Gnar Team member, Rob Raguet-Schofield captured all the smiles in his wonderful Black Squirrel Half Marathon vid. Check out all the action below:
Before we set you on your way next weekend, we want to bring your attention to some final race instructions and reminders.
New This Year
- We expect to be at full capacity on race day and parking will be limited. We highly recommend that runners and crews carpool to the start and to any crew locations on the course. The Facebook event page is the best place to post requests or invites to help organize carpools, share campsites, or coordinate any other crewing or pacing plans. On race day, crews and pacers can check in at the finish area or each aid station to find rides or offer rides whenever possible.
Camping at the Gould Community Center Start/Finish
On-site camping at the Start/Finish is restricted for our overnight volunteers and a limited number of runners who have reserved space with their registration. Runners who have reserved camping space will be directed to their assigned area at packet pickup Friday between 3pm and 7pm.
Gates to the community center will be closed after 8pm. If you have reserved space and are arriving later, please notify us so we can have a volunteer available to let you in and direct you to your parking space. Unauthorized vehicles will be asked to leave after 8pm.
If you have not reserved camping or lodging in advance and can not find an open developed campsite in the area, you can park and camp anywhere on National Forest Land south of Gould off 21 past the Powderhorn Cabins. It’s about 3 miles away from the start.
Safety and Communications
The event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our top priority. We will be tracking runners via ham radio communications at every aid station, so please be sure to check your bib number with volunteers at each and every stop along the way. If you need to drop out, you *must* notify the aid station captain and turn over your race bib before you leave the course. If you don’t officially check out of the race, we will assume you are missing on course.
For added safety, we will have first responders at every aid station and a team of backcountry paramedics located at strategic points along the course. It would be helpful to write any allergies or medical conditions on the back of your race bib to help first responders in assessing any given situation in the unlikely event of emergency.
There is cell phone coverage (at least with Verizon) in most high areas with a clear view to the west so runners who carry phones can get messages out to crew (text is best) periodically and may be able to make a call in the case of emergency.
Potential hazards on course include: high altitude; steep, technical and rough terrain; downed trees and other obstacles; wildlife (cattle, moose, bears in particular); significant temperature changes from daytime heat to overnight cold; storms and lightning; and dense vegetation that may trigger allergic reactions.
Our 24 hour cut off is generous and should allow everyone enough time to get to the finish safely. With that in mind, we ask that you watch out for your fellow runners on course and run a smart and safe race.
There are two crossings of Highway 14 during the course of the race. One at mile 18, just after the Diamond aid station, and one at mile 62 just after the Ranger Lakes aid station. Traffic will not stop for runners and cars and trucks may be traveling in excess of 55 MPH (the posted speed limit). Runners are required to follow the instructions of road crossing volunteers who will be directing you safely across the road. Crews are not permitted to park on the hard shoulder of Hwy 14 under any circumstances.
The route will be well marked with pink flagging; pink and white pin flags; black and yellow turn signs; and flour at key turns. Night-time marking from the Clear Lake aid station to the finish will be a combination of white reflectors and LED lights. For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and/or batteries.
Parts of the course involve cross country travel. In these areas there will be flagging in line of sight at all times, so all runners who pay attention should have no problem staying on course. On more obvious parts of the course, confidence markers will be hung approximately every quarter mile and at every trail or road junction. With that said, there are many game trails, cow paths, and logging cuts on parts of the course that could lead you astray if you’re not paying attention. Never assume and always follow the course markings.
Detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions are available to print from the race website and the full course GPS files are available to download. It wouldn’t hurt to have this backup information with you if you are not familiar with the area. Please remember to print the information you need before leaving for the race. We will not have hard copies available to hand out to all runners at the start and will not have the ability to download and print documents on site.
The right turn off the Montgomery Road onto the Yurt trail at approximately mile 26 (~9,600′) is easily missed if you zone out coming down the jeep road from the Medicine Bow Ridge. It will be heavily flagged, but if you get to the Montgomery Yurts, you have gone too far. Turn around and retrace a third of a mile.
There may be a short overlap (for an eighth of a mile) between the first and last runners on the Ruby Jewel Rd (mile ~29 out, ~53 back). Runners heading outbound (north) from the Montgomery Aid to the Ruby Jewel Aid will turn right onto the Ruby Jewel road and proceed right up the road to the Yurt aid station. Front runners coming south from the Canadian Yurt will turn right to head down the Ruby Jewel Road towards the turn for the Lumberjack Trail. This junction will be heavily and unambiguously marked (likely with a course marshal), so there should be no cause for confusion. Nonetheless, everyone should be aware of these junctions to make sure that you can follow the route without guidance from a volunteer.
