Superior 100 2019 – Summary and Images

It was another year of rugged, relentless and remote on the Superior Hiking Trail as runners gathered on the North Shore of Lake Superior to take on the challenge of running 100-miles in a point-to-point race concluding at the Lutsen Mountains.

There are no guarantees over 100-miles and pre-race favourites, Mallory Richard and Micheal Borst can confirm, that no matter how great ones condition can be, the curve balls of long distance running can make one truly appreciate the good times.

The due both started at a blistering pace as early morning sun bathed the North Shore. Michael extending a short lead over the other male favourite, Mick Jurynec. At Split Rock (10-miles) Michael just had a 30-second lead whereas Mallory was already opening time gaps that extended well into minutes.

Full Image Gallery HERE

       Over 400 images will be uploaded by Monday 9th September

At Mt. Trudee, Michael had lost the lead to Mick Jurynec y 5-minutes and this pattern continued all the way to Sugarloaf aid station where Michael would finally drop allowing Mick to leave a masterclass of 100-mile running on the SHT and cross the line in 20:15:55 for a stunning 1st place – just rewards after placing 2nd in 2018. Benjamin Drexler and Joe Laue placed 2nd and 3rd, 21:34:51 and 22:35:00

Mallory by contrast looked unstoppable throughout the day, she continually extended her lead, looked fresh and smiled her way around the course. But as darkness came and a torrential rain storm hit, Mallory started to fade. She would eventually drop at Cramer Road opening the doorway for a hotly contested podium between Kelly Teeselink and April Anselmo.

It was Kelly who finally took 2019 honours y lees than 4-minutes from April, the duo completing in 25:23:19 and 26:19:01 respectively. Tina Koplinski rounded out the podium in 28:18:22.

Full Image Gallery HERE

     Over 400 images will be uploaded by Monday 9th September

Full results at ultralive.net

A long day, a long night and another long day of struggle and strife made up the 2019 Superior 100. Overall, conditions were good. Saturday was dry and humid, the evening rainstorm a welcome opportunity to cool down for some… But rain makes the SHT slick, slippery and muddy. Some achieved their goals, others failed to complete the challenge that they had set themselves. There was no failure though… just undone business. Superior 100 is more than than a race, it’s an experience. It’s a low-key traditional race experience – a family! The father is John Storkamp, the mother, his wife Cheri. It’s a special race and if the 100 is too far, a 50-mile and classic marathon distance takes place on the same course and concludes at the same venue – the latter two starting on Saturday am.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Superior 100 2016 Race Summary

iancorless-com_superior2016-7560

Packet pick-up was as bustling and busy as usual. It was s series of high fives and hello’s as the runners entered the hall to collect numbers ahead of the next day’s Superior 100. Traversing the Sawtooth Mountains on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches Northern Minnesota near the Canadian Border, the Superior 100 course parallells the North-Shore of Lake Superior. The race rolls along a series of sawtooth peaks with breath-taking vistas.

It’s a race with history and a race that is unique, very unique.

I was last at this race in 2014 and I was blown away by the experience. Believe me, folks down in Minnesota are some of the nicest you will ever meet. I wrote an article on my last trip called Minnesota Nice. I had wondered if my 2016 experience could live up to the 2014 experience.

The simple answer, yes!

As in 2014, I was looked after by Kurt Decker who works for TC Running. TC is the ‘go-to’ place for running shoes and apparel in the Twin Cities area and Kurt, well, Kurt is the ‘Godfather of Trail’ in this area. Kurt and the TC Running crew man an awesome aid station at Oberg (95-miles) on the Superior route and as the last aid before the 103-mile finish line, it’s a really important one. Music, fresh food, open fire, incredible crew and an abundance of chairs make this an oasis that is difficult to leave for that final 7-mile push for the line.

Gooseberry Falls State Park (Minnesota) is the start line for the race, the finish comes at Lutsen 103.3-miles later, just short of the Canadian border. A 38-hour cut-off, 13 aid stations and 6400m+ of elevation gain and descent make this race one of the toughest in the USA.

iancorless-com_superiot2016-4422As race director, John Storkamp says,’ it’s Rugged, Relentless and Remote.’ It is. Taking place on almost 100% single-track, Superior 100 is a special race of mud, tree roots, rocks and a never ending green tunnel of trees that pulls runners to the finish line. The race is one of the oldest 100-mile races in the USA and with a capped field of just 250 runners it has a feel that is akin to Western States or Hardrock 100. Founded in 1991 when there was no more than a dozen 100-mile trail races in the USA, back then if you wanted to run a 100, you had choices like Western States (’74), Old Dominion (’79), Wasatch (’80), Leadville (’83), Vermont (’89), Angeles Crest (’86), Mohican (’90), Arkansas Traveller (’91) and Superior (’91).  Superior quickly earned its reputation!

