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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.

Meet the UMTR Board

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.

A UMTR member from the day he started running, Henry is excited to be more active in building and supporting an organization that encourages new and long-time runners to be their best selves. He is especially passionate about maintaining and advocating for local trails and protecting continued access to them!

Ann Starr, Secretary
I have been running since 2014 and a UMTR Member for three years. I started running on the road but after a year or so on the pavement I discovered the Endless Summer Trail Series and after my first run at Lebanon Hills I was hooked.

I have completed numerous races from Superior 25k and Eugene Curnow Marathon and I keep continuing to challenge myself on the trails. Last year I also completed the Squamish 50k in Squamish, Canada. I hope to run a 50 mile in 2019.

My favorite part of trail running is the people. From the runners on the trails you meet, dedicated race directors and the numerous volunteers that give their time and energy to keep the runners going.

I hope to give back to the running community for many years to come and running the trails.

Loren Albin, At-Large Member
Loren has been running trails for about 25 years. He ran his first 50K race at the inaugural Afton Trail Run in 1994, and over the years he and his wife Pam have spent many weekends and evenings together on the trails at Afton. Whether running in summer or snowshoeing in winter, it was always fun to meet up with old and new friends on the trail. Never an athlete and never blessed with speed, Loren has been fortunate to have the opportunity to complete many marathons and 50K races with Pam on beautiful trails in Minnesota and elsewhere, including some of the "famous" trails of California.

In recent years, Loren and his creaky knees have been drawn to the shorter races highlighted by the UMTR Trail Run Series, where he has enjoyed experiencing new races and meeting new runners and volunteers.

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.

Kate Hanson, At-Large Member
After moving up to Minneapolis in 2016, Kate got lost on the trails around Cedar Lake on her usual road half-marathon training loop and fell in love with dirt beneath her feet. One Full Moon Afton group run later and she was hooked on dirt. Slowly working her way through longer distances, Kate has completed everything from a trail 5k to a 50 miler, and is hoping to attempt her first 100 miler in 2018. Loving volunteering as much as competing in the race itself, Kate can often be found at aid stations, either dressed in a hot dog costume at Zumbro or dumping buckets of water on people’s heads at Voyageur.

Kate is lucky enough to live surrounded by excellent trails in the Twin cities, but loves getting up to the Superior Hiking Trail and also exploring new trails in lesser known state parks in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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.

Chris Vitek, At-Large Member
Chris picked up running later in life in his late 40’s running all the local half marathons. After running the Afton 25K in 2014 he was hooked on running trails. John Taylor, a college friend of his wife Smokey, was volunteering at the Afton race and informed Chris that there are longer distance trail races. Given that inspiration Chris was excited to more of what trail running had to offer and registered for the Birkie Marathon in September and Surf the Murph 50K in October of 2014. 

Since then, Chris has run two 50 milers and discovered that 50K and marathon trail distances are his favorites, running as many Minnesota and Wisconsin events as he can. In 2017 he completed the Transrockies 6 day 120 mile run in Colorado. His main goal is to meet, support and encourage others in the absolute joy of running trails.

Mandy Weilandt, At-Large Member
I started running 17 years ago and am a self proclaimed Back of the Pack endurance runner. Built for long distances, not for speed!!

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!

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