4th Annual Last Runner Standing Returns to In-Person Event at Spirit Mountain

Normally, the event takes two days to crown a winner but because of the record heat on Saturday, the last runner, Mark Emmons, finished early Sunday morning after completing 16 races.

DULUTH, Minn. – Last year, the Last Runner Standing event was moved to a virtual race due to the pandemic. Now it was held in-person again at the Spirit Mountain Grand Avenue Chalet this weekend but there were still some challenges.

The Last Runner Standing race, which this year had closet to 70 runners, has people run 4.2 miles every hour on the hour. Whatever time you have left after you complete those miles is your rest and you keep going until there is one runner left.

Normally, the event takes two days to crown a winner but because of the record heat on Saturday, the last runner finished early Sunday morning.

“It’s a competition between the competitors and it’s also a competition between the environment and the terrains. We were pumping them full of ice and making sure they were getting enough salt but even when it cooled off kind of towards the afternoon and into the evening, the runners had kind of had such a deficit already that it was hard to recover from that. I really honestly think our runners could have gone way farther than they did under normal conditions,” co-race director Andy Holak said.

While the heat prevented challenges at the start, the lake breeze a few hours in that made it around 30 degrees cooler helped Mark Emmons become the Last Runner Standing after 16 races.

“Mark mentioned that on the sixth race he was on, he said I think I’m done, I don’t think I can make it. One of our friends was up on the top of the hill and was giving runners popsicles so on I think the sixth race, he got a popsicle and he said that really brought he back to life and then on that lap, that was about six hours in when things started to cool down a little bit. So the popsicle and that little bit cooling weather really helped him make it through that sixth lap,” Holak added.

Katherine Reigstad was the last woman standing after 15 laps. This was the earliest they’ve ever been able to crown a winner.

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