2016 Never Summer 100k Runner Update

Before we set you on your way next weekend, we want to bring to your attention some final race instructions and reminders.

New This Year

Safety and Communications:

The event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our number one concern. 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 closest aid station captain 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 aid 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 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; cattle & wildlife (watch out for moose!); 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.

Highway Crossings:

There are two crossings of Highway 14 during the course of the race. One at mile 18, just before the Diamond aid station, and one at mile 62 just before 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.

There will be *no crew parking* on the hard shoulder of Hwy 14 this year at the Diamond Peaks aid station. All parking will be on the side of the Lake Agnes Road adjacent to the crew area. Crew are asked to follow cones to the designated road crossing area and to follow instructions from our road safety volunteers.

Course Markings:

The route will be well marked with white-striped 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. In addition, flagging for this section will change to red with shiny silver stripes designed to reflect light in the dark. For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and 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 absolutely 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 in 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 out from the race website and the full course GPX file is available by request (email: pete@gnarrunners.com) – 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.

Tricky Turns:

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 and flour’ed, 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.

Drop Bags

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 hard plastic containers and do not pack any breakable glass or valuables in your drop bags.

Parking

We have a limited amount of parking at the start/finish at the Gould Community Center. To help make race morning check in run smoothly and limit traffic, we encourage runners to carpool if possible. Please feel free to post to our race event page on Facebook to coordinate carpools from the Crags, Ranger Lakes, Gould, Michigan, Bockman, or other nearby camps or cabins.

https://www.facebook.com/events/843709709079120/

Crew Details (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/aid-stations/):

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.

Important crew notes:

  • Diamond Aid: all crew parking will be on the Lake Agnes access road adjacent to the aid station. There is absolutely no parking on Hwy 14.
  • Ruby JewelCrew 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 side of Ruby Jewel Rd (below Francisco Rd) or on the 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 41. It is just under 2 miles to the aid station from 41.
  • 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 on the main park road by the Michigan Reservoir.
  • 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.

Pacing (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/race-rules/):

Pacers are allowed starting at the Clear Lake aid station (mile 39.4 or 43.9). Runners over 60 can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station. Clear Lake access is a 5 mile hike/run in from the trailhead at the north end of the main park road (CO 41). Pacers heading to Clear Lake to pace should be made aware that there is a junction a little over a mile from the trailhead that indicates a left for trail access to Clear Lake and a right for road access. The quickest way to the aid location is to take the right fork following the forest road. This could be somewhat confusing as course markers will be coming in from the left off the trail (the race route from Clear Lake to the next aid station). If pacers follow the course markings and trail to the aid location (i.e. take a left at the junction), the run/hike in will be closer to 7.5 miles.

If you plan to have a pacer meet you at the Canadian Yurt aid station, the hike in is less than a mile and the aid station will be 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 our aid stations.

Race and Aid Station Pacing:

Results and aid station splits from last year are available here: http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/results/.

Pete’s pacing spreadsheet/calculator with course notes from a run through prior to last year’s inaugural race are available here:
http://gnarrunners.com/2015/07/never-summer-100k-course-preview-pacing-estimates/

Awards and Runner Breakfast 

We will be offering a fully catered breakfast during the awards and prize giving on Sunday morning, beginning at 9am. Finisher awards will be handed out at this time. We encourage you to come and enjoy the breakfast with your fellow competitors and race volunteers. If you cannot make it in the morning, finisher awards will also be available at the finish, 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 if extra meal tickets have not been purchased in advance.

Thank You:

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 second 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:

Top Tier

Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Product and Service Support

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.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 7/21.

We look forward to seeing you up in the Northern Colorado Rockies next weekend!

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Quad Rock Post-Race Wrap

Spring Creek - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Runners coming up Spring Creek. Photo: Brandon Yonke

May is an unpredictable weather month here in Colorado, and we were again reminded of that at the fifth running of the Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races with damp, cool conditions despite a forecast that looked decidedly more comfortable. While not the best conditions for our fantastic team of volunteers to be working in, the weather ended up making for fantastic running conditions, leading to a number of new course records and generally fast times across the board.

