* The following was emailed to all registered 2020 Afton Trail Run runners and volunteers on Friday May 22, 2020.

Dear Friends,

I hope this email finds you all continuing to do as well as you can given the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in.  Cheri and I are hanging in there but the reality of our situation seems to set in a little more each day. Even as some things start to reopen, the future is uncertain for so many of us.  While we know that this crisis is going to cause a lot more pain before it is over, we are focusing on what is most important; we are fortunate to have our health and our loved ones, sadly not everyone can say that right now and those individuals are in our thoughts. Like every dark night that has come before… the sun will eventually rise.

Today is May 22 and I wanted to provide you with an update to my April 23 correspondence – if you missed it or would like to review it, it can be found HERE https://www.aftontrailrun.com/covid-19-update-4-23-20-afton-trail-run/ – we are currently just over 6 weeks out from the Afton Trail Run. Although it is looking unlikely that it will proceed, the 27th annual Afton Trail Run is still scheduled for Saturday July 4, 2020.

This past Wednesday Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced additional information about the phased reopening of Minnesota as we transition from the “Stay Home MN” order to the “Stay Safe MN” order.  While June 1st will mark the beginning of Phase II of the “Stay Safe MN” order and the loosening of some additional restrictions in the state, it still does not allow for groups of more than 10 to gather nor does it allow large public gatherings / sporting events.  Phase III, for which there has been no beginning date given, will allow for groups of 20, but still no large public gatherings / sporting events – obviously this does not bode well for the Afton Trail Run.  While we were able to get registration shut down in early April when we realized the significance of the virus and the impact it was going to have on the race season, we are still sitting with 456 registered runners, which is a big race in itself.  On a normal year the race sells out with 975 registered runners, 200 volunteers and 600+ friends / family / spectators.

We are continuing to work closely with Afton State Park, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and other local authorities as additional guidance becomes available. We are continuing to update our risk assessment and operating plans as real world conditions and guidance from the state changes. As I have mentioned all along, even if there is movement in the coming weeks and we are ‘technically’ able to proceed, we will ultimately place the health and safety of our runners, volunteers, communities where our races are held and the general public above all else.   I want to be very upfront that at this point we have shifted our thinking from “the race has not been canceled and we are continuing to make preparations for the event” to “the race will most likely be cancelled but we are holding out the slightest of hope that it may be able to proceed and as such are continuing to make preparations”.

Right now we see three weeks out from race day as the absolute cutoff date for a final decision to be made in order to be able to sanely and safely host the well organized event that you have come to expect. You will hear from me by no later than June 14. Should you have any questions between now and then, please contact me and I will promptly get back to you.

Thank You,

John Storkamp
Race Director

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.