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)

Share

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.  

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

Share

Quad Rock 50/25mi Postponed to August 15

After the latest round of data and recommendations from public health agencies, we have decided in partnership with our permitting partners at Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park that the best course of action is to postpone the date of the 2020 Quad Rock 50/25mi to August 15.

On Monday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis issued an extension of the current state-wide stay-at-home order until April 26. While we agree with his optimism that life can begin returning to normal past that date, we feel that we can neither adequately prepare for Quad Rock in that shortened window nor safely conduct the event on its originally scheduled date of May 9.

With help from learned friends, we understand the latest data trends from the CDC indicate that by late summer events like Quad Rock could proceed safely. We will continue monitoring the situation, and implement safety procedures as necessary. Depending on the transfer rate, we may explore adding an additional shorter distance on race day. 

Registered runners have four options:

  1. Stay registered for Quad Rock 2020 on August 15 (No Action Required)
  2. Receive 100% transfer credit toward Quad Rock 2021 (Email Required
  3. Receive 75% transfer credit toward any of our other 2020/21 events (Email Required)
  4. Run a Virtual Quad Rock during the month of May, practicing appropriate social distancing, and receive finisher race swag (Email Required

Registered runners, please email registration@gnarrunners.com if you’d like to take advantage of one of the transfer credit options or complete the race as a virtual run. If you wish to stay registered for August, no response is necessary.

Transfers, please reply by June 1. We will return to our normal registration policy after that date. Virtual runners, please reply by May 1. We will begin extending invitations to runners on the waitlist May 1. If the August postponement date becomes non-viable due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the above transfer & virtual options will be extended until September 1.

Again, thank you to all our runners, volunteers, crews and community for your patience as we navigate these unknowns. We are thinking of you each day. Stay safe, and we’ll see you on the other side.

Brad Bishop & Nick Clark
Gnar Runners

P.S. Wash your hands

Share

Quad Rock 50/25 and COVID-19

We are all weighing the unknown right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every level of each of our lives. As race directors, our small event is greatly outweighed by our concern for the health of our community and the quickest possible return to normalcy.

Quad Rock’s scheduled date of May 9 lies right on the outer edge of the current 8-week window recommended by the CDC for cancellation of large events. We are in constant contact with our permitting agencies, and monitoring recommendations from public health administrations.

We are continuing to prepare as if the race will occur on May 9.

If higher authorities do not make the decision for us, we will make the final go/no-go decision on Monday, April 27.

If the race does not proceed on May 9, we are working to postpone rather than cancel, targeting a mid-August date. Current entrants will have the option to:

  • Stay registered for the Quad Rock 2020 makeup date later this year
  • Receive 100% transfer credit toward Quad Rock 2021
  • Receive 75% transfer credit toward any of our other events
  • 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

We are taking the precautionary step of discontinuing invitations from the waitlist. With the high degree of uncertainty, we do not feel comfortable taking additional registrations until a decision is made. If the event proceeds, invitations to cover any open entry slots will go out on April 27. Wait list invitees will only be charged if they accept the invitation.

If Quad Rock does take place in May, it will include:

  • Drop bag service for every 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 Quad Rock next year and beyond. Please contact us any time with questions.

Brad Bishop & Nick Clark
Gnar Runners

P.S. Wash your hands

Share

Gnar 2020 – Trail Race Registration Open

We’re excited to announce that registration for all four races in the 2020 Gnar Trail Series is now open, and that once again we’re proud to be hosting them all in partnership with Salomon Running.

Please read on for 2020 race details and news, and a short recap of the 2019 season highlights.

Dates & Key Details for 2020 Trail Races

  • July 25, 2020: Never Summer 100km
    • Early Entry Fee: $195
    • Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    • Race Cap: 400
  • October 17, 2020: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    • Early Entry Fee: $75
    • Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    • Race Cap: 300
 

What’s New for 2020?

