2019 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Information

The 12th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is this Saturday. We hope that your training has been on point and that you’re ready for a strong run. 

All information relevant to the event is available from the race website. In addition, we’d like to bring your attention to a few key details.

Registration is still open! As of right now, a couple dozen spots are available. If those are not claimed by the close of online registration tonight, we will offer late registration at Packet Pickup.

The weather forecast through the rest of the week and into Saturday looks fantastic with daytime highs in the low 60s. However be aware that the Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and even in the low 60s the trail can get toasty under full sun, 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. Altitude Running is located at 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

Packet and bib pickup will also be available on race morning at the Blue Sky trailhead from 5:30am to 6:45am.

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 Inlet Bay 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 available at the pullout on Shoreline Drive by the fire station 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.

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. Bib numbers are being checked for both aid station split data and, more importantly, runner safety.

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 enough 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, to capture split data and also for runner safety.

Please pocket any trash and dispose of it at aid stations or at the start/finish.

Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog during the race.

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 Cookies and New Belgium beer. 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 Athletes in Tandem.

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 2019 Gnar Slam finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of race sponsors Colorado in Motion, with massage offered by Diane Bergstedt and foot care advice from UltraPodiatrist Dr. Mike. We will also have Salomon Running on hand showcasing their latest trail lineup, with an opportunity to enter a raffle for a free pair of shoes.

Thank you as always to our fabulous race sponsors in helping us make this event possible:

Salomon RunningColorado in MotionJustin Liddle DMDAltitude RunningCountryside Animal Hospital, Skratch Labs and the Fort Collins Running Club.

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


Altitude Running

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital

2019 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Wrap

It was another beautiful morning for the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. A capacity field of 300+ runners again took on the perimeter trails of Lory State Park on a 13.3 mile tour of some of Northern Colorado’s finest running trails. And we saw some exciting race action in both the men’s and women’s races with late lead changes in both and a new course record in one.

Addie Bracy is a familiar name in the pantheon of Gnar champions. She holds course records for the Blue Sky Marathon and the Never Summer 100km, with a fourth-fastest time at the Quad Rock 50. This was Addie’s first time running Black Squirrel, so expectations were high that pressure might be put on Melissa Dock’s long standing (2014) course record of 1:45:04.

Coming into the Arthurs West aid station at mile 8.3, all signs looked to be pointing in just that direction, with Addie in the lead and on course record pace. However, her lead was not much more than a minute over a comfortable-looking Rachel Rudel, and by the return visit to the Arthurs Trailhead, some 2.5 miles later, the former CSU-standout had closed the gap to less than 30 seconds. With another 2.5 miles to the finish, the race was on, and it was Rudel who had ended up having the extra gas in the tank, breaking the tape 24 seconds ahead of Bracy in a new course record time of 1:42:35. In what would turn out to be a fast year in the ladies’ race, former champion Abby Depperschmidt rounded out the podium in a sixth fastest time ever (1:49:47), with fourth place finisher Chelsey Heiden would posting the race’s ninth best time ever (1:52:33).

Rachel Rudel – Race Winner

Addie Bracy – Second Place


We didn’t see any new course records in the men’s race, but we did see some fun racing action go down. Former Black Squirrel podium finisher Peter Goble took the race by the scruff of the neck early and held a decent  lead coming into the 8.3 mile Arthurs Aid station. But by the second visit to the Arthurs Trailhead at mile 10.3 it was all change. The lead had switched hands with Nathan Austin leading the field followed by David Leonard in second and Silas Thompson in third. Goble had dropped to fourth, now closely tracked by Adrian Macdonald in fifth. The top two positions would remain the same at the finish, with Austin taking the win in 1:38:30, holding off Leonard by just 12 seconds. The fastest closer of the bunch was Macdonald who jumped two spots in the last 2.5 miles to claim third (1:39:29) overall.  

