2016 Black Squirrel Post-Race Wrap

Sunrise at the 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

September is a great time of year to race on the trails here on the Front Range, and we were treated to another picture perfect morning for the 4th running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. With the sun popping up over the horizon, just under 300 runners set off on the 13.3 mile tour of Lory State Park’s outer border trails.

blacksquirrel2016-14

Pretak

Pretak

From the gun, it was pre-race favorites Stephen Pretak and Amanda Lee who set the early pace in the men’s and women’s races. Both would hold on for the victories in their respective races, and for the fourth straight year the men’s course record would be lowered. Pretak’s time of 1:29:05 is the race’s first finish under 1:30 and a minute quicker than Aaron Anderson’s winning time from 2015. Amanda Lee notched her second straight Black Squirrel win with a 1:48:56 finishing time. Her time ranks as the second fastest ever behind Melissa Dock’s 2014 winning time of 1:45:06.

Cookie Mike Neal - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

Cookie Mike on his way to the master’s win.

Second and third in the men’s race were Horsecow Lonac (1:35:13) and Erik Nau (1:37:21), while in the women’s race Michelle Gailey from Sydney Australia finished three minutes adrift from Lee in second, followed by Fort Collins local Molly Soasey in third (1:58:17).

After winning and setting course records in the master’s division of both the Quad Rock 50 mile and Never Summer 100km races, Elijah Flenner was the odds-on favorite for the Black Squirrel master’s title. Pushed the whole way, Elijah was overtaken in the valley by Lory local Mike Neal – owner and operator of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies Old Town. Cookie Mike would go on to register the master’s win in a time of 1:38:37, followed a minute and a half later by Elijah. Ed Delosh rounded out the men’s master’s podium.

In the female master’s division, it was Catherine Thomas from Fort Collins who took home the honors in a time of 2:02:00. She was followed by Amy Walsh (2:11:43) and Tonya Barber (2:14:08).

The open divisions (non-podium, under 40) were won by Rob Raguet-Schofield (1:39:10) and Rachel Dean. In the grandmaster’s division, Tony Dragan from Fort Collins set a commanding new divisional course record with an impressive 1:46:53, while Cathy Zitti posted an equally impressive finishing time of 2:10:57 for the over 50 competition, just a couple minutes off Theresa Rudel’s divisional mark from 2014.

Tony Draganblacksquirrel2016-296Molly Soasey Black Squirrel Half Marathon

Our youngest finisher this year was Opfer Camden (2:35), a 13-year-old from Fort Collins. On the other end of the age spread, we had two impressive septuagenarian finishes from 72-year-old Phil Nissen (3:11, LeHigh Acres, FL) and 73-year-old Jammie McMillin (3:49:44, Colorado Springs).

Coveted 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Awards

Coveted!

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running shoes and packs, Julbo sunglasses and Drymax 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, 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 fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Post-Race BBQ

Animal House Volunteers Working the BBQ

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 Running, Colorado in Motion, Drymax Socks, and Justin Liddle DMD.

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.

We look forward to seeing you again on September 9th, 2017. Or, if you want more Gnar-filled trail racing fun this year, then check out the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon on October 2nd. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.

2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Finish

Black Squirrel Finish

Corrie Stevens - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half MarathonSara Callor Black Squirrel Half MarathonCharles Danforth - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

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:
VFuel, New Belgium, Fort Collins Food Co-OperativeMary’s Mountain Cookies, Julbo, Trader Joe’sSquirrel’s Nut ButterEldorado Natural Spring WaterKristel Liddle, LMT, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

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2016 Black Squirrel Pre-Race Information

Black Squirrel Trail Half MarathonAll information relevant to the 4th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon is available on the race website. Here are a few final details and reminders.

The current weather forecast is showing an overnight low in the high 40s, a sunny morning, and a race-day high in the low 80s. Please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. Water cups will not be provided at the aid stations.

The three race aid stations will be stocked with water and V-Fuel sports drink. The Arthurs aid station – visited twice – will also carry snacks and fruit.

Packet pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running located at 150 E Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80525 (northeast corner of College and Harmony). Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:30am.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am. There will be a short pre-race briefing at 6:50am. Late arrivals will need to walk up to 1/2 a mile or longer to the start from their car, so we recommend getting to Lory State Park no later than 6:30. Please plan to arrive earlier if you need to check in on race morning.

Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools of two or more runners. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or at the Timber trailhead lot. If you can, please arrange a carpool with friends – or try the Fort Collins Trail Runner Facebook pageParking passes will be handed out at the park entrance when you arrive.

Bibs must be visible from the front. Please do not remove your pull tag.

Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog during the race.

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 and hikers.

We will have a free 1 mile kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.

Black Squirrel Trail Half BBQWe have a great BBQ planned with burgers & brats, veggie (vegan) burgers and vegan quinoa salad from the Fort Collins Food Co-Op, Great Harvest cinnamon buns, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, fruit from Trader Joe’s, El Dorado Vitamin Water, and Fat Tire beer from New Belgium Brewing.

