Gnar Runners to Direct the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon

The Fort Collins Running Club (FCRC) has appointed Gnar Runners Race Management to direct the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon. Nick Clark, winner of the 2013 Horsetooth Marathon – held in conjunction with the Half Marathon for the 40th anniversary of the race – will assume the role of race director. Clark will direct the race with Pete Stevenson, who together make up the Gnar Runners Race Management team.

“The FCRC is excited to partner with Gnar Runners for the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon. Gnar Runners’ proven track record of managing complicated running events with a national appeal and local flair while always keeping the runners experience as the top priority will make this year’s Horsetooth Half Marathon one of the most exciting in its 43 year history,” said Dan Berlin, President of the Fort Collins Running Club.

Registration for the 2016 race opened Monday September 14, the same day that a new race website and domain were launched: The new event management team will continue to focus on providing a fun, affordable and challenging race experience.

“Those who have run our events know that we bring a great deal of passion and energy to our races. Our focus has always been on delivering not only a great running and racing experience, but also a fantastic post-race party, all while keeping entry fees affordable. That philosophy will be no different with the Horsetooth Half,” Clark said.

The Gnar Runners team owns and directs four successful races in the Northern Colorado region, including the Blue Sky Marathon, the Quad Rock 25 & 50 mile trail races, the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Never Summer 100km. Clark has also directed the Fort Collins Running Club’s popular Tortoise and Hare (T&H) running series for the last eight years.

“We plan to integrate the T&H series into the build-up to the Horsetooth Half Marathon and we’ll also be offering free training programs and support for newer runners getting ready for the race. Although Gnar Runners will be in charge of all aspects of managing the event, the Club – which owns the race – will be much more involved than it has been in past years in terms of providing training support. This is a marquee Fort Collins running race and a great opportunity for the club to boost its membership and grow its role within the local running community,” said Clark.

In addition to growing community participation with the event, the Club and Gnar Runners plan to promote the city and race as a destination for out-of-state runners looking for a great weekend running getaway. This is in line with a broader plan to grow participation numbers – both among amateur and elite runners – and to establish the race as a major event on the Colorado running calendar.

“We’re putting up a $4,000 cash purse for the 2016 race and plan to increase the payout as the depth of the elite field grows over the years,” Clark explained. “Ultimately, we’d like to establish the Horsetooth Half not only as a great running experience for everyone in the field, but also as one of the most competitive half marathons in the region. We have an unbelievably scenic and challenging course. This is a great opportunity to showcase Fort Collins as the fantastic running town that we all know it to be.”

The Running Club shares the ambition of raising the profile of the event, all while maintaining strong support within the local community.

“We have a goal of bringing Fort Collins to the forefront as a nationally recognized running city, and the Horsetooth Half Marathon is the FCRC’s signature event with a potential national appeal for its beautiful course and close tie-in with Fort Collins culture. In addition, we are excited to expand on the tradition of this challenging half marathon as the running season kickoff event for many in our local running community, both novice and experienced alike,” Berlin explained.

The Horsetooth Half Marathon was run for the 42nd consecutive year in 2015, making it the oldest half marathon in the state and among the oldest in the nation. It was rated the top half marathon with the best post-race party in the state by readers of Colorado Runner Magazine in 2006. The 43rd running of the event is scheduled for April 17, 2016.

For more information, please contact:

Race Director, Nick Clark:


2015 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap


We were treated to another beautiful late summer day for the third running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. The field of 315 runners enjoyed overcast early morning conditions, which transitioned to intermittent sunshine for the bulk of the field in the second half of the race and the post-race festivities.

Aaron-Black-Squirrel-Half- Winner

Men’s winner, Aaron Anderson

We saw both the overall and masters records go down in the men’s field, with Fort Collins’ Aaron Anderson (1:30:02) leading the charge in the men’s race and Boulder’s Brad Seng setting the new mark in the master’s division (1:36:08). In the overall standings, Aaron was pushed the whole way by Stephen Pretak (1:31:55) from Fort Collins, and Nathan Hornok (1:33:57) from West Jordan, UT.


