Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Afton Trail Photo

Your Tuesday Trails blogger is taking the week off due to work commitments (this blog doesn't quite pay my mortgage. Heck, it doesn't even buy me a beer!)

Next week I will return with a race/trail report for Afton State Park. I'll be there to run the Afton 25K. Looks like there are about 80 spots left in the field, so hurry and sign up quick!
As promised, here's a photo. See you next week (which will probably be late as well due to the holiday!)

Afton Hills at sunset (taken by me in July 2008)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Race Numbers

As in musical numbers.  You know it's a good pun when you have to explain it.

This morning I was going for a slow laboring run, because that's what I do lately.  And as per usual my mind began to wander.  And as I ran past Minnehaha Falls where Get In Gear starts I got to thinking about music.  Specifically, pre-race music that is blared over the loudpseakers at races like Get In Gear.

I like the fact that they play music.  It gets people excited and makes the whole race more of an event.  But when I think of lining up for a big race and the music that is being played, only two songs come to mind.  It reminds me of that Blues Brothers scene where they only know two country songs as they pose as the Good Old Boys.

But instead of the Rawhide theme song and Stand By Your Man, the only two songs I can think of hearing at races are the Chariots of Fire theme song and that Dixie Chicks song, Ready to Run.

Now the Chariots of Fire opening music is a great song.  A beautiful, inspirational opening scene, but we are coming up on the 30th anniversary of this movie's release.  I was ten when this movie came out.  Plus, the movie is about a couple of sprinters, not distance runners.  And the opening scene is lost on a generation of runners.  I say, time to freshen it up.

And then there is the Dixie Chicks song.  Watch the video.  No really, watch it.

Three ladies in wedding dresses... what does this have to with running?  And who has a triple wedding?  Talk about a logistical and financial nightmare.  Okay wait, they are running after awhile.  But this isn't about racing.  It's about leaving the altar.  And trespassing.  And stealing kids bikes.  And vandalizing cars.  And assaulting mascots.  And ruining kids' birthday parties.  

Breaking hearts and committing petty and/or mean crimes?  This isn't about running at all.  Halfway through they're not even running.  They're riding bikes.  And I can't even figure out the end.  They start a food fight and suddenly everything is okay?  I need to remember that next time my wife is mad at me.

Just because a song has "ready to run" in it, doesn't mean it is about running.

Plus that video annoyed me because it seems like a direct ripoff of one of the greatest parodies of a chase scene ever, the one in Raising Arizona.

Anyway, I got to thinking on the latter half of my run, "okay wise guy.  It's easy to criticize someone else's job than do a good job on your own."  So I asked myself, what pre-race set list would I make if I were a race director?   And then I realized what a tough job that would be.  You can't just play music you like; you have to find something with a broader appeal.  But why try to tie it to running? When you do, you end up on the same two songs every race director is stuck with.  Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream gets a lot of play too.  

At Twins games I like to ask the people I'm with what song they would choose to play as they get introduced to bat.  Now I have a new question to ask at races.  If you were the race director, what five songs would you play before the race?  It is a much harder job than I initially thought.

I would pick older mainstream songs just to make sure they have wide familiarity.  Off the top of my head, my list for the pre-race crowd would be....
  1.  KISS' Rock n Roll All Night.
  2.  Aerosmith's Sweet Emotion, which would lead naturally to...
  3.  Run DMC and Aerosmith performing Walk This Way together.
  4. John Mellencamp's R.O.C.K. in the USA.
  5. And to round out the five, I would add one song about running (sort of) Intergalatic by The Beastie Boys because they do claim they "run the marathon to the very last mile."
The close reader will note that these are not my favorite songs and have nothing to do with music I listen to when I run.  They are just songs we all know and are widely liked; and they would be a nice break from the Chariots of Fire/Tom Petty/Dixie Chicks playlist.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking to Fall

And by fall I mean autumn, not the falling like I do at least monthly on my runs.

So, now that Grandma's and the bulk of the spring marathons are behind us, it's time to look ahead to fall autumn.

Twin Cities Marathon anyone?  How about Chicago?  Or Des Moines?  Whistlestop?  The Belize City Celebration of Central America Fall Marathon?  So many choices this fall, and yet we have one class to meet your needs.

