2024 Afton Trail Run 50KM Participant Guide
Race Date & Time:
Saturday July 6, 2024
Afton State Park
Monday January 1, 2024
About This Page:
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:
/ ABOUT AFTON
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 ( over $60,000.00 as of 2023 ) and its organizers, volunteers and runners volunteer in the park, maintaining trails and doing invasive species removal / restoration and more.
What is Afton Like?
A picture is worth a 1000 words. You can get a good feel for the Afton experience by looking through the photos on the home page of our website HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/
You can hear past participants experiences HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/testimonials/
About Rocksteady Running:
The Afton Trail Run is organized by Rocksteady Running and directed by John Storkamp. Rocksteady Running produces several trail and ultrarunning races in the state of Minnesota. Our races are put on by longtime trail and ultrarunners. Our focus is on sustainability, runner safety, runner experience and giving back to the trail, parks and communities where our events are held. Our mission is to create experiences that facilitate connection. All credit is due to our army of volunteers and our wonderful Minnesota trail running community.
All Are Welcome:
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. Please be kind, and treat others as you would like to be treated.
/ REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Do not register until you have reviewed this page (Afton Trail Run 50KM Participant Guide) in its entirety. Registration 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/
50K Field Limit:
$105.00 (+UltraSignup Fee)
There are No Refunds, Transfers or Switches:
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance. Entry fees will not be refunded if a runner chooses not to, or is unable to race, for any reason. Entry fees will not be refunded if the race is canceled, for any reason. Race registrations are not transferable to other participants, to future years races or to other Rocksteady Running events. Transfers are not allowed between race distances. Runners should consider these factors very carefully before registering. Runners who are not comfortable with these policies should not register.
No Waiting List Will Be Kept:
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, natural disaster, public health emergency, air quality, public safety threat, severe weather, trail condition concerns, etc. 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.
Registration Fee Assistance:
Registration fees are used to cover the costs of producing a race, cover overhead and hopefully provide a little bit of a cushion / startup capital for the following years race. That said, we do not want an entry fee to be the reason that someone cannot participate in one of our races. For each race that Rocksteady Running produces, we will make available a couple of reduced fee and / or comp entries for those in need. Please contact us via email if you need registration fee assistance and give us a brief explanation of your situation. Any assistance provided will be kept confidential. Please only request help if it is necessary, leaving the assistance for those that are truly in need.
Additionally, our Endless Summer Trail Run Series, which consists of four to five weeknight trail running races throughout the summer, with distances ranging from 5KM to 7 miles, is an ultra-low-cost event that is specifically intended to reduce financial barriers to trail racing. While the entry fee for each individual series race is only $30, we provide a full-fledged race experience including a giveaway, a chip-timed race, tons of experienced and friendly volunteers and food / refreshments after. These low cost racing opportunities are made possible in part by what are generally higher entry fees for our longer / ultra-distance races. This is one way in which we can all encourage and welcome individuals from all walks of life into our awesome sport.
/ RACE INFORMATION
What’s Included With Your Registration:
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. For 2024 we will either do a a t-shirt or a hat (TBD). If it is a t-shirt it will be the same awesome Rocksteady Running Tri-Blend ( non-technical / casual cotton blend ) t-shirt with a super cool design. Shirts are unisex and fit most people really well – you can see past years race shirts and hats HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/category/shirts-swag/. 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.
How We Will Communicate With You Once You Register:
Immediately after registering you will receive a registration confirmation email from our registration provider UltraSignup. Your name will also be added to the list of registered runners which can be found on our website under the menu item(s) RACE > REGISTER > WHO’S REGISTERED. You will receive a welcome email from us with any last minute updates about a week before the race. About a week after the race we will send out a thank you email / race recap. We will email you at the address that you have one file with our registration provider UltraSignup. Please make sure that your email is up to date with UltraSignup / was inputted correctly – if it is not, you will not receive our communications. You may also want to add [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] to your email providers ‘do not block’ / ‘do not spam’ / ‘white list’ / ‘safe’ list. A copy of every race email sent will be immediately added to our website HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/news-and-updates/ Most importantly, everything you need to know can be found on the Afton Trail Run website. If at any point you have questions, please contact us https://www.aftontrailrun.com/contact/. You can also ask questions of your fellow runners in our online community / forum HERE https://community.rocksteadyrunning.com/
If You Have Registered and Can No Longer Run:
If you are registered to run and can no longer make it, you DO NOT need to notify us. Once a runner is registered, we do not remove them from the roster until race day, if / when they don’t show up. We handle it in this way because it is not uncommon for a runner to notify us that they will not be running, then notify us that they will be, then notify us again they won’t be, and so forth – this sort of thing creates confusion and leads to check-in and timing mistakes when we start modifying the runner database. We will know if a registrant is not running when they do not check in / pick up their race number on race day. You WILL NOT be publicly listed, or “reported” as a DNS / Did Not Start.
Saturday July 6, 2024
50KM Start Time:
The Afton Trail Run is approximately 25 minutes East of St. Paul, MN and 40 minutes East of Minneapolis, MN. Our international airport is MSP, Minneapolis / St. Paul, which is actually located in Blooming Minnesota – it is approximately 30 minutes away from Afton State Park.