Superior 100 is old school.

You can view the runners portraits from the 100 HERE

You can view race images HERE

You can purchase race images HERE

The 2016 Race

The 20% chance of rain was looking less and less likely on the start line of the 2016 edition of the Superior 100. Fresh coffee was free flowing and the 250 runners who would toe the line milled around chatting and talking about the day, night, day and possible 2nd night that lay ahead. It was chilled, calm, relaxed and un-cluttered. At the stroke of 0800 Storkamp released the runners and almost immediately the race fragmented with the podium contenders leading the race. At the rear, many participants were already walking with a full understanding of the task ahead – better to ease in and finish strong and not the other way around.

iancorless-com_superior2016-4930-2

Joe Uhan, Jeff Vander Kooi, Adam Schwarz-Lowe, Doug Kleemier, Ben Vanhoose, Joshua Nichols, Brian Klug and Timbo Jenkins amongst others dictated the early pace. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a hot and humid day. Timbo Jenkins arrived first at Split Rock River where a stunning view of the surrounding landscape and Lake Superior was provided. With approximately 9-miles covered Jenkins started to walk. He looked us in the eye and said, ‘this is not where I am supposed to be… how did I end up leading the race?’ It was Timbo’s first 100 and as is often the case, he was feeling good in the first 10-miles. Schwarz-Lowe, Uhan and the other main contenders followed and at aid 1, Frank Pipp was 6-minutes behind Jenkins.

In the ladies’ race, it was a relaxed start for two-time winner (2014 and 2015) Mallory Richard and three-time winner, Susan Donelly (who was running her 16th Superior 100, yes, 16th). I have a simple rule for long races, watch what the experienced runners do and copy it, if you can. In this scenario, it was relatively easy for the other ladies to copy as experience was saying, taking it nice and slow and steady!

iancorless-com_superior2016-4972

Carla Goulart lead the race followed by Mallory Richard 5-minutes later. Amy Broadmore, Tina Johnson, Janet Hausken, Tracy Denbleyker and then a group of 4 or 5 followed within a 30-minute window.

iancorless-com_superior2016-5145

At 20-miles, Richard had drawn level with Goulart in the ladies’ race and Janet Hausken was trailing 20-minutes later – the race was starting to take shape. Jenkins despite his comments at 9-miles had somehow continued to pull away from the rest of the men’s field. It was a brave move for a rookie ‘hundo’ runner and his 7-minute gap over Kleemier, Schwarz-Lowe, Peltonen and Uhan was looking good.

Silver Bay came just 5-miles later and any hard work by Jenkins was undone as 2014 champion, Schwarz-Lowe drew level along with pre-race favourite, Uhan. The writing was starting to appear on the wall. Importantly, Frank Pipp, also running his first 100 had closed to 4th and trailed the front group by just 5-minutes. In the ladies’ race, Richard was opening up a gap and the remaining ladies could only see her run off into the distance. Goulart was still holding a strong 2nd place over 30-minutes ahead of Janet Hausken and Tina Johnson was another 8-minutes back.

iancorless-com_superior2016-5367

At MT Trudee it was all change, in just a short section of trail, Pipp had caught the front men and passed them. No easy task! Uhan followed 6-minutes back and Schwarz-Lowe was another 2-minutes later. Early leader Jenkins was 4th 28-minutes behind Pipp and it was looking like he had made the classic rookie mistake of going out too fast – ‘I’m feeling rubbish; I may quit’ he shouted as he went past. Kurt shouted, ‘keep plugging buddy, it’s a 100-miles, anything can happen!’

iancorless-com_superior2016-5416

For the ladies’, Richard was in the form of 2014 and 2015 and was grabbing the 2016 race by the scruff of its neck. At Tettegouche her lead was 12-minutes over Hausken. Early raced leader Goulart was cooked and had now dropped back to 5th lady over 30-minutes behind the leader. Crystal Hutchings and Tina Johnson had moved into 3rd and 4th with the experienced Susan Donnelly in 7th.

iancorless-com_superior2016-5522

Finland at just over 50-miles signified in the midway point of the race and it was soon becoming apparent the impact a day of sun and humidity was having on the race – exhaustion, dehydration and fatigue was the order of the day! Richard was now in a race against herself and ultimately the other men in the race, her lead over 2nd place was 2 hours and 12 minutes. But guess what, early race leader Goulart has found some inner strength and closed the gap from 5th to be back in 2nd 8-minutes ahead of Johnson. Was this going to be one of those incredible comebacks?

