Wednesday July 7, 2021

TO: 2021 Afton Trail Run Volunteers

Dear Friends,

A few of you had a chance to meet him over the weekend, the new(ish) State Park staff member who is a retired Army Chaplain. Not having been on staff in 2019, this weekend was the first time he had been exposed to us, and our race.  Late on Saturday afternoon, after the final supplies were loaded, and the trailer doors had been closed, a handful of us lingered and visited.  As we chatted, he approached me, and we had a brief conversation.  In that interaction, he said that what he had witnessed over the couple of race days, that what we do, (all of us, the staff, volunteers, runners, et al.) is “noble”.  In all of my overtures and stabs at creative writing on behalf of the races over the years; (race recaps, volunteer thank-you’s and more), I have described what we do using just about every adjective in the dictionary, but I had never thought to use the word ‘noble’.  When I got home later in the evening, I went straight to my computer and looked up the definition(s).

Noble, “Having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.”

He mentioned how we come together to create this (each year, more or less out of nothing right), how everyone was elevated, supported and encouraged.  How people go on to be better for the experience, and how they will go out into the world to touch others and do good works.  When you have been as close to this, as many of us have been, for as long as we have, you can lose perspective – these were fresh (and trained eyes) and this is what he saw.

While we don’t want to break our arms patting ourselves on the back, this is the ideal at least isn’t it, an ideal that I think we live up to most of the time.  I want you all to feel proud for providing the scaffolding, for people to do, think and feel in ways that they may not have just the day before.

Thank you all for doing this noble work with me – it is immensely rewarding, and as a bonus, it just so happens to be super fun.


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.