2024 Zumbro Endurance Run Pre-Season Updates

Thank you for your interest in the Zumbro Endurance Run 100 Mile, 50 Mile, 34 Mile and 17 Mile races. We are currently in the permitting process for the 2024 event. The tentative date(s) for the 2024 race(s) are Friday April 12 (100 Mile) and Saturday April 13 (50 Mile, 34 Mile and 17 Mile). Zumbro is an early season event and a snow cancellation is not out of the question. We are required by the DNR to hold the races prior to the commencement of turkey hunting which always begins the Wednesday closest to the 15th of the month. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with our refund policy prior to registering. Registration is tentatively set to open on Monday January 1, 2024.  The information currently available on the website is for the 2023 race - the majority of the information for the 2023 race will be applicable for the 2024 race, but there may be some changes. Most of the significant updates to the event website will be made prior to registration opening. If you are interested in running the 2024 race we encourage you to review the information that is available now, but require that all of the information be reviewed again once it has been updated for the 2024 race, and prior to you registering for the race. We reserve the right to make changes to dates, the course, logistics, cutoffs, entry fees, the registration process, and any other aspect of the event - that said we do expect that most of the details will be the same as the 2023 race. Final details will be published late fall / early winter 2023 - please check back. You can join our mailing list HERE. You can join the Rocksteady Running Community HERE. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact Race Director John Storkamp HERE.

2023 Zumbro 50 Mile Endurance Run Participant Guide

Race Date:
Saturday April 8, 2023

Zumbro Bottoms, Minnesota

Registration Opens:
Sunday January 1, 2023

About This Page:

The information on this page and associated links comprise the official Zumbro 50 Mile Endurance Run Participant Guide. It contains all of the information and links you will need in order to research, register for and run the race. Runners are required to review this page, along with the registration info page in their entirety prior to registering for the race. This information should then be referenced as needed in the months and weeks leading up to the race. Keep in mind that information may be updated and changed right up until the race, so a final review of the information about a week out is encouraged. Registered runners can expect a welcome email from us with any new / additional information about one week out from the race. This page contains the following sections:












Date, Time and Location:
Saturday April 8, 2023
Zumbro River Bottoms Management Area near Theilman, Minnesota
50 Mile Race Starts at 12:01AM on Saturday


Quick Stats:
Race founded in 2009, 100% trail race & minimum maintenance gravel roads, located 1:45 south of Minneapolis / St. Paul MN, 3 x 17 mile loops = 51 miles, elevation gain 6,750 FT, elevation loss 6,750 FT, NET elevation change 13,500 FT, 8 aid stations, 18 hour time limit.


About the Zumbro Endurance Run:
The Zumbro Endurance Run takes place within the Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit in Southeastern Minnesota’s Bluff Country – just outside of the tiny village of Theilman, MN approximately 1:45 from Minneapolis – St.Paul, MN. The races start and finish at the West Assembly / Horse Campground Area. Generally speaking the Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit lies within a portion of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest – an expansive 1.7 million acre tract of Minnesota hardwood forest on the Northern edge of the Driftless Region which is mainly characterized by its tall bluffs and deeply carved river valleys. This “bluff country” is rugged, hauntingly beautiful and provides the perfect venue for trail running.

The course consists of a mix of rugged single and double track trail with rubble, loose rock and sand, along with very runnable minimum maintenance gravel roads. The race is primarily concentrated in two large valleys within an expansive hardwood forest. There are four significant, short, steep climbs (of approximately 300FT) per loop with smaller hills in-between, along with some significant stretches of flat and fast valley floor running.

The Zumbro Endurance Run is organized by Rocksteady Running and directed by John Storkamp. Rocksteady Running produces several trail and ultrarunning races in the state of Minnesota. Our races are put on by longtime trail and ultrarunners. Our focus is on sustainability, runner safety, runner experience and giving back to the trail, parks and communities where our events are held. Our mission is to create experiences that facilitate connection.​ All credit is due to our army of volunteers and our wonderful Minnesota trail running community.