Race Start / Finish Location:
Afton State Park
6959 Peller Ave S
Hastings, MN 55033
Google Maps Link HERE
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME TO PARK IN OVERFLOW PARKING AND WALK 15 TO 20 MINUTES TO RACE CHECK-IN / START:
All 25K runners and possibly a handful of 50K runners will park in the overflow parking at Afton Alps and walk to the race start. It is absolutely imperative that you review the information contained HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/parking/ prior to registering and again the week of the race.
Parking is limited, please carpool. There is no parking allowed on the side of road at Afton State Park, parking must be in designated spaces only. A significant block of spaces within the state 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. Most, but not all 50K runners will be able to park at Afton State Park. Once all of the allotted parking spots for the trail run within the State Park have been filled, racers will be directed by a flagger, posted near the entrance of the park, to enter Afton Alps Ski Area via Peller Ave South. All 25K runners should plan to park at Afton Alps. You will follow signage and flaggers to the Afton Alps Meadows Chalet parking lot. After you park, signage and yellow pin-flags will direct you on the 2/3 to 1 mile walk up to Runner Check-In / Start / Finish Area. Allow at least 15 to 20 minutes to walk from the overflow parking at Afton Alps to the race start. 25K runners should be parked and walking up to the race start absolutely no later than 6:30AM. 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 need to supply your own weatherproof bag. Alternatively, runners may be dropped off at the start area. Arrive early, we will start the races on time, 50K 6:30AM | 25K 7:30AM.
Possible Parking Changes Requiring Shuttling:
Afton Alps Ski Area has been kind enough to allow us to use their property for overflow parking in years past. There have however been years where we were unable to do so; one year due to construction on their property and another due to their policies around Covid-19. There is no guarantee that we will be able to use Afton Alps for our overflow parking every year. Should there be a year where we are unable to use Afton Alps for our overflow parking, racers will have to park off-site and will shuttle anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to and from the park, we may know if this is the case well in advance or we may not find out until closer to the event. Please be aware of this possibility when deciding to register for the race.
Minnesota State Park Pass:
A Minnesota State Parks pass is required to park in the state park, but not in the overflow parking 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 the communities of Woodbury, Hastings and Stillwater. About 25 minutes from St. Paul, 30 minutes from the international airport MSP in Bloomington, about 45 Minutes from Minneapolis. Various lodging, dining and shopping 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
There is generally good cell coverage throughout Afton State Park
Race Number Pickup, Drop Bag Dropoff & Race Start:
There is no race / bib number pickup or drop bag dropoff prior to race morning. Check-in 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:
The 50K is a two (25K) loop course. 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 – Afton is a Hot Weather Race:
Early July in Minnesota is often hot and humid. We have race temperatures reach the mid 90’s with high humidity. We have also had the odd year here and there with temperatures in the low to mid 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, nutrition and electrolyte balance is key. You should carry a minimum of one water bottle at all times. We will have enough water for drinking and dousing. We order 1350 LBS of ice and 220 LBS of dry ice for the race – ice will be available at the aid stations and the race finish.
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 the front of your body, 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:
With the vast array of products on the market, most runners have their own preferred brands of gels and sports drinks that they use in training and racing. As a result, we will NOT have any gels or sports drink – procure your own, carry what you need, and make use of your drop bag. We will have electrolyte capsules at the aid stations, ask if you need them.
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 have any doubt that your DNF was reported and recorded, please email [email protected] as soon as you have service.
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. Supervised 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.
Current year results will be available on our website under the heading Race > Results. As long as we can maintain internet connectivity, results will be published in real time as runners finish. Past results can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/50km-results/ Course records can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/records/
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.
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.
Post Race Meal:
We will be providing complimentary fresh-baked Neapolitan style pizza and canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water). Pizza and beverages are free for runners. Crew, pacers, family and spectators may also enjoy for a cash donation.
For those interested in volunteering, more information can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/read-first/
Online Community / Forum:
The Rocksteady Running Community is an online forum designed for community members to have civil conversations about all things pertaining to Rocksteady Running events (Zumbro, Superior Spring, Afton, Superior Fall, ESTRS), trail / ultrarunning in general and more. We intend for this to be a safe place to connect. This online community has been built on our own platform and is free of advertising, tracking, addictive features and invasive algorithms. Feel free to discuss registering, training for and racing our events. Discussion about the race courses, terrain, training, gear, challenges, triumphs and more are welcomed and encouraged. https://community.rocksteadyrunning.com/
Afton and RSR Swag:
We sell Afton and Rocksteady Running merch both at the race, and online.
A portion of the proceeds from the Afton Trail Run is donated to Afton State Park – to date the races have donated in excess of $60,000. Additionally, Afton organizers, volunteers and runners donate 100’s of volunteer hours within the park each season.
Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) Fundraising Opportunity:
Rocksteady Running is proud to have Mile in My Shoes as an official Afton Trail Run charity partner. Earn amazing swag and incentives while supporting a great cause by becoming a Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) FundRacer! Learn more HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/mile-in-my-shoes/
Sponsors and Partners:
Our sponsors and partners provide critical support the Zumbro Endurance Run. We are very fortunate to work with so many great businesses and organizations. Please check out our sponsors HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/sponsors/ and please if possible support them with your dollars / patronage, and / or drop them an email and thank them for supporting our event.
Next years race date:
Historically the Afton Trail Run has been held the first Saturday in July. The 2025 race will be held on Saturday July 5, 2025.