A Recap of the 2020 Never Summer 100km & 60km

The sun pokes up over Table Iron Mountain above the American Lakes as day breaks on the sixth running of the Never Summer 100km. Photo: Erin Bibeau

The sixth running of the Never Summer 100km was one that we’ll all remember for years to come. Despite the challenges presented by putting on a race in the midst of a global pandemic, we were truly impressed and humbled by everyone’s willingness to adhere to the contingency measures that were put in place to ensure a safe yet fulfilling race experience for runners and volunteers alike.

If we have one enduing memory from this year’s race, it will be that of our community coming together to do what we love to do and at the same time be accepting of working within the constraints of our current predicament. To you all, a huge THANK YOU for making it easy on us!

Our biggest debt of gratitude as always goes to our wonderful team of volunteers who again came out en masse – masked all day – to help competitors reach their goals. Thank You Volunteers

Kris Tyson and team work the new Crew Rally Point

We also feel a deep debt of gratitude to the small community of Gould, CO from where we host the race every year. The Community Association, along with the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, was quick to give their blessing for this year’s race.

Every year, we award the Never Summer Trail Boss Award in recognition of an individual or group who have gone above and beyond in services to the race. It is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole race community, and this year we wanted to recognize the community of Gould with whom we have received nothing but support from the very inception of the race. Thank you Gould Community Association.

Bron Austin (Never Summer Nordic, Gould Community Association Treasurer) & Jean Krause (GCA Secretary) accepting the 2020 Trail Boss Award on behalf of the Gould Community Association.

The Race

The weather is always a factor through the course of a high altitude mountain adventure, and this year we were blessed with near perfect running conditions for the full duration of the race. Cloud cover ensured cooler temperatures all day, while also offering intermittent bouts of cooling light drizzle.

The favorable weather combined with what we believe to have been an extra determination in the face of adversity among the Never Summer Class of 2020 resulted in our highest ever finisher rate. By far.

The digits:

100km Starters: 245 (192 men, 53 women)
100km Finishers: 212 (169 men, 43 women)
100km Finisher Rate: 87% (vs 69% in 2019)
60km Finishers: 43 (includes 10 100km drop downs)

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.


Race Results

Race Photos


Due to a slight shortening of the course (~3 miles), times and course records this year will come with an asterisks, but nonetheless there were still some mighty impressive runs posted on race weekend.

And none more so than that of our men’s winner, Jon Rea, who took the race by the scruff of the neck from the gun, leading from pillar to post and finishing in just under 11 hours (10:58:04). While the short course does put an asterisks on Jon’s time, the margin over Hannes Gehring’s course record from last year (11:47:06) was enough for us to confidently state that it was the fastest 61.5 miles we’ve ever seen on the course. Remarkably, this is the sixth year in succession that a new men’s course record has been set.

Jon was followed home by Charlie Macarthur (12:25:08) from Steamboat Springs, CO and Laramie, WY’s Thomas Dean (12:52:15).

Charlie Macarthur approaching Kelly Lake on his way to a second place finish. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

In the women’s race, it was perennial Gnar podium finisher Meghan Spieker taking home top honors with a time of 14:33:13 in what was a close-run race. Meghan assumed the race lead from Michelle Kent on the Clear Lake section of the course, but was back and forth in the segment splits with Amanda Ax, who started 35 minutes after Meghan in the 3:30 wave. Ultimately Meghan would best Amanda’s second-place time (14:40:04) by less than 7 minutes. Olivia Bojan in the 3:20 wave would end up a close third in 14:46:50.

Olivia Bojan on her way to a third place finish. Picture: Erin Bibeau

In the master’s division, Wendy Stalnaker ran an impressive 15:45:05 for the win, while Eric Truhe took home top honors for the men (13:34:55). In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Pennsylvania’s Gary Lampman who took home top honors in a time of 16:04:28. For the women, it was Colorado Springs’ Tracey Anderson bringing home the hardware in a time of 18:13:02.

New this year was the late addition of our inaugural 60km race. Introduced as a safety measure, we hope this distance will be a permanent fixture moving forward into 2021 and beyond. Getting the ball rolling for the record books were winners Zach King and Amanda Grimes. The respective times to beat for future years will be 6:59:06 & 9:16:06.

