Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon - Swinging BridgeFounded in 1982, 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 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 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!!

The Minnesota Voyageur is proudly managed by the Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC). For more information, see our web site at: nmtc.run

2019 Minnesota Voyageur – Race Results

This year we had 239 finishers. Congratulations to our overall winners:

M: Adam Doe – 07:14:39
W: Margaret Ho – 08:23:26

We’d like to thank Duluth Timing & Events for providing our timing services. Complete online results for the 2019 Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Ultramarathon can be found here:


And on UltraSignup:


Welcome to race week everyone!

Number Pickup
Race number pickup happens Friday evening from 4 pm – 7 pm and Saturday morning before the race. On Friday we’ll be inside the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Carlton – 90 Chestnut Avenue. The Carlton Daze 5K starts at 6:00 so expect some road closures in the area around that time. There will be a spaghetti dinner (with tasty homemade dessert) in the sports complex as well and Voyageur runners get $1 off so go ahead and plan your dinner and pickup in one go! You’ll get your bib, pins if you need them, reusable cup, and shirt at that time.

Saturday morning we’ll be inside the gym before the race start, Carlton High School – 405 School Avenue. You can get your number and start milling around starting at 5 am. Magnolia Cafe will also be open before the race for your (or your crew’s) coffee needs!

If you pick up your number on Friday, we ask that you still check in with us on race morning so that we know you’re starting.

Race start is Saturday, July 26 at 6:00 am.

Drop Bags
Drop bags should be brought to the start on Saturday morning. Please have them labeled with your name and race number. There are two drop bag locations, which you’ll see four times (Peterson’s at mile 8.8 and 41.2 and Skyline at mile 21.6 and 28.4). We will have vehicles front and center at the high school for you to place your drop bags into. Please keep your bags as small as possible – we have 350 runners worth of bags to haul!

Race Reroute/Markings
As you know, we have a race re-route this year due to being unable to use most of the Powerlines. You’ll run the normal course through Purgatory. Shortly after that, you’ll turn on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) to connect you with Zapp’s Loop. You’ll then run the loop “backwards” for those of you who are used to the normal course and head towards the Fond du Lac aid station. This eliminates the three in succession crossings of Mission Creek, though you will still be crossing at Fond du Lac.

After going through Beck’s and heading up Skyline you’ll be turning RIGHT off of Skyline instead of left. You’ll see some new to you Magney ski trail before joining a newly finished SHT loop. You can wave at Jarrow’s Beach as you cross it (sorry peeps, no actual Beach time for you this year), before you eventually are brought to the other side of the Magney trails and back to our usual course. This is our longest section between aid stations (6 miles).

The course will be well marked but you will need to pay attention – especially those of you who are used to running the normal course! There are several sharp turns taking you on and off the SHT. All turns are marked with more frequent ribbon than the rest of the course so if you are suddenly seeing several ribbons close together, pay attention!

Worth mentioning is that due to this being a temporary re-route, any potential course record that were to happen would come with an asterisk and exist next to the “normal” course record.

Please also remember that this is not a closed course. Anytime you are on or crossing a road – it is open to traffic. Our more busy road crossings will have volunteers posted and they are instructed to stop YOU and not vehicles. Please do not try to race a semi coming at you at 45 miles an hour – shaving the extra five second off your time is not worth it.

Cupless Race
Voyageur is a cupless race, starting this year. For this year only, you will receive a collapsible cup when you pick up your race number which you can use during the race. We will NOT have paper cups on the course. Zero. So don’t come through hoping to be the person to get a spare “hidden” cup as there won’t be any! Thanks for helping us dramatically reduce the race’s waste!

Speaking of Garbage…
Those of you who ran Voyageur while Kris was race director may remember that he would hire the services of a litterer eating bear. Sadly, reports after the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon are that the bear’s services are needed yet again. Remember – anything you’ve carried out of an aid station you are able to carry to the next aid station! The sweepers are not there to pick up after you. Anyone who tosses their trash aside or drops their gel packet to the ground runs the risk of being eaten by the litterer eating bear! Don’t let it be you!