Amanda Lee for the Win

In the women’s race, Boulder’s Amanda Lee was the first across the line in a time of 1:49:37. She was followed by local favorite Sarah Omann (1:55:23) who repeated her second place finish from last year, after passing Ruth Waller-Liddle in the final few miles of the race. The half marathon distance represented a big step up in distance for Ruth, a former NCAA D1 800 meter star. Our fastest master (although competing as a grandmaster) in the women’s race was Theresa Rudel (2:09:32).

It was great to see a couple of pre-teens competing this year as our youngest finishers ever. Devin Muzzy (12) from Colorado Springs won the battle of the youngsters, finishing in an impressive 2:20:28, beating out Bode Hogan (11) from Broomfield who finished in an equally impressive 2:33:11, becoming our youngest ever finisher. Our youngest female finisher was Claire Hayhow (16) from Laporte who posted a 2:29:11. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had two impressive septuagenarian finishes from John Hagin (2:42:23, Fort Collins) and Jammie McMillin (3:53:25, Colorado Springs).










The open divisions (39 & under) were won by Eric Smith (1:34:48) and Laura Harger (2:00:31). In the grandmasters race, we had wins for Ben Kuster (1:56:10) and Theresa Rudel (2:09:32), who was defending her grandmaster’s division win from 2014.

Having-Fun-At-Black-SquirrelPrizes for overall and age group winners Squirrel-Girlsincluded Altra running shoes, gift certificates to Altitude Running, Ultimate Direction gear and Timex GPS watches. And, of course, the coveted Black Squirrel awards lovingly crafted in the Gnar Runners Gnarts and Crafts Department.


Ruth gets a squirrel and kisses from her husband, Justin.

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 shone bright and provided a wonderful race experience for all participants. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful 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. So thank you Altra RunningColorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Cornerstone Home Lending, Altitude Running, Smartwool, Sierra trading PostFort Collins Running ClubJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Vet, Great Harvest, Whole Foods, VFuel, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and Boulder Beer.


Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Altra


We hope to see you again in 2016. Or, if you want more Gnar-filled trail racing fun this year, then check out the eighth running of the Blue Sky Marathon on October 4th. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.


Black Squirrel Half Marathon Pre-Race Information

All information relevant to the 3rd running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon is available on the race website.

Here are a few final details and reminders.

Currently, we’re looking at an overnight low in the mid 50s, an overcast morning, and a race-day high in the low 80s.

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, V-Fuel sports drink, snacks, and fruit (Arthurs only).

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

The race will start promptly at 7:00am. There will be a short pre-race briefing at 6:55am. Please give yourselves an extra 10-15min to get parked and over to the start. Late arrivals may need to walk up to a half mile to the start.

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 at the 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. Please do not remove your pull tag.

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 1 mile kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.

We have a great BBQ planned with burgers, veggie burgers, Whole Foods quinoa salad, Great Harvest cinnamon buns, cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies, chips, fruit, soda, and beer from Boulder Beer. First beer is free with the BBQ, for additional beers we ask that you make a donation ($4 suggested) to Animal House Rescue, 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 if not already purchased with registration.

Altra Running 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 finisher 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’ll have some other gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Whole Foods are giving away $100 in groceries to one lucky Black Squirrel’er after the race. Follow this link to enter:

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Kristel Liddle LMT (massage) and Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.

Thank you to Altra Running, Colorado Physical Specialists, Justin Liddle DMD, The Hunter Team at Cornerstone Home Lending, Smartwool, Altitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, Sierra Trading Post, 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. Please consider supporting these businesses who support our race.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email us at 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


Never Summer 100km Wrap

Congratulations to everyone who came out and enjoyed the inaugural running of the Never Summer 100km. An amazing 147 of the 197 runners that started the race (75%) crossed the finish line. Of those, 13 were inducted into the Sunset Club, finishing as they did without the aid of a headlamp. But no matter how far along the course you got, or indeed at what time you finished, we hope you enjoyed your experience in the beautiful mountains of Northern Colorado.