In November of 2021, after hosting a season of Covid-modified races, I was updating our race website(s) for what we hoped would be (and thankfully was) a mostly “normal” 2022. While doing so, I decided to include a preface to our Participant Guide(s) titled “Setting Expectations for 2022”. It was a great way for Cheri and I to pull back the curtain and share our experience of the pandemic as race directors. It was a way for us to temper expectations for an upcoming season with many lingering unknowns. It also ended up being a valuable touchpoint for connection with you; our participants, volunteers and partners. I am taking the opportunity to do something similar again this year. In the interest of real-estate, it will not be front and center in the participant guide, instead it will reside in THIS blog post https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/setting-expectations-for-2023 – we would appreciate it if you took the time to read it.





Rocksteady Running welcomes everyone to our events and into our broader trail running community. You are welcome and valued regardless of your race, gender, sexual identity, orientation, or preference, religious, spiritual, or political beliefs, socioeconomic status, age, how quickly or slowly you run. We love and respect all beings. We ask all of our participants to be kind, compassionate and open minded, and to help lift up their fellow runners.






Do not register until you have reviewed this page (Zumbro 50 Mile Endurance Run Participant Guide) in its entirety. Registration details including entry fees, field limits, and the link to our registration page on UltraSignup (third party registration provider) can be found HERE http://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/registration-info/


There are No Refunds, Transfers or Switches:
Entry fees are not refundable under any circumstance. Race registrations are not transferable to other participants, to future years races or to other Rocksteady Running events. We do do not allow transfers between race distances.  Please consider these factors carefully before registering.


Waiting List:
Once a race distance sells out, we do not keep a waiting list – instead we accept extra runners up front so that everyone has the same opportunity to train, make reservations, get a babysitter, etc. This means that a withdrawal from a sold out race prior to race day does not create an opening in the race field – it just brings us down to our predetermined field limit which is set in agreement with our permitor(s). We have found that a percentage of those who register will not make it to the starting line due to injury, illness, or other real life interventions and adjust the number of allocated spots accordingly year to year based on historical averages.


Cancellation Policy:
The Race Director reserves the right to modify or cancel the race or course for safety concerns, trail condition concerns, natural disaster or pandemic. In such cases there will be no refunds of race entry fees. Each athlete must accept any such risk of their entry fee paid. There is no complimentary race entry to a future race. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date – including course preparation, race supplies, permits and administration. We will make every effort to produce a fair and safe event for all participants. Any decision we make that impacts the race date or potential cancellation is carefully considered and based on the overall event safety, sustainability and manageability.


Zumbro Cancellation Credit:
Rocksteady Running has successfully produced 100’s of races since 2007. Besides the cancellation of all of our events in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the only other time we have had to cancel any races has been at Zumbro, due to (freak) snowstorms. A record setting blizzard and hazardous driving conditions forced the cancellation of Saturdays 17 mile race in 2018 while the 100 and 50 that started on Friday just barely proceeded until the end.  In 2019 another blizzard forced the cancellation of the entire event. Hunting seasons limit when we can hold Zumbro, and early to mid-April before turkey hunting begins is the most viable option available to us. In order to protect our organization and ensure that we are able to produce races for years to come, we do not offer refunds for any of our events. That said, with what seems to be a trend of severe winter-like weather occurring in early April, and the fact that there have been many “three time losers” due to cancellations (2018, 2019 & 2020 – the races were held successfully in 2021 and 2022), should we need to cancel Zumbro in 2023, we will issue a 25% credit for the 2024 race and will also mail you your swag item (t-shirt, hat, etc. / whatever it may be for the year). This will be on an opt-in basis – there will be a question during registration where you can indicate to us whether or not you would like the 25% credit to the following years race in the event of a cancellation. We are handling it this way since we know some of you will not care for it / would like to “donate” it back to us.  Please note that this policy is for the Zumbro Endurance Run only, and not for any other Rocksteady Running races. Assuming we can get through a few years without a cancellation and get back to ‘normal’, we will eventually shelf this policy as it does create added financial risk for our organization – that said, for the time being we want to be cognizant of the fact that a cancellation is not out of the question and be respectful of those of you that have stuck with us year after year.  Zumbro has been challenging, but whenever we can have it, as we did last year, it is pretty dang special and always feels like it is worth the struggle. You can learn more HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/zumbro-why-early-april/






