Another important discussion that I'd like to include my running friends in is the date for next years (and future years) Wild Duluth Races. We're planning on offering 50k and 100K distances and possibly a half marathon distance as well. The date for this year's beta run was really bad - it conflicted with Glacial Trail ultras, Whistletop Marathon in nearby Asland, WI and an early season weekend deer hunt that was near the course. All three things conspiring to make the chosen date really poor. But, it was the only weekend in October that worked for us so that was it.
October is a pretty busy month on the race calendar unfortunately. First weekend in October - Twin Cities Marathon. Second weekend in October - Glacial Trail 50k/50 mile, Whistestop Marathon. Third weekend in October - Nerstrand Big Woods Trail races. Fourth weekend in October - this year North Face 50 mile in Wisconsin (next year maybe nothing on this date). If we go to the last weekend in September we then conflict with In Yan Teopa 10 mile trail run. Let me know if I'm missing any races here.
Based on the above, it would appear that the fourth weekend in October may be the best date for next year's race. If conflicting races were the only criteria, then yes, that's probably true. However, I hesitate to run Wild Duluth so late in October due to potential for bad weather (snow, cold, ice, oh my!), the colors will no longer be spectacular like they were last weekend, and there will be leaves covering the trail and the possible hazards they present hidden underneath. If it were up to me only, I would not choose the fourth weekend in October for the race. I like the first weekend because we'll more likely have good weather and the colors are starting to get really nice on the hills by then. This weekend is bad because of the conflict with Twin Cities (Sunday) and a big cross-country meet (Saturday) that our daughter will probably be running in for the next 5 years (and we don't want to miss). The second weekend is great in Duluth, but will not work because of it's conflict with Glacial Trail primarily and also Whistlestop. The third weekend is a possibility. The liklihood of bad weather is certainly increasing at this point but many of the trees may still be holding their colorful leaves and we also could have a really nice day. Nerstrand is a big trail race (around 800 runners last year). Would a trail ultra like Wild Duluth be a major conflict to a shorter trail race like Nerstrand? How many runners out there run Nerstrand now and wouldn't run Wild Duluth because you plan on running Nerstrand every year? It's part of the MN Trail Series and the State Championship race this year and it's a bummer that we may have to conflict with this race. Fourth weekend probably won't conflict with any races, but it's pretty late in the year for a race in Duluth. What say you?
What about a switch of dates with another MN Trail Series race that occurs further to the south where weather may be warmer at the end of October? Perhaps October isn't the best month for Wild Duluth. Originally I had planned to run the race in August since there aren't too many ultras in August in the upper midwest. However, August is a month when we're often on vacation and it may not work as well from a RD perspective. Plus, you wouldn't believe how beautiful the Fall colors were last Saturday during the beta run of Wild Duluth unless you had been there. It really was spectacular and would add a lot to the race.