Never Summer 100K Diamond Crags Richthofen

The view from the high point of the course looking back at South Diamond, the Nokhu Crags, and Richthofen.  -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

This being the first running of the event, standards were set in all divisions. Leading from pillar to post in the men’s race was local favorite and Quad Rock course record holder, Ryan Burch. We were predicting an overall win time of between 12 and 13 hours. Ryan produced, posting the only sub-13 hour finish of the day, crossing the line in 12:42:49. He was pushed for much of the early going by eventual second and third place finishers, Bryan Williams (13:26) and Nick Pedatella (13:38).

The women’s race was won by peak-bagger extraordinaire, Alyson Kirk. Fittingly, Alyson took control of the race heading up the steepest climb of the day on North Diamond Peak. The mark to beat for next year in the women’s race will be 16:01:04. Leadville resident and mountain-lover, Dana Kracaw, showed her comfort with the terrain and altitude by finishing a strong second, just 20 minutes behind Alyson (16:21), while Jessica Hamel rounded out the podium spots with a well executed sub-17 hour performance (16:50).

Never Summer 100K Alyson Kirk

Alyson makes her way down to the Medicine Bow Ridge after topping out first for the ladies. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

The master’s marks were set by Bryan Williams (13:26) and Shannon Meredith (17:36), who finished an impressive second and fourth overall in the men’s and women’s races.

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also awarded a Final Finisher award for the runner that showed the most dogged persistence to be out there the longest. This year, the award went to Lynn Hall who finished with the dawning of a new day in 23:49:14, just three minutes behind Alex May who beat the buzzer after a heartbreaking 90 second miss at the 2014 running of the Western States 100 (30:01:30).

Full results with aid station splits are online here.

Never Summer 100K Lynn Hall

Lynn was still smiling after crossing the finish line as our final finisher. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

The volunteer support that we received for the event was – quite frankly – outstanding, and testimony to the special place these less-visited (but by no means, inferior) Colorado mountains hold in the hearts of the Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming outdoors community. Thanks to each and every one of you. And a special thank you to:

  • The Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club and their team of ham radio operators that went above and beyond in ensuring that we had radio contact from every aid station on course, in addition to between medical and parks staff.
  • The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol for offering up a team of skilled volunteers with first responder training and intimate knowledge of the mountains.
  • State Forest State Park (SFSP) and their incredible staff of park rangers. We have received nothing but enthusiasm from SFSP in the two years of planning leading up to this event, and their welcome and 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.

Just one of the many examples of our volunteers going the extra mile to support our runners…. Scott Slusher hiked his drum up North Diamond to give runners some encouragement on the steepest climb on the course. After this, he volunteered at the Canadian aid station until 1 am. -Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography.

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Presented by:

Altra Zero DropTop tier support from:

Contributing support from:

Generous product support from: VFuel, Whole Foods Fort Collins, Black Diamond, Boulder Beer, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and the Great Harvest Bread Company,

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.

Thank you all!

We look forward to seeing you again in 2016 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 5 we will be hosting the third running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 4 by the eighth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Be GNARful out there!


Never Summer 100K Pre-Race Instructions

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

Safety and Communications:

This event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our number one concern. 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 closest aid station captain 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 aid 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 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; cattle & wildlife (watch out for moose!); 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 very generous to give 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 before the Diamond aid station, and one at mile 62 just before the Ranger Lakes aid station. Traffic will not stop for runners and cars and trucks may be traveling in excess of 60 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.

Course Markings:

The route will be well marked with pink flagging, red pin flags, flour at key turns, and additional white reflectors and glow sticks after dark (from Clear Lake onwards). For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and 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 absolutely 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 in 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 out from the race website and the full course GPX file is available by request (email – it wouldn’t hurt to have this backup information with you if you are not familiar with the area.

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 and flour’ed, 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 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.

Crew Details (

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 ($7) 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. In the unlikely event that we run out of parking space at the finish, there is another large parking turn out off the highway about 1 mile to the east of the start that connects with the Gould trail leading to the finish.

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

We have updated crew access information for the Ruby Jewel aid station. Crew vehicles are now permitted to drive a mile up the Ruby Jewel Rd as far as the Francisco Forest Road (a left turn off Ruby Jewel Rd). Parking will be on the side of Ruby Jewel Rd (below Francisco Rd) or on the 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.