It doesn't matter what marathon you run this fall, MDRA has an affordable option for you.  The MDRA Fall Marathon Training Program.

Click here for more information. 

In summary, Heidi from the office says:

Fall Marathon Class starts on June 22, 2010 (tonight)  with an informational session at the ECC at 7:00 p.m. in room 351 (no run that night).

The first run is on Saturday, June 26 from the Sears Building in St. Paul off of Rice and University. Registration at 6:30 a.m., run at 7:00 a.m.

New this year, MDRA is offering a $20 class discount for anyone who has taken the class before and is bringing  a new runner to the class. They can send the form in less $20 and make a note on their registation form the new runners name.

WE DO have TCM entries available! Up to 50, we should be able to accomodate anyone who needs one. Had a few inquiries on that this week.

This year I will be coaching the class again with Marty Humphrey and Anne Walztoni.  So please come and join us.  If you can't sign up tonight, we will be registering people on Saturday and throughout the class.

Our class meets every Saturday morning and Tuesday evening.  We provide a training schedule based on experience and background mileage.  We can also personalize your training plan to meet your performance goals.  And while this class is targeted around TCM, we do have runners training for Whistlestop, Chicago, and other fall marathons.  As coaches, we tweak your plan to meet your target marathon date.

The class offers a nice range of repeat class members and rookie marathoners.  In general the ability of our class members ranges from sub 2:50 to 6:00.  There really is room for everyone and we welcome all comers.  So come and join us for a fun summer and fall of running!

Over the river and through the woods...

Well, safe to say blogging and running in general have taken a back seat to other facets of my life lately.  So the close reader should be able to infer that I did not participate in Grandma's Marathon last weekend.  But I did go as a spectator.  So consider this a Spectator Report.

I met Kate (who was a team leader for the MDRA spring marathon training class) and fellow MDRA blogger Drew Placknar in Shoreview at 5:45 a.m. and headed to Duluth.  Drew is also a coach for the spring marathon training class.  Once in Duluth we picked another MDRA coach for the spring class, Melissa, and headed to mile six.  We got there right as the 3:20 balloon went by. 

We got there just in time to see Polar Bear Plungers Chris Massol and Kristen Johnson run by.

Once the field went by...

...we got back in the car and headed to the William A. Irvin around mile 25.5.  Along the way we saw the men's leaders go by at mile 25.  Still such a tight pack.  Philemon Kemboi (middle in the orange singlet) ended up winning by 16 seconds. 

We didn't see the close finish, but we did see Buzunesh Deba sprint by on her way to victory.

A little less than half an hour later, a cute puppy made an appearance!!  Oh yeah, and your Tuesday Trail blogger Nathan came by.  Nice of the lady on the cell phone to take time out from her conversation to cheer Nathan on.

Drew Riddles in his first marathon meets his goal of breaking 3:30.  Very exciting.

Drew P. and I cheering.  Are working hard or what?

Okay well maybe not all that hard.  Certainly not as hard as these guys.  Congratulations to the MDRA Spring Marathon Training class participants and to all Grandma's finishers!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Park (Minnesota) Point, Duluth, MN

Hello Minnesota runners! Like many of you (probably over 10,000 or so), I am sore and still tired from the Grandma's Marathon and Half weekend festivities. I ran the full on Saturday. I may not have had my best time in the race, but I had a great time over the weekend celebrating running and runners! It was a great weekend, and so much fun to cheer and support so many MDRA and other finishers.

So, like many of you, I'm not wanting to think too much about running this week, so I'm not up for a big trails blog post. So instead, I'll toss out a "trail" I've never run on, and see what you all think. I'm drawing my inspiration this week from Grandma's Marathon and this week's trail report takes us to Duluth: Park Point (a.k.a. Minnesota Point).


My familiarity with Park (Minnesota) Point stems from many quick vacations over the years to Duluth. With its easy access from Canal Park just over the famed and historic Aerial Lift Bridge, Park Point is the logical place to go to access the rays and enjoy Lake Superior.

Park Point Beach is a great place to play in the sand and sun...

This past weekend the weather in Duluth was phenomenal! After the marathon we sloooooowly shuffled over the bridge and had a picnic on the beach right under the shadow of the lift bridge. We even walked in to ice our aching muscles.

