2022 Afton Trail Run 50KM Participant Guide
The information on this page and associated links comprise the official Afton Trail Run 50KM Participant Guide. It contains all of the information and links you will need in order to research, register for and run the race. Runners are required to review this page, along with the registration info page in their entirety prior to registering for the race. This information should then be referenced as needed in the months and weeks leading up to the race. Keep in mind that information may be updated and changed right up until the race, so a final review of the information about a week out is encouraged. Registered runners can expect a welcome email from us with any new / additional information about one week out from the race. This page contains the following sections:
GENERAL EVENT INFO
SETTING EXPECTATIONS FOR 2022
DIVERSITY, INCLUSION & EQUALITY
/ GENERAL EVENT INFO
Date, Time and Location:
Saturday July 2, 2022
Start / Finish Location –
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Ave S
Hastings, MN 55033
Google Maps Link HERE
Race Start Time: 6:30 AM
Race founded in 1994, Race takes place at Afton State Park near Hastings, Afton and Woodbury Minnesota, Race start is about 30 minutes east of the Minneapolis (MSP) International Airport, 50KM course consists of two 25K loops on double and single-track trail and gravel park service roads, Elevation Gain 4,670 FT, Elevation Loss 4,670 FT, NET Elevation Change 9,340 FT, 11 Aid Stations, 9 hour cutoff.
About The Afton Trail Run:
The Afton Trail Run is a challenging and scenic trail race featuring 25KM and 50KM distances. The race was established in 1994 and annually draws runners from several countries, 25+ states and hundreds of Minnesota cities. The race takes place entirely within the borders of Afton State Park just outside of Hastings Minnesota. The race consists of a hilly 25K loop (two loops for the 50K), winding through the state park’s trail system. The race is held 100% off road, primarily on very runnable and not overly technical minimum maintenance gravel service roads and double and single track trails. 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. 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 just over 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. The Afton Trail Run makes an annual financial donation to the state park ( in the neighborhood of $60,000.00 as of 2022 ) and its organizers, volunteers and runners volunteer in the park, maintaining trails and doing invasive species removal / restoration and more. The Afton Trail Run is organized by Rocksteady Running and directed by John Storkamp. The Afton Trail Run would not be possible without its dedicated group of longtime volunteers.
/ SETTING EXPECTATIONS FOR 2022
After a turbulent couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the complete cancellation all Rocksteady Running events in 2020, and lightly attended multi-day Covid-modified events in 2021, we find ourselves in a rebuilding and reorientation phase. Having lost over 50% of our revenue two years in a row, we are starting 2022 with added challenges. For several years our races demanded, and we had the privilege of spending a good portion of our time from April through September focusing on our nine annual trail running events. We now (both John and Cheri) are working more outside of the races, and spending our evenings, weekends and vacation days preparing for and producing the races. Without fantastic family, friends and volunteers, none of this would be possible – we are humbled and grateful. While we are confident in our ability to deliver on race fundamentals while producing safe and fun events, we must also temper expectations. Certain amenities will continue to be scaled back; post race meals, aid station offerings, the amount of event photography, media coverage prior to, during and after events etc. Wherever this is the case, we will do our best to make specific mention in the information provided. All of that said, you should generally expect the same professional level of event production, the same incredible volunteers, the same transcendental experiences on the trail and the same awesome vibes. Our mission remains undiminished, “To create experiences that facilitate connection.”
/ DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUALITY
Rocksteady Running welcomes everyone to our events and into our broader trail running community. You are welcome and valued regardless of your race, gender, sexual identity, orientation, or preference, religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socioeconomic status, age, how quickly or slowly you run. We love and respect all beings. We ask all of our participants to be kind, compassionate and open minded, and to help lift up their fellow runners.
/ REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Do not register until you have reviewed this page (Afton Trail Run 50KM Participant Guide) in its entirety. Once registration is open, complete details including entry fees, field limits, and the link to our registration page on UltraSignup (third party registration provider) can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/registration-info/
Refunds, Transfers & Switches:
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance. Race registrations are not transferable to other participants, to future years races or to other Rocksteady Running events. We do do not allow transfers between race distances. Please consider these factors carefully before registering.
