Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wild Duluth 100K and 50K Course Update

The re-route for the Wild Duluth 100K and 50K races is set.  The Harder n' Hell Half course will be the same.

The 50K race start and 100K turnaround will be at the Duluth Lake Superior Zoo EDIT Spirit Mountain Ski Area.  The course will leave the zoo Runners will leave the Spirit Mountain gravel parking lot by dropping down the ski hill on a dirt access trail, connecting with the Old Skyline Parkway access road and turn right.  Follow Old Skyline Parkway and drop down a twisting mountain bike trail to the DWP railgrade.  Runners will remain on the old DWP rail grade, except for one detour, all the way out to where the rail grade goes over a bridge over Skyline Parkway near Becks Road.  Runners will drop down off the rail grade onto Skyline Parkway and then cross and follow Becks Road for a short stretch before dropping down old 7 Bridges Road.  Runners who have run the Voyageur 50 will be familiar with this section from Becks Road and down 7 Bridges Road.  Runners will then turn onto the Superior Hiking Trail where it intersects with 7 Bridges Road.  Once on the Superior Hiking Trail here, you will proceed the rest of the way on the Superior Hiking Trail to the finish at Bayfront Park.  100K runners will start at Bayfront and run the 50K course backwards to the zoo and then back to Bayfront.  Approximately the first 10 miles of the 50K course will be different this year.  The remainder of the course (20 miles) will be the same.

Your first impression might be that the old railgrade will suck. Well, that's not entirely the case.  From the zoo, you will rise ever so slightly all the way to the intersection with Skyline Parkway (100K runners will descend ever so slightly to the turnaround).  There is also a detour off the grade, under an old trestle that is somewhat unsafe to cross, up a singletrack trail to the aid station at Magney-Snively and then back down a rough, rocky old road/ATV trail to the railgrade.  Once this detour is completed, you'll stay on the railgrade the rest of the way...skirting some washouts, enjoying some tremendous views of the St. Louis River, and passing cool rock cuts.  It's actually pretty darn nice.  A little easier than the normal Wild Duluth course, but also about a mile longer.  I ran the whole thing to determine the distance, and it really is interesting and I don't like railgrades myself.

One thing to note.  Runners with very minimal shoes without any rockplates will have sore feet after running on the grade.  There is a lot of gravel and small rocks that poke the bottoms of your feet and they will be sore.  You may want some more beefy shoes for this section.

Complete update with maps will be posted soon.  Please refer to the main page of the website for all of the 2012 changes and info.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Andy for all of your hard work. Looking forward to running the new course.