/ 2023


Afton was awesome, again! I had five family members running with me yesterday. The enthusiasm and support of the volunteers was excellent. Afton has become nostalgic in the many good memories (I have run it at least 12 times; maybe more). It won’t be long and I will be running Afton with my grandkids. Two of them are in 5th grade and are soccer players. We talk about future races already. You all are excellent at what you do. I can’t think of anything to improve the experience. Everything you include with the race or sell is great. The shirts are my favorite. Your cotton shirts are amazing. I wear them often. I also miss the tech running shirts. I wear them often as well. Next up is Moose Mt Marathon for me. This race is almost spiritual. In August I am backpacking with my son and grandson on part of that section and north of Lutsen. I missed Fall Superior last year because Jen and I ran the Humboldt Redwood Marathon in CA. It was my first time among the giant redwoods. We spent three days hanging out under the canopy of these amazing trees. Anyway, it will be good to be back on the north shore. I appreciate you and I appreciate your races! – Wayne


I’ve participated in Afton three times. I wanted to tell you how thoughtful your race information always is, how well organized the event always is, and how phenomenal the volunteer squad was for the runners. I was so wildly impressed this year with how kind, helpful, supportive, “on”, and energetic the volunteers were at every aid station. Another mentally and physically challenging, and oh so meaningful Afton 50k Trail Race! – Melissa


Just wanted to say thanks for another great race yesterday! The vibe is awesome and it’s so well organized and fun. That humidity was no joke though! Can’t wait til next year. – Lisa


Sincerest of thanks for another wonderful race. Despite the heat, loved the 50k at Afton. My wife also really enjoyed her second Afton 25k. Wondering what one (or more) does to inquire regarding volunteering for next year’s race. My wife, my four daughters and I would love to learn more. Very best to you. – Travis


I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know how much I appreciate the Afton 50K. This was my second year running the 50K, and the course, event, staff, volunteers, energy, atmosphere, and experience as a whole are second to none. I’ve run other ultras, marathons, and triathlons and this is hands down my favorite event. Keep up the great work. – Patrick


I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for putting on such a great race at Afton this past weekend! As a frequent road marathoner, this was my first 50k and first trail length of that kind of length. I was really impressed with the aid stations, the volunteers and the overall vibe around the race! I look forward to doing it again next year and other races as well! – Jeff


So fun to run this year and great seeing everyone! Everything was well marked and the best AS and volunteers like always! Thank you!!! The overflow parking at Afton Alps worked really well! I love the hat and the medal too – super nice extra touches. Have a great rest of the summer and hope to see you again soon! – Kelly


I just wanted to take a few moments and say thank you for all of the effort, time, and care that you put into the Afton Trail Run. It is clear how much you care about this race, running, and the community involved. This year I believe was my 5th time ever running Afton. And I had the best time. Well, until the last 4 miles, but we tend to forget about those!


I just wanted to say thank you so much for all the attention to detail you put into this event. It is truly something that I look forward to year after year. I hope to keep running this race for a long, long time :). – Amanda


/ 2022


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. – Richard


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. – Kate


Afton was my first running race in at least 15 years and the longest I have ever run in my life. Thank you for such an amazing event and atmosphere. It was a spectacular day, and I’m already excited to sign up for next year – even though it still hurts to walk down stairs. I know that is a huge amount of work to put on; thank you for all of your effort and leadership. Enjoy the rest of your summer! – Lisa


I just wanted to thank you for putting on such a fun, well-run, and family-friendly race! My wife and I both ran it for the first time, and had a blast–we will definitely be back. Keep up the great work! – Ian


Thanks for the amazing experience. Initially I had planned on it being my last however, the participants, challenging course and organization have left me wanting to run another Rocksteady event. Of course, additional training and strengthening is required if other races mirror Afton. Thanks again and plotting my return. Hopefully will convince other Atlanteans to run as well. – Lee


/ 2021


Just wanted to thank you for the well planned race and thorough communication leading up to it. I thought it was a great way to get back to racing post-pandemic. I didn’t know what to expect, but really enjoyed the whole experience from check-in to cooling down and watching people finish. – Josh


Four words: One. Frickin’. AWESOME. Event. Thanks for all you and your team do. – Hank


I just wanted to send a quick note to express my gratitude and appreciation for the efforts that went into Afton this year. It was obvious that there were a lot of challenges and that a lot of thought, heart, and effort went into the race. Everything was awesome and my interactions with everyone involved was truly wonderful. Much thanks to you and the crew! Kind regards. – Shawn