In the men’s race it was a similar story for Jenkins. He was still running in 4th but he hadn’t dropped and he was closing the gap on Schwarz-Lowe in 3rd and Uhan in 2nd. Pipp was still leading the race by over 30-minutes now and many thought he was either on for an incredible first 100-miler victory or a potential detonation over the next couple of hours.iancorless-com_superior2016-7125

Darkness was now upon the race and the 20% of chance of rain came… the only problem being that 20% became 100% and for a good 8-10 hours the heavens saturated the Superior 100 course making what is already slippery and challenging terrain even more challenging.

Pipp pushed on at the front of the race with no pacer. At Crosby Manitou his lead was 50-minutes over Uhan and Jenkins had had one of those great comebacks to be sitting in 3rd level with Schwarz-Lowe. Richard was now not only obliterating the ladies race but she was lying 6th overall level with Steven Graupner. Johnson, Hausken and Hoff were all now running for 2nd.

iancorless-com_superior2016-5449

Cramer Road at 79.9-miles signified a significant marker with the final 25% of the race ahead, it’s here that places can change as a full day of running takes its toll. Despite this being a first 100, Pipp was showing no sign of flagging. On the contrary, he was looking strong! He arrived with 14:49 elapsed and believe it or not, early race leader Jenkins was back in 2nd with 16:09 elapsed and Uhan back at 16:23 and Schwarz-Lowe was 4th in 16:41. If Pipp didn’t blow up the race was his, but the fight for 2nd was wide open. Richard arrived in the ladies race with 17:37 elapsed and I am sure she had eyes on the men in-front of her. Johnson was still in 2nd but 4-hours back and experienced Superior runner, Donnelly had moved all the way up to 3rd, her 16th finish was looking guaranteed.

iancorless-com_superior2016-6477

Kurt was waiting at Oberg with his TC Running aid station. The pancakes were cooking, the music was playing and at 02:45 Pipp arrived like a train. It was 3-hours later that Jenkins arrived still in 2nd. Remember, he nearly dropped at 30-miles… anything can happen in a 100! However, Uhan and Schwarz-Lowe had closed the gap and the trio left together. With just over 7-miles to go, this was going to be one hell of a finish.

iancorless-com_superior2016-6593

iancorless-com_superior2016-6616

Pipp crossed the line in 20:24:00 a superior, Superior 100 champion. His run for a rookie 100-mile runner was incredible. Uhan had run a clever and smart race, he had saved something for those closing challenging miles and he pulled away from Jenkins and Schwarz-Lowe. His finish 22:46 was a solid 8-minutes ahead of Jenkins who had no doubt had the race of his life… he had managed to pull ahead of Schwarz-Lowe and take the final podium place by just 1-minute. But this only tells half the story. In the closing miles, under darkness, tired, fatigued and lacking focus, Jenkins had run into a head height true branch that cut his head open sending him flat to the ground. Somehow he managed to pick himself up and find the effort and pace to hold off a charging Schwarz-Lowe.

iancorless-com_superior2016-7441

Richard finished next, first lady and 5th overall with a new course record 23:51. Her performance was stunning and almost looked effortless. It was impressive! Tina Johnson finished 2nd and Stephanie Hoff 3rd, 29:50 and 30:52 respectively. Queen of the Superior 100 finished 4th in 31:07 and in doing so, achieved her 16th buckle.

iancorless-com_superior2016-7438

What followed was a long day and night of struggle and strife. Some achieved their goals, others failed to complete the challenge that they had set themselves. There was no failure… just undone business. You see, Superior 100, more than any other 100 I have witnessed is so much more than a race, it’s an experience. It’s a low-key traditional race experience and one that I encourage anyone to participate in. It’s a special race and if the 100 is too far, a 50-mile and classic marathon distance takes place on the same course and concludes at the same venue. I have often used this quote and having witnessed the highs and lows of the 2016 Superior 100, I am going to use it again for all those who have unfinished business.

iancorless-com_superior2016-7581

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

 

Check out Superior Trail Races and consider being one of the lucky 250 in 2017

HERE

Race Images are available HERE

Superior 100 2016 Race Images and Summary

iancorless-com_superior2016-4930-2

Frank Pipp, ‘pipped’ everyone to the line at the 2016 Superior 100 in a time of 20:24:00 in what turned out to be a dominant performance. Pipp (Iron Mountain, Michigan) was a professional cyclist from 2005 to 2013 and Superior 100 was hist first 100!

