A total of 44 teams of runners are signed up for the Winter Wilder, a 30-kilometer foot race on gravel roads northeast of Spring Valley, on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Runners will be taking off from Kingsland High School at 9 a.m. Saturday. They will travel north on County Road 1, take a right on 240th Street and then a left on 135th Avenue before hitting County Highway 38, turning off at 141st Street.

The course is on gravel roads in the area with longer stretches on Oriole Road, Nature Road and back on County Road 38 through Masonic Park. The actual distance is about 20 miles.

The course won't be marked and there is no support on the course, so runners will be on their own for hydration and food. Race organizer Dustin Harford has included instructions for runners that include safety tips.

The course follows the Perley 30k that was run last spring as part of the Wilder Foot Race held during Wilder Fest, which includes the Alamanzo 100 bicycle race and other endurance activities. Three foot races on crushed rock roads made their debut in 2012.

The crew that put on the Wilder Foot Races will be out on the roads Saturday with the other runners for this event, something they are looking forward to as they didn't get a chance to run during Wilder Fest since they were busy organizing activities.

The winter run will allow them "to get a chance to run with you and hopefully get to know some of you better," said Harford. He labels this a "casual" event that encourages new and experienced Wilder runners to get out and run in winter.

During the registration process, he encouraged teams of individuals to sign up. Most entries are teams, although some runners are going solo for the event.

Registration has closed on the event, which is unique in that it is free to participants. The first place team will get some specially-made Wilder Foot Races hankies and, in keeping with the low key nature of the event, finishing times will be self-reported using the honor system.

The majority of runners are coming from out of town and Harford encourages them to support local businesses. A special rate has been offered at Spring Valley Inn and Suites while Johnny Ringo's is offering a post-race feast for participants.

Back in October, when the idea originated, Harford wrote in his Wilder Foot Races blog, that "we did our best to pick a Saturday that would be snowy and windy and not conflict with other winter running/racing events...we'll see how we did come January."

The long-range forecast as of Monday showed that a cold front may come in Friday night after a week of highs in the 30s. However, the projected high of 22 that day is nearly normal. Snow is also forecast, so if the forecast stays true, they did a good job in choosing a wintry day.

The run is attracting participants from other areas of Minnesota as well as surrounding states. Knowing anything can happen in winter, they are preparing for any conditions, although it's likely there wouldn't be disappointment if some real winter weather made an appearance.

One of the last comments Harford made on his blog before the deadline approached was "we hope to see you all out there because there's nothing that compares to experiencing the winter winds of Spring Valley."