The Wild Duluth races are about one week away.  Below are some race updates.

Course Details – The start of the 50K and middle section of the 100K (section between last aid station and turn-around) is different than last years beta run. This year we will be going directly across Hwy 210 upon leaving Chambers Grove Park. This section will start out on very primitive deer trails, climb the hill overlooking Chambers Grove Park through a beautiful forest of white and red pine and then follow a mix of primitive footpath, ATV trail, Mission Creek Trail and part of the powerline trail from the Voyageur 50 Mile race. This section will be marked very clearly with orange flagging.  PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THE TRAIL MARKINGS.   If you pay attention, you won’t get lost.   I may also run this section with the 50K runners at the start just to make sure the trail markings haven’t been disturbed and are where they’re supposed to be.   We don’t want anyone getting lost at the start of the 50K.  Once you arrive at the first aid station at Grand Portage, you will then run the remainder of the race on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT).

The SHT is marked VERY well with small signs, arrows and blue blazes on trees and rocks. For the most part, the portion of the race on the SHT doesn’t even need additional course marking.  You should see blue blazes on trees or rocks almost constantly when you’re on the trail. The blue blazes are confidence markers that are placed at very frequent intervals. If you’re running for a while and don’t see a blue blaze ahead, you might be off the trail. Backtrack until you find a sign or blue blaze. We will have additional orange flagging at trail intersections and we will have reflective tape for the night portions of the race for 100K runners (basically the last 15-18 miles of the course).

There are two out and back sections to aid stations on the course. For 50K runners, the first will be into the Grand Portage Aid Station and back out on the SHT. This is a relatively short out and back. Pay close attention to the turn off to the aid station on HWY 210. The second out and back to an aid station for 50K runners is to the Kingsbury Creek Aid Station near the Zoo. This is a much longer out and back, approximately 1/2 mile each way. You will leave the SHT, go down to the aid station, and then back up to the SHT, continuing to the East for 50K runners and to the West for 100K runners on the way out and then to the East for 100K runners on the way back. We will have this out and back clearly marked. It is up to you to pay attention to the signs at this intersection. The trail down to the aid station at Kingsbury Creek Trailhead should be marked with white blazes. White blazes along the SHT indicate spur trails. You will only take spur trails when you’re going into an aid station that is off the main trail. The Munger Trail Aid Station and Magney Snively Aid Station also involve a short diversion off of the main trail. Here you will get back on the trail going a different direction and these won’t be out and backs. Aid station personnel will point you in the right direction upon leaving the aid station. After leaving the Munger Trail Aid Station, you will run on the paved Munger Trail for approximately 0.4 miles. Don’t miss the rocky trail for the SHT taking off steeply uphill to the LEFT  just before the rocky cut in the paved Munger Trail. Also, after leaving the Magney-Snively Aid Station, you will follow Skyline Parkway approximately 0.2 miles, crossing Stewart Creek on a stone bridge. Don’t miss the SHT where it turns right, off the road and downhill.

Bus Transportation to Start of 50K – There will be bus transportation from the finish at Bayfront Park to the start of the 50K race at Chambers Grove. A bus will arrive at 6:45 a.m. and depart promptly at 7:00 a.m. for the start at Chambers Grove. If you plan on riding the bus, please consider a small donation. The cost of the bus was significant and was not included in the race registration. We will have a donation can at the packet pick-up on Friday night, on the bus, at the packet pick-up Saturday morning at Chambers Grove Park and at the finish line. Thanks!

Road Crossings – Please remember that traffic will not yield to runners. Runners MUST yield to traffic at all times. Please pay careful attention at the road crossings, slow down, look both ways and proceed with caution. We will not have road crossing officials at all road crossings. The future of our race is contingent upon runners being careful at road crossings. For your well being and for the future of our race, please ensure that there are no accidents at road crossings.

Packet Pick-up – Packet pick up will be available on Friday night from 5 to 7 p.m. in the enclosed shelter at Bayfront Park. Packet pick-up for 100K runners will also be available at the start/finish at Bayfront Park on Saturday morning. For 50K runners, you may also pick up your packet on Saturday morning at the starting line at Chambers Grove Park. Runners please check-in in the morning. Shirts/hooded sweatshirts will be in your packet before the race. You will not have to finish to receive your shirt/hooded sweatshirt.

Trail Hazards – The Superior Hiking Trail through Duluth is a very rugged, narrow trail. There are many rocks and roots as well as sharp uphills and downhills. Please be careful and pay attention to each footfall. A trip or a fall could be hazardous and the rocks and roots may make a sprained or broken ankle a real possibility if you aren’t paying attention. Please be careful. Toilets – There will be two bathrooms available indoors in the shelter at the Bayfront Park Start/Finish. The shelter is also heated so runners can stay warm after finishing their race. There will be chili (meat and vegetarian) and other food in the shelter for runners after the race. We will try to have 3 portable toilets available at the Chambers Grove start before the 50K race. Please plan accordingly.

That’s all the updates for now. Stay tuned for more updates if necessary. We look forward to seeing you all at the starting line next Saturday!