Our quirky Minnesota winter weather has made for challenging conditions for the cyclists, runners and skiers who will embark on the 135-mile Arrowhead Ultramarathon beginning Monday in International Falls.

“I think the racers want good conditions. I think a lot of them want a good race. We have not had a lot of snow, so the (Arrowhead) trail won’t be as groomed,” said race director Ken Krueger. “The trail is going to be a challenge this year, I think. We almost skipped winter.”

There are 166 cyclists, runners and skiers registered for this year’s race, which runs from International Falls to Tower. Last year the weather was unusually mild, producing record times and the highest finisher rate (82 percent) the race has ever seen, Krueger said. Historically, a little more than half the racers finish.

Runner Marcus Berggren of Sweden is back to defend his title. Last year, he beat the previous record by almost three hours, finishing in 34 hours, 20 minutes.

Find more information, including the roster of racers and past coverage, at arrowheadultra.com.

 Bob Timmons