Afton. Family. Love. – Photo Credit Tone Coughlin
Founded in 1994, the Afton Trail Run is a Twin Cities ‘heart of Summer’ trail and ultrarunning tradition. This year we shared the day with 879 registered runners from 3 countries, 27 states and 194 Minnesota cities – along with 130 volunteers and a few hundred family, friends, and spectators. It may be cliché to go straight to the weather in the recap… but wow, that weather! I don’t recall ever having such a cool, cloudy and rainy day at Afton. It paid dividends in the form of quick times, a high finisher rate, fewer cramps and upset stomachs. The weather, combined with hard work and talent led Tyler Jermann to set a new 25KM course record by over three minutes, 1:31:19 which translates to an astonishing 5:53 / mile. Given the level of competition over the years, this is a really impressive accomplishment. As impressive was Tyler’s humility, and his desire to do Afton in the first place, seeing that he is a 2:12 marathoner. This is the type of speed that leads most runners of his caliber to only focus on one thing, fast (professional) road running at high profile events. I visited with Tyler after his run and could sense that he seeks, and found at Afton, that same sense of “home” and “place” that we all do at Afton. We all end up at Afton for a reason – welcome Tyler – welcome all seekers. Herb Byun’s birthday fell on the same day as Afton (again) this year, 79 years young and official 50K finish number 19, (Herb had a couple other finishes early on where he was not happy with his time so he stepped off the course just prior to the finish line, haha.) After his run we celebrated with his family with a big group sing of ‘Happy Birthday’. Other highlights; many mothers and fathers running with daughters and sons, those initially unsure if they could complete 25K or 50K… crossing that finish line for their first time, the smiles, fists in the air, tears of gratitude and joy. The dogs, the little kids and grandparents waiting eagerly at the finish, a slice of pizza, a day set aside for little else besides spending time together and celebrating the human spirit through the simple act of trail running. Afton is truly a gift for us all to enjoy.
Afton is not possible without volunteers – there were over 130 of them this year. Want to see something amazing, THIS is what it takes to put on the Afton Trail Run https://www.aftontrailrun.com/volunteer-assignments/ I encourage you to take the time to read the volunteer recap / thank you HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/2022-volunteer-thank-you/ – Want to give back? Please consider volunteering at the Superior Fall Trail Race / the Superior 100 on September 9 & 10. The Superior 100 in Northern Minnesota is the 10th oldest 100 mile trail race in the country. Grab a friend or two, make some camping or lodging plans and come and be a part of something really special https://www.superiorfalltrailrace.com/read-first/
After each race we receive dozens of kind emails and I like to share a few…
Great job with the race. The ice, pickle juice, fresh baked pizza, misters, hand sanitizers, cool medal and super sharp hat, nice volunteers, good course marking, all these thoughtful details make it a cut or two above any race around.
I’m not the fastest, longest-distance or highest caliber runner…but, the RSR races are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Superior will always be my fave’ and hold my heart, but Afton is a beast of its own. Your races sparked something in my soul that I cannot put into words and I’m so glad you’re back! I want to thank you for the heart, soul, and spirit you pour into making this literally the best for everyone. You guys have my infinite support. Your races are on a different level from all others I’ve ran and I love it. RSR knows where it’s at. Also, the pizza today kicked ass! With SO much gratitude.
A few of our photographers have submitted their photos from the race, a couple additional galleries are forthcoming. For those of you that are unfamiliar with how much work it is to process photos (especially the number that they shoot) that is a crazy fast turnaround. The other couple of galleries should be available within a few days, so please check back. Please keep in mind that some of our photographers sell their photos, some make low res images available for free and sell the high res versions, some will accept tips and some give away the high res images for free. Please look for notes / prompts for each photographer / gallery. All of them put a ton of time into it and have a pile of expensive gear that makes this possible. As always it is good form to always credit (by name) and thank photographers for the photos you are sharing on your social media or elsewhere. If you want to use photos for commercial purposes please contact the photographers directly or contact me if you are unable to find their contact information. If you are a photographer or aspiring photographer and you would like to come shoot some time, please contact us, we would love to have you. https://www.aftontrailrun.com/photos/
Results and Splits:
Official race results are available on our website [ 50K, 25K ]. Results have also been uploaded to UltraSignup [ 50K, 25K ] and have been sent into UTMB [ 50K, 25K ] so qualifying points can be awarded to those that wish to do those races some day (UTMB, CCC, TDS, OCC).
Sweatshirts, T-Shirts, Hats and More for Sale:
If you were hoping to but did not get a chance to purchase something at the race, you can do that on our online store HERE https://www.rocksteadyrunning.com/shop/ – you can use the “filters” on the side of the page to sort and search for specific items. We ordered some extras of this years hat should you like to grab a couple more for family, crew or pacers.
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. This online forum has been built on our own platform and is not tied to any social media platform. It is free from advertising, invasive algorithms, tracking, etc. We intend for this to be a safe place to connect. 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. If you would like to create an account and participate you can do so HERE https://community.rocksteadyrunning.com/login For safety and transparency we ask that you provide both your first and last name when creating an account. My hope is that this forum will be an engaging and useful resource that allows you to connect with one and other.
A Big Thanks to Afton Alps:
We cannot thank Afton Alps Ski Area enough for the use of their property for overflow parking – we are so appreciative! Afton State Park is busier than ever and it is super important that we make room in the park for folks that are not part of the race. Thanks all for your willingness to park a ways away and make the long, uphill walk to the start.
A huge thank you to all of our sponsors for making our event possible!
Mill City / Saint City Running
Vaniply / Vanicream
Steve Smillie Edina Realty
Art and Science Family Dentistry
Hastings Sport and Spine
Performance Running Gym
Bell Bank Mortgage – Jerry Schmidt
Bridge Realty – Bill Pomerenke
St. Croix Law
Critical Connections Ecological Services
Afton Trail Run Charitable Legacy:
Each year the Afton Trail Run donates dollars and volunteer hours to Afton State Park. To date we have gifted over $60,000 to the park for trail and infrastructure improvements, equipment and programming.
The Afton Trail Run is always held the first Saturday in July. The 2023 race will be Saturday July 1. Registration will open on January 1.
I screwed up by only splitting our 25K check-in list in half and thus only having two lines, which led to some long waits to check in and a late start. Not the end of the world, but next year we will split it up into 3 or 4 lists (and lines) so we can get get folks checked in faster. One thing we will be doing next year is asking that 25K runners arrive a little earlier as well… it is easy to underestimate how long it takes to get parked and walk up from the overflow parking lots at Afton Alps. So if you parked at Afton Alps this year, please try to take mental note of what time you arrived and dial it back at least another 15 minutes next year, that would be great, thank you!
I cannot thank you all enough for being part of the Afton / RSR family! Thank you for an awesome race, we look forward to seeing you next year! As always, if you need anything please reach out.
Afton Trail Run