Once a race distance sells out, we do not keep a waiting list – instead we accept extra runners up front so that everyone has the same opportunity to train, make reservations, get a babysitter, etc. This means that a withdrawal from a sold out race prior to race day does not create an opening in the race field – it just brings us down to our predetermined field limit which is set in agreement with our permitor(s). We have found that a percentage of those who register will not make it to the starting line due to injury, illness, or other real life interventions and adjust the number of allocated spots accordingly year to year based on historical averages.
The Race Director reserves the right to modify or cancel the race or course for safety concerns, trail condition concerns, natural disaster or pandemic. In such cases there will be no refunds of race entry fees. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid. There is no complimentary race entry to a future race. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date – including course preparation, race supplies, permits and administration. We will make every effort to produce a fair and safe event for all participants. Any decision we make that impacts the race date or potential cancellation is carefully considered and based on the overall event safety, sustainability and manageability.
/ RACE SPECIFICS
A well marked course with plenty of aid and tons of friendly, experienced volunteers. Runners who register by May 20 will have their name custom printed on their race numbers. Chip timing. All finishers will receive a WOOD MEDAL. The 2022 giveaway is a hat, you can check it out HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/2022-race-hat/. Post race we will be providing complimentary canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water) and fresh baked Neapolitan style pizza. Knowledge that you are supporting Afton State Park, to date we have donated in excess of $60,000 and 1000’s of volunteer hours.
Race Start / Finish Location:
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Ave S
Hastings, MN 55033
Google Maps Link HERE
The Afton Trail Run is approximately 25 minutes East of St. Paul, MN and 40 minutes East of Minneapolis, MN. Minneapolis (MSP) is a world class international airport and traveling to the race is a breeze.
IMPORTANT! ALLOW PLENTY OF EXTRA TIME TO PARK AND WALK TO CHECK-IN / START:
Parking for the Afton Trail Run is extremely limited. Please carpool if you are able.
If possible please carpool. There is no parking allowed on the side of the road within Afton State Park. Parking must be in designated spaces only. A significant block of spaces within the park will be saved for non-race-related park users. Parking within Afton State Park will be on a “first come, first served” basis for racers. Once all of the allotted parking spots for the trail run within Afton State Park have been filled, racers will be directed by a flagger posted near the entrance of the state park to enter Afton Alps Ski Area via Peller Ave South. Most, but not all 50K runners will be able to park at Afton State Park. All 25K runners should plan to park at Afton Alps. You will follow signage to park in the Afton Alps Meadow Chalet parking lot which is at the very end of the road. After you park, ADDITIONAL SIGNAGE AND YELLOW PIN FLAGS will direct you to walk between 1/4 and 1/3 of a mile up to Runner Check-In and the Start / Finish Area.
WARMUPS: There will be a warm-ups drop-off area where you can drop a bag of belongings so you do not have to return to your your vehicle before the start of the race. You supply the bag. Use a waterproof bag. No valuables. Allow at least 15 minutes to walk from overflow parking at Afton Alps to the race start.
A diagram showing parking options and how to get from the overflow parking to the start can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/wp-content/uploads/Afton-Trail-Run-Parking-Plan.jpg
A Minnesota State Parks pass is required to park in the state park, but not at Afton Alps. Please support our great Minnesota State Park System by purchasing an annual State Park pass. You can purchase an annual permit in advance by phone by calling 1-888-MINNDNR (as the guard shack will not be open upon your arrival to the park race morning). You can also stop by the guard shack on your way out of the park and pay your day permit fee or even better purchase an annual pass. Follow this link for more details. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/permit.html By purchasing a park pass you not only support the entire state park system, you also increase the dollar amount that we are able to donate to the park as the Afton Trail Run is required to pay for every vehicle that does not have a state park permit (state park staff takes a count of all vehicles without a permit).
Afton State Park is located about 15 minutes from Woodbury, Hastings and Stillwater. About 30 minutes from St. Paul and about 45 Minutes from Minneapolis and Bloomington. Various lodging options are available in each city.
Camping is available at Afton State Park – there are camper cabins which fill up fast and there are hike in campsites. Afton State Park (866.857.2757). Additional camping can be found at the nearby Washington County St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park or a little further away at Lake Elmo Park Reserve.
Emergencies / Hospital Information:
Regina Hospital (Hastings)
175 Nininger Rd
Hastings, MN 55033
M Health Fairview Woodwinds Hospital (Woodbury)
1925 Woodwinds Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125
Packet Pick-Up & Race Start:
Packet pickup is held on race morning only. Packet pickup for the 50K starts at 5:00 AM. We will make some brief announcements 5 minutes prior to the 6:30AM race start. Please note that we do not offer early starts.
