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.
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
|Chris Rubesch, President
After competing in track, cross country, and nordic skiing in college Chris was looking for an athletic challenge beyond road 5K's and 10K's. After running local trail races he decided to test himself with the Half Voyageur, and he was hooked! From there he continued to push his limits into longer races and has competed for several years in 50 Mile, 100 K, and 12 Hour races.
Chris loves exploring the outdoors on foot, snowshoes, skis, or boat all over the United States but especially loves the Superior Hiking trail near his home in western Duluth and up the North Shore.
|Eric Nordgren, Secretary
Although he grew up in northern Wisconsin and spent many happy hours hiking, backpacking, and working on the North Country and Superior Hiking trails, it took years of chasing times on cross country courses, tracks, and roads before Eric discovered that trails were his calling and inspiration. He volunteered at the first Chippewa 50K, held in six inches of fresh snow, and the pain on the runners faces will be forever etched in his memory.
That day and the race may have generated a spark, but it was not until he moved back north to Duluth and fell in with a tough crowd at the NMTC series that the fiery addiction to dirt, rocks, roots, and mud began blazing. For him, trailrunning is more than a hobby or pastime, but an opportunity to commune with nature on a daily basis and to live fully in the present. Sharing these experiences during training runs or races brings him great joy, and he looks forward to competing in longer and more challenging events.
|Josh Henningson, Treasurer
Since completing the Moose Mountain Marathon in 2012, Josh has been passionate about all things trail running and dreaming of coming back for the Superior 100. During the week he can be found running the trails in Theodore Wirth near his home in North Minneapolis. As a new dad, Josh does the majority of his running very early in the morning or late at night. Whenever possible he enjoys meeting fellow UMTR members for group runs at local state parks, Afton being his favorite.
In addition to running himself, Josh can be found volunteering, crewing, or pacing at local ultras. As the club’s treasurer he looks forward to using his professional experience as a way to serve UMTR and its members.
|Jake Hegge, At-Large Member
Jake caught the trail running bug in his early teens through exploration of the Ice Age Trail in his backyard of Verona, WI. He competed in cross country and track throughout high school and college but was always looking for something more. In 2012 he made the leap to Ultras at the Chippewa 50k and has been hooked ever since.
Jake enjoys introducing new runners to the trail scene and taking them on adventures. He is also one of the race directors for the Hixon 50 in La Crosse, WI.
|Jordan Schmidt, At-Large Member
After competing in Cross-Country and Track and Field for two years in high school, Jordan was looking for a new challenge. While in Lutsen for his senior trip, Jordan noticed a trail race being held there; later he found this to be the Superior 100. Although he had never even competed in a marathon at the time, he vowed he would go back and finish that 100 mile race in the future.
Jordan has competed in dozens of races, everything from triathlons to marathons to ultramarathons. He spends most weekends either racing or volunteering in some “trail-related” way. Although he loves to run, his main goal is to inspire others to do the same. Chances are, if you see him out on the trails, he will be smiling and laughing, and ultimately helping others get to the finish line.