Race the Arrowhead 135, Minnesota

See trip details for raceing the Arrowhead 135, one of 100 best American adventure trips from National Geographic.

The Arrowhead 135 race is long, difficult, and bitterly cold, but that’s all part of the fun. Right? Undoubtedly some competitors question this line of reasoning while standing at the starting line of this 135-mile (217-kilometer) ultramarathon in International Falls, Minnesota, a town that routinely registers the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48 and is more commonly known as Frostbite Falls. The self-supported race follows the Arrowhead State Trail through the hilly, densely forested hinterlands of northern Minnesota, and the rules are relatively few: Racers can ski, run, or pedal with fat-tire snow bikes, and they must finish with 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) of emergency gear and 3,000 calories of emergency food in the good old-fashioned spirit of Midwestern self-reliance.

In spite of starting-line jitters, the unique perks of the race—one of the coldest of its kind—soon reveal themselves: the sound of your misty breath and the snow crunching beneath you, the sight of the moon pillowed by a halo of clouds, and wolves standing as silent as monks by the side of the trail, to name a few. Fewer than 120 people do it each year and as many as 80 percent don’t finish, but the value lies simply in participating. In fact, the most coveted trophy is the one reserved for the dead-last finisher. And the true booty is the camaraderie that comes with joining a select clan of people who step up to such a singular challenge.

Need to Know: The 2011 race, with an entrance fee of $190, is scheduled for January 31. To register, contact the Arrowhead Winter Ultra organizers (www.arrowheadultra.com).


« Previous: Canoe the AllagashNext: Canoe the Boundary Waters »

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet