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Ultra runners achieve fastest known time on Minnesota's Superior Hiking Trail

Jul 26, 2020 01:54PM ● By Editor
Photo:  Steven Peterson

By Marlowe Hereford of the Post Register - July 26, 2020

Challis grad Lind, ISU instructor Peterson achieve fastest known time on Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail

In ultra running, achieving a fastest known time is a major accomplishment.

It is equivalent to a meet or event record in cross country or track and field, and word of the accomplishment tends to travel fast.

Ever since Cody Lind, a 2013 Challis High graduate and 2019 Idaho State graduate, and Brittany Peterson, an instructor and academic fieldwork coordinator in Idaho State’s occupational therapy assistant program, completed the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota in four days, nine hours, 27 minutes, 18 seconds to set the trail’s fastest known men’s and women’s times last month, they’ve heard from various members of the ultra running community. The previous fastest known times were by Mike Koppe (five days, three hours, 44 minutes) and Alex Elizabeth (six days, 12 hours, 32 minutes).

Lind said they spoke to various newspapers in the Midwest and were also invited on a few podcasts, including by Ultra Running Magazine, and news of their effort spread while they were still on the trail.

“There’s a close knit group in the Midwest, a group of ultra runners,” Lind said by phone. “Different people were out there on the trail and they’d say, ‘Oh, Brittany and Cody, you’re doing awesome.’ We had no idea who these people were.”

Both sponsored ultra runners and Pocatello residents, Lind and Peterson said taking on the Superior Hiking Trail and its fastest known times was a conversation topic prior to this year. Once their summer schedule got turned upside down due to COVID-19 and ultra runs were canceled, they decided this was the time to make the trip to Minnesota.

Peterson, who moved to Idaho 11 years ago from Minnesota, grew up close to the southern terminus of the Superior Hiking Trail. She attended college in Duluth, which is also on the trail, and spent family vacations at spots on the trail’s northern terminus. Lind had never been to Minnesota, and Peterson does not often get to go back, which furthermore led to their decision.

“I always joked about wanting to do the SHT. Cody would be like, ‘How far is it?’ ‘It’s 310 miles,’” Peterson said by phone. “It kinda paired with, our races were falling apart, I don’t often get to visit my family in the summer because we’re always traveling. Some of the sections, gosh, it’s probably been like over a decade (since I was there last).”

In late April, they chose to complete the SHT in June. Lind said this put them in a bit of a ‘time crunch’ to properly plan. The trail, which follows Lake Superior, includes 43,000 total feet of elevation gain from south to north. Lind said Peterson spent days studying maps of each section of the trail. They also set goal times for each section that would put them on pace to set a new fastest known time.

“We wanted to be sub-five days and we made five different 60-mile sections knowing that a section is gonna take less than 24 hours,” Lind said. “That was the plan. We’d kinda run 60 miles and meet up with crew and maybe sleep, eat and at least lay horizontal.”

With Peterson’s father, brother and her brother’s girlfriend as their support crew, Peterson and Lind began their effort the morning of June 17 on the southern terminus. To physically prepare, Lind and Peterson followed a six-week training regimen prior to leaving for Minnesota that included a 62-mile day, a 57-mile day and a weekend of three 30-mile runs. While Lind said running in east Idaho’s mountains helped prepare for the various terrain, the biggest challenge early on the SHT was the humidity. Fittingly, Lind’s last ultra race before COVID-19 cancellations was in humid conditions: the Coastal Challenge in February in Costa Rica, which he won.

To read much more of the original story, follow this link to the Post-Register web site.