In the ladies race it was three ‘outa’ three for Mallory Richard in a time of 23:51:00. Her performance was strong enough to rank 5th overall.

Joe Uhan and Timbo Jenkins placed 2nd and 3rd in 22:46:00 and 22:59:00 respectively with 2014 Superior 100 champion, Adam Schwarz-Lowe placing 4th in 23:00:00.

Tina Johnson was 2nd lady some way behind a dominant Mallory in 29:50:00 and Stephanie Hoff placed 3rd in 30:52:00.

RACE SUMMARY HERE

Images are available to purchase from HERE

You can view the ladies 100-mile results HERE

You can view the men’s 100-mile results HERE

Images from Day One

Day 2 – The Green Tunnel

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

Superior 100 is featured in my new book, RUNNING BEYOND (information here)

RunningBeyond_JKT

Superior 100 2016 Race Preview

©iancorless.com-1025Superior100

SUPERIOR 100, USA

I knew very little about Minnesota and the Superior 100 in 2014 when I first came over to experience the most rugged, relentless and remote 100 miler there is. The area and the race was a revelation. You see, too much information in advance can lead to disappointment and more importantly, it can cloud judgement.

Running brings people together, together in a way like no other; it crosses boundaries, crosses countries and binds like a harmonious family. I’d been in Minneapolis for just over an hour in 2014 and I already knew that I was going to love this place.

The Superior 100 race follows the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior, a ridgeline of the Sawtooth Mountains. Race director John Storkamp said in 2014 at the race briefing, “It’s gnarly, tough, rutted and many of you won’t finish.” He was correct. It’s a tough race.

John Storkamp - race director

John Storkamp – race director

But like any race, a runner needs to be on the journey with a chance of completing and if they make the finish or not, the experience will be remembered because Superior 100 is so much more than a race.

Founded in ‘91’, Superior 100 is one of the oldest 100-mile trail races in the country. Way back in the day it was one of an elite band of 10-12 100-mile races in the US. Founded by Harry Sloan, the race did have a name change some time back when it was called, Sawtooth 100, however it was changed back to its original name and that has stuck to present day.

©iancorless.com-1801Superior100

A point-to-point ultra-marathon that is 100% trail! The race route traverses the Sawtooth Mountain Range (hence the old Sawtooth 100 name) on the Superior Hiking Trail in the far reaches northern Minnesota.  Lake Superior, the greatest freshwater lake in the world provides a stunning backdrop to a race that climbs to near 2000′ peaks with breath-taking vistas of the lake and inland forests. Crossing countless whitewater rivers and serene streams the 100-mile route meanders through mystic Boreal forests. Gooseberry Falls State Park Visitors’ Center, MN hosts the start of the race and a welcome finish awaits each and every runner at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen, MN.

©iancorless.com-1700Superior100

The 2016 edition of the race, like in all years has some notable starts and you’ll have to forgive me here if I maybe miss a few potential podium influencers…  this race is a long way from the UK!

©iancorless.com-1607Superior100

With 2015 winner and course record holder, Jake Hegge running the marathon distance race, this opens the doorway for the 2014 champion, Adam Schwarz Lowe. In 2014 he had his race dialed and he ran with tunnel vision controlling his pace until the last marathon when he broke away to a solo victory.

But the presence of Joe Uhan is no slouch and when one compares Schwarz-Lowe’s Western States time to Uhan’s, there is a considerable difference. Uhan was 4th at Bandera 100k in 2015 and recently was 2nd at McKenzie River 50k and 3rd at the Elijah Bristow 24 hour.

Ultrasignup founder, Mark Gilligan is also running. He placed 9th recently at Salt Point 50k and 22nd at Cruel Jewel 50.

