*image courtesy of ATR race director
The Afton Trail Run 25K/50K - one/two loops - covers a mix of challenging terrain and climbing as it winds through the beautiful Afton State Park along the bluffs of the St. Croix River. This year's race will be held on Saturday July 3. A great way to kick of the July 4 holiday weekend!
I ran my first ever trail race here in 2005 and have not missed an ATR since (and yes, volunteering this year will count!). As much as I love checking out new trails and entering races where I have no clue of the course, I don't think I could ever tire of training and racing at Afton. As many of you know, the park offers a lot to us trail runners - a diverse set of trails from technical singletrack to wide ski trails, more climbs than you may want but with several fast sections including the mile+ river trail, and then there's the MTB trails and the ski hills when you need to mix it up even more. And of course the river itself to soak in when it's all done. Although I wouldn't recommend this so much in November.
Check out the website for more info on the race. There will be a few minor course changes this year due to trail closures but I expect similar times will be posted. And remember, course changes are no excuse for getting lost... the advice at last year's race start: "Follow the trail markers and don't get lost. But if you do get lost, come back and tell us where you got lost." Got it.
Overall we may well see faster times given that the race will be hosting the first ever USATF-MN trail running championship, which means... YES, prize money!
Though of course, if you've run the race the past few years - or any of the other local ones for that matter - you will be familiar with the most prized possesion of all... the ATR shirt. Like the race director himself it's a pretty unique piece of work! Check out the photos on the race blog.
Get signed up today. This is one race you don't want to miss.