An Interview with Herb Byun (HB) – Interview conducted by Kevin Langton (KL) ~ Editors Note; of all the impressive performances at the 2018 Afton Trail Run, Herb’s time of 7:08 and placing 193rd out of 293 starters at the age of 74 is simply staggering and one of the top performances of the year.  All hail the OG’s.



KL: Hi Herb. Congrats on another great run at Afton—and on such an incredible string of runs at Afton. This is your sixteenth Afton finish and you ran an awesome race (7:08:05). What were your plans or goals for the race and how did the race play out for you?

HB: I started the Afton 50k 18 times and finished 16. I had one wrong way and one really bad time after a wine party before the race. I asked do not record my time for those races. I hope I can run a few more with respectable time.


KL: Please tell us about some of the biggest changes you’ve seen at Afton.

HB: From 60+ finishers to 270+ 50K finishers!!


KL: Do you have any Afton memories that stand out above others that you’d like to share?

HB: Three or four years ago a runner in front me crashed at the Snow Shoe Trail downhill (last section). I don’t know whether it was preventable.


KL: It’s safe to say that not many people are doing what you’re doing at 74 years old, not only running 50k races, but running such sweet times for them. What advice do you have for runners as they age? (What are you doing different today than you were 16 years ago?)

HB: I didn’t accept the reality that I was slowing down until I was 70 years old. I still spend the same number of running hours as when I was in my 50s. Of course, the mileage is not there. I feel like I play tennis and dance with the same intensity, but running asks more from my aged cardiovascular system. I guess maintaining the weight, more muscle and training intensity helps me. It’s my commitment—some people dream of worthy goals, while others stay awake and accomplish them.


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

HB: I do cross country ski during the winter from Thanksgiving to February. I think skiing helps rest my knees. Of course, I need 2-3 weeks warm-up when I return to running in March.


KL: What’s something else we should know about you?

HB: I ski downhill ski at Afton. Several runners train at the downhill ski area regularly. If you haven’t tried the ski area, walk up and run down the 300 foot black diamond runs across the main chalet. It’s an ultimate challenge around here.




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.