2015 Gnar Race Calendar

At the end of the 2014 season, we promised bigger and better things for 2015 and we
plan on delivering. Here’s what we’ve got in store for the 2015 Gnar Runners’ Race Series, Presented by Altra:

Gnar_man Altra Zero Drop
  • May 9, 2015: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – Race Cap: 350 total runners
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $85 (same bargain pricing as the very first year).
    – Location: Lory State Park & Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
  • July 25, 2015: Never Summer 100km
    – Race Cap: 200 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $140
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO near Cameron Pass
    – Stoke Levels: Through the Roof
  • September 5, 2015: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Race Cap: 300 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $50
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
  • October 4, 2015: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Race Cap: 275 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $60
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins Co

What’s New for 2015?

First and foremost, we are extremely excited to be adding the Never Summer 100km RidgeRunto the Gnar Runners’ race calendar. We’ve been scouting this area and working with local land managers for well over a year now, in an effort to bring you the most outstanding course possible in this beautiful corner of Northern Colorado. Nestled between Rocky Mountain National Park and the Rawah Wilderness in the Cameron Pass area, this mountain-getaway event provides a huge alpine tour of the incredible Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains. Don’t miss out!

Jack JewelAs 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-notch experiences that you’ve come to expect. We have 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 $60, while extending the cut-off to nine hours. We really, really want you to come check out the fantastic Blue Sky trail this fall!

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 local and regional sponsors that share our vision for affordable, top-shelf events. This year we are incredibly excited to be working with Utah-based Altra Running as the Presenting Sponsor for the whole series. We’ll be working with our retail partner Altitude Running at training runs and on race-day to get you in a pair of Altra shoes to try out, if you’re not already familiar with the benefits of zero-drop running and Altra’s unique foot shaped toe box.

Other series sponsors for the 2015 season include the following great local businesses, with more to come:

The Hunter Team - Cornerstone Home Lending
Justin K. Liddle DMD, LLC 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. I don’t think your excitement levels for the 2015 season could be quite as elevated as ours, but we sure hope they’re close.

Be Gnarful out there!

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Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap

black squirrel half view

Looking east from the high point on the course. Photo: Jim Moy

The weather could not have been better for the second running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. The field of 290 runners were treated to cool foggy conditions in the valley early in the morning, before making their way up the hill to break through the clouds into glorious sunshine at 7,000 feet on the high point of the course, with expansive views to Longs peak in the west and a gloriously fluffy cloud base to the east.

Two new records were set at the pointy end of the field, with Broomfield’s Korey Skattum (1:31:46) leading the charge in the men’s race and Boulder’s Melissa Dock (1:45:06) bettering her mark from the inaugural running by almost five minutes.

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Korey Skattum. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

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Melissa Dock. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

From the high point on the course, runners dropped into the Arthurs Aid Station on the technical and switchbacked Howard Trail, guided along the way by our oversized black squirrel course marshall.

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Katie – Black Squirrel – Robinson. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

By the time the meat of the field had made it into the finish, the clouds had parted allowing runners to kick back and enjoy the post-race BBQ and festivities in pure Colorado bluebird comfort.

At the front of the men’s race, Kory Skattum was followed by Aaron Anderson (1:33:09) and Rob Raguet-Schofield (1:40:30), both local to Fort Collins. Second and third in the women’s race were Sarah Hansen (1:52:36) and Molly Soasey (1:55:39), both from Fort Collins. The masters divisions were won by Elijah Flenner (1:42:20) and Monica Brackney (1:56:14), another repeat winner, while the open divisions (39 & under) were won by Chirs Kiel (1:41:05) and Jennifer Malmberg (2:00:14). In the grandmasters race, we had wins for Tim Flynn (1:59:07) and Theresa Rudel (2:07:01)

bs2014-18Prizes included Altra running shoes, gift certificates to Runners Roost Fort Collins, and the coveted Black Squirrel awards crafted in the Gnarts and Crafts Department of Gnar Runners, LLC.