Joe Fejes has a string of top results over a variety of distances – 100 miles, 24 hours, 6 days and so on… For example, in 2014 he ran 580.3 miles in Anchorage at ‘Six Days in the Dome.’ His most recent 100-mile result came at Desert Solstice where he placed 6th in 15:50.

Gary Davis has had some good results recently with a victory at Kat’cina Mosa 100k and 2nd at Salt Flats 100 and Skyline Mountain Marathon 50k.

Brian Klug was 3rd in 2015 in 23:07 and his last race was Minnesota Voyager 50 where he placed 55th.

Scott Hoberg and Marcus Berggren recently placed 2nd and 3rd at Arrowhead 135 (Scott won in 2014) and in July Marcus went on to run and finish Badwater 135.

Other notable mentions are for Frank Pipp, 3rd at Quad Rock 50) and Stephen Graupner who was 5th at Minnesota Voyageur in July.

©iancorless.com-1284Superior100

Mallory Richard was 10th at Superior in 2015 and overall First Lady. Winner of Blackhills 100 in June 2015, pretty sure she will be looking for a victory again. A recent win at the Falcon Fatass 50k in August shows good form. 

Tina Johnson is a favourite after placing 2nd last year. Recent results also show Tina is in good form, 4th at Bunk House Trails 50k in May and in August 2015 she won Marquette Trail 100k.

Casey Ullman is running Superior for the first time I believe and is coming off 4 solid results in 2016 at Capt’n Karl’s Colorado Bend, Mulshoe Bend and Pedernales Falls 60k and Hells Hills 50k. In 2013 Casey won and placed 8th overall at Mark Twain 100.

Crystal Hutchings placed 32nd at Zion 100 in 2015 in 32:29 but recently won the Yankee Springs Trail Run (104 miles) in 29:40, so, an outsider for the podium?

Susan Donnelly is the most experienced lady in the race with 15 finishes, yes, 15! 2016 is hopefully the 16th. In 2015 Susan was 11th lady in 33:03. This lady races a great deal and has been running ultras since 1994. In 1999 she placed 3rd lady at Superior in 29:48.

Janet Hausken has 3 good results in 2016 with 2 2nd places and a 13th at Zion 100. In 2015, Janet was 7th at Superior in 31:15.

Finally, Shelley Groenke was 9th at Superior in 2015 and recently placed 3rd at Zumbro 50m.

©iancorless.com-1874Superior100

The action will unfold on Friday but in the spirit of Superior let’s give a nod to some key elements of the race… Runners can’t run without aid stations and volunteers. It just can’t happen. Those who are passionate about the sport often pay back with a volunteer stint at an aid station, marking the course or manning road crossings.

“If you get to the Crosby-Manitou Aid Station this year and you are feeling a little down and thinking you might want to drop out, consider this… the volunteers comprising that aid station have 17 Superior 100 finishes amongst them, you may not get a lot of sympathy – instead a good motivating kick in the butt! – John Storkamp

©iancorless.com-2061Superior100

Despite the difficulty, despite the fatigue, despite sore legs and being mentally tired, only one man and one lady can top the podium. So why run? Superior 100 provided many answers to this question on my first visit. Staff, volunteers, supporters, each runner – first to last, all came together to make a collective gathering of many individual passions to create one wonderful whole. Storkamp repeatedly touches on this and on the race Facebook page and just recently he said:

Storkamp

Tom and Nancy have been with me since the beginning, from the beginning of my ultra-running and from the beginning of race directing and they are still here now, heading up the Beaver Bay Aid Station with their great friends the Stocco’s – Jim Stocco was on the original Superior Trial Race Board of Directors circa 1991. These guys have volunteered at and run more ultras than most and they still love it. Friendship, history, tradition, togetherness – these are out values – this is what makes us great. Thank you being there for me, for the race and for our awesome runners!

Minnesota the Superior Hiking Trail, Superior 100 and the amazing people involved were all told by Storkamp before the race in 2014 that ‘this’ experience would change them, it did!

I am pleased to say that after missing 2015, I am back in 2016 to experience another dose on Minnesota nice!

©iancorless.com-1049Superior100

 

Information:

Course records are 19:30:37 and 24:49:06 for the 100-mile race, held by Jake Hegge and Kristina Folcik set in 2015 and 2012 respectively.

Stuart Johnson and Susan Donnelly have an incredible 33 100 mile finishes between them, 18 for Stuart and 15 for Susan.

