Train for Quad Rock with the Gnar Runners Team

Gnar Runners Team

As we gear up for the 2018 Gnar Runners race season, we’re extremely proud to be able to introduce a passionate group of 15 local trail runners who together will make up the 2018 Gnar Runners Racing and Training Team.


Not only will you see the team out and about representing Gnar Runners at local and regional races this season, but they’ll also be helping to lead local training and social runs throughout the year to help you get ready for your target Gnar Runners races. The team has a broad range of running backgrounds and abilities, and will be available at local training runs to offer advice and company out on the trail.

Not only do these individuals have a passion for trail running, but importantly they also share the ideals and mission of Gnar Runners as trail stewards and Northern Colorado trail running community-builders.

Quad Rock Training

If you’re looking for some structure and a plan for your Quad Rock training, then take a look at our 18-week training outline, which offers plans for both the 50 and 25 mile races.

We will host a course preview training run on April 7 beginning and ending at the Soldier Canyon trailhead (the race start/finish). All abilities are welcome to attend and we will have many local runners attending to guide those coming in from out of town.

Follow us on Facebook or join the Fort Collins Trail Runners group to get additional updates on local training runs leading up to Quad Rock.



2018 Gnar Race Registrations to Open Dec 15

Registration for all four races in the 2018 Gnar Trail Racing Series will open on December 15. Once again, we’re proud to be hosting all four of our trail running events in partnership with our top brand sponsor, Salomon Running.


Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2017.

Dates for the 2018 Trail Races

  • May 12, 2018: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $95
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 400
  • July 28, 2018: Never Summer 100km
    – Early Entry Fee: $175
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • September 8, 2018: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $65
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • October 20, 2018: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $65
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300

Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Finish at Lory State ParkNever Summer 100K Climb up North Diamond

What’s New for 2018?

  • The Quad Rock Trail Races will again have separate start times for the 25 and 50 mile events. The 50 miler will start as always with first light at 5:30, while the 25 mile race will start at 8:00.
  • The short re-route on the Spring Creek section of the Quad Rock course may be implemented again next year. Final plans will be published in April and will be dependent on where and if the eagles nest in the crags above Spring Creek.
  • Due to the logistical challenges of getting into and out of the Clear Lake aid location at the Never Summer 100km, we have removed it as a crew/pacer access point for 2018.
  • The cap for Never Summer has been cut slightly to 300 starters.
  • Never Summer will again be a qualifying race for the Western States 100. In addition, we have submitted applications for both Quad Rock and Never Summer to serve as UTMB qualifying races.
  • We have added a couple of extra age group award categories for the Black Squirrel Half and Blue Sky Marathon, with 10-year increments from <30 to 60+.
  • With the success and excitement surrounding the Gnar Slam this year, we will again be offering end-of-season awards and a free entry into the 2019 Quad Rock Trail Races for all runners that complete the Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100km, Black Squirrel Trail Half, and Blue Sky Marathon.
Gnar Slam Class of 2017 Finishers

The Gnar Slam class of 2017.

  • Once again we’ll be managing the Horsetooth Half Marathon in 2018. This year, we’ll be celebrating the 45th running of Colorado’s oldest half marathon. The race will be offering all the fun you’ve come to expect from the Horsetooth Half, with group training runs beginning in January, a super-sized post-race party at New Belgium Brewing and the biggest half marathon purse ($8,000) in the state.

Great Partners

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 again with Salomon Running, one of the greatest brand innovators in the sport.

Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalWe’ll be offering special Salomon shoe deals with our retail partner, Altitude Running, at all pre-race packet pickups. We’ll also be offering the opportunity to demo Salomon kicks at training runs, community events and race-day expos.

Our other top sponsors for the 2017 season include the following great businesses and brands:

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy

Getting Fort Collins runners back on their feet

Drymax Socks

The official sock of the 2018 Gnar Runners race series.

Fort Collins Running Club Countryside Animal Hospital

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.

Stay tuned for updates about new events, training opportunities, and our expanded Gnar Running Team. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates as our 2018 season unfolds.

We’re incredibly excited for the 2018 season, and we can’t wait to welcome you to one, or perhaps all of our running events.


2017 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Details

The 10th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is less than a week away. Hopefully your training has been on point and you’re ready for a strong run.

All information relevant to the event is available from the race website here. In addition, we’d like to bring your attention to a few key details.

The weather forecast for Saturday is showing daytime highs near 60 degrees, which would be ideal; however, the forecast during the week up to Friday looks decidedly warmer with highs in the mid-70s. The Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, so please plan accordingly if the warmer temperatures carry over to the weekend.

An optional packet pickup will be available on Friday from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running. We will be handing out bibs on race morning to ensure we have an accurate list of starters. Altitude Running is located at: 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

Packet and bib pickup will be available on race morning at the Blue Sky trailhead from 5:30am to 6:30am.