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 were the biggest source of bs2014-6post-race compliments that we received. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

We also couldn’t put on the types of races that we aspire to put on without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. So thank you Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Cornerstone Home Lending, Fort Collins Running ClubJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Vet, Altra RunningRunners RoostSucceedGreat Harvest, Whole Foods, Tailwind Nutrition, and Boulder Beer.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

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Black Squirrel Pre-Race Details

All information relevant to the event is available online here but here are a few final details and reminders.

  • Weather: Last year it was HOT, but this year things are looking a little more favorable. Currently, we’re looking at an overnight low of 50 and a race-day high of 70 with a good chance of rain in the afternoon, which means race morning should be just about perfect.
  • Nonetheless, please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle or hydration pack. The three aid stations will be stocked with water, Tailwind sports drink, Succeed S-Caps, snacks, and fruit (Arthurs only).
  • Packet and bib pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists located at: 115 E Harmony Rd., Ste. 160, Fort Collins, CO 80525 (southeast corner of College and Harmony).
  • Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:45am.
    Late registration (cash & check only) will be available on Friday at packet pick up and on race morning.
  • The race will start promptly at 7:00am. The pre-race briefing will be at 6:45am. Please give yourselves an extra 10-15min to get parked and over to the start. Late arrivals may need to walk up to a mile to the start. If you arrive late, you will start late and finish results will be based on the starting gun time.
  • Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools of two or more racers. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or Timber trailhead lot. If you can, please arrange a carpool with friends. Please feel free to post to the Ft Collins Trail Runners list to find people to carpool with.
  • Parking passes will be handed out at the park entrance when you arrive.
  • Bibs must be visible from the front. Do not remove your pull tag.
  • As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.
  • Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog on trail 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.
  • We will have a free 1km kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.
  • We have a great BBQ planned with burgers, veggie burgers, a Whole Foods quinoa salad, Great Harvest cookies and cinnamon buns, chips, fruit, soda, and a couple of kegs from Boulder Beer that meets 3.2% State Park regulations. First beer is free with the BBQ, for additional beers we ask that you make a donation ($3 suggested) to Animal House, one of the race beneficiaries. Additional meals can also be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 donation to Animal House. Please bring id if you want a post-race beer.
  • Altra Zero Drop will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away a pair to our top male and female finishers.
  • In addition to finishers 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 also have Runners Roost gift cards for all award winners.
  • We’ll 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 Kristel Liddle LMT (massage) and Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.

Thank you to Colorado Physical Specialists, Justin Liddle DMD, Cornerstone Home Lending, Altra RunningCountryside 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.

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 Clark & Pete Stevenson (GnarRunners, LLC)

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Great Local Support for the Black Squirrel Half

Colorado Physical Therapy SpecialistsWe are very pleased to welcome back Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor of the second running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the seventh running of the Blue Sky Marathon. In addition to supporting Gnar Runner events for the last seven years, Colpts have also been fixing runners here in the Fort Collins community since 2007. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished trail and ultrarunners and know just how important pain-free bipedal movement is for those who love to run.

We are also fortunate to be receiving support from the Fort Collins branch of Cornerstone Home Lending. Broker Jim Hunter and his team have been supporting the local running scene for years, in addition to getting people into mortgages they understand and can afford, so we’re excited to be teaming up with the Hunter Team again.

Our footwear sponsor for both the Black Squirrel and Blue Sky Marathon is Altra Zero Drop out of Salt Lake City, UT. The brand is currently taking the running world by storm with their innovative foot-shaped shoe designs. Winners of both races will be receiving a free pair of Altras and we’ll have demos available to try out on race day.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins trail running community with sponsorship of both the half and full marathons.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Dr Catherine Speights is the go-to small animal vet in the running community (and beyond). Her practice, Countryside Animal Hospital, specializes in personalized care of dogs and cats in a home-like setting. Look for both Cat and Justin near the front of their respective fields.

