14 Year Old Andrew Lewis Enroute to a 50KM Finish – Photo Credit Cary Johnson

An Interview with 14 Year Old Afton 50K Finisher Andrew Lewis (AL) – Interview conducted by Kevin Langton (KL)

KL: Congrats, Andrew, on being the youngest ever finisher of Afton 50k at age 14. What drew you to this particular race?

AL: Thanks, Kevin! What drew me to the Afton 50k was that I had the goal of finishing my first ultra, and after researching the 50ks around, I decided Afton was for me.


KL: Obviously there aren’t a lot of people your age running ultramarathons. Can you tell us some history about what made you want to do this?

AL: I had some running buddies (not my age) who ran ultras. So it got me thinking ”hmmm maybe I could do that.” The longest race distance I’d run at time of registration was a half-marathon so I chose a 50k as a reasonable first ultra.


KL: You must have some good family support to be doing something like this (unlike most runners, for instance, you can’t yet drive to the race and probably need help getting there). Can you tell us what that family support looks like to you?

AL: Saturday mornings for my long run, my Dad would drive me to trails about 35 minutes from where we live. Big Shout out to my Dad for his support of me doing this awesome stuff.


KL: What best prepared you for such a race?

AL: What best prepared me for Afton was doing lots of hilly trail running, and running with my running buddy, Greg Atkinson, who is running the Minnesota Voyageur this month for his first 50 miler.


KL: What’s something non-running that helped you at Afton?

AL: Strength training or cycling on cross-training days prepped me well.


KL: Did you have any low points during the race? If so, what helped you through it/them?

AL: Around mile 18-20 I had a real low point, but I kept praying and putting one foot in front of the other. My two goals for the race were to finish the race no matter what and to be the happiest person on the course.


KL: There may be those out there who say you are too young for this stuff. Do you have anything to say to them?

AL: What I’d say to them is to think of what our ancestors did hundreds of years ago, when persons of all ages would run for any number of miles for hunting and survival.


KL: Do you plan on doing any ultrarunning events in the future?

AL: Absolutely! I plan on running a few more 50ks to build a strong base and then progress on to 50 miles, with a long-term goal of 100. Thanks for taking the time to interview me, and I plan on doing Afton in the near future!



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.