Limited parking is available at the Blue Sky trailhead by the race start for carpools of two or more *runners* (55 spaces, first come, first serve) and additional parking will be at the Marina off Shoreline Drive, 3/4 of a mile from the start. If you are driving solo and parking in the Marina, please give yourself adequate time to get from your car to the start. Race day parking passes will be handed out when you arrive at the Marina or Blue Sky trailhead entrance.

Runner Drop Off will be just off Shoreline Drive around the corner from the Blue Sky Trailhead. 

**Parking is not allowed anywhere on 38E, along Shoreline Drive, or on any connecting residential street.**

Additional details and a map of the parking setup is available on the race website here.

We will have a start/finish gear drop area, if you want to avoid heading back to your car before the race starts – or think you might need or want to drop or pickup something when coming back through at mile 9.2 of the race after the Horsetooth loop. Bags should be labeled (we’ll have duct tape and sharpies at the start). There are no other drop bag locations on course.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am.

We have added a 10am cut off at the mile 9.2 Blue Sky aid station. Indian Summer South cut off times will remain the same as previous years at 12:30pm outbound (15.6 miles) and 1:45pm inbound (20.3 miles). 

Aid stations will be checking bib numbers. Please make sure your bib is visible from the front. It would also be helpful if you could call out your number as you leave and/or enter the aid station.

This is a cup-less race. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle or hydration pack for refills at the aid stations. Be sure you have adequate carrying capacity so you can hydrate adequately between aid stations

One of several well stocked aid stations.

The four aid stations (six total, as the two Indian Summer aid stations are visited twice) will have water, VFuel sports drink (Cool Lime or Black Cherry Cola), in addition to assorted snacks and fruit. The first Towers aid station will have water and Vfuel drink only.

We will have VFuel bulk gel (Mountain Berry, Cool Citrus, and Vanilla) at the start of the race and at the Blue Sky aid station at mile 9.2. Bring your own flask to fill if you would like to use gel from the aid stations during the race – packets will not be available.

The South Hunter turnaround is a checkpoint only – no water or aid. A volunteer will be marking bibs as people come through to make sure the loop is completed.

As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.

Please pocket any trash and dispose of it at aid stations or at the start/finish.

Trails are open to the public. Watch for bikers and yield to horses.

We’ll be offering a full post-race BBQ with beef burgers and vegan burgers and soup from Boulder Organic (both gluten free and vegan options). Also look for Mary’s Mountain CookiesGreat Harvest cinnamon buns, and New Belgium beer.

The BBQ is free to all participants. If you did not purchase extra tickets with your registration, additional meals can be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 donation to The Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center, one of the race beneficiaries.

In addition to finisher awards, we have overall and age group awards (Open: under 40, outside top three; Masters: 40-49, outside top three; Grandmasters: 50+). We have gift cards to Altitude Running for award winners, Salomon running shoes for overall winners and a smorgasbord of sponsor gear to give away in the post-awards raffle. We will also be recognizing the 2017 Gnar Slam finishers and Blue Sky Five-Year Finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion.

Thank you as always to our fabulous race sponsors in helping us make this event possible:

Salomon RunningColorado in MotionJustin Liddle DMDDrymax SocksAltitude RunningCountryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses that support our races.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We sincerely look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!

Nick & Pete
Gnar Runners, LLC
Twitter/Instagram: @gnar_runners

Top Tier Sponsors

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

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club


A Roundup from the 5th Running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

Lory State Park offers some of the best trail running on Colorado’s Northern Front Range, so it was once again our great honor to be able to host a tour of the perimeter trails at the fifth running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. And, with a beautiful sunrise popping up over the eastern shores of Horsetooth Reservoir, a record 330 runners set off on the 13.1 mile tour of Lory State Park on Saturday morning.

In the men’s race, defending champion Stephen Pretak had a good group of runners to work with as he entered the Timber climb, one mile into the race, but by the time he popped out onto the Arthurs Trail at the bottom of the Howard descent some 7 miles later, he was all alone off the front. Pretak would go on to hold his position and notch a second consecutive race win in 1:35:48. In a close battle for second, Pretak was followed home by an exuberant Peter Goble (1:39:23) with Craig Depperschmidt less than 30 seconds back in third (1:39:51).   

Two-time winner, Amanda Lee, was a late drop from the women’s field, leaving the race for top honors wide open. Local road running favorite Abby Depperschimdt took to the trails for her first go at the Black Squirrel Half and never looked back, winning the race in a time of 1:52:47. Abby finished a convincing seven minutes ahead of Sarah Omann (2:00:37) who notched her third second-place finish in as many attempts. Rounding out the women’s podium was Loveland’s Stephanie Forrest-Swedenborg in a time of 2:03:00.