RMR Ryan Smith - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Ryan Smith heading home during a dominating CR performance. Photo: Brandon Yonke.

In the 50 mile men’s race, Boulder-based Brit, Ryan Smith took it out hard from the gun and never looked back. He would run in the lead from pillar to post and better Ryan Burch’s long-standing course record by an impressive 20 minutes (7:20:27). Ryan was followed 20 minutes later by reigning Blue Sky Marathon champion Kody Coxen in his first 50 miler, and last year’s runner up Frank Pipp who ducked under the 8 hour mark by five seconds.

On the women’s side, there was no new course record but the race was a close run affair with the podium positions being decided by just four minutes and the top five by 12 minutes. Wyoming’s Marina Fleming (10:15:54) took the lead in the final two miles, beating out Meghan Spieker by less than a minute. Never Summer 100km champion Alyson Kirk rounded out the podium positions with a well run third-place finish.

Sandra Carpenter - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Sandra Carpenter (foreground) cruising early on her way to a new master’s course record. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

Both Sandra Carpenter and Elijah Flenner came into the weekend with one goal in mind, to better the existing master’s course records. And both of them accomplished their goals. Sandra finished fifth in the women’s race, setting the new master’s mark at 10:27:57, while Elijah finished sixth with a strong 8:32:04.

Ginna Ellis has a bit of a history with second place finishes at Gnar Runners events, with silver at last year’s Quad Rock 25 and also at the 2015 and 2013 Blue Sky Marathons, so we were excited to see her come home to a commanding win in the morning’s 25 mile race, posting the second fastest women’s time in the process (4:05:12). Ginna was followed by Jeanne Copper, second in last year’s 50 mile race, and Cat Bradley.

Ginna Ellis - 2016 Quad Rock 25

A focused Ginna Ellis on her way to the 25 mile win. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

Mike Aish repeated as the men’s 25 mile champion, running a couple minutes slower (3:20:08) than he did last year when setting the course record. Mike was pushed the whole way by fellow Golden’ite Matt Kempton who finished second in an impressive 3:20:50. Recent Horsetooth Half Marathon men’s winner Stephen Pretak rounded out the podium, rolling home in 3:22:37.

Master’s awards went to Mike Neal, owner of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and Nancy Goodman.

In addition to those pushing the pace up front, we of course had a full field of talented and enthusiastic runners behind. The best part of our job is watching finishers come home, especially those who are out there working their way through their first trail race or their first 50 miler. Seeing that sense of accomplishment in the faces of so many finishers is something that never gets old and the main reason we love our job so much, so congratulations to you all. And thank you!

Happy Runners - 2016 Quad Rock Trail Races

Megan Kunkel and Ann Labosky enjoying the day. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our team of wonderful volunteers. Year after year we receive heaping compliments from our runners about how fantastic our volunteer team is, and they are absolutely right. Come rain or shine, you guys are out there getting the job done and helping our runners get to the finish safely. Thank You!

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

SalomonDrymax SocksAltitude Running                    JulboJustin Liddle DMD ProsthodontistCountryside Animal HospitalFort Collins Running Club

With generous product support from: VFuel, Trader Joe’sNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest Bread Company, Cafe Richesse, and Kristel Liddle, LMT.

For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography. Or check out the Gnar Runners Facebook page for photo shares from other photographers out on the course.

Thank you all!

We look forward to seeing you again in 2017 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you July 23rd at the Never Summer 100km or at one of our shorter events. On September 10 we’ll be hosting the fourth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 2 by the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

If you aren’t racing, consider volunteering for one of our next events. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Never Summer 100K.

Horsetooth Falls - 2016 Quad Rock 50 and 25 Trail Races

Runners dropping down to Spring Creek. Photo: Mahting Productions.

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Quad Rock Pre-Race Information

With under a week to go until the fifth running of the Quad Rock25/50 Trail Races, some final thoughts and instructions:

Weather: The forecast for Saturday is currently looking good, with a projected high in the low 70s and a Friday overnight low in the 40s. The week leading up looks stellar too, so the trails should be in fine fettle for you on Saturday.

