It’s pretty exciting when a young race such as the Ham Run Half-Marathon and 5k Race makes it in a book about the 200 must run races. We’re on a bucket list, “The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die” by Denise Malan. I know most runners will “run” out and get this book right away but I want to share with you the part about the Ham Run.
Oh, and don’t forget to cross it off of your bucket list this year by registering and running the Ham Run Half-Marathon and 5k on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014. Register today! http://www.hamrunhalfmarathon.com
The Runner’s Bucket List: 200 Races to Run Before You Die by Denise Malan (reprinted with permission of Triumph Books, www.triumphbooks.com)
Chapter 6: Connect with Nature (pp. 79-80)
Ham Run Half Marathon
Get away from the everyday hustle and bustle
There still exists a place to run where you can’t get cell phone service, update your Facebook status, or even hear distant traffic.
That place is Superior National Forest in northeast Minnesota, home to the Ham Run Half Marathon. The race takes place miles from civilization, starting at the Gunflint Pines
Resort and Campground, 43 miles, to be exact, from Grand Marais (population 1,362). It’s even farther from the nearest large cities, Duluth and Thunder Bay, Ontario—about three hours to each, in opposite directions from the forest.
Along the Gunflint Trail, runners enjoy views of granite outcroppings, ponds, creeks, and a river that runs along part of the course. It’s not unusual to see moose, deer, beaver, grouse, and bald eagles along the trail. Race volunteers even saw a wolf when they were setting up one morning. The course is hilly and starts with about a mile uphill on a gravel trail before reaching the Gunflint Trail.
The Ham Run follows the same route the Ham Lake Fire scorched through the forest in 2007. The fire burned for more than a week and destroyed 75,000 acres of forest along the trail.
“There are various degrees of wildfire effects along the course,” director Sue Prom said. “Some untouched areas, other areas that were burned to nothing, and some in between. It’s interesting for runners to see the change each year and how much growth there is.”
The Ham Run started the year after the fire and is a small race, with about 200 runners each year, about one-third of them from Canada.
The Gunflint Trail and the race end at the Way of the Wilderness Canoe Outfitters, where runners enjoy ham with all the fixings, massages, and door prizes.
It’s only natural the Ham Run is one of the most environmentally friendly races as well, recognized by Endurance magazine as a “Race Without a Trace.”
Location: Superior National Forest, Minnesota
Date: early May
Distance: half marathon, 5K
Field Size: 200
Race Highlights: pristine wilderness along the Gunflint Trail in northeast Minnesota