News & Stories

Inaugural Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet a Great Success

The Loppet Foundation and Salomon US welcomed nearly 500 runners to the inaugural Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet on Sunday, May 18. The weather cooperated, providing a beautiful sunny morning and an ideal running temperature for the point-to-point 10 Mile and 10K races.

The event started in downtown Robbinsdale and ended with a grand finish at the spoon & cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Along the way participants ran on dirt trails, went over logs and under bridges, over interstates and under highways, crossed railroad tracks and climbed the hills of Theodore Wirth Park before descending on steps to the Cedar Lake Trail. Runners like Loppet member Chris Davis appreciated the varying terrain and challenging trails: “Another great Loppet event,” said Davis after finishing the 10 Mile.

Greg Hexum, 43, of Esko, was the first runner to arrive, winning the 10 Mile race in just over an hour – with a time of 1:00:16. Nicholas Wimmer, 23, came in a close second at 1:00:49. Greg went out at a blistering pace – about five minutes flat for the first mile – and had built a 34 second lead by the first aid station (about 5.5 kilometers). That gap stayed pretty constant the rest of the way – but Hexum and Wimmer put several minutes on the rest of the field. Matt Liebsch, 30, came in at 1:04:17 for a third-place finish. For the women, 24-year-old Kristen Kieta of Minneapolis took first place with a time of 1:10:59, while former Olympian Caitlin Gregg, 33, who lives in North Minneapolis just off the course, came in second at 1:12:44. Rounding out the top three women was Ericka Olin, 25, of Duluth, who arrived at 1:15:21.

Teenagers dominated the men’s 10K race as 15-year-old Xavier Mansfield, an alumnus of the Loppet’s Anwatin Middle School Ski & Bike team, took first place in 47:33 and 14-year-old Torsten Brinkema took second in 48:10. Torsten is the son of long-time Loppet volunteers and supporters Corey Brinkema and Maree Hampton. Brad Bart, 52, came in at 49:42 for a third-place finish.

The top three women in the 10K included Christina Roberts, 28, who finished in 47:39 – just 6 seconds behind the men’s champion; former Loppet coach and volunteer Audrey Weber, 27, who completed the race in 49:51; and Gretchen Jenson, 30, who posted a 51:03 time. While Christina and Audrey have completed numerous Loppet Foundation events, from the UCare Tri-Loppet to the Finn-Sisu Sprints, Gretchen is new to the Foundation.

“The Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet attracted a number of first-time Loppet participants,” said Race Director Mike Erickson. “We look forward to seeing their continued involvement in Loppet World, particularly at the upcoming UCare Tri-Loppet.”

In addition to a number of new Loppet event participants, the Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet also attracted a near-even number of men and women: there were 217 men and 222 women who completed the races. And while most of the runners are from Minnesota, there were visitors from Florida, Colorado, Illinois and Wisconsin. There was also diversity of age. 63 year old Michael Swanson completed the 10 Mile while a nine-year-old finished the 10K – finishing in the top half of the field in the process . . .

The Loppet Foundation thanks everyone who came out for the inaugural Salomon CITYTRAIL Loppet, as well as its sponsors, Salomon, Suunto, KTWIN and Surly Brewing Co. The next CITYTRAIL events in the United States take place this fall in San Francisco, Sept. 27, and in Chattanooga, Nov. 8.