Runners overcome tough conditions at the 2020 Quad Rock Trail Races

More than any other race we put on, the weather seems to play a prominent role at the Quad Rock Trail Races. After having to postpone this year’s race from May to mid-August, we were counting on the day being a hot one. What we weren’t counting on was the addition of heavy smoke from the Cameron Peak Wildfire, which broke out just two days before the race. But in a year of constant challenges, our runners took it in stride and forged on, albeit at a slower-than-usual pace and with a higher-than-usual drop-down rate from 50 miles to 25 miles.

Overall, we saw 86 runners start the 50 mile race and 123 start the 25 mile race for a total of 209 runners on course. Of the 86 runners that started the 50 mile race, just 37 completed the full two loops for a 43 percent finisher rate. A total of 156 runners finished either the 25 mile race or the first 25 mile loop of the 50 miler (all are included in the final 25 mile results).

Race Action

In the men’s 25 mile race, a group of three set the early pace and challenged for the win. At the Horsetooth Aid Station at Mile 10.3, it was Grayson Lowe leading Adam Merry and (newly minted master’s runner) Justin Ricks into the aid station, each a minute apart. By mile 17.5 at Arthurs Aid, with one climb left to go, there remained just one minute between first and third. On the climb up Howard, it became a two-horse race between Merry and Ricks, with the latter making the final move of the morning and going on to win in 3:47:15. Merry would finish a close second (3:49:43) with Lowe holding on in third (4:00:36).

Justin Ricks breaking it open in the 25 mile race

In the women’s 25 mile race, Sophie Anders and Christy Aish got out at the head of the race, rolling through the Horsetooth Aid Station at mile 10.3 together. The duo would remain locked through to the Arthur’s Aid Station at mile 17.5, with a final climb and descent left to decide the 2020 winner. As in the men’s race, experience won out with master’s runner Aish opening things up by over 5 minutes in the final 7.5 miles. Christy’s time of 4:20:41 was good enough for both the win and a new master’s record. Anders would hold on comfortably for second (4:26:07), with 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Jennifer Masamitsu rounding out the podium in 4:39:03.

Christy Aish on her way to the 25 mile win.

Masters (40-49) wins in the 25 mile race went to Westminster’s Shad Mika (4:10:33) and Edwards’ Lauren Warkentin (4:42:21). Our grandmaster’s (50+) winners were Rich Hall (6:13:16) from Boulder and Jennifer Wang (6:25:42) from Fort Collins.


The 50 mile race was defined by some very tough running conditions, which led to perhaps our highest ever drop rate. Nonetheless, there were some remarkable performances out there and especially so from the women who would end up claiming first, third and fifth places in the overall standings.

Addie Bracy on her way to an overall win in the 50 mile race

Two-time winner and defending champ Addie Bracy came into the race as the clear favorite on the women’s side and she didn’t disappoint. After finishing third overall last year, Bracy went a couple spots better this year by winning the race outright in a time (8:54:23) that was just three minutes slower than her 2018 best on the course despite much tougher conditions. She now holds three of the 10 fastest times on the course.

Second in the women’s race and third overall was Colorado Springs’ Hannah Osowski. Coached by Bracy, Osowski ran a similarly paced race to Bracy making it to the 25-mile turn 15 minutes behind and just over 40 minutes adrift at the finish (9:37:23).

Splitting the two women was overall men’s winner Brady Poskin from Kansas City, MO, our first-ever flatland men’s winner of the race (9:16:32). Brady assumed the lead after overtaking Chris Rom on the way back to Arthur’s and after Alex Nichols dropped from the race. He would hold on comfortably from there to the finish.

Chris Rom, also a Bracy-coached athlete, followed Osowski home in fourth overall and second in the men’s race in his first career 50 miler (9:54:13). He would be followed home for fifth overall and third women by Vail’s Marina Hand (10:26:59). Rounding out the podium spots in sixth was Fort Collins local Brandon Cooper.

In the master’s division, it was another Fort Collins local, Derrick Searle (11:17:46) taking home top honors with Wellington’s Paul Nielsen (13:27:41) claiming top honors in the 50+ division. On a tough course on a tough day, we didn’t see any women’s finishers in the 40-49 or 50+ divisions.


Trail Work Day

As part of our mission to promote responsible use of the public trails we are granted the right to race on each year for Quad Rock, we host an annual post-Quad Rock Trail Runner Trail Work Day. This year’s work day is scheduled for September 19. If you’d like to be added to our volunteer trail work mailing list to learn about these and other upcoming trail work opportunities, please visit our trail work page.


Thank You

 

The Towers Aid Station Team

We can’t say it often enough, but thank you volunteers. Your passion and dedication to your fellow runners is what makes our races so special. We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude, and especially so this year with so many adverse circumstances and conditions to deal with. Thank You!

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Countryside Animal Hospital

Fort Collins Running Club

With generous product support from: VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and BoBo’s.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2021. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events.

On September 12 we’ll be hosting the 8th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 17 by the 13th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

And remember, if you finish all four events in the calendar year you become a Gnar Slammer and receive an end-of-season award in addition to free entry into the 2021 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race.

Thank you all!

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