I reflected back on Saturday‘a events. What I pondered is which it is I truly get more out of…. being a runner or a volunteer. My discovery is they are equal! I so enjoy being on both sides! I had met a runner at Zumbro who was cramping. I gave him half of my spear pickle supply. At the end of his run he yelled out to me, naming me The Pickle Princess and how that gave him the ability to finish the run! At Afton, working AS1/2 I hear from the other side of the area, “It’s the Pickle Princess!”. We chatted a bit, he showed me his stash of pickle spears and told me how he has shared our story to so many! That experience will forever make my heart full! Thank you for what you do and for allowing us the great experience we see out there in the race community! RSR is….. noble! – Deb


/ 2019


I just wanted to personally thank you for organizing another incredible event! Packet pick up was seamless, the course was well marked, the volunteers were top notch and the aid stations are consistently the best I’ve ever experienced! Very impressive work. – Steven S.


I just wanted to say thank you very much to you and everyone involved with Afton and all the amazing volunteers. At these races it never ceases to amaze me the things the volunteers will do to help totally random people reach their goals. Sounds corny but each time after all these races I always feel so much better about how we as people are doing and how we still care about each other…even complete strangers…and are always/still willing to help and be there for each other. Thanks again. – Aaron L.


This was my first time running at a Rocksteady Running event and really enjoyed the whole event. I live in upstate New York and have done a few of races around there and Afton was one of the best I’ve participated in across the board. I found it very similar to a race in New York with the same kind of history and community called The Escarpment Trail Run. I’ve never experienced such a festive and joyful race atmosphere as I did at Afton. I’ve been wanting to run one of the Superior races for a while and this left me more excited to do so. Thanks so much for the work you do. – Shawn B.


Thank you for an awesome race. It was my first trail race, and now I am hooked. Such a warm and welcoming community, and I am still on a high from all of the smiles that I saw on the trail. – Sara F.


I wanted to thank you and your crew for a great event this past weekend. I’m not a runner who enters these races to win…I enter for an opportunity to push myself physically, yes, but more so mentally. I always start the race with a heart filled with gratitude that I have the health and the means to participate. The challenge is to keep the gratitude front and center even when things get uncomfortable. You and your team do such an extraordinary job of providing the support needed to achieve that goal: the atmosphere is festive, supportive and inclusive, the trails is well prepared and well marked, the aid stations are filled with people who REALLY seem like they want to do whatever they can to help drive success, whether *success* is a winning time, finishing with a smile or a slower paced effort to get across the finish line under the time limit. Thank you for the time and effort you invest to make all the logistics run perfectly. Even more than that, thank you for building such a strong, positive spirit and then figuring out how to spread to all the volunteers and all the runners so it all just glows. You truly have created something very special. – Kris H.


I just wanted to say thank you very much to you and everyone involved with Afton and all the amazing volunteers. At these races it never ceases to amaze me the things the volunteers will do to help totally random people reach their goals. Sounds corny but each time after all these races I always feel so much better about how we as people are doing and how we still care about each other…even complete strangers…and are always/still willing to help and be there for each other. Thanks again. – Aaron L.


My wife and I ran the 25k this year. We are both happy runners – a few marathons, hood to coasts, others. We live down the road in Woodbury. I’m writing you solely to commend you on how exceptionally well-run this race was. We were nothing short of flabbergasted by the support stations, the volunteers, the communications, and the finish. In particular, I’ve never been so happy to see such a great spread of food and the smiling faces helping me to plop it on my plate. With so many races out there, there is a lot of variability in the effort put into them, and an even wider variability in the outcomes. Yours was truly at the top. Thank you. We’ll be back next year. Kindly, Travis and Kaite O


You and your crew do a wonderful job of putting this race on for us runners. I cannot even imagine how much work this would entail, but you and your crew need to know that your time and efforts are greatly appreciated. I guess the best way I could explain Afton (and other races you direct) is that it is “not about the race itself, it is about the EXPERIENCE”. Without the volunteers help, us runners would not be able to have the great experience. Your volunteers are second to none. I did read your letter to the volunteers, and all I can say is “well said”. Your aid stations are great. The people are great. Even my wife, Ann, says your aid stations are some of the best she has ever seen (she crews for me all the time so has seen her share of aid stations at different races over the years)! Respectfully – Dave J.