What’s Included:
A well marked course with plenty of aid and tons of friendly, experienced volunteers.  Runners who register by March 1 will have their name custom printed on their race numbers. Chip timing. All 50 mile finishers will receive a WOOD MEDAL. For 2023 we will either do a a t-shirt or a hat (TBD). If it is a t-shirt it will be the same awesome Rocksteady Running Tri-Blend ( non-technical / casual cotton blend ) t-shirt with a super cool design. Shirts are unisex but fit both genders really well – you can see past years race shirts and hats HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/category/shirts-swag/  Post race we will be providing complimentary canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water) and fresh baked Neapolitan style pizza.


General Location and Travel:
The race start is approximately 1:45 South of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Airports in Minneapolis St Paul (MSP), Rochester (RST), and Lacrosse(LSE).


Driving To the Race & Parking:
This is very important and quite in depth so it gets the following description AND its own page HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/getting-to-zumbro/ please review both. Parking is limited at the race start / finish area – WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE CAR-POOLING. If there is snow and ice on the ground when you are making your way to the race, we prefer that you take the route utilizing Wabasha County Rd 4 and come in through the town of Theilman (as opposed to the gravel back roads that Google Maps may route you on – these roads can become very hazardous if snow and ice are present due to how steep the hills are – that said this route is perfectly acceptable when snow and ice are not present). If you come through the town of Theilman, PLEASE drive very slowly / cautiously through town – this is a VERY small community that is not used to seeing much traffic this time of year, so please be VERY respectful. The Zumbro Bottoms West Assembly Campground does not have a “parking lot” per se’, it is a campground and is setup as much, there is quite a bit of space as long as people park sanely / respectfully, please do not double park or park in any muddy areas. Those not camping please drive all the way to the back / far end of the campground and start filling that space first.


There is no lodging available in Theilman, MN but there is rustic camping available at the start / finish area for a fee.

Lodging in Wabasha (15 miles)
AmericInn http://www.americinn.com/hotels/mn/wabasha
Turning Waters B&B http://www.turningwatersbandb.com/

Lodging in Lake City (15 miles)
AmericInn http://www.americinn.com/hotels/mn/lakecity
Sunset Motel http://www.sunsetmotelandresort.com/
Alaska Lodge http://www.sleepalaska.com

Camping is available right at the start area for tents and RV’s (note that there is no water or power hookups and the wells at the campground are not on this time of year). There is self serve registration near the entrance. The daily camping fee is $17.00 per night (subject to increases) – be sure to pay the fee!  Pre-registering is not necessary. More info can be found on the DNR website HERE.

Grocery stores and gas stations in Wabasha, Lake City and Plainview


Emergencies / Hospital Information:
For Emergencies Dial 911

Google Map Directions in printable .PDF format to Wabasha and Rochester Hospitals click HERE

Wabasha (Local Hospital / Closest Option)
St. Elizabeth Hospital
1200 Grant Blvd. West
Wabasha, MN  55981
Telephone: 651.565.4531
Emergency 651.565.4531
Google Map LINK

Rochester (Advanced Medical Care)
Saint Mary’s Hospital
1216 Second Street Southwest
Rochester, MN  55902
General Number 507-255-5123
Google Map LINK


Packet Pick-Up & Race Start:
You can start checking in as early as 10:30PM on Friday night. We will make some brief announcements 5 minutes prior to the 12:01AM start.


Drop Bags:
There will be a spot for drop bags at the Start / Finish area which is the same as Aid Station 3.  Runners will have access to their drop bags after each 17 mile loop. Runners may also return to their vehicle in the West Assembly area after each 17 mile loop, essentially using their vehicles as a “drop bag” – please be sure to cross over the timing mat either before or after you head to your vehicle, but not both / two times (only cross the timing mat once).  You will drop off your drop bags on race morning. Please keep your drop bags reasonable in size. Each drop bag must be clearly labeled with the race distance, runner’s name and race number. Race numbers will be assigned a few days before the race start and will be available on the website. Please do not put valuables into drop bags. Drop bags will not be protected from the elements so make sure that your drop bags are either waterproof OR that it is ok for the items inside to get wet. You will need to pick up your drop bags after completing the race. Any drop bags left behind will be discarded.


