2018 Gnarly Bandit Hopefuls at the Start of the Zumbro 100 – Photo Credit Fresh Tracks Media

This article was written by Robyn Reed and has been republished with permission from Upper Midwest Trail Runners – you can find the original article HERE http://www.umtr.net/zumbro-vs-the-gnarly-bandits/

That, as a runner once said, was a hell of a thing.

Zumbro 2018 will not be forgotten anytime soon. As an historic late-season blizzard took aim at Minnesota, 16 Gnarly Bandits took the puddle-covered starting line in pouring rain, and began the first race of the season, the Zumbro 100.

Throughout the day on Friday the 13th, they endured rising winds, standing water, and legendary mud, said by some to be as bad as Zumbro’s ever been. The rain came off and on, and when it wasn’t raining, the sky loomed close and dark, as if it and the wind were bending together, planning something.

That something rolled in as the sun set Friday night, and the wind flung ice pellets, then giant snowflakes onto the course. By midnight, snow was falling heavily and the trails were turning from mud to… well… snow mixed with mud.

The Gnarlies persisted, though their numbers were dropping as the trail conditions and weather took its toll. Overnight and into Saturday, the snow fell, alternating with ice. The trails began to firm up, and on the ridge above Ant Hill, the snow drifted and the wind screamed. By later Saturday, the snow-covered trails were slippery, presenting yet another hazard.

Five Gnarly Bandits endured and met all the challenges that Zumbro presented to finish the race. Congratulations to Brian Corgard (who placed 5th overall), Matt McCarty (who placed 2nd overall), Erik Raivo, Even Semrud, and Nate Ziemski, who persisted and crossed the finish line in the most difficult year Zumbro has ever seen. It’s a remarkable testament to the nature of the Gnarlies that their finish rate was nearly double that of the 100 mile as a whole.

To the five who remain in the running, congratulations! Enjoy your well deserved rest.

To those who started the race and did not finish, your boldness in taking on this challenge is inspiring, and your strength in starting this race is a credit to you!

Onward to Kettle Moraine 100, June 2!

And as always, thank you to Chad Heer and KW Commercial for sponsoring the Gnarly Bandit Series in 2018!

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.