Aid station fare is detailed here. VFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels. Runners are required to carry their own water bottles or hydration packs. A limited supply of cups will be available for sodas and other beverages at the stations. Please bring your own extra flask or collapsible cup if you can to help reduce waste.
We have 5 aid stations where you can leave a drop bag with essential supplies that you are unable to get from our aid stations. Drop bags can be left at the start on race morning and during Friday check in. Please keep your bags to a reasonable size (small duffel bag or stuff sack) as volunteers will need to transport these for you. Please do not use coolers, buckets, or other large hard plastic containers and do not pack any breakable glass or valuables in your drop bags.
Crew Details (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/aid-stations/)
A Crew briefing will be held at 5:45am after the start. We will answer questions, offer directions, and may have park staff on site to sell park passes and offer additional information.
The route and all access points are entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park, so all crew vehicles are required to purchase a park pass ($7) in order to access crew areas if they do not have an annual Colorado State Parks pass. Passes are available at the main park entrance, the Moose Visitor Center, or at the self-pay station on the Lake Agnes Road.
To save parking space at the start, we ask that crews drop off runners at the entrance to the Gould Community Center (the start area) and park .5 miles west at the Moose Visitor Center and walk over on the short connector trail. Crews can use the extra parking at the Visitor Center after hours before 9am and after 5pm. In the unlikely event that we run out of parking space at the finish, there is another large parking turn out off the highway about 1 mile to the east of the start that connects with the Gould trail leading to the finish.
Parking is allowed anywhere on park roads as long as vehicles do not block traffic and do not block any access gates.
The trails are open to the public and spectating is allowed anywhere on course. Crewing outside of designated crew aid stations is prohibited. Runners receiving any assistance outside of designated aid stations may be disqualified.
Important Crew Notes
- Diamond Aid: Please do not arrive before 7am to give our volunteer team time to set up. All crew parking will be at the pullout by the aid station or on the south side of the Lake Agnes access road leading to the aid station. There is absolutely no parking on Hwy 14. Please attend the 5:45am Crew Briefing to coordinate carpooling to the station. It’s an easy 5 minute drive down the highway and back.
- Ruby Jewel: Crew vehicles are permitted to drive a mile up the Ruby Jewel Rd as far as the junction with the Francisco Loop Forest Road (a left turn off Ruby Jewel Rd). Parking will be on the right side of Ruby Jewel Rd (below Francisco Rd) or on the right side of Francisco Road, but will not be allowed on the Ruby Jewel Road past the Francisco Road. Please park as tightly to the side of the road as possible so all additional park visitor traffic and race vehicles can pass through unimpeded. From the Francisco Road, it is a little less than a mile hike/run up the Ruby Jewel Road to the aid location and crew access point at the Ruby Jewel Yurt. Additional parking space is available at the start of the Ruby Jewel Rd off of the main park road. It is just under 2 miles to the aid station from this location.
- Crew vehicles should not enter the Bockman campground (near the Bockman aid station) – especially after dark – unless they have a camp spot. We will have a port-a-john at the aid location. Additionally, there is a public bathroom and water pump on the main park road by the Michigan Reservoir on the way to the Boackman, Ruby Jewel, Clear Lake and Canadian aid stations.
- Dogs with crew must be leashed at all times. Please keep dogs out of the aid stations and out of the runner lanes to avoid interfering with volunteers or tripping runners.
- Gas and food is very limited in the area. Crews and pacers should plan to bring their own water and food for the weekend. The nearest gas is in Walden, 25 miles west of Gould. There is a small store with ice, drinks, and snacks in Gould off Hwy 14 a few miles west of the race start/finish. If coming from the east (Fort Collins/287/I-25), the last 24-hr gas station is at Ted’s Place at the mouth of the Canyon (approximately 65 miles from the race start). There are also a couple of pumps halfway up the canyon in Glen Echo that close at 7:00pm. We strongly recommend filling up on gas before entering the canyon.
Pacers are allowed starting at the Canadian aid station (mile 50). Runners over the age of 60 can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station. Canadian access is a little less than a 1 mile hike/run in from the trailhead at the north end of the main park road (CO 41). The aid station is located at the junction of the Clear Lake Road and the Canadian Yurt Trail.
The Bockman aid station is accessible from the park road, and is about a half mile shy of the Bockman Campground. If you have somebody pacing you from Bockman, try to arrange a carpool to avoid crowding the area with too many parked cars. The aid station is just a small pull off on the Bockman Rd.
Pacers are there to provide company, moral support, but are primarily allowed for added safety for runners after dark. Muling (schlepping runner gear) and crewing outside of designated aid stations, or providing any other assistance is not allowed.
Pacers may not have extra drop bags – any extra items that a pacer needs must be packed in the runner’s drop bag.
