The Upper Midwest Trail Runners is an organization for anyone who likes to run off road. Some of us are serious ultra runners. Others are recreational runners who seldom if ever enter a race. Our members like to run on dirt, grass, gravel, rocks, mud, snow—really, any trail that isn’t paved. We want to encourage more people to run trails and have fun before, during, and after runs. Our members support and conduct races and other running activities. Because we appreciate running on trails, we want to protect and support local trails and parks.
In our experience, the trail running community is tremendously diverse, welcoming, and open. On the trail your speed, size, skin color, religious background, political leaning, or other differences carry no importance. You’re simply a member of the trail running family. The UMTR Board of Directors reject discrimination, bullying, and harassment of any kind as antithetical to the welcoming nature that we expect from the community and our members. We believe that those actions have no place in our events, or in the greater trail community. Trails should be a place where people can feel safe and welcome, and we hope that our trail family continues to be one of equality, acceptance, and respect.
Our organization also promotes a number of trail race series offering some friendly competition throughout the running season. Members who sign up for the series can win annual prizes for overall or age-group performance.
Henry Slocum, President
Despite accumulating over 6000 miles of hiking on world-class trails across the US, Henry never gave running an honest chance until the end of 2017. After completing back-to-back thru-hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail and Arizona Trail, he returned to Minneapolis with a shoe-shaped hole in his heart. All it took was one snowy loop around Fort Snelling State Park with a few friends, and Henry knew running was what he needed to fill the gap. Since then, Henry has taken every opportunity to run any distance on dirt (and snow!) near and far. From morning jogs along the creek near his home, to 100 mile races, and basically every distance in between, he loves the peace and clarity found among the trees and rocks.
Mike Wallin, Vice President
I’m Mike Wallin, I live in Dayton, MN with my wife, 2 boys and 4 cats. We have the great advantage of living about a half mile from the trail head at Elm Creek. I work as an Audiovisual and Broadcast Design engineer. Outside of running I’m involved in playing drums in a Band and at church and camping with family amongst other things.
I started running around 2016. Jokingly I say it all started on a dare to lose weight and try to run a canoe/trail run/bike Triathlon and after completing that triathlon I realized I enjoyed running on trails. I saw a friend post about running a marathon on the Superior hiking trail, so I though, “hey that sounds like fun!” At which point you could say I got mixed in with the “wrong crowd” ….
The trail marathon turned to trying a 50k, then a 100k, and then within a few years I was running 100-mile races. Last year, (2021) I completed the Gnarly bandit series and most recently (2022) I gave a shot at a winter ultra, completing the Arrowhead 135.
I’m excited to be on the board to help get more people interested and involved with trail running.
Mandy Hansel, Treasurer
I have completed two 50 milers at Zumbro, including the year of the great blizzard, 2018. Proudly, I was DFL both years! I have also completed two Hixon 50k races and numerous half marathons and other distances, both trail and road.
I enjoy mountain and fat biking and participate in a handful of triathlons every year. I am always looking to get more people out on the trails so they can fall in love with Trail Running like I have! I have started several groups to share my love of trail running with, including the Zumbro FB Training group, the Winona B-BOPers and have most recently established a non-profit trail race company, The Storm Trail Race Series. The Storm holds a variety of trail races and strives to be all inclusive of all experience levels and paces. Through our events, we raise money for local Youth Mental Health programs.
I reside down in the SE corner of Minnesota in Winona with my husband, Bill. I have a Daughter in college at Winona State (Go Warriors!) and a son who is a Junior in High School. We have an animal circus, including 3 dogs and 3 cats. I love to travel and try to hike and camp at the beautiful Minnesota state parks as much as possible!