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 Woodland Park’s Robert Elliot who beat the 24-hour buzzer by just under 8 minutes. 

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. Thank you again to each and every one of you.

And a special thank you also 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.
  • 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.

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!


Top Tier Support From

Contributing Support From

Generous Product Support From

VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and BoBos


We look forward to seeing you again in 2021. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events.

On August 15, we’ll be hosting the postponed 9th running of the Quad Rock 25/50 Mile Trail Races for which we still have a few spots available. On September 12 we’ll be hosting the 8th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 17 by the 13th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

And 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 2021 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race.

Thank you all!

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Quad Rock is a GO

We are very happy to announce that the Quad Rock 50mi/25mi has provisional approval from the Larimer County Department of Public Health, Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park! The approval is contingent on pandemic requirements remaining at (or improving from) their current levels of restrictiveness.  Help keep the curve flattened!

Many thanks to innumerable friends and resources who helped craft a plan where the event can safely happen.

There’s a lot to communicate.  Whether you are a runner, volunteer, pacer or crew – we need you to read it all – before you come to the race including our full list of safety protocols and race changes.  

As the pandemic continues to evolve, there is a strong chance some of these protocols will too.  We promise to communicate any changes via email, social media and our website – but it is ultimately your responsibility to read, understand and follow the full list. 

Here is a summary of the main points:

  • ALL participants (runners & volunteers) are required to:
    • Sign a COVID-specific waiver
    • Wear a mask at all times, except when 1) running 2) eating/drinking
    • Have a contactless Temperature Check upon arrival.  Those with temperatures above 100.4F will be required to leave
  • Limited Menu & Service at Aid Stations
  • Drop Bags available at all Aid Stations
    • (Towers/Horsetooth must be dropped off Friday night; Towers is strongly discouraged and only in place for runners with significant special needs)
  • Crew and Spectators Strongly Discouraged
  • Wave Starts & Earlier Overall Start Times
  • No Awards Ceremony, Food/Drinks-To-Go

We all look forward to a fun, relaxed atmosphere celebrating a return to racing, yet we all also know things will be different. Our approval to hold this race is contingent on following safety protocols submitted to and approved by the Larimer County Department of Health , and we appreciate you playing your part. Those not cooperating will be asked to leave and could be subject to disqualification.  We really don’t want to have to do that, so let’s all play by the rules and continue to gain trust as a responsible user group. 

If you feel unsafe taking part with the protocols we’ve put in place, or this year’s race experience will not be fulfilling for you, we encourage you to defer. 100% credit transfer to 2021 will remain open for another week, through the end of the day on July 14, after which point our normal deferral policies will resume.

We are reducing our field size.  The 50mi is limited to 150 runners and the 25mi to 200 runners.  Runners on the wait lists as of July 6 can expect to receive an entry invitation.  Further opening of entries is TBD.

As ultrarunners ourselves, we are doing our best to strike a balance between a fulfilling race experience and ensuring we can manage risks to your health and safety. Please contact us any time with questions.

Brad Bishop & Nick Clark
Gnar Runners

P.S. Wash your hands

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Never Summer 100km – Wave Starts & More

Are you excited?  In just 3.5 short weeks, our adventure together begins!  Thank you for your patience as we work through all of the changes for this year’s race.  There is plenty to communicate, and you can look forward to more messages highlighting specific parts of this year’s event.

The park has given us final details and approval.  The Safety Protocols document has been updated.  Here are the major updates you need to know:

Runners will be starting in waves of 10 every 5 minutes. Based on UltraSignup predicted times, runners start in order from fastest to slowest so additional spreading of the field occurs as the race progresses.

The first wave of runners will start at 3:00a and our final wave will leave just before the regular race start at 5:25a. We understand that the early start times are not optimal, but we have to balance wave starts with the need to have runners off Montgomery Ridge before afternoon thunderstorms become more likely.  Wave assignments can be found here.  Runners wanting to request a wave swap can email registration@gnarrunners.com with their request & rationale no later than July 19.

Cut-Offs will be enforced by wave groups.  This gives all runners roughly equal time on course, and removes the pressure for those chasing cut-offs to seek earlier starts.

The race is capped at 300 runners.  Limited waitlist invites are going out now.

