Do it in the woods: 6th annual Red Earth Classic hits trails for bikers, runners, walkers around Negaunee, Ishpeming

The fifth annual red Earth Classic took place in Negaunee’s Jackson Mine Park last July. (Journal file photo by Corey Kelly)

NEGAUNEE — Runners will again be on just about equal footing with their mountain biking brethren at the sixth annual Red Earth Classic to be held in and near the cities of Negaunee and Ishpeming on Saturday


Multiple races of each type will be held along wooded and hilly trails starting and ending at Jackson Mine Park in downtown Negaunee.

With sponsorship from U.P. Engineers & Architects, Inc., the event will benefit the Ishpeming Ski Club’s free youth winter programs.

“There’s lots of nice views and cool terrain to see,” said Justin Koski, who is race co-director with Matt Palomaki.

Registration is still available online through Friday night, with a deadline of earlier that day for discounted entry fees, then will also be available in person at Jackson Mine Park starting at 7 a.m. Saturday until each individual race begins. Visit the race’s website at for online registration and other information about the event.

Female winner of the Red Earth Classic short race, Rachael Jenson of Shell Lake, Wis., comes out of the woods and heads to the final leg of the Red Earth Classic in July 2014. (Journal file photo)

The featured race is the 32-mile-long Beast race starting at 9 a.m., with 20-mile Loader and 12-mile Dozer events open to all ages and beginning at 11 a.m. The Beast can also be tackled as a two-person relay.

Five-kilometer and one-mile bike races open to youths go off at 1:30 p.m.

The Beast works its way west from the Negaunee park in and around Ishpeming on trails with names such as Mary’s Maze, Brokeback Mountain, Bacon Strip, Flannel Shirt and Cheese Grater.

Biking trails with the most difficult terrain are a featured part of the Beast but almost nonexistent in the shorter races, according to the Red Earth website.

For runners, a half-marathon trail race starts at 12:30 p.m., with 5K and 10K trail races at 12:35 p.m. and a 5K walk at 12:40 p.m. The kids’ 5K and one-mile runs kick off at 1:35 p.m.

Koski said a barbecue will be held at Jackson Mine Park when participants finish for they, volunteers and even spectators. You’re just asked to provide your own soft drinks.

Entry fees range from $30 to $65.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is