Abby Depperscmidt (photo: Danielle Clark); Stephen Pretak (Bryan Bibeau)

The race for the 40+ honors was a battle, as you might expect from our crowd of wily veteran race tacticians. The top three master’s runners in the male division went 8th, 10th and 12th respectively with a good amount of in-race position shifting according to the post-race banter. Ultimately it would be Colorado Spring’s Bryan Beiner bringing home the master’s title in a time of 1:44:33. He was followed into the finish by Mike Neal (1:45:42) and Dan Clark (1:46:21) who, incidentally, went one and two in the master’s race at April’s Horsetooth Half Marathon (where Clark bettered Neal by just six seconds).  

In the female 40+ division, we had a repeat winner in the form of Fort Collins’ Catherine Thomas Broom who, on a much warmer day, finished six minutes faster than in 2016 (2:04:57). Rounding out the women’s 40+ division was Steamboat Spring’s Kristi Foster (2:09:53) and Bellvue’s very own Sarah Melby (2:16:24), both of whom we should mention have been enthusiastic volunteers at our races for many years. 

Bryan Beiner, Catherine Thomas Broome, Kristi Foster

Our youngest finisher this year was Omaha’s (and CSU’s) Malik Abdessalam at a very mature 18 years of age. On the other end of the age spread, we had two impressive 68 year-old finishes from Mary Gilbert (another stalwart race volunteer) and Steve Joyce. 

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running shoes and packs, Altitude gift certificates and Drymax running socks. And, of course, the coveted Black Squirrel awards lovingly crafted in the Gnar Runners Gnarts and Crafts Department.

Of course, these races don’t happen without the help of an army of volunteers. The Liberty Middle School XC Team was out at our Arthur’s aid stations, the CSU Food & Nutrution Club served up our post race pancake breakfast, and as always, the Fort Collins Trail Runners community came out in force. Our volunteers shone bright and provided a wonderful race experience for all participants.   So, once again, a huge thank you to all our fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

The Liberty Middle School XC Team reporting in for Arthurs Aid Station duty. The race will make a donation to Athlete’s in Tandem on their behalf in return for their time. Pic: Danielle Clark

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. Thank you to our top tier sponsors: Salomon RunningAltitude RunningColorado in MotionDrymax Socks, and Justin Liddle DMD.

If you enjoyed Black Squirrel and are considering a step up in distance, why not join us on October 21 for the tenth running of the Blue Trail Sky Marathon. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.








Top tier support from:

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

Contributing support from:
Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain CookiesSquirrel’s Nut ButterGreat Harvest Bread Company, the Fort Collins Food Co-op, and Blue Phoenix Massage.


Join us for an evening of trail talk 8/23 at Altitude Running

Do you have questions about trail running or want to learn more about the sport? Join us for a fun night of trail running discussion on August 23rd at Altitude Running. The evening will feature a Q&A discussion with a diverse panel of trail runners, beginning at 6:00pm.

The panel Q&A will be mixed in with gear giveaways from Salomon Running, Drymax Socks and other race sponsors. We will also be featuring a Black Squirrel video course preview, with time afterwards for questions and discussion specific to the route and race strategy. During the evening, enjoy a beverage or two from our friends at New Belgium Brewing. 

The panel

Cat Bradley 2017 Western States ChampionCat Bradley shot to trail and ultrarunning stardom this June when she defied the odds in winning the famed and historic Western States Endurance Run. Hear her thoughts from that day and garner tips on how to improve your race performance. 


Lucas Mouttet owns and operates the Never Summer Outdoor School, teaching avalanche safety and wilderness first aid. A trail runner, mountain biker and backcountry skier, Lucas is uniquely qualified to discuss any and all issues related to trail safety. 


Sara Callor is the store manager at Altitude Running. She ran the Pikes Peak Ascent as her first trail race some 10 years ago and returned to the trails last year to run the Black Squirrel Half. Come armed with gear questions. Sara has answers. 



Stephen PretakStephen Pretak is the current men’s champion and only person to have run under 90 minutes on the Black Squirrel course. Despite these impressive accolades, Stephen is still relatively new to trail running and sometimes feels like he’s still trying to figure it out. You’ve got questions about transitioning to the trails, he’ll come up with answers.


Never Summer 2017 Post Race Wrap

North Diamond. Pic: Ben Barthel.

We’d like to offer a huge congratulations to all those runners who came together on Saturday July 22 to take on the third running of the Never Summer 100km. We love to see our finishers come across the finish line, so we were especially happy this year to be able to welcome home a record number of finishers. In helping get runners across the line, we owe a special debt of gratitude to our wonderful volunteers who came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers. 

