Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon - Swinging BridgeFounded in 1981, the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon is one of the oldest trail ultras in the nation. The race follows a rugged, varied, out-and-back course that takes runners on a journey from Carlton, MN through Jay Cooke State Park and heads northeast over difficult, rough woodland trails to the Duluth, MN and back. Enjoy scenic overlooks of Duluth, MN and Lake Superior, the iconic Swinging Bridge over the St. Louis River, and the infamous Power Lines.

The start, finish, and all race day festivities will be at the Carlton High School. Weather for the MN Voyageur can be extreme. There have been several years when it was hot and humid, including 2003 when it was brutally hot with 90% humidity. In other years it has been cool, in the mid-50’s, and wet. Plan for everything except snow – at least not so far!!

Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Ultramaration

  • Date: Saturday, July 26th, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 AM
  • Location: Carlton High School – Carlton, MN
Entry Fee

  • $50, through April 30th.
  • $60, through July 25th.
  • $75, race day.
Cost is only $25 if you volunteer at the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, on July 12th, 2014. For more information, go to: http://www.curnowmarathon.com/volunteer-opportunities/

Contact Us

Please note that online registration will close for the MN Voyageur 50 Mile at midnight tonight – Thursday, July 24th.

Registration using a paper form will be accepted through race day. However, if the form is not already on its way, mailing in the form is no longer an option, as it will not reach us in time.

In-person registration on race day with the paper form is $75. To get in for the current $60 entry, we do recommend you register online before midnight tonight. Also, registering in advance makes race director’s lives, oh, so much easier…

Hello Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra Participants,

It’s race week! I hope this message finds you well and ready to run on Saturday. We look forward to seeing you at the starting line! I have put together a few things to keep in mind for Saturday. First, the basics:

2014 Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra
Saturday, July 26th
Start Time: 6:00am
Start and Finish Location: Carlton High School
Website: http://www.voyageur50.com

Packet Pickup

You can pick up your packet on Friday night or Saturday morning. On Friday night we will be at the Four Seasons Athletic Complex in Carlton from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. There is a pasta dinner available as part of Carlton Daze. On Saturday morning, you can pick up your packet between 5:00am and 5:45am at the starting line (Carlton High School).

If you pick up your packet on Friday night, you still need to check in on race day so we know you are there!


The course will be marked with orange ribbons and signs this year. The course maps are available here:


Aid Stations

There are 8 aid stations on the course, and they are all between 3 and 5 miles apart. Aid station workers will be logging your bib number and time at each one, so make sure your bib number is visible. The aid stations will be stocked with water, HEED, fruit, cookies, and a variety of other things to eat. They will also have bug spray, sunscreen, Vaseline, pain reliever, and bandaids if you need them. The list of aid stations and the distances between them is available here:


Water Bottles

It is important that you carry at least a 20oz water bottle or some type of hydration system with you during the race. Five miles may not seem like a long distance between aid stations, but those five miles can take a long time when you are going up and down hills and walking tricky sections. There are also a few areas of the course that are open and exposed to the sun. It will be important to have water with you to replace the liquid you are losing while sweating. You can refill your water bottle at each aid station before starting the next section.

Drop Bags

We have two drop bag locations on the course this year. They are at Grand Portage (miles10.9 and 39.1) and the Zoo Turnaround (mile 25). If you have some special food or clothes you would like to access at those locations, put them in bags and bring them to the starting line. We will have stickers you can write your bib number on and stick to your bags. We will transport your bags to the drop bag locations so you can access them during the race. We will then transport them to the finish line for you. Some people like to put energy bars or gels in their drop bags. Others like to stash an extra pair of shoes or other clothes in them. Others do not use drop bags at all– it’s completely up to you.


If you arrive at an aid station and decide that you can’t continue, it is important that you let the aid station crew know. They will mark you down as having dropped, and we will know that you are not lost on the course somewhere. We will have volunteers checking in at the aid stations periodically. They will shuttle you to the finish line.


If you have friends and family members that would like to meet you at each station and cheer you on, they will be able to do that. Directions for crew to follow are available here (at the bottom of the page): http://www.voyageur50.com/course-information/directions/


Pacers are not allowed – you may run with anyone who is a participant in the race, but you may not run with anyone else. If you have friends and family that want to run the last few blocks through Carlton with you, that is fine.


We will strictly enforce the cutoffs for each aid station listed here:


If you feel that it will be difficult for you to meet the cutoffs, I encourage you to consider an early start. Each year we have 10-12 people start at 5am and sometimes 1-2 people at 4am. Early starts are meant only for those runners who will be running in the back of the pack and may have difficulty meeting the cutoffs. Please be aware that the first aid station or two may not be open when you go through them on an early start and plan accordingly. Also plan to carry a headlamp – you can put it in your dropbag when you reach Grand Portage. If you would like to do an early start, please contact me to schedule it (see contact information below). It is also important that you check in with me on race morning so we know you are on the course.


Everyone who participates in the race receives a t-shirt. You will receive your shirt at packet pickup. Additionally, all those who successfully complete the course receive a hand-crafted mug. We also have hand-crafted plates for the top 10 male and female finishers.

After the Race

We will be finishing at Carlton High School this year, as we have done in years past. Showers will be available so you can clean up. We will also be hosting a lasagna dinner there after the race. The dinner starts at 4:30pm.


If you have any questions about the race, feel free to contact me any time. My contact info is listed below. I hope you are ready and excited to hit the trail on Saturday! I look forward to seeing you there!


Kris Glesener

Please note that online registration will close for the MN Voyageur 50 Mile at midnight on Thursday, July 24th.

Registration using a mail-in (paper) form will be accepted through race day. Please allow ample delivery time should you mail in the form. The USPS estimates delivery takes 2 to 3 business days for such correspondance.

In-person registration on race day with the paper form is $75. To get in for the current $60 entry, we do recommend you register online on or before Thursday, July 24th – or mail in your form by the end of the week preceding the race.

A couple of important course access items for runners, and especially their crew and spectators:

  • Crew and spectators, please do not drive to or access the Grand Portage Aid Station.

    This includes accessing from Fond du Lac, or from Forbay – and is due to limited road access on Hwy 210, which is not fully recovered from the 2012 flood. The Forbay, Seven Bridges and Fond du Lac Aid Stations are relatively nearby, and are great places to meet your runner before and after Grand Portage. Runners, Grand Portage is the drop bag location this year. So, you can be self-supplied if needed.

    We have special permission that allows limited access for volunteers / aid station personnel only.

  • Crew and spectators, please do not park or access the course from the Oak Trail trailhead on Palkie Rd.

    Those that have run the race in the past know this as the Peterson’s Aid Station access point. You will note from the course information that this aid station will not be available this year. This is due in part to a land dispute regarding the dirt parking area and part of the Oak Trail trailhead on Palkie Rd. This is currently being resolved by Jay Cooke State Park, but is still in process. The Forbay Aid Station is only a couple miles up the course, and makes a good alternate.

Jay Cooke State Park is an important partner that has a long history of support for the Eugene Curnow Marathon and MN Voyageur races, including special accommodations for our course and aid station access. Please help us in maintaining this important relationship.

We are getting back to the traditional course this year!

There were still a few outstanding course issues, so there will be some minor tweaks – but, by and large, we will be back on the course that has been beloved for years. Course information on this site has been updated to reflect the traditional course. However, do stop back, as information will be updated to indicate where changes have been made. These changes will likely result in alterations to a couple of the aid station locations.