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Duluth duo finishes in dead heat in Arrowhead 135 endurance race

Course map for the Arrowhead 135 race. Click on the image for a full view.

After 135 miles and more than 37 hours on the trail, a pair of Duluthians crossed the finish line together Tuesday night to share top honors among runners in the Arrowhead 135 endurance race across the wilderness of northern Minnesota.

Jim Reed and Scott Hoberg finished the 12th annual race from International Falls to Tower at 8:24 p.m., race officials reported — each recording a time of 37 hours, 20 minutes in the race that also includes bikers and cross-country skiers.

Reed, 56, who is retired from the Duluth Fire Department, jumped out to an early lead before Hoberg, 37, an engineer with Minnesota Power, closed the gap. The two left the Ski Pulk checkpoint, about 25 miles from the finish at Fortune Bay Casino, together at 12:50 p.m.

"Once we left the last checkpoint we both kind of pushed each other a little bit to see where the other person was at, and both kind of mutually decided that no one was going to get away from anyone else," Hoberg said shortly after finishing the race. "So then we just saddled up side by side... and just kind of decided without really deciding that we were going to finish side by side."

"We went back and forth a little bit and came in together — we were pretty even there," Reed said of the final stretch. "... It was a tough race as always — 135 miles is just a heck of a long race. You get out there towards the end, you're figuring in your brain: 'How long is this going to take me until I get to the finish?' "

It's Hoberg's third time finishing the notoriously difficult race — typically, about half of the athletes who start drop out — and Reed's fifth time finishing; Reed is in the elite ranks of Arrowhead 135 competitors who have finished the race all three ways — running, biking and skiing. Reed also came in first when he skied the race in 2010. Hoberg was the top runner in 2014.

Both runners pushed kicksleds to carry the gear they needed during this year's race; runners in the race generally either pull or push sleds for their gear.

Conditions were balmy by Arrowhead 135 standards — 25 degrees above zero at the start in International Falls at 7 a.m. Monday, race organizers reported. In the 2014 race, temperatures dropped to 30 below.

"The temperatures were OK but the trail was sort of soft — you definitely sunk in more to the trail than in years past," Hoberg said.

The record time for runners is 34 hours, 20 minutes, set last year by Sweden's Marcus Berggren.

Biking

It was a Petervary sweep — again — in the biking event as Idaho's Jay and Tracey Petervary won the men's and women's titles.

Jay Petervary was the first competitor to cross the finish line at Fortune Bay Casino late Monday. He finished the 135-mile course on his fat bike in 16 hours, 30 minutes — three minutes ahead of runner-up Will Ross of Alaska.

Jay's wife, Tracey, claimed the women's title — her third in a row — reaching the finish Tuesday morning in 25 hours, 50 minutes. Runner-up Jill Martindale of Michigan finished three minutes later.

The Petervarys also swept the bike titles in 2014.

The top bikers were about two hours off the course record of 14 hours, 20 minutes, set by Duluth's Todd McFadden in 2013.

Cross-country skiing

Mike Brumbaugh of Minnesota set a new record for cross-country skiers, completing the course in exactly 22 hours, race officials said — even with a broken pole that had to be repaired on the trail. That's 5 minutes faster than the previous record set by Minnesota's Casey Krueger in 2012.

The only other skier to enter this year — Jason Buffington of Duluth — finished in 32 hours, 25 minutes and in doing so completed the Arrowhead 135 running-biking-skiing triad.

Race stats

Ninety-four bikers, 55 runners and two cross-country skiers started the race Monday morning.

As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the race website, 43 bikers had finished the race, 15 were on the trail and 36 had dropped out; two runners had finished, 30 were on the trail and 23 had dropped out; and both skiers had finished. The race cutoff is 60 hours, or 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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