On January 28, 2013, the Adventure Minnesota Film crew consisting of 13 volunteers drove north to the frozen and remote wilderness of northern Minnesota to capture one of the toughest winter ultra races on our planet, the Arrowhead 135. Racers were allowed to attempt the challenging 135-mile terrain on foot, bike or ski and given only 60 hours to complete the course. Completely self-supported, there were only three checkpoints along the way that followed a snowmobile trail through forest and swampland from International Falls to Fortune Bay Casino on Lake Vermillion.
The combination of cold, challenging terrain and lack of sleep racers encounter at the Arrowhead 135 conquer even the most hearty and experienced racers. Strength and endurance alone does not ensure a finish. The Arrowhead 135 requires experience, patience, fortitude and will. All to arrive at a finish line that may not have anyone present to applaude the accomplishment.
To capture the race, the Adventure Minnesota Film crew followed three racers from start to finish: Bonnie Moebeck on bike, John Storkamp on foot and Mark Scotch on skis. Each of the racers brought their own energy and experience to the start line. Moebeck, only two years recovered from a rare bacteria illness that nearly took her life, was attempting the race for the very first time. Storkamp, a seasoned Arrowhead 135 veteran and four-time winner brought experience and know-how to his 8th run on the trail. Scotch, reasonably new to the ultra scene, raced for his 2nd time. With a laid back approach and a glint of competition in his eye, Scotch chose to ski the 135 miles to Fortune Bay Casino. The weather was in his favor.
The Adventure Minnesota Film crew now faces an ultra of its own, editing the 30+ hours of footage into a 15-20 minute film that captures the essence of the Arrowhead 135. Each of the racers placed differently. Not all of them crossed the finish line, and none of them were expecting the snowstorm that swept the course on day two.
Click HERE to either rent or purchase it from Vimeo.