Top honors in our 5 age group categories were as follows:

  • Under 30: Silas Thompson (1:40:05) and Chelsey Heiden (1:52:33)
  • 30-39: Peter Goble (1:40:47) and Jenn Malmberg (1:54:42)
  • 40-49: James Harmon (1:49:03) and Tara Carter (2:07:31) 
  • 50-59: Ed Delosh (1:54:23) and Cinthy Carson* (2:06:50)
  • 60+: Paul Jensen (2:15:59) and Annie Littlewood (3:05:21)

* New Grandmasters (50+) record. 

Results and Images

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running packs, bottles and belts in addition to Altitude gift certificates. 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 & High School XC teams once again showed up in numbers and with great enthusiasm at the Arthurs 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.

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 Motion, and Justin Liddle DMD.

If you enjoyed Black Squirrel and are considering a step up in distance, why not join us on October 19 for the 12th running of the Blue Trail Sky Marathon? This local favorite will be our last event of the year.

Finally, a big thank you to the volunteers on our trail work crew who came out on Tuesday following Black Squirrel to leave the course even better than it was!  Part of our mission is to promote responsible use of the public trails we are granted the right to race on each year.  If you’d like to be added to our volunteer trail work mailing list to learn about these and other upcoming trail work opportunities, please visit our trail work page.

Top tier support from:

 Colorado In Motion Physical TherapyAltitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Contributing support from:
Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club 

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and Great Harvest Bread Company.


2019 Black Squirrel Half Pre-Race Details

All information relevant to the 7th running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon is available on the race website. Here are a few final details and reminders.

Registration is still open! As of right now, a dozen spots are available. If those are not claimed by the close of online registration tonight, we will offer late registration at Packet Pickup.

The current weather forecast is showing a race-day high in the low 80s, with race-start temps in the low 60s, rising to low 70s by 9:00a and mid 70s by 10:00a, with partly cloudy skies. It will be on the warm side, so please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. Water cups will not be provided at the aid stations.

The three race aid stations will be stocked with water and V-Fuel sports drink. The Arthur’s aid station – visited twice – will also carry snacks and fruit.

Packet pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running located at 150 E Harmony Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80525 (northeast corner of College and Harmony). We will be distributing bib numbers, timing chips, race T-shirts, Justin Liddle DMD toothbrushes & toothpaste, and coupons from Great Harvest Bread Co.

You can pick up your friends’ shirt and bib IF you show a copy of their registration confirmation (on phone or printout)

We will also have additional Gnar Runners and Black Squirrel merchandise for sale (or distribution if you pre-ordered). Salomon Running will also be in store demoing their latest shoe line-up.

Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:45am.

During in-store packet pickup, Altitude Running will be offering 10% off in-store purchases and 15% off Salomon purchases, or spend over $200 and get 20% off.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am. There will be a short pre-race briefing at 6:50am. Late arrivals will need to walk up to a mile to the start from the overflow parking at the Eltuck Picnic area, so we recommend getting to Lory State Park no later than 6:00am if you need to check in on race morning.

Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools of two or more race entrants. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or at the Timber trailhead lot. If you can, please arrange a carpool with friends – or try the Fort Collins Trail Runner Facebook pageParking passes will be handed out at the park entrance when you arrive. Please place on your dash so they are visible to park staff. 

Bibs must be visible from the front. Please do not remove your pull tag until you finish. Bib numbers can be found here.

Everyone will receive 2 Timing Chips, which need to be attached to each of your shoes. Do not bend, fold or tuck the chips under your laces, and please return your timing chips at the finish line.

Dogs are welcome on leash with family and friends at the start/finish area, but we ask that you not run with your dog 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 and hikers.

We will have a free 1 mile kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.

After your finish, stick around for our post race party and Great Harvest pancakes plus sausage and bacon. In addition to fruit, soft drinks and other trimmings, we’ll have cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies and brews from New Belgium Brewing. Please be prepared to show ID if planning to enjoy a post-race beer.

Additional post-race food and beer for family and friends can be purchased for a $10 cash donation, if not already purchased with registration.