When it was all said and done, 226 of the race’s 289 starters made it back to the Gould Community Center before the 5:30am cutoff. This represents a record 78 percent finisher rate. Of those finishers, 29 joined the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours). This includes our first two female members of the club, Alyson Kirk and Heidi Sauerland. We hope to see many more ladies join the club in the coming years.

No matter how far along the course you got, or indeed at what time you finished, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your experience in the beautiful mountains of Northern Colorado.

– Results with full aid station splits are available here.
– Race images: 

Heidi Sauerland finishing second. No headlamp required. Pic: Erin Bibeau

Alyson Kirk, now three-time winner. Pic: Erin Bibeau








In both the men’s and women’s races new overall records were set. For the men, Tyler Fox from Boulder, CO took home top honors in a new course best of 12:11:10. He was followed home by Clark Messman (12:28:14) who posted the race’s second fastest time ever. Rounding out the men’s podium was Estes Park’s Kevin Sturmer who came home in 12:58:57.

Rob Raguet-Schofield lets it fly and finishes sixth overall, first from Fort Collins. Pic: Erin Bibeau

Tyler Fox (right) and Clark Messman go 1 & 2 in CR fashion. Pic: Erin Bibeau


In the women’s race, two-time defending champion Alyson Kirk bettered her 2016 time by a whopping one hour and four minutes to come home with a third Never Summer 100km title in a new course record time of 14:42:23. Although Alyson led from start to finish, she was pushed the whole way by Steamboat Springs’ Heidi Sauerland who posted the race’s second fastest time ever (15:10:59). Moab resident Meghan Hicks was our third place finisher, recording the race’s fourth fastest time ever, coming home in 15:53:50.

A fast year all around.

Heather Jossi on her way to a masters win. Pic: Joey Schrichte

The master’s categories (40-49) were won by Jesse Rickert and Heather Jossi. Heather, a newly minted master’s runner and three-time finisher of the event, ran her fastest time yet in winning the master’s category, taking over 45 minutes off her best to finish in 17:27:19. Jesse Rickert came within three minutes of taking down Elijah Flenner’s 2016 master’s record, finishing in a speedy 13:19:34 to finish an impressive fourth overall.   

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Junko Kazukawa who took home top honors in a time of 18:26:13. For the men, it was Fort Collins’ Steve Chaffee bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a time of 17:44:38. 

In the youngest and oldest categories, we had new records on both ends of the spectrum with Julian Cazares of Federal Heights CO finishing in 18:06:16 at the age of 20 and Joe Burleson of Erie, CO getting it done in 23:12:19 at the 67 years young.


Grandmasters winner Junko Kazukawa having fun at the American Lakes. Pic: Erin Bibeau

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also give out a Final Finisher award for the runner that shows the most dogged persistence in being out there the longest. We were delighted to be able to hand off that award to Michelle Leong, one of many who made trip north from the Lone Star state. Michelle beat the buzzer by 11 minutes in a time of 23:49:09. 

We also like to make sure that we recognize our volunteers appropriately at the post-race breakfast awards ceremony by giving out the Never Summer Trail Boss award. While this award is given to one person who has shown particular dedication to the race, it is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole volunteer team who come together before, during and after the race. This year, we were honored to be able to recognize Bryan Bibeau as our 2017 Trail Boss for his dedication to race communications over the last three years. 

Bryan Bibeau (seated) heading up the event communications team. Pic: Erin Bibeau

As always, the volunteer support that we received for the event was – quite frankly – outstanding, and testimony to the special place the mountains of Northern Colorado hold in the hearts of the local 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 all of whom went above and beyond in ensuring that we had radio contact from every aid station on course, in addition to between medical and park staff.
  • The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol for offering up a team of skilled volunteers with first responder training and an intimate knowledge of the Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains.
  • State Forest State Park (SFSP) and their incredible staff of park rangers. We have received nothing but enthusiasm from SFSP in the years of planning and executing this event, and their 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.
  • The Gould Community Association for their support and the use of the Gould Community Center.
  • The Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center for preparing both your post-race meal and awards breakfast. 

Team Canada. Pic: Erin Bibeau

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Top tier support from:

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

Contributing support from:
Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain CookiesTrader Joe’sSquirrel’s Nut Butter, Boulder Organic and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

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

We look forward to seeing you again in 2018, tentatively on the weekend of July 28-29. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 9 we’ll be hosting the fifth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 21 by the TENTH running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

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 following year’s Quad Rock. We will be updating our Gnar Slam page this week, with a list of all those in contention for the 2017 Slam. 

Thank you all!

Tyler Fox leading on Montgomery Ridge. Pic: Ben Barthel

Pic: Erin Bibeau