! As you may be aware, there have been some recent dramatic looking changes to the Powerlines. NMTC has been working with the City of Duluth regarding the MN Power remediation that is occurring. The City of Duluth and NMTC do have plans to re-evaluate a trail corridor together once the remediation process has been completed but in the meantime, all trail users are asked to refrain from using the former trails through the Powerlines. Please be patient as it could potentially take a few years for the Powerlines to be fully healed and ready to go.

We ask that all trail runners respect this temporary closure while the remediation takes place and that you pass the word along. Continuing to use these closed trails will reflect poorly on the trail running community as a whole and may jeopardize our ability to return to them.

What does this mean in the interim?

The race courses for the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra have been altered to not use the Powerlines for the time being.

Again – the Powerlines are temporarily closed to all trail users until remediation is completed and a new route can be made. Thanks for your help in spreading the word.

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