I would love to get more UMTR members down to SE Minnesota to see what we have to offer down here in the Driftless region!! I look forward to serving the membership through my position on the board and can’t wait to contribute to the trail running community in any way possible!
|Madeline Harms, Secretary
Due to a complete lack of hand-eye coordination, running has been my thing since high school. I've done my share of running on the track, cross-country courses, roads, and of course trails. My first trail race was part of the Endless Summer Trail Series, and my first ultra was the Afton 50k in 2015. I love the community that trail running offers (especially in the upper midwest, where we get to experience all types of weather). You can find me at most of the major trail events in Minnesota, either racing, volunteering, or pacing/crewing a friend.
|Erika Lohn, At-Large Member
I am Erika Lohn - wife, mother, teacher, runner. I live in Dayton with Andy, my kids, and our black lab.
I officially became an ultra-runner on video (thanks Andy) at Surf the Murph 50K in 2013. I fell in love with the sport right away. Since then, I have continued to wake up early to get my running in and have tried to make the races family friendly. I have also retired from triathlon after two Ironman tri’s, swore I would never run a 100 miles race, ran a few 100 mile races, and made so many wonderful friends along the way.
I look forward to immersing myself in the UMTR community and sharing my passion for all things running.
|Carl Bliss, At-Large Member
Carl Bliss discovered the trails when a friend invited him to try the Ice Age 50K a number of years ago. Since then he has enjoyed a variety of distances, running a number of ultra's with his wife Katie. Katie and Carl are raising 3 girls in Minnesota's St. Croix Valley. He enjoys being close to a number of great regional and state parks. Carl has run trail races in Minnesota, Idaho, Wisconsin, and New Mexico and will always try to sneak away from a business trip to find local trails anywhere he travels.
Carl enjoys getting together for group runs, and introducing others to the sport, and will still laugh when a coworker tells him they "wouldn't drive that far".
Shirley Malean, At-Large Member
I started running in 2011 by entering a 5k, which was created as a way to raise funds for a local family who'd experienced the unexpected loss of a family member. I continued running as a way to decompress, relieve stress, and simply get out for some "me" time. Fast forward to 2013 and a co-worker talked me into registering for my first half marathon--time to really start training! I decided it was time to get serious and used running as a tool to kick the smoking habit. I'm pleased to report I've been consistently running and not smoking since 2013!
After several years of road running, I was looking for a creative way to train for my final 2021 road marathon. I decided (on a last-minute whim) to sign up for the 2021 Afton 25k -- and I fell in love with trail running. From July--October, I signed up for a variety of trail runs on the weekends instead of running my long road mileage. My favorite trail race (in my short trail career) has been the inaugural Renegade 25k on the Redhead Trails in Chisholm, MN.
I currently live in Hudson,WI with my husband. We've recently been tossed into the "empty-nester" category which gives me a lot more free time! I look forward to running more trails, tackling new distances on the trails, and making new connections within the UMTR community!
Bill Hansel, At-Large Member
My name is Bill Hansel and I live in the Winona, MN area with my wife Mandy. I have a son who lives in Green Bay, WI with his wife and our two grandchildren, and a daughter in the Milwaukee, WI area. I also have a stepdaughter and stepson who both live in the Winona, MN area. By day I am a Senior IT Business Analyst and by night I am the Vice President and co-founder of The Storm Trail Race Series.
My passion for running came later in my life after walking 5 miles in a Turkey Trot run/walk, in 2008. I got so caught up in the excitement of seeing the runners and hearing the cheers that I knew running was something I wanted to try. I truly started from zero and over the years I built up my endurance eventually completing my first ultra, the Door County Fall 50 in 2013. In 2016, I joined a group of friends for a winter trail run and found my true passion lay in ultra distances in the wilderness. Since I started running I have participated in an event of almost every distance from 1 mile to 200 miles including my most significant completion the Bigfoot 200. My latest goals have been focused on winter ultras and embracing the cold as an additional element of excitement in my running. A fun fact is that the only event distance missing in my running history is 100k. Besides running, I also enjoy fat biking, Adventure Racing, hiking, and almost any outdoor activity.
I look forward to sharing my joy of trail running and my passion for helping others with the UMTR board and community.