Additional meals can be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 cash donation to Animal House Rescue if not already purchased with registration.

Salomon Running will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away a pair of Salomon shoes to our top male and female finishers. We’ll also have Julbo sunglasses to give out to our age group winners.

In addition to finisher awards and T-shirts, we will also be giving out unique overall and age group awards to the top three (male and female) in the following categories: overall, under 40, masters (40 – 49), and grandmasters (50+). We’ll also have some other gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion and Kristel Liddle LMT.

If you have any nagging aches or pains that might prevent you from running your best or making it to the starting line, Colorado In Motion is offering discounted Trigger Point Dry Needling sessions for our runners this Thursday 9/8. More info is online here.

Thank you to our very generous sponsors: Salomon Running, Colorado in Motion, Justin Liddle DMD, Drymax SocksAltitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for their support in helping us make this event possible.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses who support the race.

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

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

Nick Clark & Pete Stevenson


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

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Never Summer 2016 Post Race Wrap

View from Lake Agnes - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Moon above Lake Agnes. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

Congratulations to all runners who took on the second running of the Never Summer 100km. The goal of the event is to offer a challenging mountain adventure, connecting stunning mountain and lake vistas across a wide range of mountain terrain. And it sounds like adventure was had by all. Reports of bears, moose, and dive-bombing raptors were all overheard in the Gould Community Center post-race. This of course came in addition to the significant challenge of navigating the 64 mile tour of the rugged Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains.

Nokhu Crags - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Close up view of the Nokhu Crags from the Never Summer 100K course at Lake Agnes. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

When it was all said and done, 192 of our 273 starters made it back to the Gould Community Center before the 5:30am cutoff – a 70% finisher rate. Of those, 24 joined the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours).

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.

With this being just the second running of the event, many new overall and age group standards were set. In the men’s race, Gabe Joyes from Lander, WY took home top honors in a new course record time of 12:29:21. In an exciting finish, he was followed just a minute later by defending Wasatch 100 champion, Chris Schurk, who’d been nipping at Gabe’s heels from the start of the final climb. Rounding out the men’s podium was Jeff Mogavero (12:51:13), currently also calling Lander home.

Gabe Joyes at Lake Agnes - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Gabe Joyes at Lake Agnes on his way to the win. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

Alyson Kirk on Montgomery Ridge - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Alyson Kirk coming off Montgomery Ridge on her way to defending.

In the women’s race, defending champion Alyson Kirk bettered her 2015 time to come home with a second Never Summer 100km title (15:46:43). As last year, Alyson (a peak-bagging dynamo) took control of the race heading up the steepest climb of the day on North Diamond Peak. Nederland resident Keira McMahaon (16:18:57) finished a strong second behind Alyson, and she was followed some 7 minutes later by the ageless Cindy Stonesmith (16:25:51).

We saw new records go down in not only the overall categories, but also many of the age groups. The master’s categories (40-49) were won by Elijah Flenner and Sandra Carpenter. As he did at Quad Rock earlier in the summer, Elijah set a new course record in the masters division, posting an impressive 13:16:47, while Sandra also built on her Quad Rock master’s-record-setting run from May with an impressive sub-17 hour finish (16:56:04). Although officially listed as a podium finisher in the overall standings, Keira McMahon’s time of 16:18:57 sets the new standard for the master’s age group.

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Marianne Osteen who took home top honors in a time of 20:51:57. As in the master’s category it was podium finisher Cindy Stonesmith setting the new grandmaster’s mark (16:25:51). For the men, it came down to the wire, with Stephen Kukta (16:38:01) from Olympic Valley, CA running down Nebraska’s Todd Nott in the final two miles. Todd’s time and grandmaster’s record from 2015 (15:54:36) was the only mark to remain standing at the end of the day.

Cindy Stonesmith at Lake Agnes - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Cindy Stonesmith. Third overall and a new grandmaster’s CR. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

Stephen Kukta at Lake Agnes - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Stephen Kukta on his way to the grandmaster’s win. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also award a Final Finisher award for the runner that shows the most dogged persistence in being out there the longest. And a new record was set in that division, with Eve Davies from Salt Lake City besting Lynn Hall’s 23:49:14 from 2015 by some four minutes (23:53:51).

Michigan Ditch - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Runners exit Lake Agnes down the Michigan Ditch drainage. (Photo: Erin Bibeau)

Results are available here, with full aid station splits on their way.

Bockman

Bockman Aid Station (Photo: Eric Lee)

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 parks 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 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.
  • The Gould Community Association for their support and the use of the Gould Community Center.

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:
VFuel, New Belgium, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Julbo, Trader Joe’s, Ultimate Direction, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, RAD, 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.

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 later in the summer 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.

Thank you all!

Clear Lake - 2016 Never Summer 100K

A runner takes a short break at Clear Lake. (Photo: Jessie Wiburn)

Bockman at night - 2016 Never Summer 100K

Bockman Aid Station at night. (Photo: Eric Lee)

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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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