Race tracking – http://www.ultralive.net/superior100#tracking/overview

100-mile information:

Start: Gooseberry Falls S.P., Minnesota

Finish: Caribou Highlands / Lutsen, Minnesota

Start Time: 8:00AM Friday

Point to Point 103.3 Miles

Elevation Gain 21,000 FT

Elevation Loss 21,000 FT

NET Elevation Change 42,000 FT

13 Aid Stations

38-hour time limit

Complete 100MI Info HERE

 

Please note that during the weekend a 50 mile and classic marathon distance race will take place.

 

50 Mile:

Point to Point 52.1 Miles

Start: Finland Rec Center, Minnesota

Finish: Caribou Highlands / Lutsen, Minnesota

Start Time: 5:30AM Saturday

Elevation Gain 12,500 FT

Elevation Loss 12,500 FT

NET Elevation Change 25,000 FT

7 Aid Stations

16.5-hour time limit

Complete 50MI Info HERE

 

26.2 Mile:

Point to point 26.2 Miles

Start: Cramer Road / Schroder, Minnesota

Finish: Caribou Highlands / Lutsen, Minnesota

Start Time: 8:00AM Saturday

Elevation Gain 5,500 FT

Elevation Loss 5,500 FT

NET Elevation Change 11,000 FT

3 Aid Stations

14-hour cutoff

Complete 17MI Info HERE

Minnesota Nice on RUN ULTRA

Minnesota Nice

Arguably the happiest runner and most grateful runner I have ever witnessed, Kevin Langton illuminated the trails. ‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’ Running with a smile and grin, whenever he passed he repeated, ‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’ You’ve got to love this sport… despite the difficulty, despite the fatigue, despite sore legs and being mentally tired, Langton’s smile never slipped, the positivity never waivered. Oberg, 93-miles, Langton’s family welcomed him with a hug and high fives, ‘let’s get this done’ he said.

‘Great job man you are looking so good,’ I shout.

‘Thank you for being here guys and supporting.’

Minnesota nice!

Read the full article on RUN ULTRA HERE 

run-ultra-logo

Superior 100 2014 – Minnesota Nice!

©iancorless.com-1614Superior100

John Storkamp, race director for the Superior 100 told all competitors at the pre race briefing, ‘Look around, because you may well not see everyone back at the finish. The Superior 100 is rough, rugged and relentless.’

Race images available HERE

John Storkamp - race director

John Storkamp – race director

A point-to-point race, the route traverses the ‘Sawtooth Mountain Range’ in northern Minnesota. Taking part on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), starting at Gooseberry Falls State Park and concluding in Lutsen, 100-miles later.

©iancorless.com-1049Superior100

It’s a trail of immense diversity and one that is constantly shadowed at all times by the impressive and dominant Lake Superior. Terrain, as the Storkamp suggests, is relentless. With a low point of 183m and a high point of 558m, the race doesn’t get high, however, the repeated nature of the course (Sawtooth profile) offers no opportunity for recovery or rest. Add to the mix, brooks, mud, rocks, tree roots and a rollercoaster of small climbs; the Superior 100 is considered one of the toughest races in the USA. It’s reflected in the current course record of 21:02. Crossing the line in Lutsen is no easy task… Ask each and every finisher, in fact, you don’t need to ask, the gaunt and hollow expression on each and every face shows each mile and each minute and hour that has been undertaken to achieve the buckle!

©iancorless.com-1025Superior100Run in almost perfect weather conditions, Superior 100 2014 was an experience to embrace. Have you heard the term, ‘Minnesota Nice?’ (A stereotypical behaviour of Minnesota residents to be courteous, reserved, welcoming and mild-mannered) Well believe me, this Brit was submerged in it from registration, during the race and beyond.

‘It’s so awesome that you are here, thanks for coming!’ I can’t tell you how many times I heard this phrase during my incredible weekend. No matter at what point in the race, no matter how sleep deprived they were, each an every runner would go out of their way to express warmth. It’s humbling. Of course, it’s in the nature of the people but my host for the weekend, Kurt Decker assured me, ‘These folks are genuinely the salt of the earth, they mean every word but this weekend they have taken it up a notch.’

©iancorless.com-0888Superior100

Imagine being on the trail in the middle of the night, a runner appears and we shout, ‘Looking good, keep it going, you are doing great!’ the runner stops, looks us in the eyes, grabs our respective hands and shakes them, ‘Thank you guys for being here and supporting, it’s really appreciated.’