Pacers should plan to bring whatever water and food that they need while waiting for their runner to arrive. While on course with their runner, pacers may make full use of the aid stations.
Race and Aid Station Pacing
Results and aid station splits from the last three years are available here: http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/results/.
Awards, Post Race Food, and Runner Breakfast
We will be offering a pancake breakfast during the awards and prize giving on Sunday morning, beginning at 10am. Finisher awards will be handed out at this time. We encourage you to come and enjoy the breakfast with your fellow competitors, crew members and race volunteers. If you cannot make it in the morning, finisher awards will also be available at the finish line, so please check in there before you leave.
Breakfast is free to all runners and volunteers. Friends and family are welcome to join too and are asked to make a $10 donation to the Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center if extra meal tickets have not been purchased in advance.
Volunteers will also be preparing post-race burgers and veggie burgers and Boulder Organic! soup for all finishers through the afternoon, evening and night on race day. This is free to all runners. Again, if a meal has not been purchased in advance for crew and pacers, extra tickets will be available for a $10 donation. Included with the meal will be a cold beverage from our friends at New Belgium Brewing, in addition to non-alcoholic options.
We want to thank you for registering to run the Never Summer 100km. We have received considerable support from friends, family, volunteers and sponsors in bringing this fourth running of the race to fruition. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who have helped get the course ready and who will be out volunteering on race day. Please remember to thank those out there helping you achieve your goals.
We also encourage you to consider the products and services of our sponsors:
Product and Service Support
- New Belgium Brewing
- Boulder Organic!
- Mary’s Mountain Cookies
- Great Harvest Bread Company
- Erin Bibeau Photography
- Fort Collins Food Co-Operative
- Founding Foods
- Squirrels Nut Butter
And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to email us at email@example.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you. We will have limited internet access on site at the race so we may not be able to respond to all emails or Facebook posts after Thursday 7/27.
We look forward to seeing you in and among the majestic peaks of the Northern Colorado Rockies!
Need some motivation to train for the Blue Sky Marathon or Black Squirrel Half Marathon?
We will be hosting a series of Tuesday evening training runs at Lory State Park starting August 7th. Stay tuned for more info.
Sign up for the Blue Sky Marathon by 6/30 to take advantage of our $65 early registration deal!
- Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
- September 8, 2018
- Early Entry Fee: $75 (until 7/31)
- Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
- Blue Sky Trail Marathon
- October 20, 2018
- Early Entry Fee: $65 until 6/30!
- Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
The Never Summer 100K race is sold out but we have a number of fun volunteer positions to fill if you still want to be a part of the weekend.
We’re looking for help in many areas, including pre-race set up, aid station volunteers, medical, radio, timing, parking, packet pickup and more!
Join us for a day, a night, or the entire week!
We’re also happy to say thank you by giving comp entries to upcoming races for those taking leadership positions.
With a week to go until the 7th running of the Quad Rock 50 & 25 Mile Trail Races, here are some final thoughts and instructions:
Weather: The current forecast is looking pretty good, but as we’ve learned from previous years, anything can happen. It’s spring time in the Rockies. Be prepared for heat, cold, sun, or rain. Should there be any weather-related last minute changes, details will be emailed to participants, published on our blog, and posted on Facebook.
Course Conditions: The trails are currently in great shape, the park is green and the creeks are flowing. We will be following the same 2017 re-route this year due to an eagle-nesting closure on the Spring Creek trail. The re-route around the closure on the Herrington & Stout trails will add a mile to the section between the Towers and Horsetooth aid stations. To compensate, we are taking a mile out of the course in the opening section of the race from the start to Towers. Mileage will be almost exactly the same and there will be a net loss of 200 of vertical gain per lap. Time-wise the course may be a touch quicker than the original route, but the re-route adds a mile of technical singletrack and removes a mile of dirt road so it’s pretty much a wash.
Pre-race packet pick up will be held at Altitude Running on Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 150 East Harmony Road just north and east of the Harmony/College intersection on the south side of town. Race partner Salomon Running will be on site demo’ing their latest offerings, including the new S/LAB Ultra. Altitude Running will be offering 15% off any Salomon or Drymax Socks products bought at the store. There will also be a coupon on the back of your race bib that is good for 15% off Drymax and Salomon products bought at the store after the race.
Bibs will not be handed out at Friday packet pickup. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race shirt, schwag, and any pre-ordered merchandise to help smooth race day check in. Those of you that can’t pick up your bib and packet Friday afternoon can do so in the morning from 4:00 – 5:00 for 50 milers and from 6:00 – 7:30 for 25 milers.
The 50 mile race will begin at 5:30am and the 25 mile race will begin at 8:00am.
If you wish to switch from the 50 mile race to the official 25 mile race start at 8am, please notify us by the end of packet pickup on Friday.