...and an even better place to ice sore muscles after a marathon!
Sunday was even better! We drove back and went to a larger beach area and relaxed on the beach for a few hours, working out the singlet tan lines from the day before.

Park Point may be better known by the locals as a place for high schoolers to chill and start illegal bonfires. A couple years ago, post-Grandma's, we tried to do the same thing and were politely scolded by local cops.
According to Wikipedia, Park Point is 7 miles long on the Minnesota side, and 3 miles long on the Wisconsin side, making it the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. The beach really is spectacular and reminds me more of an ocean beach than a lake beach. I have been told that the entire beachfront is public access, in spite of all the homes that front the sand dunes.

This leads me to believe that at 7 miles in length, Park Point is a 14 mile round-trip beach run waiting to happen. I don't know about you fellow Midwesterners, but I LOVE running on the beach. I've run on beaches in California, Virginia, Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Mexico. I have not, however, run on any beaches in Minnesota, mostly due to lack of length. Park Point seems an obvious place to beach run. Anyone out there try this?


The beach is amazing, really reminiscent of ocean beaches. The dunes are beautiful and are undergoing restoration and revegetation. It's usually pretty windy along the beach, but this past weekend, there wasn't any breeze and the lake was the calmest I had ever seen it.
Race Venue?
I'm not sure there are any races on the beach itself, but apparently Grandma's sponsors a 5-miler on Park Point in July on the paved road on the peninsula. This year's race is July 16.
Whether racing, running or relaxing, Park Point is worth a visit!
Enjoy the trails!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Congratulations Grannies!!

Congratulations to all runners who particiapted in the Grandma's races this weekend.  Fellow MDRA blogger Drew drove me and some other MDRA marathon class coaches/team leaders to Duluth and back today.

We met in Blaine at 5:15 this morning and I just got back about 20 minutes ago.  I'll post a few pictures and add a more comphrehensive overview of our trip tomorrow.  But for now, congratultions to everyone who finished or supported those who did.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Luck Runners!!

Good luck to everyone participating in the Grandma's weekend of races.

Work and home life got away from me over the past month or so, but I will be able to blog quite a bit more now that school is out.

Thanks to Nathan for keeping the blog alive with his new feature while Drew and I took a breather.  I'll check in post-Grandma's.  That will be a heck of a race report roundup.

Good luck at Grandma's!

Good luck to all Grandma's Marathon, Half and 5K participants this weekend! Many of you are probably headed up early (as am I) to avoid the disastrous road construction on I-35. Come early, stay late (into the night on Saturday!)

As your Tuesday Trails writer, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I ran my last soft trail run pre-marathon last night. I lightly jogged an old favorite: the short stretch of soft trail around the NE quadrant of Cedar Lake. Beautiful sunset, tons of paddlers on the lake, and I had the trails all to myself. One lake over at Calhoun felt like a moving frat party, but Cedar offered solitude as I mentally prepped for running 26.2. Do you have a favorite pre-marathon running route in the days leading up to a race?

View Larger Map

Good luck to all runners, especially those who trained with the MDRA class, ESPECIALLY those running their first half or full marathon! Look for me, I'll be wearing a dark blue singlet that says "BARR" in big, white letters. Cheer for me, and I'll cheer for you. Don't cheer for me, I'll cheer even louder! (shoot, I just realized that I left my cowbell back in Minneapolis. I'll have to shout really loud now!)

Also, remember to stop by the MDRA booth at the expo and say hi to Heidi and whomever else is working the booth (I'll be there for an hour or two as well). Grab our latest MDRA magazine and sign up for all the great member benefits!

Good luck out there and have fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Lake Elmo, MN

First, a reminder to lend your voice to the Minnesota Trail Survey! Check out the MDRA website and click on the survey link in the upper right.

As promised, Tuesday Trails lands on the east side of town this week. This week's post takes us to Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Washington County right off of I-94.

This gorgeous park is about 15 minutes from St. Paul, and about 30 minutes from Minneapolis. It is definitely worth a drive, especially in the fall. There are probably 15 miles or so of hiking/running trails. They are grassed/mown trails that double as cross country ski trails in the winter (a common refrain for these multi-use regional parks.)