  • The 2020 Never Summer 100km maintains its status as a qualifying race for the Western States 100. In addition, it serves as a qualifying race for the UTMB series of races, earning finishers 4 ITRA points. The Quad Rock 50 & 25 mile races are worth 3 & 2 points respectively. The Blue Sky Marathon earns finishers 1 point.
  • With the continued excitement surrounding the Gnar Slam, we’ll again be offering end-of-season awards and a free entry into the 2021 Quad Rock Trail Races for all runners that complete the Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100km, Black Squirrel Trail Half, and Blue Sky Marathon.
  • After a successful roll out of our 4-race Summer Trail Series, we plan to continue offering shorter-distance trail fun in August 2020, with distances ranging from 5k to 7 miles.
  • On the road side, we’re delighted to again be managing the Horsetooth Half Marathon, Northern Colorado’s largest and oldest half marathon. The 2020 race will be held on April 19. Group training runs begin January 12 with a kick-off party at New Belgium Brewing.
  • Also on the road side, we’re excited to be hosting the second running of the Long View Marathon and Half Marathon on October 4, 2020. The inaugural running was a huge success, seeing close to 700 runners complete the journey from Fort Collins to Loveland.
 

2019 Highlights

 

Volunteering

  • We are incredibly humbled to have been able to staff a total of 662 volunteer positions across all races in 2019. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any race organization, and we count ourselves as incredibly fortunate to be able to draw from such an enthusiastic and talented local running community. Thank YOU!
  • Hosting events has an impact on the resources we use. We are keenly aware of that and our responsibility to be good stewards of public lands. In 2019, we helped organize five trail work days, focusing primarily on the trails that we host races on. Our team of over 50 trail volunteers put in three days of work on the Valley Trails in Lory State Park and two days of trail improvement and rebuilding work up in the Never Summer Mountains at State Forest State Park. Across the five work days, we laid tread and worked on drainage across a total of 18 miles of trail. Up in State Forest, we cleared upwards of 100 downed trees, cleared a similar number of sapling stumps and re-routed a severely mauled Pennock Trail. And we loved every minute of it! To learn about 2020 trail work opportunities with Gnar Runners, please visit our Volunteer Trail Work Page.
  • When we’re not organizing races, we love to get out and help fellow race directors and clubs with their events. We always enjoy the annual Gnar outing to the Golden Gate Dirty 30 where we host the Forgotten Valley Aid Station. In addition, we’ve enjoyed helping out with local Fort Collins community races such as the Mountain Avenue Mile, the Fort Collins Running Club’s Tortoise & Hare 7-race series, and even the 2019 North American XC Unicycle Championships held on our home trails this year!
 

Training Runs

We’re incredibly thankful to the wonderful Gnar Team and other community run leaders who come out week after week throughout the year to organize local trail runs. These folks are the lifeblood of our running community, and we’ve been especially stoked this year to see the growth of women-specific weekly trail runs and workouts. If you’re interested in learning more about local group runs, be sure to join the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook group for updates.

In addition to the weekly group runs, we really enjoy hosting some bigger, race-specific runs and weekends. As always, the Quad Rock training runs were incredibly well attended through the winter and spring months and we had record crowds up at State Forest State Park for the Never Summer training and trail work weekend. We’ll be doing it all over again in 2020, beginning with the build-up to Quad Rock. Stay tuned for details.

 
 

A Few 2019 Race Highlights

  • A total of 4,410 finishers across all Gnar-managed events (with a few more to come: Spring Park 6k, Resolution Run 5k)
  • Welcoming close to 700 runners to the inaugural Long View Marathon & Half Marathon
  • Seeing new course records at the following races:
    • Horsetooth Half Marathon (women): Ivy Kibet (1:15:30)
    • Never Summer 100km (men): Hannes Gehring (11:47:06)
    • Black Squirrel Half (women): Rachel Rudel (1:42:35)
    • Blue Sky Marathon (women): Addie Bracy (3:35:25)
    • Blue Sky Marathon (men): Drew Holmen (3:10:22)
  • A double rainbow for our final Quad Rock finishers

In the Works for 2020

  • Transition to 100% compostable and/or reusable dishware
  • New website with rich visual content
  • New volunteer rewards program
  • And some new race ideas/distances are percolating….