50 mile starters who drop out at 25 miles will receive a finish time and finisher award but will not be eligible for overall or age group awards.
**New Soldier Turnaround Aid Station for 50 Milers**
50 Milers will not check through the finish line at the 25 mile Soldier Canyon Aid station. All 50 Milers will be directed to the new aid location next to the shed by the race start to check in and out after the first lap. Drop out times will be recorded and 25 mile finisher awards will be handed out at the aid station for any 50 miler who decides to stop after the first lap. Drop outs should not run through the finish line to avoid confusing our timing staff.
**New 25 Mile Early Start Option**
If you think you will need more than 9 hours to finish the 25 mile race, you can start with the 50 milers at 5:30am. Arthur’s Aid Station at mile 17.5 will close at the 50 mile cut off at 2:10pm and anyone over a 9 hour pace will not make make it on time.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the 5:30am start option.
Bib numbers must be worn on the front and visible at all times. Please do not remove, fold, or pin your bib tag – this will be used for your official finish time.
We will be at full capacity on Saturday, so we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a mile away from check-in), get your bib, and get ready to run. If you can carpool, please do. Not only is it one less vehicle on the road but it helps reduce stress on Lory State Park’s limited parking infrastructure, and it gets you priority parking near the start.
There are park toilets at the Timber parking lot, at the top of the Soldier Canyon parking lot, at the bottom of the Soldier Canyon lot near the start, and at the South Eltuck trailhead at the far end of the spur road which overflow cars will be parked on. We will also have port-a-johns near the start/finish (always the longest line).
Parking passes will be distributed by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Make sure your pass is visible on your dash. Vehicles without a park pass may be ticketed.
Lory State Park will be open for 50-mile parking at 4am. Carpools of two or more participants for both races will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead (while spots last). All others will be directed first to the Timber trailhead parking area and then down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Spur Road. Parking on the Lodgepole Spur Road will be on the right (east) side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked. Directions and parking details are here.
Horsetooth drop bags (mile 10.3 and 39.5) must be dropped off by 5:00 a.m. before the 50 mile race start. 25 Mile runners may drop off a Horsetooth drop bag at Friday packet pickup. Finish drop bags may be left any time before each race start.
**Horsetooth trailhead parking is not guaranteed for crews as it is a very busy trailhead that fills early every weekend. If you need any specific items that aren’t provided by our aid station, make sure you include them in your drop bag.**
Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list and on OpenSplitTime by end of day Wednesday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish at about 5:00pm after the aid station team returns to the finish. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.
This year at the post-race BBQ we will have beer from New Belgium Brewing (Fat Tire Amber Ale). Runners will receive a meal ticket with their finisher mug. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and a beer will be available for a $10 donation to our race beneficiary (cash/check). First beer is free for everyone, we then ask that you make a cash donation for additional beers. Our BBQ will be well stocked with burgers, brats, Amy’s vegan burgers, vegan quinoa salad from the Fort Collins Food Co-Op, Boulder Organic Soup, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest buns, fruit, and lots of other goodies.
Salomon Running will be on hand after the race demo’ing their trail running line up. Check out the back of your race bib for an Altitude Running offer on Salomon shoes and also Drymax socks. Also check out your bib for an offer from our physical therapy partners, Colorado in Motion. During the awards and raffle, we’ll be giving away some great stuff from those sponsors and other race sponsors.
Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with additional marking at all junctions. Flour markings and/or pink pin flags will supplement at key intersections.
Limited in-race updates will be via the Gnar Twitter feed (gnar_runners, #QR50), and we will be attempting to publish aid station split updates to OpenSplitTime.org; however, data connections can be fickle at Lory, so please have patience if this doesn’t work out quite as planned.
Activities for family and friends:
Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated aid stations is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so feel free to bring a bike for the kids (or yourself). Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish area and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. The Healthy Smile, Dirty Feet One Mile Kids Race (half (closed) road, half trail) – sponsored by long-time race supporter Justin Liddle DMD – will begin at 2:00 from the race start.
Crew access info is available here.
** Please note that if the weather is nice, both Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park may reach capacity. Parking space at Horsetooth or Arthur’s trailheads is not guaranteed. Crews and spectators are highly encouraged to meet at the starting line after the start of each race to try to carpool together to the Horsetooth aid station.
And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!
Top Tier Sponsors
- Quad Rock 50 will be worth 4 UTMB points.
- Quad Rock 25 will be worth 2 UTMB points.
- Never Summer 100K will be worth 5 UTMB points.
- Blue Sky Trail Marathon will be worth 1 UTMB point.
Registration is now open for all Gnar Runners 2018 trail races. Sign up for the full Gnar Slam and earn 10 UTMB points!