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Continued: The Full Moon Frozen River Run: Winter running at its wildest

  • Article by: BOB TIMMONS , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 6, 2014 - 3:20 PM

Button intentionally has kept the river outing informal — it’s still little more than a group run, even though the event’s safety demands are considerable. The first frozen river run was in 2010, and 11 runners showed up.

Of course, the whole event hinges on the weather. Consistent cold snaps lay a safe foundation for running. Conversely, there have been thaws that have canceled the fun; 2012 didn’t happen. “Usually I can’t get on the river until January. This year, it was cold sooner,” Button said. Runners had at least 3 feet of hard water atop the St. Croix as they traveled this year’s routes.

Earlier in the evening, about 8:30, runners had gathered shoulder to shoulder in Button’s law office near the Dock Cafe. Shoes were adjusted. Hydration packs positioned just so. Headlamps double-checked for life.

Soft-spoken and friendly, Button also was firm about where to run and where to avoid. River ice can be uneven because of springs and currents. Normally, the run is point to point, from Marine on St. Croix to Stillwater. But the conditions upriver are iffy this year, so Button designated out-and-back routes from Stillwater.

He handed out maps. Runners’ names were taken, too, with a strict order to check in with volunteers when we returned.

More than an hour later, we were 4 miles upriver when we decided to turn back. We were tired but still energized by the outing. Feeling more like inhabitants of the river’s wondrous night life than mere visitors, we pushed for home.

Bob Timmons • 612-673-7899



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  • Gary Van Cleve, left, and Mike Johnson snowshoe into the night during the Full Moon Frozen River Run.

  • FROZEN RIVER FUN

    Joel Button, who created the frozen river runs, also is president of Upper Midwest Trail Runners. Get information about the group, membership (which provides race and store discounts), trails and races at www.umtr.net.

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