Course Maps and More:
Course maps, distance charts and more can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/maps-and-data/
50K runners are allowed a drop bag at the 25KM aid station – you can deliver your own drop bag to aid station 6 (which is just adjacent to the start area) prior to the race start. Please keep your drop bags reasonable in size. Each drop bag must be clearly labeled with the race distance, runner’s name and race number. Race numbers will be assigned a few days before the race start and will be available on the website. Please do not put valuables into drop bags. Drop bags will not be protected from the elements so make sure that your drop bags are either waterproof OR that it is ok for the items inside to get wet. You will need to pick up your drop bags after completing the race. Any drop bags left behind will be discarded.
Weather and Clothing:
Early July in Minnesota can be quite hot and humid. We have had temperatures reach the high 90’s with high humidity and have also had days as cool as the low 70’s. In it’s history, the Afton trail run has never been canceled or modified due to weather – you should train for and plan for a hot day – adjusting your pacing and race plan accordingly, along with proper hydration and electrolyte balance is key. Be prepared, watch the forecast and plan accordingly. This is a hot weather race we strongly encourage you to carry a water bottle at all times.
The Afton Trail Run hosts two races simultaneously, the Afton 50KM Trail Race (starts at 6:30 AM Saturday) and the Afton 25KM Trail Race (starts at 7:30 AM Saturday). Each distance will have its own unique race number (unique color and number series) so runners can be easily identified by race officials, volunteers, spectators and other runners. We ask that all competitors wear their number on the front of their body on their outer-most layer at all times. Runners will be tracked coming into and out of each aid station. If we cannot see your number, we cannot track you or take your finishing time and if we cannot do that, you will be disqualified and will not earn an official finish. More info and a graphic illustration can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/category/race-numbers/
Your timing chip will be affixed to the back of your race number. Do not remove your timing chip. Do not bend or fold your timing chip or crumple your race number – this may break your timing chip. Your race number and your timing chip must be pinned on your outer-most layer at all times. Above guidelines must be followed in order ensure that split times and finish times are recorded. This chip is disposable and does not need to be returned.
The course will be marked with ORANGE FLAGS, which will always be on the left hand side of the trail along with some supplemental arrows. We will mark the trail you are supposed to be on and WILL NOT block off trails that you are not supposed to go down, since the park is open to the general public while the race is happening. In the one short section of “two-way traffic” course markers will be on both sides of the trail. It is unfortunate but is not unheard of at many of the major trail races that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by vandals – it is important that you study the course maps prior to running and have a baseline concept of where you are going.
You must visit every aid station / you may not skip any aid stations. You can review aid station locations and distances in between HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/maps-and-data/ – Our aid stations are manned by volunteers, many of them spending their entire day out there – please be sure to thank the volunteers!
We are a cupless race, if you want to drink water or soda out of a cup, you have to have your own (each aid station will have a small stash of paper cups should you lose your reusable cup along the way.) If you are not familiar with these reusable cups they are easy to find and procure, HERE https://hydrapak.com/products/speed-cup-200-ml is an example.
Aid Station Food:
Aid stations will have salty and sweet pre-packaged snacks. We will have Coke and Ginger Ale.
Special Nutrition Items:
We will NOT have any gels, electrolyte tabs or sports drink – procure your own, carry what you need, and make use of your drop bag. With the proliferation of products on the market over the last number of years, everyone seems to have their own preferred brand and we spend more time reading expiration dates and throwing things out than you do ingesting them, and we can no longer justify the waste.
Support Crew and Spectator Access to Aid Stations:
Runners make it a race… crew, friends, family and spectators make it an event. We love your people, and want them at the event, just like you do. Runners, we have an entire page for your crew, friends, family and spectators HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/spectator-info/ Runners, please review, then share the following link with your crew, friends, family and spectators, YOU are responsible for your people. Any failure on their part to follow the rules could lead to your disqualification – please make sure they are up to speed prior to coming to the event.
Pacers are not allowed.
We have established a 9 hour time limit for the 50KM race. We will start sweeping / taking down the course from the 25KM aid station (start/finish area) at 10:30 am. Any runners not out of the 25KM aid station by 10:30 AM will be pulled from the course.