As of today, the weather is looking pretty ideal (I know, I know, way to jinx the day). But we all know how weather goes, especially around Duluth! Please be prepared for all sorts of weather, especially heat and humidity. While there are medically trained volunteers on the course, it could take a long time for anyone to get to you so make sure you plan to be carrying water with you on the course and know your body. While many of our aid stations look close together on paper, on a hot day it will take longer than expected.

In the unfortunate event that you find yourself needing to drop from the race for any reason, please make sure you alert an aid station or ham radio volunteer and make sure it is clear that you are dropping. Failure to do so puts our future races in jeopardy and you will not be welcome back in the future. If you need a ride to the start/finish after dropping, we’ll get you hooked up but know that it could take a few hours.

Finish Line
We’re excited to see every one of you cross that finish line back in Carlton! Please stick around after your finish – our traditional lasagna dinner will start serving around 4:30 pm and the party on the slope next to the finish is always a good time. Dinner is free for all runners (regardless of your finishing status) and crew/family can partake for $5. We’ll also have your normal aid station food/drinks at the finish and will be bringing drop bags back throughout the day as we’re able.

Remember that everyone you see working the race on Saturday is a volunteer. Thank the aid station workers as you go through, wave to the ham radio peeps, high five the road crossing volunteers. Above all – please be the amazing people we know you are. We do not tolerate volunteer abuse by runners or crew – if you need to vent, please do so to the Race Committee (preferably the Race Director). If we hear of a runner who continues to be inappropriate to our volunteers or crew who is showing up to closed-to-crew aid stations (Grand Portage and Petersons), that is cause for runner disqualification.

Grand Portage and Peterson’s Closed to Crews/Spectators! No Exceptions!

Runners’ crews and spectators are not allowed at Grand Portage or Peterson’s aid stations! Failure to adhere to this will result in runner disqualification! As a runner participant you are responsible for your crew and spectators understanding this limitation.

The Voyageur course spans 25 miles over multiple jurisdictions. Managing access to a course that length and complexity has always been a balance, and the logistics have only increased as the race has become more popular. Most of our runners do abide by requests to not have crews and spectators go to these closed aid stations. However, we have had instances where this was not the case. Ignoring this request creates challenges for ensuring runner safety, race permitting and the ability for emergency services to reach these stations.

Runners… Your crew is an extension of you. Please make sure they are informed of this access limitation and its ramifications. Crews… Don’t jeopardize your runner’s finish.

As race participants we run as a community, sharing a common experience – of trail, weather, course setup… First or last, we’re all in this together.

Curnow and Voyageur will be cup-free!

We have exciting news! Starting this year, both Curnow and Voyageur will be cup-free!

This means that we will not have paper cups at aid stations – runners will need to carry their own collapsible cups with them for pop/Sqwincher/etc. at aid stations. There are lots of great options out there and we are currently looking at the possibility of having a cup as part of the race swag for this first year of being cup-free. We will keep you updated!

Powerlines Trail Remediation

Hello, trail community! As you may be aware, there have been some recent dramatic looking changes to the Powerlines. NMTC has been working with the City of Duluth regarding the MN Power remediation that is occurring. The City of Duluth and NMTC do have plans to re-evaluate a trail corridor together once the remediation process has been completed but in the meantime, all trail users are asked to refrain from using the former trails through the Powerlines. Please be patient as it could potentially take a few years for the Powerlines to be fully healed and ready to go.

We ask that all trail runners respect this temporary closure while the remediation takes place and that you pass the word along. Continuing to use these closed trails will reflect poorly on the trail running community as a whole and may jeopardize our ability to return to them.

What does this mean in the interim?

The race courses for the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra will be altered to accommodate this change.

Volunteering – It’s good for the soul…

It’s never too early to start thinking about the Minnesota Voyageur, even if you are not lacing up the trail shoes in late July. The Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra and the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon are always in need of dedicated people who are willing to give up a few hours of their time.

Stop on in to our Volunteering area for more details, or drop us a line on our Contact Us page! There are many ways to help out – we’d love to have you on the team!

Keep in mind, volunteering at the Voyageur gets you a discounted entry to the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, and vice versa. Come on out and see the races from both sides of the aid station table!