An optional packet pick up will be held at Altitude Running on Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Altitude Running is located 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 offering a gift with the purchase of any pair of Salomon shoes at packet pickup.

If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in. Those of you that can’t pick up packets and shirts Friday afternoon can do so with your bibs in the morning.

New this year, we have two separate start times for the 25 mile and 50 mile races. The 50 mile race will begin at 5:30 a.m. 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 to be eligible for 25 Mile awards, 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.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:00 a.m until 5:20 a.m. for the 50 milers, and between 6:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. for the 25 milers. Please keep bib numbers visible during the race and the pull tag at the bottom intact. We will be pulling 50 miler bib tags at the 25 mile turn and at the finish.

We will be at full capacity on Saturday, so we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a half 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 (first one to fill on right as you come in), 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. Lory State Park will be open for 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. All others will be directed to the Timber trailhead parking area and down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole 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 and start/finish drop bags must be dropped off by 5:15 a.m. for the 50 mile race and 7:45 for the 25 mile race. Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list by Thursday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish no later than 5:00 pm. We will try to get 25 mile bags back sooner. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.

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. We will also have dixie cups at the aid stations for gel ‘shooters.’

New Belgium Brewing will be providing Fat Tire Amber Ale for the post-race BBQ. 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 brew will be available for $10 (cash). 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, black bean burgers, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Trader Joe’s fruit, Great Harvest buns, and lots of other goodies. All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Rescue along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Animal Hospital.

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. 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 other race sponsors, including Drymax and Julbo.

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, and race results will be posted the evening of the race on the Quad Rock Ultrasignup page.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas 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.

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.

On behalf of Pete, myself (Nick), all of our race sponsors, and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

Cheers!

Gnar Runners Event Management

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News and Dates for the 2016 Gnar Race Season

Preparations for the 2016 season are well underway here at race HQ. We’ve got dates and a few news items to share for the 2016 Gnar Runners Race Series, which this year will be hosted in partnership with the generous support of Salomon Running.

Gnar_manSalomon

Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2015.

Dates for the 2016 Trail Races

  • May 14, 2016: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – Registration Cap: 400 runners
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $85 (same bargain pricing as the very first year).
    – Location: Lory State Park & Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – New This Year: Separate 25 & 50 mile start times
  • July 23, 2016: Never Summer 100km
    – Registration Cap: 330 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $160
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    – New This Year: Qualifier for the 2017 Western States 100
  • September 10, 2016: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Registration Cap: 350 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $55
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – New This Year: Registration opens Dec. 15
  • October 2, 2016: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Race Cap: 275 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $55
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins Co
    – New This Year: Record-low early entry fee

NeverSummer2015-305-XL-SoGood

What’s New for 2016?

The 2016 running of the Quad Rock Trail Races will have two separate starts. The 50 miler will start as always with first light at 5:30, while the 25 mile race will start at 8:00. This should make the race check in and parking much easier and make for a larger, more social post-race BBQ.

2017 WS100 Qualifying RaceThe registration cap for the Never Summer 100km in July has been increased to 330 runners. Next year’s race will also serve as a qualifying event for the 2017 Western States 100.

We do roads too! We are incredibly honored and excited to be managing the 43rd running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April. The Horsetooth Half is an iconic point-to-point Fort Collins road race that hugs the eastern shoreline of Horsetooth Reservoir, navigating the challenging hills of Centennial Drive, before heading into the finish and a raucous party at New Belgium Brewing. The beer will be flowing until the last person leaves, so if you’re looking for a spring sharpener we suggest you look no further.

As always, we seek to offer the best bang for the buck that we possibly can, without scrimping on any of the things that make Gnar Runner events the top-shelf experiences that you’ve come to expect. In that spirit, we’ve maintained first-year pricing for the Quad Rock 50, which at $85 continues to represent great value. And get this: we’ve dropped the early entry fee for the Blue Sky Trail Marathon to $55, the lowest it has ever been in the nine-year history of the event. This is our end of season party and we really want you to come celebrate with us.

