Registration for Gnar 2019 Opens Dec 15

Registration for all four races in the 2019 Gnar Trail Racing Series will open on December 15, 2018. Once again, we’re proud to be hosting all four of our trail running events in partnership with our top brand sponsor, Salomon Running.

Gnar_manSalomon

Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2018.

Dates for the 2019 Trail Races

  • May 11, 2019: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $115
    – 25 Mile Early Entry: $95
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 400
  • July 27, 2019: Never Summer 100km
    – Early Entry Fee: $195
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • September 7, 2019: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $70
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • October 19, 2019: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $75
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300

Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Finish at Lory State Park

What’s New for 2019?

  • 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 the new start time of 7:00.
  • The short re-route on the Spring Creek section of the Quad Rock, now in its third year, is likely a permanent fixture. There will also be a slight course modification in and out of the Arthurs aid station. Full details and maps will be published when plans are finalized in the spring.  
  • Never Summer will again be a qualifying race for the Western States 100. In addition, it will again serve as a qualifying race for the UTMB series of races, earning finishers 4 points under the new certification system. The Quad Rock 50 will be worth 3 points and the 25 worth 2 points. Blue Sky will again earn 1 UTMB qualifying point. 
  • 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 2020 Quad Rock Trail Races for all runners that complete the Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100km, Black Squirrel Trail Half, and Blue Sky Marathon.
  • On the road side, we’ll once again be managing the Horsetooth Half Marathon, Northern Colorado’s largest and oldest half marathon. The race is on April 14 and we will be offering all the fun you’ve come to expect from the Horsetooth Half, with group training runs beginning January 6, a super-sized post-race party and the biggest half marathon purse ($8,000) in the state.
  • Stay tuned for other exciting plans and races currently in the hopper…

Great Partners

Part of the reason we’re able to offer such great race experiences is because we’ve worked tirelessly to partner with quality sponsors that share our vision for well-managed 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 & gear 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 2019 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 2019 Gnar Runners race series.

Fort Collins Running ClubCountryside 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 and training opportunities. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates as our 2019 season unfolds.

We’re incredibly excited for the 2019 season, and we can’t wait to welcome you to one, or perhaps all of our running events.

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2018 Blue Sky Marathon Race Recap

We had perfect running weather for the 11th Blue Sky Trail Marathon. And we had a fast field ready to take full advantage of the ideal running conditions, with new course records being set in both the men’s and women’s races, and a total of 265 runners hitting the finish line from a total of 279 starters.

Addie Bracy winning the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon

In the women’s race, Addie Bracy was toeing her third Gnar Runners start line of 2018, after having claimed wins at both the Quad Rock 50 and the Never Summer 100km. As in her previous starts this season, Addie would be pushed through the early miles but would ultimately come out on top. At the 9 mile aid station, Addie was running shoulder to shoulder with Estes Park’s Michelle Hiland, but through the southern section of the course she would open a gap and grow it steadily by the finish, coming home in a new course best of 3:45:37. Michelle held steady in second, finishing with a flourish to sneak under the four hour mark (3:59:39). Rounding out the podium was Sarah Roberts (4:11:31) in her third Blue Sky Marathon finish and second overall podium. 

The men’s race was close from start to finish, with a large pack coming through the nine-mile aid station, all on course-record pace. By the Hunter turnaround at mile 18, the pack had been whittled down to just two – Bobby Peavey and Brian Condon – and they would remain connected all the way to an exciting sprint finish, where Denver’s Peavey edged out Longmont’s Condon by just a second in a new course best of 3:11:47. The new mark bests a Steve Folkerts record that has stood since 2009. Coming in third was Frank Pipp, who rounded out his Gnar Runners racing season with yet another podium after a win at the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and two seconds at the Never Summer 100km and Quad Rock 50. With his season filled with podiums, Frank took top honors in the Gnar Slam standing, setting a convincing new cumulative best time in the process (see below). 

Bobby Peavey out-sprints Brian Condon for the win and new course record at the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon.