New this year, we’ve partnered with the Fort Collins Running Club, and couldn’t be more excited about it. The club has been promoting fitness and running in the local community since 1971. Consider taking out an FCRC membership and enjoy seven free Tortoise & Hare races from Oct to April, a free subscription to Colorado Runner Magazine, local running store discounts, and discounts to both the Horsetooth Half Marathon ($20 off your registration, which is the same cost as an annual membership) and the FireKracker 5k.

Product support for this year’s half and marathon races will be coming from a host of other great local companies:

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Windsor-based Succeed! will stock our aid stations with S!Caps electrolytes, while Durango-based Tailwind Nutrition will be providing on course sports drink. And our post race BBQ will include nutritious salads from Whole Foods Fort Collins, baked goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co., and malted beverages from Boulder Beer. Salus Natural Body Care will provide goodies for the race bags and Kristel Liddle will be providing post-race massages.

Please consider supporting our sponsors – they are all local to Fort Collins and the Mountain West, and we couldn’t do this without their kind help.

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Injury Prevention Advice from Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

This article from our top Blue Sky Marathon and Black Squirrel Half Marathon sponsor, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, discusses the key stabilizing muscles for runners and what you can do to strengthen them to help decrease your chance of injury.

Runners commonly suffer from overuse injuries such as knee pain (“runner’s knee”, IT band syndrome, patellar tendinitis), achilles tendinitis, and plantar fasciitis. Despite the variety of injuries that afflict runners, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk and keep your running pain free.

Some of you may already be doing core exercises to help with your running. The back and abdominal muscles commonly strengthened with core exercises are an integral part of any run-strengthening program. However, ensuring adequate strength of the hip abductor and hip external rotator muscles are frequently overlooked. These hip muscles are important for stabilizing your knee each time your foot hits the ground. Too much movement of the knee can result in pain under and around the knee cap, or pain in the IT band or patellar tendon.

The hip abductors and external rotators are also needed for controlling excessive foot pronation (foot rolling inward). Contrary to popular belief, foot pronation is not a bad thing. It is important to assist with shock absorption when your foot hits the ground. However, too much pronation may be a contributing factor to overuse running injuries. Excessive pronation can be controlled by orthotics or a motion controlled/stability shoe. It can also be controlled by strengthening the hip abductors and external rotators as well as muscles of the foot and ankle. If the excessive movement can be controlled by strengthening these muscles, it generally makes more sense to help our body do what it was designed to do and strengthen the muscles as opposed to using an external support.

As you can see, weakness in the hip muscles will result in decreased stability in the hip, knee, ankle and foot. In addition to good strength, you must also have good control. Think of good control like a complex engine that constantly makes minor adjustments to function at peak performance. When your foot strikes the ground, your hip muscles must quickly contract to control your leg motion without you thinking about it. A loss of control can set you up for a multitude of overuse injuries. The good news is you can dramatically reduce your risk of injury by improving your hip muscle strength and control.

So how do you know if you have weakness or poor control of these hip muscles? Performing a single leg mini squat is a simple test that you can do to give you an idea of how much hip control you have.

The following video shows how to perform a single leg mini squat.

Good hip control is demonstrated by maintaining level hips and your knee moving directly over your foot without collapsing inward. If you do not have good control doing the single leg mini squat (a static exercise), you likely have less control with more dynamic exercises such as running.

Your physical therapist or personal trainer can help you determine the best exercises for your hip muscles. Visit ColPTs.com for an example of a good dynamic core and hip exercise to help you continue running injury free.

Drs. Tim Flynn and Terry Gebhardt are physical therapists and owners of Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.

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Quad Rock 2014 Post-Race Wrap

Jack Jewel

Jack Jewel. All images: Erin Bibeau

A huge and sincere congratulations to everyone who came out to toe the line last weekend, from the ultra veterans to the trail racing first-timers who chose to make Quad Rock their first 25 or 50 mile trail race.

We had perhaps the best weather yet for the third running of the Quad Rock Trail Races, and while it still wasn’t perfect, with a couple of afternoon rain showers, we’re getting closer every year. Next year we’re shooting for all day bluebird skies.

