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Running: Bangin' in the Brush celebrates 30 years

Bangin' in the Brush celebrates 30 years A challenging race through the woods and water at the Korkki Nordic Center, just east of Duluth, turns 30 years old Saturday. The Bangin' in the Brush Trail Race, slightly more than 10 kilometers at 6.7 mi...

Bangin' in the Brush celebrates 30 years

A challenging race through the woods and water at the Korkki Nordic Center, just east of Duluth, turns 30 years old Saturday. The Bangin' in the Brush Trail Race, slightly more than 10 kilometers at 6.7 miles, began in 1983 as a fundraiser and has survived as one of the more unique events on the annual running calendar in Northeastern Minnesota.

The race starts at 11:10 a.m. and can be entered on race day starting at 9 a.m. for a fee of $20. Typically more than 100 hard-core trail runners participate.

"This course is not for the faint of heart because of the number of hills and the eight-to-10 crossings of the Little Knife River," said race director Mark Helmer, director of Korkki Nordic, who helped organize the event. "But this year the trails are as dry as I've ever seen them, which will keep them from being so muddy. Usually I tell people that it is akin to running a portage."

Charlie Banks designed the Korkki Nordic trails in the mid-1950s to be used by his Duluth Central High School ski team. Banks passed away in 1998 and Helmer helped keep the ski area in operation, with Korkki Nordic officially beginning in 1992, adding a chalet in 1993 and going not-for-profit in 1995.

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The single-track classical trails are 14 miles from the Lester River, up Highway 61, taking a left on Homestead Road and 2ยฝ miles later a left onto Korkki Road.

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