The master’s wins went to Terry Grenwelge (4:02:44) and Candy Granger (4:30:36). The grandmasters winners were Sabrina Naftel (5:34:12) and Blaise Brochard (4:04:57). All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman in addition to gift cards from Altitude Running. 


Race Photos:


This year we saw 11 runners complete the Gnar Slam. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

As noted above, Frank Pipp came away top in the points standings on the men’s side. His cumulative time of 25:09:02, bested Elijah Flenner’s 2016 record by over two hours. In the women’s standings, Colleen Weitzel also posted a new record time (36:45:26), besting Kristen Kovatch’s record from 2018 by 48 minutes.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2018 Gnar Slam finishers.

And of course, our races would simply not be the same without the magnificent support of our volunteers. From Towers to the Hunter turnaround, the Blue Sky volunteers were out there on course keeping runners motivated, fed, and hydrated. As always, race participants were glowing in their praise of the volunteers, whether they were parking cars in the morning, marshaling runners at the turns, or filling bottles at the aid stations.

We also couldn’t put on our trail races without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you Salomon RunningColorado in MotionDrymax SocksAltitude RunningJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Animal Hospital, Jax Mercantile and the Fort Collins Running Club for your incredible race support.

And also to our fantastic product sponsors: VFuelNew Belgium BrewingGreat Harvest Bread Co.Squirrel’s Nut ButterMary’s Mountain Cookies, Juice Performer, and Boulder Organic!

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2018 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2019 with excitement.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2019!

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2018 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Information

The 11th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is this Saturday. 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 through the rest of the week and into Saturday looks great with daytime highs in the low 60s. However be aware that the Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, so please plan accordingly if we get warmer than predicted temperatures.

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.

Altitude Running will be offering a 20% discount on both Salomon and Drymax products at packet pickup. Salomon will also be offering a gift with any Salomon purchase.

Packet and bib pickup will also 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.

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.

There is a 10am cut off at the mile 9.2 Blue Sky aid station. Indian Summer South cut off times are 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, 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 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 checking bib numbers as runners 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 bratwurst and vegan burgers, and soup from Boulder Organic (both gluten free and vegan options). Also look for Mary’s Mountain CookiesGreat Harvest cinnamon buns, New Belgium beer, and Juice Performer. If you want a beer after your run, please remember to bring your id. 

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 our race beneficiaries Athlete’s in Tandem and Beyond Rescue.

In addition to finisher awards, we have overall and age group awards, with Altitude Running gift cards for award winners, Salomon running packs for overall winners and a smorgasbord of sponsor gear to give away in the post-awards raffle. We will also be recognizing the 2018 Gnar Slam finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion, with massage offered by Diane Bergstedt.  

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, the Fort Collins Running Club, and Jax Mercantile.

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 (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!


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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2018 Gnar Slam Update

With three races down and just one left to go in the Gnar Runners 2018 season, there are 11 runners remaining in the 2018 Gnar Slam standings. And there is pressure being put on both the men’s and women’s overall records.

Frank Pipp on 7 Utes Mountain on his way to a second place finish at the Never Summer 100km

After winning the sixth running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon on September 8, Frank Pipp has consolidated his place at the top of the 2018 standings with a current cumulative time of 21:51:40. The overall four-race record, set by Elijah Flenner in 2016, stands at 27:14:14, which means Frank would need to finish the Blue Sky Trail Marathon in under 5:22:34 to claim a new cumulative Gnar Slam best.

In the points standings, Frank has all but clinched the 2018 Gnar Slam title. Clint Anders would need an overall win at Blue Sky and Frank would need to finish with less than 70 points (~4:40:00) to lose his lead.

The women’s standings are currently topped by Gnar Team member Colleen Weitzel who has a three-race cumulative time of 32:08:41. To better Kristen Kovatch‘s record-setting time from last year (37:33:51), Colleen will need to run 5:25:09 or faster at next month’s Blue Sky Trail Marathon.

