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We are super excited to announce the unveiling of the new Afton Trail Run website!  This post probably gets a little more technical and delves into the nuts and bolts of why we designed our site the way we did than the average reader (runner) may be interested in – but besides trail / ultrarunning, web design and user experience is another thing we are very passionate about – so here goes!

Too often I find myself going online to check out a race that I just heard of or click a Facebook link to a race a friend has signed up for only to learn, well… nothing or at least nothing very easily.  As a potential participant, when I go to a race website there are a few basic things I am looking learn and hopefully, learn very quickly without having to look too hard.

• Where is the race held (region, state, nearest city)
• When is the race (what time of year and what is the exact calendar date)
• What does the course / race look like (beautiful, ugly, mountainous, flat)
• When does registration open, close and are their field limits etc.

From there, if the prospective race fits the criteria for something I would like to run, I will take the time to dig further into the website and hopefully that website is laid out intuitively.

We were determined to give people the best feel possible of what this race is all about and what better way to do as much than with beautiful photography.  We have been blessed to have (since the inception of this event) some of the most dedicated and talented volunteer photographers I have ever seen and we really wanted to showcase their work!  It is hard to sum any trail / ultra up in words or a single image, so we went for it and sorted through 1000’s of images and came up with about 100 awesome photos that we feel represent the race and put them all on the homepage, front and center.  With the help of some fancy code that makes it manageable to load this many images without completely bogging down the site, it worked out wonderfully and gives you an immediate feel for the race – like they say, a picture is worth a 1000 words!  So while we made the home page of the site very visual we made sure that that basic bullet list of items I listed previously can be found quickly and easily and we did this via a couple of strategically placed “Quick-Info” links that activate a nifty “Flyout” slider containing all of the most important information.

From there, we stayed with a similar layout of the old site but grouped most of the key content / pages into “mega-menus” so when you hover over the header “Race Information” for example, a large menu with all of your options appears and you can quickly make a decision about where you want to go.  We kept our unique results section where you can not only see results from a single year, but can compare year to year results and analyze result in several ways via search and sorting via the column headers.  We retooled the Course Records page into a “Records” page, and put the focus not just on the fastest times run, but accounted for those runners with the most finishes and highlighted the youngest and oldest finishers of each distance.  We reorganized the race reports page and continue to encourage anyone that has written about their experiences at the race to please submit their race reports for inclusion on the race site – your first hand experience as runners is invaluable to anyone considering running one of the events!  We retooled the sponsors and volunteer sections of the website – as you all know, we would not have an event without volunteers and sponsors and wanted to make sure that volunteering is as painless as possible and that our sponsors get proper recognition!

Well, I could go on but I digress and encourage you to spend some time exploring the site.  If there is something that you are looking for and it feels like it took more effort than it should have, please drop us a line.  We thank you; runners, volunteers and sponsors for your continued support of our awesome event – we look forward to seeing you all this Summer at the Afton Trail Run!

Sincerely,

John Storkamp
Race Director
Afton Trail Run

+ Click HERE for Quick Info

Afton Trail Run
50KM & 25KM Trail Races
Afton State Park – Hastings, Minnesota
Saturday July 7th, 2018
50KM 6:30AM
25KM 7:30AM

Registration:
Opens Monday January 1st 2018 at 12:01AM CST
Closes Friday June 29th 2018 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.