All finishers will receive a commemorative pint glass. And we’ll be giving out unique overall and age group awards to the top three finishers (male and female) in the following categories: Overall, Under 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59 and 60+. We’ll also have sponsor gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Salomon Running will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away Salomon packs to our top male and female finishers.

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion and Diane Bergstedt. If you’re having foot issues, be sure to see Ultrapodiatrist Dr. Mike at the finish. UCHealth will also be on hand at the finish to take care of bumps, bruises or any other health concerns.

Thank you to our very generous top sponsors: Salomon Running, Colorado in Motion, Justin Liddle DMDAltitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for their support in helping make this event possible.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses who support the race.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.com. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!


A Recap of the 2019 Never Summer 100km

Seven Utes looking south to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Never Summer Range. Photo: Jeff Black

The fifth running of the Never Summer 100km was another one for the record books. Once again we saw a new course record in the men’s race (as we have at every running of the race), in addition to a number of age-group records. And not only did we have a full field of runners, but we’re also pretty sure we had a record number of volunteers who again came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers

The weather is always a potential factor through the course of a high altitude mountain race, and while welcome cool temperatures prevailed for most of the day at this fifth running of the race, intense afternoon thunderstorms produced hail and heavy rains. The moisture made for challenging conditions for all runners both in terms of regulating body temperatures and also in negotiating particularly muddy late-race trails, factors that lead to one of our lowest ever finisher rates. Whether you finished or not, we would like to offer a hearty congratulations to all runners that got out there and braved the elements.

When it was all said and done, 220 (165 men, 55 women) of the race’s 318 starters (231 men, 87 women) beat the race’s cut-offs and the adverse weather conditions to make it back to the Gould Community Center within 24 hours. This represents a 69 percent finisher rate (71 percent men, 63 percent women). Of those finishers, 28 joined – or renewed their membership in – the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours). This includes three new female inductees – Sabrina Stanley, Megan Arauzo, and Amber Pougiales – who join Alyson Kirk, Heidi Sauerland, Addie Bracy, Clare Gallagher and Kristi Knecht in the exclusive club. And one runner, Danny Bundrock, made it five for five with his 13:38 ninth place finish.

Danny Bundrock batting .1000 after five years of the Never Summer 100km. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

But of course, 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.

Runners Traversing from North Diamond, the race high point, on their way to the Montgomery Aid Station. Photo: Eric Lee

Race Results

Race Photos

Hannes Gehring above Kelly Lake on his way to the win and new course record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge
Sabrina Stanley enjoying the early miles around Lake Agnes on her way to winning the 2019 women’s race. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

In the men’s race Hannes Gehring from Denver took home top honors, becoming only the second runner to finish in under 12 hours, setting a new course record (by 40 seconds) of 11:47:06 in the process. He was followed home by Seth Wealing (12:07:57) from Boulder, CO who posted the race’s third fastest time ever, in addition to a new master’s record. And rounding out the men’s podium was Mathew Urbanski, also from Boulder, who came home in 13:02:10.

In the women’s race, Hardrock 100 champ Sabrina Stanley led from pillar to post in running the race’s second fastest time ever in the women’s division (13:46:47), while finishing fifth in the overall 2019 field. She was followed home almost an hour later by Megan Arauzo (14:45:07) from Nevato, CA, with Denver’s Amber Pougiales (15:22:22) rounding out the women’s podium. Megan and Amber recorded the race’s fifth and eighth fastest finishes ever.

A fast year all around!

Tara Carter on her way to Clear Lake and a new masters record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

As noted above, the men’s master’s record was convincingly reset by second-place finisher Seth Wealing. And we also saw a new record on the women’s side. Tara Carter followed up on her master’s record-setting run from Quad Rock in May with a Never Summer run for the record books (16:07:57) as she continued her quest towards completing the 2019 Gnar Slam.

