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.
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).
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).
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.
And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!
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!