Minnesota nice!

No matter how nice these folks are, racing did go down at the weekend and at the front end Kyle Pietari and Michael Borst dictated the early pace followed by Nathan Leehman, Adam Schwartz-Lowe, John Cameron and John Horns, the 2013 race winner.

©iancorless.com-0916Superior100Ultra running legend in these parts, Eric Clifton made his presence felt in the early stages but faded and eventually dropped.

©iancorless.com-0931Superior100

Eric Clifton running early on in possibly the worst run tights… ever!

In the ladies, 2013 1st place winner and 2nd overall, April Cole looked set be a dominant force pushing consistently hard throughout, however, at the summit of Carlton Peak with just under 90-miles covered she complained of being cooked. To my surprise April dropped at Sawbill with just over 90-miles covered.

©iancorless.com-1333Superior100

April at Bean and Bear

Adam Schwartz-Lowe had been the bridesmaid on 2-occasions at Superior, 2012 when Steve Moore set the 21:02:41 CR and 2011. After a sub-20 run at Western States earlier this year, Schwartz-Lowe wanted this win, however, Pietari and Borst had different ideas. At halfway, Wisconson runner Borst had pulled away and from Pietari who was paying for the early pace, so much so he would eventually drop. Running without a pacer, Schwarz-Lowe went in pursuit from the Finland aid (51.2) and as he ran past he aptly said, ‘I smell rabbit in front of me.’

©iancorless.com-1365-2Superior100

The rabbit took some catching though! Running only his 2nd 100, Borst looked to have the race dialled after dnf’ing his 1st 100 at Zumbro earlier this year. Experience paid off though, at Sonju Lake Road the gap was 8-minutes, at Sugarloaf (72.3-miles) it was 5-minutes and then at Cramer Road (77.9-miles) it was 2-minutes. From here on in, the guys ran together for an hour until eventually Schwartz-Lowe pulled away gaining a 1-minute advantage at Temperance (85-miles) and 24-minutes at Sawbill (90.7-miles). The hay in the barn could be smelt and as the race progressed the gap tweaked open. At the final aid, Schwartz-Lowe didn’t hang around, a quick re-supply, a few questions on the location of the 2nd place runner and then he scooted off up the trail.

Adam at Oberg just over 7-miles to go

Adam at Oberg just over 7-miles to go

From here on in, Borst consolidated his 2nd place looking relaxed and happy, his pacer doing a great job to keep the motivation high. Leehman took a seat at Oberg and although the temptation to hang out and chill was tempting, he rejuvenated himself and pushed on for the final podium place after a welcome ‘Monster’ drink from 4th place runner, Cameron’s crew.

©iancorless.com-1213Superior100

With April Cole out of the race, the ladies race became a war of attrition and I saw each lady as they climbed up and over Sawbill with 90.7 miles covered. Embracing the relentless nature of the race they pushed on through never failing to offer a smile and a thank you. Ultimately at the line, the gaps were quite wide with Mallory Richard taking the victory ahead of Frayah Bartuska and Johanna Ylanen.

©iancorless.com-2117Superior100

Ladies winner, Mallory Richard

 

 

100-mile races are tough, no matter what the terrain is like. Here in Minnesota on the Superior Hiking Trail, John Storkamp and the Rock Steady Running crew have a gem. A gem of epic proportions… if you like your trail tough and gnarly and your people warm and welcoming, then Minnesota is for you!

Believe me, it’s Minnesota Nice!

Race website – HERE

RACE RESULTS

100-mile

  1. Adam Schwarts-Lowe 21:58:32
  2. Michael Borst 22:52:28
  3. Nathan Leehman 23:26:47
  1. Mallory Richard 27:32:27
  2. Frayah Bartuska 29:56:58
  3. Johanna Ylanen 31:08:10

 

50m-mile

  1. Chris Rubesch 8:56:33
  2. Forrest Tracy 9:23:47
  3. Alex Kurt 9:35:24
  1. Kristin Rognerud
  2. Annie Behrend 13:03:34
  3. Shelly Groenke 13:41:38

 

Marathon

  1. Ben Kampf 3:32:27
  2. James Sorenson 3:49:30
  3. Ryan Braun 04:00:11
  1. Jayna Tilstra 4:53:31
  2. Kelly Johnson 4:56:10
  3. Heather Weckwerth 5:20:01

Race images available HERE