Seth Wealing cruising Lake Agnes on his way to a second place finish and new masters record. Pic: Terry Grenwelge

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was California’s Daniel Kono who took home top honors in a time of 14:41:16. Daniel’s time was also good for a new division record, especially impressive coming from sea level. For the women, it was Prescott, AZ’s Carol Northrup bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a time of 21:35:52. 

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 Denver’s Rachel Meier who beat the 24-hour buzzer by just under 10 minutes. 

We also like to make sure that we recognize our volunteers appropriately at the post-race breakfast awards ceremony by giving out the Never Summer Trail Boss award. While this award is given to one person who has shown particular dedication to the race, it is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole volunteer team who come together before, during and after the race. This year, we were honored to recognize Gnar Team member Elijah Flenner as our 2019 Trail Boss for his services clearing trail, hauling gear up and down the canyon for weeks prior to the race, staffing the Montgomery aid station, course marking and leading numerous training runs on the course in the lead up to the race.

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. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Canadian Aid Station Captain, Cindy Stonesmith, getting in some 20lb curls while Getting Stuff Done. Pic: Eric Lee
Canadian Aid at dusk. Pic: Jeff Black
Search and Rescue and radio communications at the race high point. Pic: Jeff Black

And a special thank you 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:

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running
Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist
Countryside Animal Hospital
Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2020. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 7 we’ll be hosting the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 19 by the 12th 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 2020 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race. We will be updating our Gnar Slam page this week, with a list of all those in contention for the 2019 Slam. 

Thank you all!

Jeff Black
Jeff Black

Never Summer Pre-Race Info: Runners, Pacers & Crew

Before we set you on your way next weekend, we want to bring your attention to some final race instructions and reminders.

New This Year

  • All race and crew instructions pertinent to race weekend are available in the Never Summer 100km Handbook. With limited data access in Gould and on the race course, we recommend that runners and crews print copies of all info and maps that they need for the weekend before traveling to the race.
  • The cut off at the Montgomery aid station has been removed.
  • We expect to be at full capacity on race day and parking will be limited. We highly recommend that runners and crews try to carpool to the start and to any crew locations on the course. The Facebook event page is the best place to post requests or invites to help organize carpools, share campsites, or coordinate any other crewing or pacing plans. On race day, crews and pacers can check in at the finish area or each aid station to find rides or offer rides whenever possible.
  • If you need to drop out from the race, you must turn in your bib tag to the aid station captain or ham radio volunteer where you drop.
  • Race progress updates will be uploaded to OpenSplitTime.org. It should be noted that data connections are weak to non-existent on the lower, crew accessible sections of the course, so crews wishing to get updates may need to drive west towards Walden to pick up a signal. Regular runner updates will be published from Montgomery, Ruby Jewel and Clear Lake aid stations. Updates from other stations may not be available until after they close.

Bib Numbers have been assigned.  You can check yours on OpenSplitTime.  

  • At each aid station, volunteers will record your bib numbers. You are responsible for making sure that aid station volunteers record  your number.  Please make sure that your bib number is visible from the front and call out and confirm your number when entering the aid station. This is important so that we can keep track of runners and know that you are not lost or injured.

Camping at the Gould Community Center Start/Finish

On-site camping at the Start/Finish is restricted for our overnight volunteers and those runners who reserved space with their registration.

We’ve added a community potluck as part of check-in on Friday evening.  Join us for great food & social time at the Gould Community Center.  Gnar Runners will be providing homemade chili (meat and veggie options); everything else is potluck.  Please bring your own dish-ware.  

Gates to the community center will be closed after 9pm. If you have reserved space and are arriving later, please notify us so we can have a volunteer available to let you in and direct you to your parking space. Unauthorized vehicles will be asked to leave after 9pm.

If you have not reserved camping or lodging in advance and cannot find an open developed campsite in the area, you can park and camp anywhere on National Forest Land south of Gould off 21 past the Powderhorn Cabins. It’s about 3 miles away from the start.