/ 2018


Hey John, first of all just let me thank you for all the great events you put on. I have been to a lot of running events but your events are second to none. As someone who assists race directors with a number of events I truly appreciate the amount of time, effort and “blood. sweat and tears” that it takes to put on even the smallest event. I ran my first RSR event at Zumbro in 2017, was doing the 50 but had to pull out after the first lap due to being an old guy and sustaining some stress injuries on that course. This spring I completed the 50K at Lutsen which replaced the Mt. Evan’s Ascent as the single most difficult event I have taken part in and I am registered for the Fall Marathon at Superior. This note is actually to thank you for my experience as a volunteer at Afton last week. Everything was well organized and ready to go when I got to station 1/2 shortly after 5:30. BK was a great team leader and we were able to have everything ready in a timely and mostly orderly fashion. It was interesting being at a station where the first runners were coming by the second side when there were others who had yet to get to the first side. I truly appreciate the organization at your races as well as the timely fashion you manage to get everything done in. I have become a huge fan or Rocksteady Running. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you at the races. – Jay L.


Hello, I was a participant in your 50K event this past weekend and I wanted to say what a great event it was. The set up, instructions and starting were so smooth and well prepared. The course, wow, that course. Its stunning but you had it so well marked – something very helpful for us out in front, and unable to rely on the folks right in front of us. It was SO well marked which added to the pure enjoyment and pleasure of carving through that trail. I will absolutely be a part of this event again – and recommending it to so many. I wish I could have stayed longer after to give a thank you to those at the aid stations, they were extremely helpful as well – cheerful and supportive. – Lauren M.


/ Older Testimonials


Best Race I have ever done.. Everything about the race was amazing start to finish and all the things I didn’t see that made the race flawless.. I will be doing all your races… – Dana


You guys did it again, congratulations! A great race, challenging course and conditions, yet the greatest volunteers with satisfying snacks and ICE!  You guys are great! Maybe I should have gotten a shirt to advertise, whenever I wear one of the earlier ones, people always ask!! Thank you! – Bonnie B.


Just wanted to thank you for a very memorable day, my first ever Afton Trail Ultra. It was amazing and everything I was told, and more. Thanks for a well run race. – David W.


Just wanted to say thanks for putting on such a kick-ass race! It was an awesome way to start the weekend, and I’m more proud of that than any of the other races I’ve done this year, and hooked, too. I’ll be back for more, most definitely! Give the rest of the team a pat on the back too — everyone (start to finish) was great. – Katie S.


Dear Afton Race Organizers, Thank you so much for hosting such an amazing race! Today was my sister and I’s first trail race.  We had a fabulous time and were amazed at the kindness of the trail running community.  We have run numerous road races and none of them have been able to compare with the spirit of camaraderie we sensed at your event. Thank you for all your work. All the best – Abbie U.


Thank you to all the rest stop people for making access to electrolytes and simple carbs so effortless, thank you to the trail groomers, coordinators, grill masters, check in specialists, the park ranger who kept our toilet paper supply from running out and everyone else who helped make another great trail run this year. Thank you, thank you! – Paula W


Thanks again for putting on an amazing event. I have tremendous respect for you, and for this race. The VOLUNTEERS are simply awesome! In fact, the group of runners that show up each year seem to be some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. So thanks once again for making this happen! – Robert D


Thanks again guys for a great run! I’m from Arkansas and was really impressed by the management and organization of this run. Great day for all! – Kate


Absolutely top notch race! Beautiful well marked difficult course, awesome aid, sweet shirt and token and… most of all, AMAZING volunteers! Thanks so much to all of you. Your smiling faces, good cheer and help were much appreciated. From filling my pack with water and ice, helping me with bug spray or opening shot blox or just giving encouragement, ya’ll were right there and happy to assist. You ROCK! I’ll definitely be back next year. – Melissa


Awesome 25K!! A HUGE thank you to the RD and ALL volunteers!!! Best Volunteers EVER!!!!I will def be doing it next yr!!! – Sally


Another fantastic event. Kudos to all the staff and volunteers. I think a fellow runner said it best when he described it as EPIC. If you were on the fence this year but didn’t do it — don’t miss it next year! I won’t be. – Rick


What a race! Man, can’t complement you guys enough on the markings, aid stations, volunteers (and their great attitudes!)… Well done guys, what a beautiful day! – Cole


I realize it’s somewhat after the fact, but I wanted to pass on to you and your race team what an incredible job you all did putting on this year’s Afton Trail Runs. I have never seen a race that was so well-organized and staffed by enthusiastic volunteers who clearly had the runners’ enjoyment, safety, and well-being as their top priorities.  While I ended up having to drop out toward the end of the race, I still consider the event an overwhelmingly positive experience. I will absolutely be returning to take another shot at it next year, in no small part thanks to the support I know will be waiting for me from the ATR team. Thanks again, and please pass along my gratitude to all the Afton volunteers. -Todd