The 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, the sport of trail and ultra-running, and the northland running community.
The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon is proudly managed by the Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC). For more information, see our web site at: nmtc.run
After a period of pandemic and trail-routing disruptions over the past few years, the NMTC is looking forward to a return to stability regarding our course and setup for the Voyageur 50M and Eugene Curnow Marathon. In 2022, we will be returning to a permanent course that is approx. 75% identical to our historical route. The remaining 25% includes a few adjustments, some of which were beyond our control.
The Powerlines section will no longer be part of the Voyageur 50M or Curnow Marathon races. Was this section friend, or foe? A personal opinion to be certain, which often depended on where the mercury stood on the thermometer. You’re welcome to honor its memory as you wish, whether that be a moment of silence, or by cracking open a celebratory beer (or 10).
Duluth Traverse (DT) / Valley West
We’ll be connecting Mission Creek to Jay Cooke SP (at Grand Portage) using a section of the Duluth Traverse (DT) / Valley West trail. This is winding single-track that includes a mix of rolling elevation change that’ll keep your legs honest.
NOTE: This is a multi-use trail. Probability is high that you will encounter bikes. If you use them, we recommend that you remove ear buds through this section. Bikes are quiet (as are runners), please stay engaged.
Jarrow’s Beach (Eugene Curnow Marathon only)
The Beach has been an iconic part of the Eugene Curnow Marathon forever, usually on a rotating basis. It will now be a permanent yearly adventure.
The DWP Trail
The DWP (formerly the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific railway) is a wooded, gravel rails-to-trails path we will be leveraging in 2 sections – one east of Becks AS (connecting from the Beach) and another further east near Spirit Mt (heading in toward the Zoo Aid Station). Using this trail will eliminate approximately 2 to 3 miles of road/asphalt.
While the retirement of the Powerlines is unfortunate, and had some ripple effects down course, we hope you will agree that we have made some tasty lemonade out of our lemon. We look forward to all of you finding challenge and enjoyment on this course for the foreseeable future.
The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon is a point-to-point race that begins at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, MN and ends at the Munger Trail trailhead in Carlton, MN. Yup. That could be a long walk home. Fortunately, we have a solution for you! Park your car at the finish before the race, and take a bus to the starting line.*
We will be providing bus service from Carlton to the Lake Superior Zoo prior to the race start on Saturday morning. We strongly encourage using this option, 1) to avoid dealing with the rather limited parking available at the start, and 2) to have your car within easy walking / waddling distance once you finish. Bus leaves at 4:45 AM, and costs you nothing but a smile!
See our Directions page for where to catch the bus (including an address and GPS coordinates).
* Note: There is no bus from the finish line back to the start after the race.
The Curnow Marathon and Voyageur 50 mile races are cup-free races! This means that we will not have paper cups at aid stations – runners will need to carry their own collapsible cups with them for pop/electrolyte/etc. at aid stations. There are lots of great options out there!
It’s never too early to start thinking about the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, even if you are not lacing up the trail shoes in mid-July. The Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and the Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra are always in need of dedicated people who are willing to give up a few hours of their time.
Stop on in to our Volunteering area for more details, or drop us a line on our Contact Us page! There are many ways to help out – we’d love to have you on the team!
Keep in mind, volunteering at the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon gets you a discounted entry to the Minnesota Voyageur, and vice versa. Come on out and see the races from both sides of the aid station table!