In this year’s standings, Colleen has less than a 16 point lead on second place Tina Duncan, which equates to an approximately 45 minute spread for Blue Sky. Tina and Colleen were neck and neck at the Black Squirrel Half with Colleen edging Tina out by less than a minute. Tina has a faster Blue Sky PR (4:42:21) than Colleen (4:56:56), but can she beat her by more than 45 minutes to take the overall win in the 2018 Gnar Slam? Anything can happen. 

Shari Green rounds out our women’s field of Gnar Slammers. 

Colleen getting the work done at a rainy 2018 Quad Rock 50

Among our other male Slammers, Ed Delosh and Rob Broomfield are on track to repeat their 2017 Slam finishes, both with a shot at going quicker than last year. At the age of 66, Ivan Rezucha will become our oldest ever Gnar Slammer with a Blue Sky Trail Marathon finish.


Ivan Rezucha & Ed Delosh at the Black Squirrel Half Marathon. 

For current and historical standings for all runners, check out the Gnar Slam page. 

The Gnar Slam is recognition of those runners that complete all Gnar Runners trail running events in one calendar year. All finishers will receive a commemorative award plus free entry into the 2019 Quad Rock.

The Gnar Slam consists of the following four races:

  • Quad Rock 50 mile (14 hours)
  • Never Summer 100km (24 hours)
  • Black Squirrel Half Marathon (5:30 hours)
  • Blue Sky Marathon (9 hours)
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2018 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Wrap

It was a beautiful morning for the sixth running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. A sellout field of 320 runners took on the perimeter trails of Lory State Park on the 13.1 mile tour of some of Northern Colorado’s finest running trails.

With defending champion and course record holder Stephen Pretak playing human-sized black squirrel and course marshal at the Howard turn, the race for the men’s win was wide open. Coming into the Arthurs West aid station at 8 miles, Frank Pipp had a small lead over Clint Anders and Chris Rom. Second at both the Quad Rock 50 and Never Summer 100k, Frank would hold his lead through the flatter valley miles to claim the win and set a new master’s record of 1:32:02. Frank is now a favorite to set a new record for the Gnar Slam, which will culminate next month at the 11th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon. Also riding high in the Gnar Slam standings this year is Clint Anders, who would also hold onto his Arthurs 8-mile position to finish second in 1:33:22. Chris Rom (1:36:13) rounded out the podium in his first Black Squirrel finish.

Men’s podium. L-R: Clint Anders, Frank Pipp, Chris Rom

Third in 2015, Ruth Waller-Liddle was back to run her second Black Squirrel Half, and this time she lead the race from pillar to post, with an impressive 1:52:43 finish, just narrowly pipped at the post by husband and race sponsor, Justin Liddle DMD. Broomfield’s Alisyon Hummelberg (1:56:49) followed four minutes later in second in her first Black Squirrel Half. Rounding out the podium in third, Coach Rachel Hulse was one place better and a minute quicker than in 2016, beating three-time runner up Sarah Roberts to the line by a scant 17 seconds.  

Women’s Podium. L-R: Alisyon Hummelberg, Ruth Waller-Liddle, Rachel Hulse

This year, we expanded the age groups to include an under 30 and over 60 category. Top honors in our 5 age group categories were as follows:

  • Under 30: Peter Goble (1:41:27) and Alicia Grove (1:59:12)
  • 30-39: Craig Depperschmidt (1:42:42) and Hilary Freese (2:02:31)
  • 40-49: Christoph Justen (1:52:13) and Sarah Roberts (1:58:19) 
  • 50-59: Ed Delosh (1:49:18) and Jeanne Bascuk (2:19:46)
  • 60+: Ivan Rezucha (2:21:31) and Paula Murray (3:22:58)

Results and Images

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running packs, Altitude gift certificates and Drymax running socks. Unique squirrel-themed awards were lovingly hand-crafted by Amy Hayman.

Of course, our races don’t happen without the help of an army of volunteers. The Liberty Middle School XC Team was once again out at the 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 XC Team with teacher and race participant Lauren Calvert

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 20 for the 11th 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 Butter, and Great Harvest Bread Company.

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