The Zumbro Endurance Run has been cancelled in the past and it is possible that it could be cancelled again in the future. There are no refunds if the race is cancelled. If you do not like this arrangement, we are sorry, and you most certainly should not sign up for the race. There are other races later in April and May that you can do. Even after the challenges we had in 2018, 2019 and 2020 we continue to hold this race because 100’s of you indicate to us, year after year, that you want us to, that it is that meaningful to you, that it is worth it despite a lost entry fee or two (or even three), and we agree. We were hosting this race when only twenty people wanted to do it, we have hosted it when nearly a thousand wanted to, and we will continue to be here if it goes back to only twenty of you again. Below we explain why Zumbro is held in early April vs a time of year where there is no chance of a snowstorm / blizzard and we provide some additional context and information for those that are interested in learning more.
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 nature of the Zumbro River Bottoms Management Unit is that there are very narrow windows in which it is possible to get the Zumbro Endurance Run permitted. Turkey hunting always starts the Wednesday after our race, and obviously firearms / hunting and running do not mix. After turkey hunting a myriad of other uses take place in the management unit; including other hunting seasons, logging, permitted motorcycle events, the horseback riding season and other primary uses which would conflict with a large running race. Zumbro Bottoms Management Unit is the most popular horseback riding and camping venue in the state. Additionally, in the years since Zumbro was founded, the Midwest trail / ultra calendar has filled in quite a bit, limiting available dates even further. The ‘Zumbro Fatass’, the precursor to the formal / modern day race, was successfully held from 2004-2008 (five years). The formal race was founded in 2009 and was held without disruption until 2017 (another nine years). In 2018 snow was in the forecast which is not uncommon, but a blizzard resulted. The video via the 2018 article linked below helps to illustrate how bad it was. The 100 mile and 50 mile races continued once the snow started as we felt it was safer to have people on the course vs sent home sleep-deprived on the abysmal roads. Runners were encouraged to drop out if they were not experienced in those conditions, and many did. The entire 17 mile race was canceled the night before it was to start, it was simply too unsafe to allow others to travel to the area, let alone put more people on the course. The race was cancelled again in 2019, this time a day in advance due to another blizzard – conditions quite similar to those in 2018. Finally, the race was cancelled again in 2020, this time due to Covid-19.
In 2021 we had a successful albeit heavily Covid-modified race. Zumbro was held as normal in 2022 with a little snow on Thursday and Friday and glorious sunny spring weather on Saturday.
While a little bit of snow is not uncommon in Central and Southern Minnesota in early April, full on blizzards are not. With weather data going back to the late 1800’s, the average April snowfall total for the Twin Cities area is 3.92 inches – for the entire month. The Zumbro Endurance Run takes place about 70 miles Southeast of the Twin Cities, so generally, these are the same numbers experienced in the Zumbro valley over that same time, if anything perhaps a little less.
The links below delve a little bit more into each cancellation. For you Zumbro fanatics, I strongly encourage you to read the 2019 article, it contains some interesting context about how Zumbro got started, what it was like when it started, how things have changed over the years and the implications of extreme weather intersecting with what grew from a small group of friends getting together to run each April to the widely popular event that Zumbro is today.
2018 Blizzard Cancellation: https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/2018-zumbro-17-mile-race-cancellation/
2019 Blizzard Cancellation: https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/2019-zumbro-endurance-run-cancellation-followup/
2020 Covid Cancellation: https://www.zumbroendurancerun.com/covid-19-press-release-3-20-20/
Our Long Term Intention:
We will continue to hold the Zumbro Endurance Run the weekend before turkey hunting. If we take history at face value, there will be many more successful years, and there will be more cancellations – our hope is that the ratio is reasonable / bearable. The contract we ask that you make with us, is if you are interested in running this event, interested enough to sign up knowing the risks, that you all shoulder some of the risk (your entry fee) – we will eat some costs and months of planning. What this means is that if there is a cancellation, there are no refunds per our standard registration policy as outlined below…
“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, administration, staff and overhead. 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.”
Again, if this arrangement is disagreeable to you, we are sorry, and please do not sign up for the race… there are other races you can do later in April or in May.
Below are a couple of contingencies we do offer…
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), should we need to cancel Zumbro in 2022 or 2023, we will issue a 25% credit for the 2023 or 2024 race respectively 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 in 2021, it is pretty dang special and always feels like it is worth the struggle.
Registration Fee Assistance:
Registration fees are used to cover the costs of producing a race, cover overhead and hopefully provide a little bit of a cushion / startup capital for the following year’s race. That said, we do not want an entry fee to be the reason that someone cannot participate in one of our races. For each race that Rocksteady Running produces, we will make available a couple of reduced fee and / or comp entries for those in need. Please contact us via email if you need registration fee assistance and give us a brief explanation of your situation. Any assistance provided will be kept confidential. Please only request help if it is necessary, leaving the assistance for those that are truly in need.
Thank you for taking the time to review this information. Thank you for your ongoing support of the Zumbro Endurance Run.