This race starts at Midnight, you will need a headlamp (or two) and / or spare batteries. Sunrise 6:35AM – Sunset 7:45PM.


Weather and Clothing:
Early to mid-April in Minnesota – we can have highs in the mid-70’s and lows in the low-30’s or a combination of both.  Usually, all of the snow will be gone and the trail should be in decent shape, but often times patchy snow /ice and mud will linger. Be prepared for all weather and trail-conditions, watch the forecast and plan accordingly.


There is no infrastructure at Zumbro Bottoms. There is no access to the indoors or a heated environment besides your vehicle. There will be some small open-sided pop-up-tents available at Aid Station 2 and Aid Station 3 / Start-Finish should you need temporary reprieve from rain – besides that you need to be completely self-sufficient. You will need to have appropriate clothing for your run and for after if you plan to stick around (think rain and cold).


Race Numbers:
The Zumbro Endurance Run hosts four races simultaneously; the Zumbro 100 Mile Endurance Run (starts at 8:00 AM Friday), the Zumbro Midnight 50 (starts at 12:01 AM Saturday), the Zumbro 34 Mile (starts 7:00 AM Saturday) and the Zumbro 17 Mile (starts at 9:00 AM Saturday).  Each distance will have its own unique race number (unique color and number series) so runners can be easily identified by race officials, volunteers, spectators and other runners.  Runners who register by March 1 will have their name custom printed on their race bib. We ask that all competitors wear their number on the front of their body on their outer-most layer at all times.  Runners will be tracked coming into and out of each manned aid station.  If we cannot see your number, we cannot track you or take your finishing time and if we cannot do that, you will be disqualified and will not earn an official finish.  More information can be found https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/category/race-numbers/


Pink Ribbon In Lieu of Back Bib
The 50 mile race is not the only race happening during race weekend (100 mile starts at 8:00AM Friday, 34 mile starts 7:00AM Saturday and 17 mile starts at 9:00AM Saturday) 50 milers will be issued a piece of blue ribbon to tie to the back of their hydration pack, waist belt etc. so they can easily be identified by runners doing the other distances, hopefully you will get some cheers and passed with care by these fresher / more energetic runners in the 34 and 17 miler. Similarly, 100 mile runners will be issued a piece of pink ribbon. 34 and 17 milers will not be issued a ribbon.


The Zumbro Endurance Run will be chip timed.  Your timing chip will be affixed to the back of your race number – example HERE.  Do not remove your timing chip.  Do not bend or fold your timing chip or crumple your race number – this may break your timing chip. Your race number and your timing chip must be pinned on your outer-most layer at all times.  Above guidelines must be followed in order ensure that split times and finish times are recorded. This chip is disposable and does not need to be returned.  More information can be found https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/category/race-numbers/


Race Course:
A course map can be found HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/maps-and-data/


Course Markings:
The course will be marked with Orange flags with reflective strips, which will always be on the left hand side of the trail except in the rare occasion where there will be two-way traffic (the red iron bridge that crosses the Zumbro River), in this area the flags will be on both sides of the trail – reflective arrows will be used sparingly as well. It is unfortunate but is not unheard of at many of the major trail races that course vandalism has occurred and flagging has been intentionally moved or removed by small minded individuals – it is important that you study the course prior to running and have a concept of where you are going.


Aid Stations:
You must visit every aid station / you may not skip any aid stations. The first aid station is 5(ish) miles into each loop and is an unstaffed / water-only aid station.  The second aid station is 13.5(ish) miles into each loop and is fully stocked and fully staffed.  That is approximately 8.5 miles between the two aid stations.  BE PREPARED TO CARRY AT LEAST TWO WATER BOTTLES OR A HYDRATION BLADDER AND ALL OF THE CALORIES THAT YOU WILL NEED in order to make these distances.  Please review the course map HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/maps-and-data/ – Our aid stations are manned by volunteers, many of them spending a good part of their weekend out there – please be sure to thank the volunteers!