Safety and Communications

The event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our top priority. We will be tracking runners via ham radio communications at every aid station, so please be sure to check your bib number with volunteers at each and every stop along the way. If you need to drop out, you *must* notify the aid station captain and turn over your race bib tag before you leave the course. If you don’t officially check out of the race, we will assume you are missing on course.

For added safety, we will have first responders at every aid station and a team of backcountry paramedics located at strategic points along the course. It would be helpful to write any allergies or medical conditions on the back of your race bib to help first responders in assessing any given situation in the unlikely event of emergency.

There is cell phone coverage (at least with Verizon) in most high areas with a clear view to the west so runners who carry phones can get messages out to crew (text is best) periodically and may be able to make a call in the case of emergency.

Potential hazards on course include: high altitude; steep, technical and rough terrain; downed trees and other obstacles; wildlife (cattle, moose, bears in particular); significant temperature changes from daytime heat to overnight cold; storms and lightning; and dense vegetation that may trigger allergic reactions.

Our 24 hour cut off is generous and should allow everyone enough time to get to the finish safely. With that in mind, we ask that you watch out for your fellow runners on course and run a smart and safe race.

Highway Crossings

There are two crossings of Highway 14 during the course of the race. One at mile 18, just after the Diamond aid station, and one at mile 62 just after the Ranger Lakes aid station. Traffic will not stop for runners and cars and trucks may be traveling in excess of 55 MPH (the posted speed limit). Runners are required to follow the instructions of road crossing volunteers who will be directing you safely across the road. Crews are not permitted to park on the hard shoulder of Hwy 14 under any circumstances.

Course Markings

The route will be well marked with pink flagging; pink and white pin flags; and flour at key turns. Night-time marking from the Clear Lake aid station to the finish will be a combination of white reflectors and LED lights. For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and/or batteries.

Parts of the course involve cross country travel. In these areas there will be flagging in line of sight at all times, so all runners who pay attention should have no problem staying on course. On more obvious parts of the course, confidence markers will be hung approximately every quarter mile and at every trail or road junction. With that said, there are many game trails, cow paths, and logging cuts on parts of the course that could lead you astray if you’re not paying attention. Never assume and always follow the course markings.

Detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions are available to print from the race website and the full course GPS files are available to download. It wouldn’t hurt to have this backup information with you if you are not familiar with the area. Please remember to print the information you need before leaving for the race. We will not have hard copies available to hand out to all runners at the start and will not have the ability to download and print documents on site.

Tricky Turns

The right turn off the Montgomery Road onto the Yurt trail at approximately mile 26 (~9,600′) is easily missed if you zone out coming down the jeep road from the Medicine Bow Ridge. It will be heavily flagged, but if you get to the Montgomery Yurts, you have gone too far. Turn around and retrace a third of a mile.

There may be a short overlap (for an eighth of a mile) between the first and last runners on the Ruby Jewel Rd (mile ~29 out, ~53 back). Runners heading outbound (north) from the Montgomery Aid to the Ruby Jewel Aid will turn right onto the Ruby Jewel road and proceed right up the road to the Yurt aid station. Front runners coming south from the Canadian Yurt will turn right to head down the Ruby Jewel Road towards the turn for the Lumberjack Trail. This junction will be heavily and unambiguously marked (likely with a course marshal), so there should be no cause for confusion. Nonetheless, everyone should be aware of these junctions to make sure that you can follow the route without guidance from a volunteer.

Aid Stations

Aid station fare is detailed hereVFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels. Runners are required to carry their own water bottles or hydration packs. A limited supply of cups will be available for sodas and other beverages at the stations. Please bring your own extra flask or collapsible cup if you can to help reduce waste.

Drop Bags

We have 5 aid stations where you can leave a drop bag with essential supplies that you are unable to get from our aid stations. Drop bags can be left at the start on race morning and during Friday check in. Please keep your bags to a reasonable size (small duffel bag or stuff sack) as volunteers will need to transport these for you. Please do not use coolers, buckets, or other large hard plastic containers and do not pack any breakable glass or valuables in your drop bags. Label bags with 1) Your Bib Number, 2) Your Last Name & 3) The station it is going to.

