PRESS RELEASE 3/12/20

COVID-19 (NOVEL CORONAVIRUS) IMPACTS ON ROCKSTEADY RUNNING TRAIL AND ULTRARUNNING RACES INCLUDING THE ZUMBRO ENDURANCE RUN, SUPERIOR SPRING TRAIL RACE, AFTON TRAIL RUN, SUPERIOR FALL TRAIL RACE AND ENDLESS SUMMER TRAIL RUN SERIES.

On March 11th, 2020 the World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic. According to the World Health Organization a pandemic is the “worldwide spread of a new disease”. Just as public and private entities from every sector are creating protocol and planning contingencies in order to address COVID-19, so must running events. Rocksteady Running, in concert with our key medical volunteers, are keeping apprised of the latest news on the pandemic along with guidance from the World Health Organization, the National Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. As of this writing (3/12/20), neither the National Centers for Disease Control nor the Minnesota Department of Health have placed a moratorium on mass participation events in the state of Minnesota. However, organizations in every sector are self-electing to cancel events, public gatherings, classes, etc. We are also staying in contact with the cities and counties where our events are held as well as with permitting agencies, including the United States Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. To date, none of these municipalities or agencies have placed a moratorium on “mass” participation events.

As of this writing, we are in full swing continuing to plan and prepare for all of this season’s races. At the same time, we are also working diligently to create contingencies should we be compelled to, or should we self-elect to, cancel any of our races. Given that this is such a fluid, dynamic and rapidly evolving situation, we will make and communicate necessary determinations as new information comes available in the coming days, weeks and months.

Trail and ultrarunning races face some unique challenges in the face of COVID-19. Thankfully, one of our long-time medical volunteers is a both a trail / ultrarunner and a leading Infectious Disease Specialist here in Minnesota. Considering the recommendations and best practices set forth by the World Health Organization, National Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health, consulting with other race directors from around the country, and seeking the trail / ultrarunning specific recommendations from our very own expert, we are in the process of creating specific safety / hygiene guidelines for our races should they proceed. We are also creating plans, protocol, contingencies and communications ready to set in motion should we have to cancel any of our races. In the event of a cancellation, our registration, cancellation, reschedule and deferment policies will remain in effect and unchanged.

In the event that we should cancel any of our races (Zumbro Endurance Run, Superior Spring Trail Race, Afton Trail Run, Superior Fall Trail Race or the Endless Summer Trail Run Series), we will make every effort possible to do so within a reasonable number of days prior to an event / well before runners start to mobilize for and travel to the event. Due to the quickly evolving nature of the pandemic, we cannot commit to any set timeline, either for these determinations to be made or for our next communication(s) to be made public.

For our first two races of the season that take place this Spring; the Zumbro Endurance Run (April 10 & 11) and the Superior Spring Trail Race (May 16), we realize that participants have made, are currently making, or will be making travel plans shortly. We strongly encourage anyone flying to Minnesota for one of our events to purchase travel / flight insurance. Several airlines have recently announced more flexibility / leniency in regard to cancellations and rescheduling. Travelers should review the specific information provided by their airline. Participants should also familiarize themselves with the cancellation policies of rental cars and lodging / accommodations if either apply.

As we have all witnessed, there is an abundance of both good information and misinformation out there. As lay-people, it is not always easy to decipher one from the other. Organizationally, we believe in science, and place the findings and guidance of the scientific community first. Regardless of the pandemic’s effect on our ability to hold our races in 2020, we hope for everyone’s sake that the worse-case scenarios being prognosticated do not come to fruition. Our thoughts and prayers are for the health and safety of our frontline medical professionals and of course with our most vulnerable citizens who are ultimately comprised of our family, friends, neighbors and fellow runners. We will keep you posted on developments related to our races, as they unfold. In the meantime, should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Respectfully,

John Storkamp

Race Director – Rocksteady Running /
Zumbro, Superior(S), Afton, Superior(F), ESTRS

You can reach me directly at: john@rocksteadyrunning.com

 

Sources for reliable and trustworthy COVID-19 information:

World Health Organization https://www.who.int/

National Centers for Disease Control https://www.cdc.gov/

Minnesota Department of Health https://www.health.state.mn.us/

University of Minnesota http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19

COVID-19 Press Release 6/10/20

The 2020 Afton Trail Run has been canceled due to COVID-19. Please follow the link provided to learn more https://www.aftontrailrun.com/covid-19-press-release-6-10-20/

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

Registration:
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.

50KM:
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

25KM:
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.