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. In 2020 we’re incredibly excited to be partnering again with Salomon Running, one of the greatest brand innovators in the sport.

We’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.

We’re also incredibly thankful to Colorado in Motion for providing fantastic training and injury prevention presentations and advice at numerous training events across the season. Your next opportunity to check-in with the team will be at the Jan 12 Horsetooth Half training run kick-off at New Belgium.

And, of course, innumerable thanks to Justin Liddle DMD, a Gnar supporter from day one, and simply the best prosthodontist in Northern Colorado. What would our races be without dental hygiene products among your packet pickup goodies?

 
 

Thanks for a great 2019 season, and we’ll see you in 2020.

— The Entire Gnar Team (all 664 of us).

Share

2019 Blue Sky Marathon Post-Race Recap

Much like last year, we had beautiful conditions for the 12th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon. The brisk pre-dawn temperatures gave way to a cool but comfortable morning, and a light wind out of the south picked up as runners were making their way to the Hunter turn, offering a friendly tailwind for the last 8 miles of the race. And, once again, 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 249 runners hitting the finish line from a total of 254 starters.

In the women’s race, course record holder and defending champion Addie Bracy came in as the pre-race favorite. And she lived up to the billing with aplomb, leading the women’s race from start to finish, progressively chipping into her course record splits from last year before crossing the finish line in a massive 10 minute course record (3:35:27).

Former race winner Meghan Spieker completed her fifth Blue Sky Marathon in style, registering another podium finish for second (4:15:07), while Marisa Watson ran strong through the back half of the race to claim third (4:24:19).

Addie Bracy doing it in course record fashion!

The men’s race was a closer affair, with Drew Holman and Tyler Fox running together off the front for the first 20 miles of the race. It was in the last six miles that the race was decided, as it often is in the marathon, with Holman pulling away in the Indian Summer hills and powering to the finish over the last 5 miles on the Blue Sky Trail. His closing 5 miles were a minute quicker than Peavy’s course record split from last year and good enough to reset the bar at 3:10:22.

Tyler Fox would hang on for second in 3:15:22, while Fort Collins-based Grayson Lowe rounded out the podium in 3:24:17.

Drew Holmen has just relocated to CO from CA and he’s already setting course records!

In the men’s master’s category, it was former race winner and now five-time finisher Ryan Burch bringing home the win for Loveland, CO in an impressive 3:30:42. Rebecca Flowers edged out Tara Carter over the last mile for the women’s master’s victory (4:39:54), while the grandmasters wins went to Amber Allen (4:47:12) and Rick Granquist (3:56:27).

All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman. 


Race Photos:


This year we saw 11 runners complete the Gnar Slam, the exact same number as last year, but this time with a record five female finishers. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

The points in the final standings for the Gnar Slam are derived as a percentage of the overall winner’s time in each race (male and female), allowing us to offer equal weighting to each race despite the difference in distance.

This year, we combined the men’s and the women’s standings and it was an incredibly close run thing at the top. Tara Carter came into Blue Sky with a slender four point lead over Travis Massey. After it was all said and done and the points had been computed, Tara jut edged out Travis on top with an overall points win of half a point (330.27 vs 329.81). Tara’s cumulative time across the four races (33:23:06) was good enough to best Colleen Weitzel’s record from last year.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2019 Gnar Slam finishers! It’s been a fun journey to watch you all progress through the season, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.

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 our volunteers, whether parking cars in the morning, marshaling runners at the turns, or filling bottles at the aid stations. Thank you to each and every one of you.

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 MotionAltitude RunningJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for your incredible race support.

And also to our fantastic product sponsors: VFuelNew Belgium BrewingMary’s Mountain Cookies, Skratch Labs, and Boulder Organic!

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2019 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2020 with excitement.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2020!

Share