Becky Wheerler - Quad Rock 2014 Champ

Becky on her way to setting a new course record: First lady under nine hours.

For this rendition of the Quad Rock Trail races, we had some fast finishers, a course record and a whole bunch of individual PRs.

At the front of the field, we had some exciting racing action. In the women’s 50-mile race, Becky Wheeler (Casper, WY) came away with the win after running a consistently strong pace all morning long. She picked off Darcy Africa with less than 10 miles to go, finishing under nine hours by just two seconds and setting a stout new course record in the process. We’re awarding her the ‘run of the day.’ Darcy held on for second, coming in 11 minutes later (also under the former CR), with Emily Judd rounding out the top three in 9:41.

Darcy Africa - Quad Rock 2014

Darcy Africa

Defending champion Kerry Bruxvoort ended up dropping down to the 25-mile distance and was quick enough over one lap to claim the 25-mile victory. Local favorite, Sarah Hansen (4:17) was the first registered 25 miler across the finish line, which was good for second overall. Becca Hall from Evergreen, CO rounded out the top three, finishing 15 minutes after Sarah.

 

Sarah Hansen

Sarah Hansen

The men’s 50-mile field featured a mix of experience and youthful exuberance, with the older, wiser heads prevailing on this day. Littleton’s Jim Rebenack looked smooth all morning, and showed his experience over course and distance with a comfortable win (7:52) in his third Quad Rock run. Jared Hazen was close all morning, but dropped from the race at mile 40. Both Jim and Jared beat the 25-mile racers to the turnaround. Montana’s Jesse Langner paced a great race to finish second, closely followed by Bryan Williams who moved through the field to finish in an impressive third, improving significantly on his ninth-place finish from last year. Ryan Burch’s now three year-old course record continues to stand the test of time.

Jim Rebenack - Quad Rock 2014

Jim Rebenack Leads Jared Hazen

In the 25-mile race, Jared Hazen (3:39) was credited with the win after dropping down from the 50 mile race, and he was followed by Boulder’s Will Porter in second,  and local Jonathan Garcia in third.

There were 132 finishers in the 50-mile race, with approximately a third of the field calling it a day after 25 miles, bumping finisher numbers in that race up to 226 for 358 total finishers.

Pearl Izumi Quad Rock 2014

Jack Pilla representing Pearl Izumi

Of course, we couldn’t put on the kind of race we aspire to put on without the magnificent help of our sponsors and volunteers. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to live a town where people don’t need to be asked to volunteer because hanging outside at an aid station, marking or tearing down a course, or helping with any other number of necessary jobs is their idea of fun. To our volunteers, a MASSIVE thank you; you were (and continue to be) the biggest source of compliments we get from Quad Rock runners.

Runner Roost - Quad Rock 2014

Roost was in the house: Oza Klanjsek

And of course a big thank you to our very generous sponsors. Both Pearl Izumi and Cornerstone Home Lending (Hunter Team) have supported the race from the outset and we couldn’t do it without them, and we ask that you consider supporting them if you’re in the market for high-quality race apparel and shoes, or a home mortgage.

We’re also heavily indebted to our community sponsors, all of whom are linchpins in the local running community: Countryside Vet (Dr. Cat Speights), Justin Liddle DMD, and Colorado Physical Therapist Specialists. On-course nutrition was provided by VFuel, electrolyte replacement by Succeed S!Caps, and post-race schwag by Smith OpticsNB Sports Monitors and Ultraspire Hydration. As always, Runners Roost Fort Collins came through in a big way with equipment, supplies and post race awards. We had beer from local brewery Pateros Creek and killer cookies and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co.

Thank you all.

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.

Liddle & Goding

Goding & Liddle

And a final note: if you left anything behind at the race, there is a good chance it is hanging out at Runners Roost in the lost and found pile.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2015 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 6 we will be hosting the second running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 5 by the seventh running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Be GNARful out there!

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