Part of the reason we’re able to offer such great value for all our races is because we’ve worked tirelessly to partner with quality sponsors that share our vision for well-managed, yet affordable events. This year we are incredibly excited to be partnering with Salomon Running, one of the greatest innovators in the sport. We’ll be offering special Salomon shoe deals with retail partner Altitude Running at all pre-race packet pickups. We’ll also be offering the opportunity to demo Salomon kicks at training runs and at race-day expos.

Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalOur other top sponsors for the 2015 season include the following great businesses and brands:

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy

Formerly Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, same great care.

Drymax Socks

The Official Gnar Sock Sponsor. Keeping you blister free, no matter the conditions

Fort Collins Running Club Justin K. Liddle DMD, LLC
Countryside Animal Hospital Julbo

We’ll have other exciting sponsor deals to promote as the season gets underway, in addition to tons of sponsor swag to give out during the BBQ awards and raffle at each and every race.

We’re incredibly excited for the 2016 season, and we can’t wait to welcome you to one, or perhaps all of our running events.

Be Gnarful out there!

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2015 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap

Black-Squirrel-2015-Start

We were treated to another beautiful late summer day for the third running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. The field of 315 runners enjoyed overcast early morning conditions, which transitioned to intermittent sunshine for the bulk of the field in the second half of the race and the post-race festivities.

Aaron-Black-Squirrel-Half- Winner

Men’s winner, Aaron Anderson

We saw both the overall and masters records go down in the men’s field, with Fort Collins’ Aaron Anderson (1:30:02) leading the charge in the men’s race and Boulder’s Brad Seng setting the new mark in the master’s division (1:36:08). In the overall standings, Aaron was pushed the whole way by Stephen Pretak (1:31:55) from Fort Collins, and Nathan Hornok (1:33:57) from West Jordan, UT.

Amanda-Lee-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

Amanda Lee for the Win

In the women’s race, Boulder’s Amanda Lee was the first across the line in a time of 1:49:37. She was followed by local favorite Sarah Omann (1:55:23) who repeated her second place finish from last year, after passing Ruth Waller-Liddle in the final few miles of the race. The half marathon distance represented a big step up in distance for Ruth, a former NCAA D1 800 meter star. Our fastest master (although competing as a grandmaster) in the women’s race was Theresa Rudel (2:09:32).

It was great to see a couple of pre-teens competing this year as our youngest finishers ever. Devin Muzzy (12) from Colorado Springs won the battle of the youngsters, finishing in an impressive 2:20:28, beating out Bode Hogan (11) from Broomfield who finished in an equally impressive 2:33:11, becoming our youngest ever finisher. Our youngest female finisher was Claire Hayhow (16) from Laporte who posted a 2:29:11. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had two impressive septuagenarian finishes from John Hagin (2:42:23, Fort Collins) and Jammie McMillin (3:53:25, Colorado Springs).

YoungGun-Squirrel

Young-Gun-2-Black-Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The open divisions (39 & under) were won by Eric Smith (1:34:48) and Laura Harger (2:00:31). In the grandmasters race, we had wins for Ben Kuster (1:56:10) and Theresa Rudel (2:09:32), who was defending her grandmaster’s division win from 2014.

Having-Fun-At-Black-SquirrelPrizes for overall and age group winners Squirrel-Girlsincluded Altra running shoes, gift certificates to Altitude Running, Ultimate Direction gear and Timex GPS watches. And, of course, the coveted Black Squirrel awards lovingly crafted in the Gnar Runners Gnarts and Crafts Department.

Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon-Kisses

Ruth gets a squirrel and kisses from her husband, Justin.

As race directors, Pete and I are always thankful for the wonderful trail running community we have here in Fort Collins. Pulling together a volunteer crew is an essential part of putting on a successful race and as always our volunteers shone bright and provided a wonderful race experience for all participants. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

We also couldn’t do what we do without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. So thank you Altra RunningColorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Cornerstone Home Lending, Altitude Running, Smartwool, Sierra trading PostFort Collins Running ClubJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Vet, Great Harvest, Whole Foods, VFuel, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and Boulder Beer.

