The 12th annual Arrowhead 135 wrapped up at 7 p.m. Wednesday with this year’s ultramarathon having more than half of the athletes being able to finish for the second year in a row.
Mild winter weather with cloudy skies and air temperatures in the 20s above zero prevailed during the three days of the 135-mile race along the Arrowhead State Trail from Kerry Park in International Falls to the Fortune Bay Casino near Tower as 88 athletes reached the finish line within the allotted 60 hours.
Arrowhead 135 race director Ken Krueger said the snow that fell on the final day of the ultramarathon had made the trails a little more difficult than in the first two days for the athletes who had yet to finish.
Of 151 athletes who began the race, 58 of 94 bikers, 28 of 55 runners and both skiers finished. Overall, around 58 percent of the athletes completed the ultramarathon.
“It was really hard to control the bikes,” said Krueger, who noted the soft snow on the trails this year contributed to the control problems and none of the bikers who crashed had been seriously injured.
When the air temperatures were similar for last year’s race, which had more favorable trail conditions, around 80 percent of the 154 athletes who started were able to finish.
The finish rates for the two most recent ultramarathons are in stark contrast to the 2014 Arrowhead 135 when the 142 athletes at the start faced below-zero temperatures and only 47 finished — 30 bikers, 16 runners and one skier.
The first person to finish this year’s Arrowhead 135, biker Jay Petervary, 43, of Idaho, made it to Fortune Bay on the first day of the ultramarathon in 16 hours, 30 minutes.
Petervary’s winning time was more than 2 hours slower than the race record of 14 hours, 20 minutes, set in 2013 by Todd McFadden, 51, of Duluth, who didn’t finish this year after crashing, but was OK.
Petervary, who also won the 2014 race and came in third in 2015, had a 3-minute margin of victory this year when the runner-up was a 26-year-old biker from Alaska, Will Ross.
The third-place biker, Minnesotan Dan Dittmer, 38, was more than 2 hours off this year’s winning pace when he finished in 18 hours, 52 minutes.
Petervary’s wife, Tracey, 43, was the 15th biker and first female to finish in 25 hours, 50 minutes.
The 42nd biker to finish, Minnesotan Mike Stattelman, 53, reached Fortune Bay in 36 hours, 39 minutes, and earned the Arrowhead a’Trois trophy for having completed the race over its 12-year history by biking, running and skiing.
The 58th and final biker to reach Fortune Bay, Minnesotan Jim Wilson, 55, finished in 55 hours, 28 minutes.
Despite the less-than-ideal trail conditions, a new race record for skiers was set this year when Minnesotan Mike Brumbaugh, 57, reached the finish in 22 hours to break the previous record by 5 minutes.
The other skier, Minnesotan Jason Buffington, 46, finished in 32 hours, 25 minutes, and also earned the Arrowhead a’Trois trophy for having completed the ultramarathon in all three disciplines, for which nine people have received the award in the race’s history.
The first two runners who reached the finish, Minnesotans Jim Reed and Scott Hoberg, arrived at Fortune Bay in 37 hours, 20 minutes.
Last year’s top runner, who also set the race record for runners in 2015 in 34 hours, 20 minutes – Marcus Berggren, 40, of Sweden – was the third runner to finish this year in 40 hours, 46 minutes.
The first female runner to finish had tried unsuccessfully the previous three years to reach Fortune Bay before the 60-hour cutoff. Carla Goulart, 39, of Brazil, finished this year in 52 hours, 51 minutes.
The 28th and final runner to finish within 60 hours, Kevin Mackie, 59, of Wisconsin, reached Fortune Bay in 59 hours, 54 minutes.
“It was really inspiring seeing some of (the athletes) cross the finish,” Krueger said.
Minnesotan Daryl Saari, 53, also made it to Fortune Bay, but he arrived at the finish 13 minutes after the 60-hour cutoff.
The ultramarathon athletes who finished within 60 hours all earned trophies.
Krueger said the highest number of successful finishes by one individual in the Arrowhead 135 is now at 10 after Minnesotan Charlie Farrow, 56, completed the race this year on foot after having finished the ultramarathon nine times before on a bike. Farrow arrived at Fortune Bay this year in 52 hours, 51 minutes.
An individual milestone set in this year’s race, Krueger said, was Minnesotan John Storcamp, 36, competing in his 100th race that was the length of a marathon or longer. Storcamp was the fourth runner to reach the finish in 42 hours, 26 minutes.
Complete results of this year’s race can be found online at: http://www.arrowheadultra.com/index.php/results/2016-results
All the athletes in the Arrowhead 135 are required to carry mandatory survival equipment. The bikers are able to load their survival equipment onto their bikes, while most of the runners load their equipment onto sleds they pull known as pulks.
Krueger said proceeds from this year’s race will go to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Minnesota Safe Families for Children organization and the International Falls food shelf.
The 13th annual Arrowhead 135 is set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2017.