The Sawtooth 100, one of the premier 100 mile trail ultra endurance events, is now considered a test for competing in one of the grand daddies of the sport, the Hardrock 100. Joining 18 other events, including the rascally Barkley, the grandfather of all 100’s Western States, Wasatch and Leadville places the Sawtooth in elite company the event deserves.
Run on Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trails — a misnomer if there ever was one for much of the difficult distance — the race is point-to-point with the start at the falls of Gooseberry State Park and ends at Lutsen Mountain’s Caribou Highlands Resort.
Much of the race parallels the Lake Superior coastline but takes a big U-Shaped loop inland on either side of the middle of event.
Unlike trail events where altitude is the dominant challenge, the Sawtooth is unrelenting with its ups and downs on unsteady terrain. Roots, rocks, ruts, and rugged are the four “R’s” of the trail education on the paths one covers. Additionally weather in this area can change dramatically without a lot of notice as happened in the 2010 race.
Then, a warm day morphed into a midnight rain lasting for six hours, with cold air and dense fog enveloping runners. A need for a special fog light for trail runners was born in that edition.The Sawtooth, named for the mountains in the region with up and down jagged peaks appearing like the teeth of a saw, also hosts the Superior Trail 50 mile and the Moose Mountain Marathon.
Races are annually run on the second weekend of September. The race is a member of Wilderness Athlete’s Gnarly Bandit Ultra Series.
The Spring Superior Races held on the third weekend of May feature 50 km and 25 km distances. The 50 km is a member race of the Fab 5 Fifties Ultra Series.
Here is a full list of Hard Rock test races:
Wasatch, Eagle, Bear, Leadville, Angeles Crest, Massanutten, Western States, The Barkley, Coyote Two Moon, Grindstone, Plain, HURT, Bighorn, Grand Teton, Tahoe Rim Trail, Tour de Mont Blanc (163 km version), Chiemgau, Superior Sawtooth, and the Cascade Crest Classic.
For more info:
Wilderness Athlete’s Gnarly Bandit
Spring Superior Races:
Info on phillip’s book:
HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life
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