Cupless Race:
We are a cupless race, if you want to drink water or soda out of a cup, you have to have your own (each aid station will have a small stash of paper cups should you lose your reusable cup along the way.) If you are not familiar with these reusable cups they are easy to find and procure, HERE https://hydrapak.com/products/speed-cup-200-ml is an example. Note that we WILL provide disposable cups for things like coffee and soup.


Aid Station Food:
This information pertains to Aid Station 2 & 3 since Aid Station 1 is water only. Aid stations will have salty and sweet pre-packaged snacks. We will have Coke and Ginger Ale. Runners can expect aid stations to have chicken noodle and vegan soup and aid station captains / crews will also be providing their own unique hot food item or two (usually simple things like grilled cheese, mashed potatoes, etc.)


Special Nutrition Items:
We will NOT have any gels, electrolyte tabs or sports drink – procure your own, carry what you need, and make use of your drop bag. With the proliferation of products on the market over the last number of years, everyone seems to have their own preferred brand and we spend more time reading expiration dates and throwing things out than you do ingesting them, and we can no longer justify the waste.


Support Crew and Spectator Access to Aid Stations:
Crews may only give their runner aid at official race aid stations. Crew, pacer and spectator access will only be allowed to drive to the Start / Finish West Assembly Area which is the same as Aid Station 3. Crew, pacers, or spectators may not drive to any of the other aid stations. Ambitious crew, pacers and spectators are welcome to walk (backwards on the race course) out to Aid Station 2 but few will take this option as there would not be time to see your runner at Aid Station 2 and then again at Aid Station 3 – the Start / Finish Area as they are approximately 4 miles apart. We thank you for your understanding, these decision are made based on variable Spring road conditions, field size, for the safety of race crew, family members and friends of the runners and to save your vehicles and the road from damage.


Cell Coverage:
There is no cell coverage in most of the valleys within the Zumbro Bottoms Management Unit, the West Assembly Area / the start and finish area of the race is no exception.  Getting to a high point / on top of a bluff is the best way to get cell coverage if you need it.


Pacers are not allowed in the 50 mile race.


Cut-off Times:
You must have started your 3rd / final loop (left aid station 3 – the start/finish area) by 12:45 PM on Saturday. The finish line cutoff for an official finish is 18 hours (Saturday, 6:00 pm). All cutoffs will be strictly enforced – we do however reserve the right to pull (or allow to continue) any racer as we see fit.


If You DNF:
Should you need to drop out of the race you need to report this (providing your bib number) to the HAM radio operators at the aid station you are dropping at – if you are not sure who that is ask around until you find them. If you leave the course and fail to notify race officials, you will be asked not to come back to our race in the future.


Headphones are allowed. Please keep the volume low, or one earbud out so you can hear what is going on around you. Full awareness of one’s surroundings, and the ability to communicate with other participants, race volunteers, and trail users not associated with the event are critical to everyone’s safety.


Out-Loud Music:
Playing music out-loud from your phone or other speakers is not allowed.


Trekking Poles:
Trekking poles are allowed, please be cognizant of those around you when using your poles.


You may not run the race with your dog. That said, on-leash dogs are welcome at the race, with your crew, family and spectators at the race starts, at crew-accessible aid stations and at the finish.


Please help to keep the trail clean.  Try not to drop anything, and if you see something that someone else has accidently dropped, please pick it up.


Results will be available on our website.


We do not do specific overall winner or age group awards.  Every finisher will be handed a medal as they finish.


Post Race Meal:
Post race we will be providing complimentary canned beverages (Coke, Ginger Ale and Sparkling Water) and fresh made Neapolitan style pizza. Beverages and pizza are free for runners. Crew, pacers, family and spectators may also enjoy for a cash donation.


For those interested in volunteering, more information can be found HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/read-first/


Training at Zumbro:
If you are planning on doing any course reconnaissance, scouting or training runs at Zumbro you will need to review the following information in it’s entirety.  https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/training-at-zumbro/


UTMB Qualifying Points:
Completion of the Zumbro 50 Mile Endurance Run will earn you three (3) qualifying points towards the UTMB Mont-Blanc races in Chamonix France.


Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) Fundraising Opportunity:
Rocksteady Running is proud to have Mile in My Shoes as an official Zumbro Endurance Run charity partner. Get a free entry to the Zumbro Endurance Run, lots of great swag and support a great cause by becoming a Mile in My Shoes (MiMS) FundRacer! Learn more HERE https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/mile-in-my-shoes/


Next Years Race:
The Zumbro Endurance Run is always held the weekend before the commencement of Spring Turkey Hunting. By Minnesota Rule “The spring turkey season opens the Wednesday nearest April 15”. The 2024 event will be held on Friday April 12 and Saturday April 13.





It is important for registrants / runners to understand that should county, state or federal mandates surrounding Covid change, be modified or reinstated, that certain aspects of our events may need to change.  This could happen at any time, without warning and could change the character of an event; i.e. take what is planned for a single day event and make it a multi-day event, take what is planned for a mass start race and change it to wave starts, change how our aid stations are set up / aid is provided, etc. Worse case we could see the cancellation of a race.  Listed below are the current considerations dealing with Covid.

• Runners, spectators, volunteers and staff are required to stay home if they are Covid positive, have been exposed to someone that is Covid positive in the past 14 days, are not feeling well or are experiencing any of the symptoms listed HERE https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

• All event activities will be outdoors.

• Proper and frequent hand hygiene will be encouraged and numerous hand sanitizing stations will be available.

• Touchpoints and surface areas will be routinely cleansed.






Zumbro Endurance Run
100MI, 50MI, 17MI Trail Race(s)
Theilman, Minnesota
April 10 & 11, 2020
• 100MI Friday 8:00AM
• 50MI 12:01AM Saturday (Friday Midnight)
• 17MI 9:00AM Saturday

Opens Fri Nov 1, 2019 – 12:01AM CST
Closes Fri April 3, 2020 – 11:59PM CST
*Or once the field limit has been met
Complete Registration Details HERE

Directions to Race Start:
Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit
West Assembly Area
(Near Theilman, MN)
Google Maps Directions HERE
Written Directions HERE
(Approx 1:45 south of Minneapolis, MN)

The course consists of a mix of rugged single and double track trail with rubble, loose rock and sand along with minimum maintenance gravel roads.  The race is primarily concentrated in two large valleys within an expansive hardwood forest.  There are four significant, short, steep climbs (approx 300FT) per loop with small hills in-between along with some significant stretches of flat valley floor running.  Be sure to see maps, elevation charts and stats provided on this website HERE.

100 Mile:
6 x 17 mile loop = 102(ish) miles
Elevation Gain 13,500 FT
Elevation Loss 13,500 FT
NET Elevation Change 27,000 FT
17 Aid Stations
34 hour time limit
Complete 100MI Info HERE

50 Mile:
3 x 17 mile loop = 51(ish) miles
Elevation Gain 6,750 FT
Elevation Loss 6,750 FT
NET Elevation Change 13,500 FT
8 Aid Stations
18 hour time limit
Complete 50MI Info HERE

17 Mile:
17 Mile Loop
Elevation Gain 2,250 FT
Elevation Loss 2,250 FT
NET Elevation Change 4,500 FT
2 Aid Stations
9 hour cutoff
Complete 17MI Info HERE

More About the Area:
The Zumbro Endurance Run 100MI, 50MI and 17MI trail races take place within the Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit in Southeastern Minnesota’s Bluff Country – just outside of the tiny village of Theilman, MN approximately 1:45 from Minneapolis – St.Paul, MN.  The races start and finish at the West Assembly / Horse Campground Area.  Generally speaking the Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit lies within a portion of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood Forest – an expansive 1.7 million acre tract of Minnesota hardwood forest on the Northern edge of the Driftless Region which is mainly characterized by its tall bluffs and deeply carved river valleys. This “bluff country” is rugged, hauntingly beautiful and provides the perfect venue for 100, 50 or 17 miles of trail running.