The 60km option is remains open.  We appreciate those who can opt into the 60km in advance of race day, but you may also make the decision to divert when you reach Montgomery Aid (mile 23.2) during your 100km effort.

Clearly Canadian Aid (mile 37.7/44.0) will NOT be crew access.  We are adding a Crew Rally Point (mile 44.7) just down the road.  This will be a staffed area with water, and is the earliest point that pacers can join their runners.  Crews can get here by hiking 2.5mi in from the parking area at the north end of the main park road (CR41).

The final course map, aid station table, and GPX file are now online.  The approved course comes out to 61.0 miles, and retains its status/points as qualifiers for Western States and UTMB.  

Necessary Gear.  As additional safety margin this year, runners are STRONGLY recommended to carry a rain jacket, gloves, hat, and capacity for 40oz of water at all times, as well as a headlight upon leaving Ruby Jewel Aid (mile 29.4).

Crew/Pacer Registration & Additional Waiver for Runners.  Everyone – Runners, Crews, Pacers, etc – needs to sign and agree to this form, promising to adhere to safety protocols and proper contact tracing.  All signees will receive a personalized bib.  No signature -> no bib -> no participation.  Personal information will be kept confidential.

The deadline for full deferrals to 2021 has passed.  Requests to defer from now through July 19 will receive 50% credit toward a future race.

We are working to update all race information on our website as quickly as possible, and appreciate your patience.  If you have questions or find conflicting information, please email us.

We look forward to a memorable weekend in the woods and on mountain tops with you.  Stay safe, enjoy your taper, and you’ll hear from us again very soon.

Cheers,
Nick & Brad
Gnar Runners

P.S. Wash Your Hands

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Never Summer 100km IS A GO

We are very happy to announce that the 2020 Never Summer 100k will go ahead as planned on the weekend of July 25/26.

Many thanks to State Forest State Park, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, and innumerable friends and resources who helped craft a plan under which the event can safely happen.

There’s a fair bit to communicate. Whether you are a runner, volunteer, pacer or crew – we need you to read it all – before you come to the race including our full list of safety protocols and race changes.  

As the pandemic continues to evolve, there is a strong chance some of these protocols will change too. All changes will be communicated via email and on our website – but it is ultimately your responsibility to read, understand and follow the full list.  The intent of these protocols matters more than exact wording – so please don’t look for loopholes – and do your best to embrace the changes and our need to manage everyone’s safety. 

If you feel like you cannot or do not want to deal with this year’s changes, then we are offering a full deferral to next year’s race (see below).

Summary of main race changes for 2020:

  • ALL participants (runners, volunteers, crews, pacers) are required to:
    • Preregister
    • Wear a mask at all times, except when 1) running 2) eating/drinking
    • Have a contactless Temperature Check upon arrival.  Those with temperatures above 100.4F will be required to leave
  • Clear Lake (mile 39.4/43.9) and Canadian (mile 50.1) Aid will be combined into Clear-Canadian Aid (mile 37.7/44.0).
  • Slight course change on the north end, shortening total distance to just under 62 miles. 
  • Ranger Lakes Aid (mile 62.0) is eliminated
  • 55K option may be added (to be confirmed)
  • Limited Menu & Service at Aid Stations
  • Drop Bags available at all Aid Stations
  • Crew/Pacers limited to 2 total per runner
  • Wave Starts
  • No Sunday Awards/Breakfast

We all look forward to a fun, relaxed atmosphere celebrating a return to racing, yet we all also appreciate that things will look a little different. Our approval to hold this race is contingent on following the safety protocols that have been submitted to, and approved by, State Forest State Park and Jackson County. We appreciate you playing your part. Those not cooperating will be asked to leave and could be subject to disqualification.  We really don’t want to have to do that, so let’s all play by the rules and continue to gain trust as a responsible user group. 

If you feel unsafe taking part with the protocols we plan to put in place, or you feel like this year’s race experience will not be fulfilling for you, we encourage you to defer.  100% credit transfer to 2021 will remain open for another week, through the end of the day on June 16, after which point our normal deferral policies will resume. If you would like to defer your entry, please email: registration@gnarrunners.com

We will begin opening up available spots to waitlisted runners after June 16, once we have a clear picture of our entrant numbers.

