News & Stories

Beautiful Day, Great Race: CITYTRAIL Loppet Reflections
May 18, 2014

What a morning! Perfect weather. Fantastic course. Awesome people. Surly Beer. Stunning views. Great sponsors. Amazing volunteers. What more could we ask for? In a word, the inaugural Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet rocked.

Nearly 500 people registered for the new Loppet event, which was the kick-off race for Salomon’s CITYTRAIL series here in the United States. The race has been going on in Europe for a couple of years. We were thrilled to partner with Salomon on what proved to be an exciting new addition the Loppet Foundation’s event line up.

There were two races – a 10 Mile and a 10K – that started in Downtown Robbinsdale and very quickly took to the trails. There were hardly any road crossings – just a few in Robbinsdale before we hit the paths and trails. We crossed over railroad tracks, ran along a path near a lake, hit the hills of Theodore Wirth Park, coursed through the woods, ran through field-like terrain, traversed some paved paths and eventually ended in a cool loop around the spoon and cherry to the finish line. By far it was the most interesting course I have ever run! And it was extremely well marked. Shout out to the trail markers! And as a marketing-type I particularly loved the black Salomon-branded tape blocking off paths that might be confusing to runners.

Kids Crush the 10K

anwatin kids

Men's 10K Podium
Men’s 10K Podium

I would also like to give a shout out to all of the youngsters who did the race! They stole the show! Xavier Mansfield, 15, won the 10K, coming in at 47:33. We are particularly proud of Xavier because he is an alum of our Anwatin Middle School Ski & Bike Team. He is coming off an extremely successful ski season, and it was awesome to see him power out the 10K. Torsten Brinkema, 14, came in just after Xavier at 48:10. Torsten is the son of Corey Brinkema and Maree Hampton, long-time Loppet volunteers and supporters. Rounding out the men’s group for the 10K was Brad Bart, 52, who came in at 49:42. Nice job keeping up with the kids, Brad!

Speaking of kids, my favorite race moment featured a young man (maybe 12 or so). The 10 Mile and the 10K courses merged for the last 3/4 mile or so and this young man came in just ahead of me and these two guys I had been running just behind for a few miles. One of the guys started to pick up his pace. Just as he did this kid started to pick up his pace, too! The guy turned to his buddy and shot him the funniest face – a mixture of surprise and admiration. He decided against kicking it in – I think the kid would have taken him!

Women's 10K Podium
Women’s 10K Podium

My favorite post-race moment was seeing a big group of kids on the Anwatin Middle School Ski & Bike team who had run the 10K – this was by far the longest race for them, and they were excited to have “beaten” Coach Allie who promised to take them all out for ice-cream if they did. (Mind you, Allie ran an additional 4 miles…) We often like to have the youth in our middle school programs participate in our race but we were not sure they could handle a 10K as opposed to the 5K at the Surly Trail Loppet. But they showed us! A few members of the Nellie Stone Johnson team also came out for their first 10K. Coach Jon (head coach of the NSJ team) told them that the first time he had tried a 10K at about their age he had not been able to finish it. So, it was no small feat what they accomplished!

Rounding out the 10K results were the top female finishers – Christina Roberts, Audrey Weber and Gretchen Jenson – who came in at 47:39, 49:51 and 51:03, respectively.

10 Mile Recap
Women's 10 Mile Podium
Women’s 10 Mile Podium

Personally I had been going back and forth whether I should do the 10K or the 10 Mile since I have not run a 10 mile race in 5+ years or so. But the deciding factor was the weather – it was shaping out to be so beautiful that I just wanted to run longer (that and John Munger said a few weeks ago that he was confident that I *could* do the 10 Mile but if I wanted to *enjoy* it I might want to do the 10K…consider the gauntlet thrown!) I was so happy that I did the 10 Mile because it was a great course! Admittedly the hills between miles 5 and 6 were a bit tough, and I did bite it once when the woman ahead of me was commenting how cool a little stick-shelter thing was…I turned to look and BAM!

While after that I did pay more attention to my footing, I did take a few moments to enjoy the scenery – the lakes, the paths, the skyline. Amazing! On my first trip to Minneapolis I remember going on a 10-mile run and just being floored by how beautiful the city was and that there were so many lakes right in the city limits! Today’s race again showed me how amazing the city is for running! And that, of course, is the entire point of the CITYTRAIL series!

Even though I was really thrilled with my race (might not be so thrilled tomorrow morning…), it is just amazing to me how far ahead the winners came in…a good 19 minutes! Kristen Kieta, 24, finished in 1:10:59, followed by former Olympian Caitlin Gregg, 33, at 1:12:44 and then Ericka Olin, 25, at 1:15:21.

Men's 10 Mile Podium
Men’s 10 Mile Podium

For the men, Greg Hexum, 43, of Esko, Minn. won the 10 Mile for the men at 1:00:16, Nicholas Wimmer, 23, came in a close second at 1:00:49, and Matt Liebsch, 30, came in at 1:04:17. Matt brought his beautiful children up to the podium with him, including his newborn (I remember meeting his lovely wife at the Loppet when she was still pregnant!)

Thanks to everyone who came out today for the inaugural Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet today! And thanks to our sponsors who were there today: Surly Brewing Co., KTWIN, Suunto and of course, Salomon! Thanks for your support! We look forward to seeing you all at the UCare Tri-Loppet on Saturday, June 28.

– Kristen Spargo, Director of Advancement, Loppet Foundation