Monday July 8th, 2019

TO: 2019 Afton Trail Run Volunteers

Dear Friends,

My good friend Jason is pretty well known for telling it like it is. He rarely sugarcoats anything, a trait that I usually like (when his words are ones that I want to hear) and sometimes dislike (when they are not). The point is, if he bothers to say it, it typically carries some weight with me. I got a text from Jason on Sunday… “I think that was the best ATR yet.” After a tiring weekend I busily responded, acknowledging our fantastic team of volunteers of course, and thanking him for his contributions to the race again this year. Then his words started to sink in a bit. That was a bold statement. Afton has been around since 1994. Jason has been around the Minnesota trail / ultra scene since the late 90’s and has run a lot of Afton’s, volunteered at just as many and does not go out of his way to blow sunshine up my ass. Could that really be, that this was the best one, after all the great years we’ve had? If so, what could have made this one the best yet? Then it dawned on me, Jason was just observing what I have been seeing for awhile and wrote about after this years Superior Spring Trail Race.

“I do not necessarily believe that great leaders are born or chosen – I believe that great leaders emerge. Each year that passes, I notice that there are fewer and fewer tasks that require my direct intervention on race weekend, this is a wonderful thing. What this means is that within our core group, those that have gained knowledge and experience over several years, are also taking ownership of their position and in turn the Superior Spring Trail Race (insert Afton) itself. This is what I always preach… it is YOUR race! So many of you commit yourself year to year, work to cultivate a thorough understanding of the event and as a result intuitively know what needs to be done – we are infinitely better for it. My challenge to you is to help build on this. Commit now to the same position / tasks next year and when I put out the call for volunteers next year, tell me “I’ve got this handled, I know what to do” and let’s keep this thing going.”

Sometimes I wonder how long we can keep the band together, heck sometimes I even worry about it – because nobody wants a good thing to end. Obviously, it can’t be forever, but in the interim I will keep fighting let hell to keep you all coming back so we can keep making this beautiful music. And, why? Why is it so important? I will simply close with this single picture. YOU make experiences and moments like THIS possible.

Photo Credit – Chad Richardson

As always should you have any comments, questions, concerns, complaints or compliments, I am always available.


John Storkamp

Race Director
Afton Trail Run


Afton Trail Run
50KM & 25KM Trail Races
Afton State Park – Hastings, Minnesota
Saturday July 4, 2020
50KM 6:30AM
25KM 7:30AM

Opens Wedneday January 1, 2020 at 12:01AM CST
Closes Friday June 26, 2020 at 11:59PM CST
*Or once the field limit has been met
Complete Registration Details HERE

Directions to Race Start:
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Avenue South
Hastings, MN 55033
Hastings, Minnesota
Google Maps Directions HERE
Approx 25 minutes East of St. Paul, MN and 40 minutes East of Minneapolis, MN

Terrain / Course Description:
The Afton Trail Run consists of a hilly 25K loop (two loops for the 50K), winding through Afton State Park’s trail system. The race is held 100% off road, primarily on very runnable / not very technical single double and single track. There are 7 long climbs per loop, rising from the river valley and down again with a good mix of rolling and flat terrain between the hills.  Be sure to see maps, elevation charts and stats provided on this website HERE.

2 x 15.5 mile loops =  31 miles
Elevation Gain 4,670 FT
Elevation Loss 4,670 FT
NET Elevation Change 9,340 FT
11 Aid Stations
9 hour time limit
Complete 50KM Info HERE

1 x 15.5 mile loop = 15.5 miles
Elevation Gain 2,335 FT
Elevation Loss 2,335 FT
NET Elevation Change 4,670 FT
5 Aid Stations
8 hour time limit
Complete 25KM Info HERE

More About the Race / Area:
The Afton Trail Run is one of the most challenging and beautiful trail races around.  The race was established in 1994 and is now one of the oldest, largest and most competitive trail races in the country and routinely draws runners from all 50 states and beyond.  The race takes place entirely within the borders of Afton State Park.  Afton State Park lies on a glacial moraine, scribed with deep ravines running down to the St. Croix River.  The 169 mile St. Croix River was one of the original eight United States rivers to have significant portions placed under protection by the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.  Within the park sandstone outcrops have been exposed in some of the ravines. The vertical drop from the blufftop to the water is 300 feet.  A few patches of remnant prairie survived the decades of farming that took place on the blufftop. Today the former fields are being restored to prairie and oak savanna. The ravines leading down to the riverbank are thickly wooded with oak, aspen, birch, and cherry.