I have met my running club out here a few times. Since it's one of the few parks we go to that charges an admission ($5 last I checked), we generally meet outside the park at a coffee shop and carpool in to save some money.

Every fall, I do work in Lake Elmo Park Reserve in my capacity as a water resources engineer, and that gives me free admission (and pays for the 30 minute drive across town), so I always make sure to bring my running clothes with me and when the work day is over, I change and hit the trails as the sun is setting.


According to Lake Elmo's website, there are 20 miles of trails. (The Winter Ski Map is much better than the Summer Map). At least 12 of those are soft trails. The western loop (A Loop) is a beautiful prairie loop. Other than the occasional McMansion sighting, the trail feels very remote. The B and C loops (central and eastern) are more wooded, although there are prairie sections as well. The terrain there is steeper and some portions of the trail near the Eagle Point Dam are quite eroded and could use some redesign using sustainable trail principles.

Watch out for gunfire on the eastern side of course! There's a shooting range there. I haven't been hit yet!


There is no park in the metro that is prettier in the fall at sunset, in my opinion. The prairies are golden during the day, and turn a deep reddish gold at sunset. I just read "Prairie Erth" which is about the remnant tallgrass prairies of Kansas, and when I was reading the book, it was the prairies of Lake Elmo and Afton that I was imagining.

Getting There

The park is located a couple miles north of I-94 in the small city of Lake Elmo. From I-94, take Keats Avenue/County Road 19 north. Keats becomes the main park road. There's a park office where you have to pay (have exact change for the pay envelope). The main trail parking is about half a mile up on the left. If you pass the "Primitive Campground", you've gone too far! You'll know the Primitive Campground by the large protruding foreheads and usage of stone tools.

As far as I can tell, while there are other pedestrian access points to the park, there's no convenient parking at any of those locations. Best bet is to use the main entrance.

Race Venue

While the Ragnar Relay often uses the park as a checkpoint, very little of that race takes place in the park.

As far as I can tell, there are two races run in Lake Elmo. The first is the Lake Elmo Lions Huff-n-Puff 5K and 1/4 Marathon on August 14, 2010. 1/4 Marathon is an interesting distance. Some call that a 10K (with a short warmup). This race appears to be in the park, but on the roads. Price is pretty good: $12!

The second race in Lake Elmo uses the trails. The Wildwood Lodge Great Pumpkin Chase 5K and 10K will be run October 30, 2010. I've run this race before, and while I enjoyed the challenging routes picked (it's run on the hilly B and C loops), I did think that the race was slightly overpriced ($25 to $35), particularly since it didn't include the $5 park entry fee (and the shirt kind of sucked). I notice that this year the park entry fee is included, so it's a better deal now. I do wish more races had a cheaper option if you didn't want the shirt, but that gripe should be the topic for a different post! I may have to come back and give this race another chance. It's certainly run at the prettiest time to be in the park!

Enjoy the Trails!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Calling all Running Coaches!

Are you interested in coaching other runners to run in a 5K or 10K? There are some opportunities to give back to the running community and help runners achieve their goals. I will say that I have had the pleasure of coaching the MDRA marathon class once and assistant coaching several times and it is a fun and rewarding experience. If you have any interest, please read on!

First things first. Although not always required to be a coach, if you are interested in becoming USATF-certified, there is a class to become a USATF Level 1 coach. The class is June 21 in Stillwater. See USAFT-MN's website for more details.

Since I am the Tuesday Trails blogger, this one is near to my heart. The City of Lakes Loppet Run Club is offering a trail running class to help runners prepare for trail races of any distance up to a half marathon. This class is sponsored by Finn Sisu. They are looking for more coaches for this program. Mondays meet at Wirth, Saturdays at various locations. For more information, please email Nichole at nichole.porath (at) gmail.com.

MDRA is looking for USATF-certified coaches (see above) to help with our new 5K and 10K classes. These classes are geared for the TCM 5K and 10K, run the Saturday before the marathon. Please contact Heidi for more information on how to get involved with coaching these classes. Contact info is on the website at www.runmdra.org or you can email Heidi directly at hmiler (at) hotmail.com.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Elm Creek Park Reserve, Maple Grove, MN

We head back to a Three Rivers Park for this week's Tuesday Trail. (St. Paulites, don't worry, I'm headed your way soon). This week's report is on Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove.

