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.
|Jamison Swift, President
Jamison began running later in life (2010) as an attempt to get healthier. After years of pounding pavement, his wife encouraged him to get out on the trails. He ran a small trail race in Rush City in 2014, and set out to find other like minded trail people over the winter to train with. The 17 miler at Zumbro 2015 marked his first big trail race, and he fell in love with the trail community. Jamison has completed many different ultra distance races, but loves running shorter distances as well. He is often seen volunteering at races; anything to get him out among trail people.
Jamison and his wife Lisa enjoy spending time outside as much as they can. They often travel around the state exploring new trails (and new breweries), and reconnecting with old favorites.
Henry Slocum, Vice 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.
|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".
|Erik Dinsmore, At-Large Member
I’ve been running since 2015, when I first ran 2 miles without any walking intervals. In 2017, after running my first road marathon, a friend invited me to run the Eugene Curnow trail marathon. I ran my first ultra later that year, and got hooked on the longer distances. I have now completed two 100 mile races and am loving all the time on the trail. Through all that time, the trail community has been there to support and encourage me. I want to be able to keep giving back to this wonderful community that has given so much to me.
|Madeline Harms, At-Large Member
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.
Mandy Hansel, At-Large Member
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 boyfriend, 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!
Brandon Mathews, At-Large Member
I started my journey to my love of running back in 2018. I started running in several half marathon road races and quickly moved into marathons in 2019. Looking for more races I found The Willow 20 miler and was hooked! I then joined the UMTR and found myself addicted to running amongst the trees and ever changing terrain. Moving in to 2020, with 8 marathons and a 50k under my belt, I had several ultra trail runs on the books. END-Sure 100K and The Hennepin 100 mile to name a few. But sadly we all had more races canceled then we ran due to Covid. But this left more time to continue training and prepare for events in 2021.
I live in Mendota Heights with my wife, Stacey and my two kids, River and Scarlet. Besides running I enjoy chess, cycling, cooking, and listening to records.
|Carrie Patz, At-Large Member|
Daniella Ramirez-Thiedman, At-Large Member
Just a little girl in Texas, I began running at 8 years old. I was in a romantic relationship with basketball and used running as a form of training to be the fastest on the court. I ran track throughout junior high and high school, but as a form of “off season” basketball training. Who would have known that I was experiencing a short term romance with basketball and would actually choose to spend my life with running?!
After high school, running accompanied me into adulthood. Always there to comfort me on a bad day and embolden me on a good one. I started to compete in races and found that I really loved to get out with others and crush goals! Throughout this journey, I have raced 5k’s, 10k’s, ½ marathon’s, full marathons, and a full IronMan (I am now an IM coach, too). I recently accomplished an official 50 mile trail run at Turtle River State Park in October of 2020. My next running goal is to complete a 100 mile race.
Running clutches a deep meaning to me, and a connection to my ancestors. I descend from a tribe of runners found in Chihuahua Mexico, the Tarahumara (Raramuri). While in nature and running long distances, I often think of them. In those moments, I uncover revelations and the power to persevere. I want others to unearth the exhilaration of running too! I hope to be an inspiration, much like my forefathers are to me, and lead people to the trails!
|Rose Ryan, At-Large Member|