Crew Details (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/aid-stations/)

A Crew briefing will be held at 5:45am after the start. We will answer questions, offer directions, and may have park staff on site to sell park passes and offer additional information.

The route and all access points are entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park, so all crew vehicles are required to purchase a park pass ($8) in order to access crew areas if they do not have an annual Colorado State Parks pass. Passes are available at the main park entrance, the Moose Visitor Center, or at the self-pay station on the Lake Agnes Road.

To save parking space at the start, we ask that crews drop off runners at the entrance to the Gould Community Center (the start area) and park .5 miles west at the Moose Visitor Center and walk over on the short connector trail. Crews can use the extra parking at the Visitor Center after hours before 9am and after 5pm. 

Parking is allowed anywhere on park roads as long as vehicles do not block traffic and do not block any access gates.

The trails are open to the public and spectating is allowed anywhere on course. Crewing outside of designated crew aid stations is prohibited. Runners receiving any assistance outside of designated aid stations may be disqualified.

Important Crew Notes

  • Diamond Aid: Please do not arrive before 7am to give our volunteer team time to set up. All crew parking will be at the pullout by the aid station or on the south side of the Lake Agnes access road leading to the aid station. There is absolutely no parking on Hwy 14. Please attend the 5:45am Crew Briefing to coordinate carpooling to the station. It’s an easy 5 minute drive down the highway and back.
  • Ruby Jewel: Crew vehicles are permitted to drive a mile up the Ruby Jewel Rd as far as the junction with the Francisco Loop Forest Road (a left turn off Ruby Jewel Rd). Parking will be on the right side of Ruby Jewel Rd (below Francisco Rd) or on the right side of Francisco Road, but will not be allowed on the Ruby Jewel Road past the Francisco Road. Please park as tightly to the side of the road as possible so all additional park visitor traffic and race vehicles can pass through unimpeded. From the Francisco Road, it is a little less than a mile hike/run up the Ruby Jewel Road to the aid location and crew access point at the Ruby Jewel Yurt. Additional parking space is available at the start of the Ruby Jewel Rd off of the main park road. It is just under 2 miles to the aid station from this location.
  • Crew vehicles should not enter the Bockman campground (near the Bockman aid station) – especially after dark – unless they have a camp spot. We will have a port-a-john at the aid location. Additionally, there is a public bathroom and water pump on the main park road by the Michigan Reservoir on the way to the Boackman, Ruby Jewel, Clear Lake and Canadian aid stations. Crew parking at Bockman Aid will be limited to one side of the road only to allow access for emergency vehicles.  Please advise your crew to follow the direction of parking volunteers and be prepared for a longer walk in.
  • Dogs with crew must be leashed at all times. Please keep dogs out of the aid stations and out of the runner lanes to avoid interfering with volunteers or tripping runners.
  • Gas and food is very limited in the area. Crews and pacers should plan to bring their own water and food for the weekend. The nearest gas is in Walden, 25 miles west of Gould. There is a small store with ice, drinks, and snacks in Gould off Hwy 14 a few miles west of the race start/finish. Never Summer Nordic at the main entrance to the park will have a food truck serving hot breakfast and lunch. If coming from the east (Fort Collins/287/I-25), the last 24-hr gas station is at Ted’s Place at the mouth of the Canyon (approximately 65 miles from the race start). There are also a couple of pumps halfway up the canyon in Rustic that close at 7:00pm. We strongly recommend filling up on gas before entering the canyon.

Pacing (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/race-rules/):

Pacers are allowed starting at the Canadian aid station (mile 50). Runners over the age of 60 can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station. Canadian access is a little less than a 1 mile hike/run in from the trailhead at the north end of the main park road (CO 41). The aid station is located at the junction of the Clear Lake Road and the Canadian Yurt Trail.

