Alex Falconer hopes to be the first known person to complete a nonstop through-run of both the Kekekabic and Border Route trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Falconer, of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, will start on May 22 on the Gunflint Trail end of the combined 110-mile course through what can be a sometimes twisted, tangled route of downed trees and rugged terrain. He will do it without stopping to camp.
An avid long-distance trail runner, Falconer knows what he’s doing. He’s run all of the BWCAW hiking trails already. But never nonstop.
“I did the Superior (Hiking Trail) 100 in 28 hours. … So I’m guessing this one will take me about 40 hours,” Falconer said. “This is more rugged terrain, which means it will be at a slower pace, which should help.”
Falconer won’t be carrying any extra gear or food. But he has friends and family canoeing in to predetermined spots in the BWCAW to bring him food and supplies, like dry socks. He said he has no problem drinking from the lakes and streams in the wilderness, as long as there are no beaver houses around.
“That’s part of what we want to raise awareness of. Where else can you run 100 miles and not have to carry water with you? That clean water is worth protecting,” he said.
When he’s not running or canoeing, Falconer is government affairs director of the Minnesota-based Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters. His run is aimed at raising awareness of the threats facing the BWCAW as well as awareness of the generally underutilized network of hiking trails in the million-acre wilderness.
“We don’t hear a lot about it (the BWCAW) as a mecca for trail runners, but it really has a lot to offer,” Falconer said. “I’m hoping to raise interest among the (national) trail running community about what we have here. Trail runners are a new audience for people who care about the Boundary Waters.”