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Grandma’s Marathon

Ex-Bjorklund winner caught with banned substance

Mo Trafeh, who set the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon course record (1:01:17) while winning the 2013 race, announced his retirement as an elite runner Thursday after getting caught with a banned substance.

In a statement, Trafeh said he was caught with EPO by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which threatened a lifetime ban, Trafeh said. Instead, the eight-time U.S. road champ opted to call it a career.

Injuries have plagued Trafeh of late. In the statement, he maintained that, since 2008, he had repeatedly passed drug tests.

Trafeh beat Meb Keflezighi by five seconds at the 2013 Bjorklund, which also doubled as the USA Half Marathon Championships.

Youth soccer

Lake Superior Open on tap this weekend

The Lake Superior Open soccer tournament begins a three-day run today in six boys divisions and 12 girls divisions at several Duluth venues.

Age categories range from U-9 to U-17 and fields to be used include Arlington, Jean Duluth, Lakewood, Ordean East Middle School and Ordean Stadium, adjacent to Duluth East High School.

Championships will be held Sunday.


USA Curling high on Duluth curlers

Several curlers with Duluth ties were among the 47 invited to participate in USA Curling’s first High Performance Program Combine from July 19-23 at the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minn.

The combine is part of the evaluation process used to select up to 30 curlers for the 2014-15 USA Curling High Performance Program. Those chosen will attend a mandatory training camp Aug. 23-29 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Among locals selected on the men’s side were Olympians John Shuster, John Landsteiner and Jared Zezel of the Duluth Curling Club and Duluthians Chris Plys and Joe Polo. Another curler with Duluth connections, Ethan Meyers, was named to the junior men’s team.

On the women’s side, Duluth’s Aileen Sormunen, Sophie Brorson (now of Minneapolis) and Courtney George (now of St. Paul) were selected as was junior curler Cory Christensen.

Whitewater kayaking

St. Louis River race set for Saturday

Northland residents will have the chance to watch — and try for themselves — whitewater kayaking on the St. Louis River on Saturday.

Twin events — Paddlemania and Blast to the Bridge — are set to be held along the river in Thomson and Jay Cooke State Park. The event headquarters is the Outpost, adjacent to the Minnesota Highway 210 bridge.

“It’s going to be great water flow, impressive rapids,” said event organizer Cliff Langley of Swiftwater Adventures.

Paddlemania, from 10 a.m.-noon, is an expo during which visitors can learn about kayaking basics and have the chance to try kayaking in a controlled setting. There will be three 30-minute sessions; check in at the Outpost to sign up.

Blast to the Bridge, which starts at 2 p.m., is a race for expert kayakers from below the Thomson Dam to the Swinging Bridge in Jay Cooke State Park. Langley said he is expecting 10 to 20 racers; the best time wins the race.

Spectators who venture into the park to watch will need a Minnesota State Parks vehicle sticker, or a $5 day pass for sale at the park.