The Bockman aid station is accessible from the park road, and is about a half mile shy of the Bockman Campground. If you have somebody pacing you from Bockman, try to arrange a carpool to avoid crowding the area with too many parked cars. The aid station is just a small pull off on the Bockman Rd.

Pacers are there to provide company, moral support, but are primarily allowed for added safety for runners after dark. Muling (schlepping runner gear) and crewing outside of designated aid stations, or providing any other assistance is not allowed.

Pacers may not have extra drop bags – any extra items that a pacer needs must be packed in the runner’s drop bag.

Pacers should plan to bring whatever water and food that they need while waiting for their runner to arrive. While on course with their runner, pacers may make full use of the aid stations.

Race and Aid Station Pacing

Results and aid station splits from the last four years are available here: http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/results/.

Awards, Post Race Food, and Runner Breakfast

We will be offering a pancake breakfast during the awards and prize giving on Sunday morning, beginning at 10am. Finisher awards will be handed out at this time. We encourage you to come and enjoy the breakfast with your fellow competitors, crew members and race volunteers. If you cannot make it in the morning, finisher awards will also be available at the finish line, so please check in there before you leave.

Breakfast is free to all runners and volunteers. Friends and family are welcome to join too and are asked to make a $10 donation to race beneficiaries if extra meal tickets have not been purchased in advance.

Volunteers will also be preparing post-race burgers and veggie burgers and soup for all finishers through the afternoon, evening and night on race day. This is free to all runners. Again, if a meal has not been purchased in advance for crew and pacers, extra tickets will be available for a $10 donation. Included with the meal will be a cold beverage from our friends at New Belgium Brewing, in addition to non-alcoholic options.

Thank You

We want to thank you for registering to run the Never Summer 100km. We have received considerable support from friends, family, volunteers and sponsors in bringing this fifth running of the race to fruition. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who have helped get the course ready and who will be out volunteering on race day. Please remember to thank those out there helping you achieve your goals.

We also encourage you to consider the products and services of our sponsors:

Top Tier

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running
Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital
Fort Collins Running Club

Product and Service Support

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you. We will have limited internet access on site at the race so we may not be able to respond to all emails or Facebook posts after Thursday 7/25.

We look forward to seeing you in and among the majestic peaks of the Northern Colorado Rockies!


A Beautiful Day for the 2019 Quad Rock

More often than not the weather seems to play a role at the Quad Rock Trail Races and the 2019 running was no exception with a midweek snowstorm forcing us onto the alternate ‘wet route’ for the first time in the race’s eight-year history. But while the midweek weather was cause for some concern, for race day itself we were blessed with fantastic conditions. Runners enjoyed firm but tacky trails and mild temperatures giving way to just a spot of rain and double rainbows in the late afternoon. The only thing missing it seems was a herd of wild unicorns galloping through the finish!

The alternate course delivered a couple hundred extra feet of elevation gain per lap and perhaps an additional half mile. As a result, the course ran an estimated 5-10 minutes slower per lap. Nonetheless, the day produced some fast times (including a new women’s 50 mile master’s record) and some dynamic racing.

Overall, we saw 194 runners start the 50 mile race and 221 start the 25 mile race for a total of 415 runners on course. Of the 194 runners that started the 50 mile race, 136 completed the full two loops for a 69 percent finisher rate. A total of 263 runners finished the 25 mile race or the first 25 mile loop of the 50 miler (all are included in the final 25 mile results).

Trail Work Day

As part of our mission to promote responsible use of the public trails we are granted the right to race on each year for Quad Rock, we host an annual post-Quad Rock ‘Trail Runner Trail Work Day’ the weekend after the race. If you’d like to be added to our volunteer trail work mailing list to learn about these and other upcoming trail work opportunities, please visit our trail work page.

Race Action

Darren Thomas, winning and having fun.