Altra-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Altra

Katie-Chanteau-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

We hope to see you again in 2016. Or, if you want more Gnar-filled trail racing fun this year, then check out the eighth running of the Blue Sky Marathon on October 4th. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.

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Never Summer 100km Wrap

Congratulations to everyone who came out and enjoyed the inaugural running of the Never Summer 100km. An amazing 147 of the 197 runners that started the race (75%) crossed the finish line. Of those, 13 were inducted into the Sunset Club, finishing as they did without the aid of a headlamp. But no matter how far along the course you got, or indeed at what time you finished, we hope you enjoyed your experience in the beautiful mountains of Northern Colorado.

Never Summer 100K Diamond Crags Richthofen

The view from the high point of the course looking back at South Diamond, the Nokhu Crags, and Richthofen.  -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

This being the first running of the event, standards were set in all divisions. Leading from pillar to post in the men’s race was local favorite and Quad Rock course record holder, Ryan Burch. We were predicting an overall win time of between 12 and 13 hours. Ryan produced, posting the only sub-13 hour finish of the day, crossing the line in 12:42:49. He was pushed for much of the early going by eventual second and third place finishers, Bryan Williams (13:26) and Nick Pedatella (13:38).

The women’s race was won by peak-bagger extraordinaire, Alyson Kirk. Fittingly, Alyson took control of the race heading up the steepest climb of the day on North Diamond Peak. The mark to beat for next year in the women’s race will be 16:01:04. Leadville resident and mountain-lover, Dana Kracaw, showed her comfort with the terrain and altitude by finishing a strong second, just 20 minutes behind Alyson (16:21), while Jessica Hamel rounded out the podium spots with a well executed sub-17 hour performance (16:50).

Never Summer 100K Alyson Kirk

Alyson makes her way down to the Medicine Bow Ridge after topping out first for the ladies. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

The master’s marks were set by Bryan Williams (13:26) and Shannon Meredith (17:36), who finished an impressive second and fourth overall in the men’s and women’s races.

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also awarded a Final Finisher award for the runner that showed the most dogged persistence to be out there the longest. This year, the award went to Lynn Hall who finished with the dawning of a new day in 23:49:14, just three minutes behind Alex May who beat the buzzer after a heartbreaking 90 second miss at the 2014 running of the Western States 100 (30:01:30).

Full results with aid station splits are online here.

Never Summer 100K Lynn Hall

Lynn was still smiling after crossing the finish line as our final finisher. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

The volunteer support that we received for the event was – quite frankly – outstanding, and testimony to the special place these less-visited (but by no means, inferior) Colorado mountains hold in the hearts of the Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming outdoors community. Thanks to each and every one of you. And a special thank you to:

  • The Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club and their team of ham radio operators that went above and beyond in ensuring that we had radio contact from every aid station on course, in addition to between medical and parks staff.
  • The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol for offering up a team of skilled volunteers with first responder training and intimate knowledge of the mountains.
  • State Forest State Park (SFSP) and their incredible staff of park rangers. We have received nothing but enthusiasm from SFSP in the two years of planning leading up to this event, and their welcome and professionalism on race weekend was second to none.
  • The Fort Collins Trail Runners. Though completely informal in affiliation, this group of trail running enthusiasts has been the backbone of the Gnar Runners operation from its inception. A continued Thank You to you all.
  • Poudre Valley Hospital’s team of medical professionals for going above and beyond in coordinating our emergency medical plans.

Just one of the many examples of our volunteers going the extra mile to support our runners…. Scott Slusher hiked his drum up North Diamond to give runners some encouragement on the steepest climb on the course. After this, he volunteered at the Canadian aid station until 1 am. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Presented by:

Altra Zero DropTop tier support from:

Contributing support from:

Generous product support from: VFuel, Whole Foods Fort Collins, Black Diamond, Boulder Beer, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and the Great Harvest Bread Company,

For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography. Digital images are available for download starting at 99 cents and print options are available too.

Thank you all!

We look forward to seeing you again in 2016 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you later in the summer at one of our shorter events. On September 5 we will be hosting the third running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 4 by the eighth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Be GNARful out there!

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