As runners and race participants ourselves, we are doing our best to strike a balance between offering a fulfilling race experience and ensuring we can manage risks to your health and safety. Please contact us any time with questions and we will do our level best to respond within 24 hours: racedirector@gnarrunners.com

Nick Clark & Brad Bishop
Gnar Runners

P.S. We are working to update all race information in all locations as quickly as possible in light of our newly-approved COVID-19 Safety Protocols.  We appreciate your patience.  If you have questions or find conflicting information, please email us.

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Lory Summer Trail Series

Join us June 9, 16, 23 & 30th for a fun series of shorter midweek trail races. Our goal is to offer a fun, low-key series of races designed to give newer trail runners an opportunity to dip their toes into the trail racing waters, and to offer more experienced trail racers a chance to sharpen their speed on shorter, quicker courses. All races will start between 6:00pm and 6:15pm, ranging in distance from 5k to 12k. See full details here.

Registration

In order to reduce crowding at the start and to be able to cap our numbers at 50 as approved by the Larimer County Health Department and Lory State Park, all participants will be required to pre-register. There will be no race-day registration. We will be offering a rolling wave start from 6:00 through 6:15. Results will be tabulated according to chip times, with series points awarded based on finish times. Top series finishers will earn unique awards.

We’ll have a wide selection of vintage Gnar race shirts, and all registrants are welcome to their pick to call their own.

After each race, we will be providing pizza with support from the Fort Collins Running Club and beverages with support from New Belgium Brewing. Appropriate food and beverage distribution measures will be put in place to ensure safety. Full safety measures and protocols are viewable here and will be communicated to race participants in pre-race emails. 

Race dates and distance are as follows:

June 9: Flat and Fast Eltuck Valley 5k (250′ elevation gain)
June 16: Into the Hills Eltuck 5k (700′ elevation gain)
June 23: Into the Hills Eltuck 10k (1,700′ elevation gain)
June 30: Flat and Fast Eltuck Valley 12k (500′ elevation gain)

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Never Summer 100km & COVID-19

We are continuing to evaluate the COVID-19 situation and how it will affect plans for the Never Summer 100km (NS100) on July 25/26. You likely have seen announcements from races scheduled for dates before NS100 that plan to go ahead, as well as from races scheduled for dates after NS100 that have already been cancelled. Public health recommendations in Colorado and Jackson County continue to evolve as more data becomes available, and we believe there is still time to wait and see how guidance evolves before we make final decisions on the status of the 2020 race.

As regular race participants ourselves, we are committed to delivering a race if we believe it can be done safely and in accordance with guidance from state and county public health officials. Based on recent discussions with our main permitting partner at State Forest State Park, we are still hoping and planning to hold a version of NS100 on its scheduled date. We will re-evaluate our plans and decision timelines based on guidance issued after the May 27th expiration of the current ‘Safer at Home’ phase of Colorado’s re-opening plan, and issue further communication and decision timelines by the week of June 1. 
Mini Update 6/5: One of our meetings yesterday had to be rescheduled, and so our next full update will be next week. Our optimism is growing, though, and thank you all for your patience.

If the race does go forward, you will enjoy the usual beautiful course – but every other aspect of the race can and will likely have significant changes.

If the race does not proceed on July 25-26, current entrants will have the option to:

  • Receive 100% transfer credit toward Never Summer 2021
  • Receive 75% transfer credit toward any of our other events
  • Run the race virtually
    • Both transfer credit options are available starting today, out of respect for runners who wish to withdraw before our own final decision is made. If you would like to request a transfer, please contact: registration@gnarrunners.com

If public health recommendations are such that the race cannot proceed on its original date, we anticipate the safe weather window to end before the pandemic threat lessens enough for an event of our size, so postponement will not be an option.

If Never Summer does take place in July, it will likely include:

  • Wave Starts
  • Strict limitations and/or cancellations of pre- and post-race activities
  • Limitations on crews and pacers
  • Drop bag service for every possible aid station
  • Individual servings at aid stations (no communal bowls/plates)
  • Gloves for every volunteer and hand sanitizer on every table
    And other steps as appropriate – your recommendations are welcome!

As ultrarunners ourselves, we are doing our best to strike a balance between doing right by you and ensuring we have the capacity to continue Never Summer next year and beyond. Please contact us any time with questions.

Brad Bishop & Nick Clark
Gnar Runners

P.S. Wash your hands

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