If You DNF:
Should you need to drop out of the race you need to report this (providing your bib number) to the HAM radio operators at the aid station you are dropping at – if you are not sure who that is ask around until you find them. If you leave the course and fail to notify race officials, you will be asked not to come back to our race in the future.
Headphones are allowed. Please keep the volume low, or one earbud out so you can hear what is going on around you. Full awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability to communicate with other participants, race volunteers, and trail users not associated with the event are critical to everyone’s safety.
Playing music out-loud from your phone or other speakers is not allowed.
Trekking poles are allowed, please be cognizant of those around you when using your poles.
You may not run the race with your dog. That said, on-leash dogs are welcome at the race, with your crew, family and spectators at the race starts, at crew-accessible aid stations and at the finish.
Please help to keep the trail clean. Try not to drop anything, and if you see something that someone else has accidently dropped, please pick it up.
Results will be available on our website.
We do not do specific overall winner or age group awards. Every finisher will be handed a medal as they finish. You are all incredible.
Post race we will be providing complimentary canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water) and fresh made Neapolitan style pizza.
Do you have friends and family coming but don’t really need them to follow you around to crew – see if they want to volunteer. Learn more by visiting the volunteer page.
A portion of the proceeds from the Afton Trail Run is donated to Afton State Park. Additionally, Afton organizers, volunteers and runners donate 100’s of volunteer hours within the park each season.
UTMB Qualifying Points:
Completion of the Afton 50KM Trail Run will earn you two (2) qualifying points towards the UTMB Mont-Blanc races in Chamonix France.
Next years race date:
Historically the Afton Trail Run has been held the first Saturday in July. The 2023 race will be held on Saturday July 1, 2023.
/ COVID CONSIDERATIONS
It is important for registrants / runners to understand that should county, state or federal mandates surrounding Covid change, be modified or reinstated, that certain aspects of our events may need to change. This could happen at any time, without warning and could change the character of an event; i.e. take what is planned for a single day event and make it a multi-day event, take what is planned for a mass start race and change it to wave starts, change how our aid stations are set up / aid is provided, etc. Worse case we could see the cancellation of a race. Listed below are the current considerations dealing with Covid.
• Runners, spectators, volunteers and staff are required to stay home if they are Covid positive, have been exposed to someone that is Covid positive in the past 14 days, are not feeling well or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed HERE https://www.cdc.gov/
• All event activities will be outdoors.
• Proper and frequent hand hygiene will be encouraged and numerous hand sanitizing stations will be available.
• Touchpoints and surface areas will be routinely cleansed.
• Inherent to a running race, a database / list of runners is maintained and could be leveraged for contact tracing if needed.
/ FINAL THOUGHTS
A personal note about Rocksteady Running in 2022:
Simply put, the past couple of years have not been easy. I say this knowing damn-well that it has not been easy for any of you either. Ultimately, I am grateful and feel so fortunate for so many things – mainly my health, and the health of my family and friends. Since the very first race I ever directed, when I was in my (gulp) 20’s, and still pursuing a demanding job outside of events, I did my best to hold our races and myself to the highest standards – to direct them as a professional. Eventually as we took over a few more races, interest in the sport and corresponding demands increased, it required us and we were blessed with the ability to transition into doing events pretty close to full time from April through September, and we did so for many years. The pandemic has brought Cheri back to full-time employment outside of Rocksteady Running and has pushed me more deeply into other outside work as well – this in order to keep it all going. A core group of friends, family and many mere acquaintances have stepped up like never before in order support us and made the modified events that we could hold in 2021 a reality. Without these individuals, we literally would not have made it this far. We are not out of the woods yet – in fact, some of the pain is really catching up to us now having lost about 50% of our revenue two years in a row. Interest in racing in 2021 was pretty soft, a few of our events we just simply could not figure out how to hold, expenses, due to inflation, are way up, and more, but I digress. We are excited and energized for 2022 and can’t wait to see what it brings.
I know that most of you run, race and volunteer because you love it and because it enriches your life, your sense of well-being, etc. These are the same reasons that I started doing endurance sports in the mid-1990’s. That said, I know that for so many of you, it is not purely a selfish endeavor. I know this because of the number of you that have reached out to us over the last two years, the thoughtful notes of support, the kind words and gestures. Please know that we are so grateful for that support and that we never take that support for granted. We consider ourselves lucky to get to do this with you, and for you.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions or need anything at all.
Humbly and Respectfully,
Founder of Rocksteady Running
Race Director of the Afton Trail Run