Freezing 5k Doesn’t Stop Northland Runners From Giving Their All

It didn't even reach 1 degree yet at Spirit Mountain Saturday morning, when some tough runners warmed up for the Wild Winter Wipeout 5k.

DULUTH, Minn. — It’s what skiers would call a blue bird day, but we’re not here at Spirit Mountain right now for skiers, we’re here for a different kind of athlete who’s come out and braved the elements to do what they love.

It didn’t even reach 1 degree yet at Spirit Mountain Saturday morning, when some tough runners warmed up for the Wild Winter Wipeout 5k.

Andy “Today the conditions are great, it’s a little chilly but the runners are prepared so as long as you’re prepared for the cold you’re fine,” Andy Holak, Race Director, Adventure Running Company, said.

The race is part of a series of 5 trail runs, called the Duluth Winter Trail Running Series. It’s put on by the Adventure Running Company, a running tour service started by Andy Holak and his wife almost 14 years ago.

“It’s very Minnesota, the coolest thing about it again is to be able to run trails in the winter we’re really fortunate that we have these snow packed trails in Duluth, there are trails everywhere, and running on trails in the winter is almost more fun than in the summer,” Holak said.

Two local participants have run other races with adventure running company and this one has just the elements they like.

“I absolutely love Andy’s races, super fun, well put together, have that cool adventure aspect to it,” Benjamin Welch, one of the racer’s said.

Another racer in the event, Kyle Duncan, said, “I just enjoy the trails and running outdoors more than just kind of the straight blacktop running, it’s more adventure and hiking feeling for me, more adventurous.”

Saturday’s trail map was a bit of a hike, going through the woods, and then straight up the mountain, in the deep white powder.

“You kind of loop around and you kind of get some speed going, you feel like I got this, and then they send you up spirit mountain in the snow and you’re like ‘this is pretty hard’,” Welch said.

But what goes up, must come down.

“So you just kind of let yourself go and fly down the hill, and a lot of times people fall down and slide head first down the hill, the part that I forget about is climbing up to get to the part that you get to go down, that’s kind of challenging,” Holak said.

The descent makes it all just a bit easier, and a lot more fun.

Both Welch and Duncan agreed,  “We’re like running, and you like slide down for a little bit, then you’re running a little again, maybe a few tumbles, it’s fun.”
“It’s just hard to run up, then try to just run down when you’re like already tired, [you’re like a] little penguin down the hill.”

The next run in the series is two weeks from now at Lester Park, followed by a 10k at the Hartley Nature Center.

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