In the men’s 25 mile race, a group of three to four runners took it out fast in the early going leading up to the opening climb of the morning. By the time the lead runners were through the Horsetooth Aid Station at Mile 10 it was a three-horse race with Darren Thomas and Clint Anders pulling into the aid station together, followed two minutes later by last year’s runner up Chris Mocko. Thomas would open up a two minute lead over Anders on the ensuing Horsetooth Rock climb and hold that through to the Arthurs Aid Station, before finally breaking things open on the last climb and going on to win in 3:24:09. Anders would hold on for second (3:30:57) with Mocko close on his heels in third (3:31:49).

Corey Conner on her way to a second fastest time ever.

In the women’s 25 mile race, Corey Conner and Kristen Mohror set the early pace, rolling through the Horsetooth Aid Station at mile 10 together. But, as in the men’s race, things broke apart on the second climb with Conner opening up a four-minute lead by Towers at mile 14 and six minutes by Arthurs at mile 18. Conner, who will be representing the US Mountain Running Team at the World Mountain Running Championships later this summer, ended up winning the day in a second-fastest time ever (despite the harder course) of 4:04:29. Mohror would hold on for second (4:18:07), with CSU grad student Olivia Bojan rounding out the podium positions in third (4:46:46).

Masters (40-49) wins in the 25 mile race went to Brazil’s Manuel Lago (4:03:49) and Fort Collins’ Julie Pitts (5:19:35). Our grandmaster’s (50+) winners were Kraig Koski (4:40:24) from Longmont and Rona Van Willigen (5:51:33) from Fort Collins.

Addie Bracy as seen by her competitors.

In the women’s 50 mile race, it was a close run thing through the first lap. Our top two finishers from last year – Addie Bracy and Michele Yates – were once again battling it out, with Denver’s Jana Wallsey firmly in the mix too. At the turnaround, it was 2013 Ultrarunner of the Year, Yates, in the lead with Bracy right on her heels and Wallsey just a couple minutes behind. In a repeat of last year’s action, Bracy would take the race by the scruff of the neck on lap two and go on to open up a lead of as much as 20 minutes. Her finishing time of 9:09:22 was good enough for third overall and – of course – the women’s win. In the race for second, Wallsey and Yates leapfrogged each other through the middle miles of lap 2, before Yates opened up gap on the fifth descent down to Horsetooth at Mile 40. Yates grew that gap all the way to the finish (9:25:20), with Wallsey holding on for third (9:45:48).

In the men’s 50 mile race, after some early company from last year’s third-place finisher Oliver Knauer, it was Boulder’s Tate Knight running off the front for the win in a clinical performance (7:49:23) in what appears to be his first ever 50 mile race. After running in third for much of lap one, Clark Messman took control of second place by the turn and held on through lap two to finish second in 8:13:03. He was followed by Tyler Keyworth in third (9:17:50).

Men’s 50 Mile Podium: Keyworth (3rd), Knight (1st), Messman (2nd)

In the master’s division, local favorite Tara Carter ran like a champ to finish fourth overall while also bringing home a new Quad Rock 50 master’s record (the only record to fall on the day) of 10:27:01. Another local favorite and many-time finisher of the Quad Rock 50, Mike Hinterberg, also finished fourth overall in the men’s race while bringing home the master’s title (9:29:48).

Thank You

As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our team of wonderful volunteers. Year after year we receive heaping compliments from our runners about how fantastic our volunteer team is, and they are absolutely right. Come rain (last year), shine (this year) or managing last-minute course changes (this year), our volunteers are out there getting the job done and helping our runners get to the finish line safely. Thank You!

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Altitude Running
Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist
Countryside Animal Hospital
Fort Collins Running Club

With generous product support from: VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest Bread Company, and BoBo’s.

Next Up

We look forward to seeing you again in 2020 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you July 27 at the Never Summer 100km or at one of our shorter events. On September 7 we’ll be hosting the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 19 by the 12th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon. And, we do roads too. October 5th, we’ll be hosting the inaugural Long View Marathon and Half Marathon from Fort Collins to Loveland.

If you aren’t racing, consider volunteering for one of our next events. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Never Summer 100K.