Like most Three Rivers Parks, including the previously reviewed Hyland, Elm Creek offers something for everyone: hiking, biking, horseback riding, swimming, cross country skiing and more! You'll be surprised to learn that this post focuses on running the park's soft trails.

View Larger Map


Growing up in the northern 'burbs about 11 miles from Elm Creek, I used to bike there with my family. I remember sliding down the zip line and swimming in the impossibly clean and huge man made lake in the park. In recent years, I've been back to the park for early season cross country skiing (they have one of the longest man made snow courses in the Twin Cities).

So this past week I headed back with some MDRA running buddies for my first summertime visit in nearly 20 years. Imagine my surprise that the huge man made lake of my childhood was in fact only about the size of 4 swimming pools! A part of childhood just died...

In any case, we had a fantastic trail run, so much so that I wanted to share the report with you all while it's still fresh in my mind. This is one park that is worth the drive!


According to their map, Elm Creek has over 50 miles of trails, the vast majority being soft trails. On our run, we covered about 15 miles of trails. We were treated to deciduous forestlands, native prairies and wetlands. Yes, lots of wetlands, so BRING BUG SPRAY!! The mosquitoes were thick every time we stopped for even a moment. There wasn't a lot of commiserating in the parking lot after our run.

According to their website, the park is building 12.5 miles of new singletrack trails for mountain bikers and runners using the sustainable trail design (Lebanon Hills in Eagan has the best example of this construction technique). This is exciting news and will definitely bring me back! Sustainable trail design in hilly terrains makes for a lot of long, rolling hills. It provides a better, more consistent workout and most importantly, better protects the trail from erosion and degradation.


I really enjoyed the tranquility of Elm Creek. The trails were well maintained, like any Three Rivers Park, but with few park structures and no neighborhoods in sight, this park felt really remote. Only by the ski chalet and beach did the park have a more urbanized, sanitized feel.

I particularly enjoyed the dense forests and rolling terrain around Rush Creek in the middle of the park. The big northern loop felt most remote, and had some very challenging sections of rolling hills. Surprisingly good hill workout for a northern metro park!

Getting There

You can enter at the main entrance from Highway 81 by the chalet, but the preferred spot for trail running is the hiker parking lot on the west side off of Elm Creek Road. There's a small nature center there with bathrooms. You can even buy a T-shirt if you feel so inspired!

While parking at the hiker's parking lot, make sure to take time to check out this great perennial garden!

Race Venue

I'm not familiar with any races at Elm Creek, but Google is. There is a race Notes for Cliff 5K at the park next Saturday, June 19. Know of any others?

Enjoy the Trails!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Runners: Speak Up and Improve Your Trails!

Hello, your "Tuesday Trails" writer is back again. But this time I'm not here to share my experiences on Minnesota trails, rather, I'm asking you to share your experiences by completing the MDRA Minnesota Running Trails Survey.

As part of its mission of promoting the sport of running in Minnesota for all participants, MDRA is asking runners to share their experiences with local trails. MDRA will take all information collected and use your input to advocate for better trails throughout the state. For example, if you have a specific safety concern about a trail you enjoy using, please let us know! Help us improve your running experience by completing this short survey (only 8 questions!)


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday Trails: Fort Snelling State Park, Minneapolis, MN

This week's installment of Tuesday Trails brings us back to Minneapolis. "Really?" you may ask, "MORE soft trails in a the dense urban metropolis of Minneapolis? This cannot be!" Well, you're probably not asking that, but I'll tell you more about one of my favorite parks, Fort Snelling State Park. Before I write my report, I'd like to link to a trail report that my friend (and MDRA member) Nick wrote 2 years ago. He did a better job than I will, so you should probably just read his!
Not that I mind being confused with my esteemed blogger colleague, Rocco, but apparently on last week's post, a couple of you thought I was Mike. That's ok, but I'm not Mike, and I doubt he wants to be confused with me. This confusion made me realize that I had not properly introduced myself, and this week's entry is probably the most appropriate one, as you'll see why in a moment!

