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 started running 20+ 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 established a non-profit event company, Storm Sporting Events. SSE holds a variety of races and events to raise money for local Youth Mental Health programs and educational scholarships.
I reside down in the SE corner of Minnesota in Winona with my husband, Bill. I love to travel and try to hike and camp at the beautiful Minnesota state parks as much as possible! My life goal is to section hike the entire Superior Hiking Trail.
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.
John Eiden, At-Large Member
Hey. I'm John Eiden. Runners around the world know of me, as whispered on the winds of legendary average. Nearby middle-of-the-packers fear the sound of my crunching Hokas as I approach and then stall. Numerous race courses have fallen to my middling style and ordinary finish times.
I ran sporadically since my outstate high school CC team. Mid-adulthood, I cranked out regular road marathons until oh-so-typical disillusionment set in. Then... I discovered trail running magic one day, at the 2008 Nerstrand/Big Woods Trail Half Marathon. Hundreds of local race finishes later, I joined UMTR because it's time to give back. My hope is to spark people to spread out and go discover new trails, even short forays, and then come back and tell us all about it!
I live in Chanhassen. I manage enterprise tech projects. I geocache. In the past, I flew hang gliders for fun and distance. My proudest trail moment is completing Grand Canyon R2R2R. My favorite trail event distance is 25K, but get one beer into me and I sign up for stuff way over my head. I love this sport.
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!
Laura Boyce, At-Large Member
Hi! I am Laura Boyce and I live in Coon Rapids with my husband, Steve, and Izzy, our weird rescued
I started running in 2015 after my kids flew the nest. My first attempt at running was on the treadmill and I made it 1/3 of a mile. My 1 st race was a Mother’s Day 5k that my son ran with me at Elm Creek. I cried when I finished and was hooked. 2 years later I ran my 1 st marathon, The Twin Cities Marathon.
I have since transitioning to running mostly trail. The longest distance I have finished was the 50 mile Tunnel Hill race a few years ago. I have been trying to finish a 100K and am hoping this is my year. I identify with the back of the pack, also known as the party pack. I like to say that I can’t run fast but I can run far. I also have been getting more involved with volunteering at races and love encouraging runners while working aid stations and sweeping. I haven’t had the opportunity to pace much but would love to try that too.
I believe in inclusivity and celebrating all runners and through UMTR I hope we can reach more people who would welcome being a part of this life but may feel they are too slow, too old, can’t navigate their
way around the block, or just are afraid they are not good enough. There’s room for all of us.