Eugene CurnowThe Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon is run over rough woodland trails on a point-to-point course from the Spirit Mt. Ski Area near Duluth, MN to Carlton. The course encompasses one leg of the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultramarathon, plus a bit extra to equal 26.2 miles. Initially, it was developed as support for the Voyageur 50 Mile; offered as a thank you to Voyageur volunteers and an introduction to the course for those not ready for a full fifty miles. It has become a wildly popular race in its own right.

Formerly known as the Half-Voyageur Trail Marathon, the race was renamed in 2013 in honor of its irrepressible founder – area trail and ultramarathon running legend, Eugene Curnow. Gene’s energy, enthusiasm and volunteer spirit played a significant role in the success and growth of the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile, the sport of trail and ultra-running, and the northland running community.

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon

  • Date: Saturday, July 12th, 2014
  • Time: 6:00 AM
  • Location: Lake Superior Zoo – Duluth, MN
Entry Fee

  • $35, through May 31st.
  • $45, through July 11th.
  • $55, race day.
Cost is only $10 if you volunteer at the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra, on July 26th, 2014. For more information, go to:

Contact Us

A couple of important course access items for runners, and especially their crew and spectators:

  • Crew and spectators, please do not drive to or access the Grand Portage Aid Station.

    This includes accessing from Fond du Lac, or from Forbay – and is due to limited road access on Hwy 210, which is not fully recovered from the 2012 flood. The Forbay, Seven Bridges and Fond du Lac Aid Stations are relatively nearby, and are great places to meet your runner before and after Grand Portage. Runners, Grand Portage is the drop bag location this year. So, you can be self-supplied if needed.

    We have special permission that allows limited access for volunteers / aid station personnel only.

  • Crew and spectators, please do not park or access the course from the Oak Trail trailhead on Palkie Rd.

    Those that have run the race in the past know this as the Peterson’s Aid Station access point. You will note from the course information that this aid station will not be available this year. This is due in part to a land dispute regarding the dirt parking area and part of the Oak Trail trailhead on Palkie Rd. This is currently being resolved by Jay Cooke State Park, but is still in process. The Forbay Aid Station is only a couple miles up the course, and makes a good alternate.

Jay Cooke State Park is an important partner that has a long history of support for the Eugene Curnow Marathon and MN Voyageur races, including special accommodations for our course and aid station access. Please help us in maintaining this important relationship.

As many may be wondering… This is a Jarrow’s Beach year!

Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon
Saturday, July 12th
Start Time: 6:00am
Start Location: Fairmont Park (next to the Lake Superior Zoo)

(This FAQ is also available as a PDF – PDF here.)

If you park your car at the finish line at the Carlton bike trail pavilion before the race, you can take the shuttle to the starting line. The shuttles will leave at 4:45am, so plan on parking in Carlton by 4:30am. Please note, the lot by the fire hall in Carlton is reserved for firefighters only. You may park at the starting line at Fairmont Park if you choose to, but you will need to provide your own transportation back to your car after the race. If you do choose to park at the starting line, please park in the gravel section of the parking lot. The paved section of the lot is reserved for zoo visitors. Directions to the starting line and finish line are available here:

The course will be marked with orange ribbons and signs this year. This is a change from the pink and yellow we have used in the past. There will be signs at every turn, and the trail will be marked with ribbon every 200-300 yards. The course maps are available here:

Aid Stations
There are 7 aid stations on the course, all between 3 and 5 miles apart. Aid station workers will be logging your bib number and time at each one, so make sure your bib number is visible. The aid stations will be stocked with water, HEED energy drink, fruit, cookies, and a variety of other things to eat. They will also have bug spray, sunscreen, Vaseline, pain reliever, and bandaids if you need them. The list of aid stations and the distances between them is available here:

Water Bottles
It is important that you carry a 20oz water bottle or some type of hydration system with you during the race. Five miles may not seem like a long distance between aid stations, but those five miles can take a long time when you are going up and down hills and walking tricky sections. There are also a few areas of the course that are open and exposed to the sun. It will be important to have water with you to replace the liquid you are losing while sweating. You can refill your water bottle at each aid station before starting the next section.

Drop Bags
Grand Portage is the drop bag aid station – it is located 15.6 miles into the race. You will have about 11 miles to go after this point. If you have some special food or clothes you would like to access at Grand Portage, put them in a bag and bring the bag to the starting line. We will have stickers you can write your bib number on and stick to your bag. We will transport your bag to Grand Portage so you can access it during the race. We will then transport it to the finish line for you. Some people like to put energy bars or gels in their drop bags. Others like to stash an extra pair of shoes or other clothes in them. Others do not use drop bags at all – it’s completely up to you.

If you arrive at an aid station and decide that you can’t continue, it is important that you let the aid station crew know. They will mark you down as having dropped, and we will know that you are not lost on the course somewhere. We will have volunteers checking in at the aid stations periodically. They will shuttle you to the finish line.

If you have friends and family members that would like to meet you at each station and cheer you on, they will be able to do that. Directions for crew to follow are available here (at the bottom of the page):

Early Start
If you feel like you will be going at a pretty slow pace and would like to start early, we can accommodate you. We will offer an early start at 5am for those who need extra time to finish the course. If you would like to start early, please notify the race director ahead of time. All early starters will need to check in as usual on race morning, and they will all start together. Note that if you start early, the first couple aid stations may not be open when you go through them.

Everyone who participates in the race receives a t-shirt. You do not have to successfully finish the race to receive your shirt – it is part of your entry fee. You will receive your shirt at the finish line. If you drop out of the race, you will receive your shirt when you are shuttled to Carlton. Additionally, all those who successfully complete the course receive a medal. The medal is a pottery medallion hand-crafted by a local artist. We also have hand-crafted mugs for the top 10 male and female finishers.

After the Race
There will be one final aid station at the finish line where you will be able to get some snacks and rehydrate. When you are ready for something more substantial, the Streetcar Restaurant in Carlton is offering a pasta special. The Streetcar is located just a block from the finish and is visible from the pavilion.

If you have any questions about the race, feel free to contact Kris, the race director, at any time:

Kris Glesener

We are getting back to the traditional course this year!

There were still a few outstanding course issues, so there will be some minor tweaks – but, by and large, we will be back on the course that has been beloved for years. Course information on this site has been updated to reflect the traditional course. However, do stop back, as information will be updated to indicate where changes have been made. These changes will likely result in alterations to a couple of the aid station locations.