My name is Nathan, and I am a board member of MDRA, and an occasional coach and team lead of the marathon training programs that MDRA offers. I moved here several years ago and within a week had bought a house in South Minneapolis, picking the location purely on my experiences during the Twin Cities Marathon in 2003. I knew I wanted to be as close to Minnehaha Falls as possible, so that's where I lived. I loved that spot with the access to Minnehaha Parkway, the River Roads and Lake Nokomis. What I didn't know was that my favorite running spot by my house would be an entirely different trail.

I had no idea Fort Snelling was so accessible to Minnehaha Falls and only discovered it by accident by running the wrong way down the long hill from the falls to the base of the fort. Once I had a taste of the trails down there, I was running down there a couple times a week, particularly on Pike Island.

I recently moved closer to Uptown, so I don't get back to Fort Snelling as often, and I really do miss it. In fact, I miss that more than anything else about my old neighborhood, with the exception of the 5am runs with Rocco. I know he doesn't miss those.

That's enough about me, on with the trail report!

Fort Snelling has an interesting, amazing, and mostly sad history. It's not important to know the history to run here, but it's important as a Minnesotan to know what took place here. The Minnesota Historical Society runs a nice museum on top of the bluff, and there are other resources you can find on the Internet as well to learn more. Here are just a few interesting facts about Fort Snelling:
  • Purchased by Zebulon Pike in 1805
  • Fort construction begins in 1820
  • Dred Scott lived here as a slave, and since Minnesota was a Free State, he used his time at Fort Snelling as justification in his unsuccessful attempt to win freedom through the courts
  • The largest mass hanging in US history was carried out here in 1862. Lincoln ordered that Native Americans suspected of being involved with the Sioux Uprising be executed. This is without a doubt the darkest day in Minnesota history

Most people experience the historical settlement part of Fort Snelling

In terms of running (which is why you're reading this), Fort Snelling offers about 10 miles of running trails, almost all of which are soft trails. The state park website has an excellent map that details all the trails here. This blog post will focus on the trails on the west side of the river, however, on the east side of the Minnesota River there are more soft trails, often called Sibley Trails due to their proximity to the historic Sibley House.

The 3 main features of Fort Snelling (for running) are Pike Island, Picnic Island, and Snelling Lake.

Pike Island
This is a gem and my favorite 3 miles of running in the Twin Cities. Many find it boring because it is so flat, but I like the familiarity of it. The island is precisely a 5K (3.1 miles) in circumference, with cutoffs to allow 1 and 2 mile loops as well. The trails are dirt and gravel, and very flat. The density of deer living on this island is rather extreme, but if you enjoy seeing wildlife while you run (like I do), Pike Island will not disappoint. Deer, cranes and beavers are everywhere on and around this island. You really feel far from civilization, which is ironic considering this was the site of the first permanent white settlement in Minnesota.

The bridge to access Pike Island

Picnic Island
It's not really an island since it is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, but it probably used to be. There are picnic facilities and a boat ramp. This "island" is about 1.5 miles around or so. Not really worth it for it's own sake, but it's a nice way to make a trail run a little longer.

Snelling Lake
After Picnic Island you can continue running around Snelling Lake on the soft trails, pausing for a drink of water at the park ranger station. After completing the circuit around the lake, you're back at Pike Island!

Getting There
There are 3 ways to enter the park:

1) There's a 2-mile, paved trail that goes south from Minnehaha Falls down to Pike Island. Try to run easy down the trail, and hard back up! It's a nice shallow grade, so just perfect for that long hill workout.

2) Park in the lot up on top of the bluff for the Fort Snelling museum. It's free, and just a short, steep jog/walk down the bluff and onto the trails.

3) If you have a state parks sticker, you can park down below in the state park and run from there.

Getting Away
Fort Snelling is perfect for other add-ons. With its close proximity to 2 bridges (Highway 5 into St. Paul and Mendota into Dakota County), you have easy access to the River Roads, Minnehaha Parkway, Sibley Trails, and Big River Trail. It's a great spot to plan all or part of that 20-miler. Or it's a great spot to just run a 5K!

Race Venue
As I mentioned, Pike Island is exactly a 5K around, so it shouldn't surprise you to hear that races are run there! The Fort Snelling 5x5 Relay race every September is a favorite of mine. All you need are 4 friends who will run 5K! The race gets to be a little lonely in the latter legs of the relay, but it's still a ton of fun. This year's running will be September 19.

Enjoy the Trails!