Crew vehicles should not enter the Bockman campground (near the Bockman aid station) – especially after dark – unless they have a camp spot. There is a public bathroom and water on the main park road by the Michigan Reservoir.

Pacing (

Pacers are allowed starting at the Clear Lake aid station (mile 39.4 or 43.9). Runners over 60 can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station. Clear Lake access is a 5 mile hike/run in from the trailhead at the north end of the main park road (CO 41). Pacers heading to Clear Lake to pace should be made aware that there is a junction a little over a mile from the trailhead that indicates a left for trail access to Clear Lake and a right for road access. The quickest way to the aid location is to take the right fork following the forest road. This could be somewhat confusing as course markers will be coming in from the left off the trail. If pacers follow the course markings and trail to the aid location (i.e. take a left at the junction), the run/hike in will be closer to 7.5 miles.

If you plan to have a pacer meet you at the Canadian Yurt aid station, the hike in is about 1.25 miles. The right turn for the yurt trail is .8 miles down the main access road, and is signed.

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.

Race and Aid Station Pacing:

A few weekends ago, Pete ran the full course to try and provide a sense of pacing for this first-year event. He’s put together a pacing spreadsheet based on his aid station splits. You can adjust the spreadsheet based on your desired or projected finish time. Pete also wrote up a summary of his run with some useful course insights and strategies to take into consideration. Both the split calculator and route summary are available here:

Thank You:

We want to thank you for showing faith in us by registering for this inaugural running of the Never Summer 100km. We have been planning meticulously for over a year to make this event happen, and we are confident that we have all the pieces in place to make this a fun and successful weekend of long distance mountain running.

We have received considerable support along the way in bringing this event to fruition and we would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our fantastic sponsors. We encourage you to consider their products or services:

Presented by:

Altra Running


Top Tier Support by:

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

With Generous Support From:

The Hunter Team at Cornerstone Mortgage
Justin K Liddle DMD
Altitude Running
Countryside Animal Hospital
Fort Collins Running Club

Product and Service Support:

Whole Food Fort Collins
Boulder Beer
Black Diamond
Mary’s Mountain Cookies
Great Harvest Bread Company
Erin Bibeau Photography


Never Summer 100k Course Preview & Pacing Estimates

On July 4th, I completed a full run through of the Never Summer 100k course starting at the race start at 5:30am and finishing just before midnight in 18 hours and 12 minutes.

I trained and tapered for this run just like I would a real race. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced any ultra distance events and even longer since I’ve been able to race well. So there’s really no way to compare my 18:12 finish time to any other individual’s projected time. But I think I ran well and kept my pace and effort consistent throughout the entire run. I didn’t push too hard on any segment and never had a low point or crash during the entire run. I stayed hydrated and well fueled the entire day with 20 Vfuel gels, 2 PBJ’s, 6 cookies, and some corn chips and pretzels. So my splits are at least a good reference to make some rough estimates for pacing goals.

Click here to download an Excel spreadsheet pacing model. You can enter your goal time and your estimated aid station time to get pacing estimates for each segment. If you are aiming for the 24 hour cut off, please note that you will need to stay ahead of our intermediate cut offs. Our intermediate course cut offs are set with very generous times to give everyone the maximum time possible on course.

A few things that might affect pacing estimates…..

Many sections on the course are very rough and slow so there may be less of a difference between our fastest and slowest runners. I hiked every step of the way from the Canadian Yurt back to the Ruby Jewel Rd and I hiked a lot of the Lumberjack cross country section and the rough old logging roads from Grass Creek to Ranger Lakes.

I was lucky to have ideal running conditions with afternoon cloud cover and just a tiny bit of rain to keep cool. If race day is hot and sunny or if we get any severe mountain storms, times could be significantly slower.

I only had one headlamp after dark and could have moved faster with better lighting. I would recommend using a strong headlamp and a strong handheld light for the best visibility through the rough sections after dark.

Some recommendations from my experience…

Trekking poles were most helpful on the steep 7 Utes and Diamond climbs and somewhat useful on the American Lakes, Kelly Lake, and Clear Lake climbs. From Clear Lake to the finish, they mostly got in the way and I would have been better off trading them for another handheld light.

The course has a lot of water and mud so there are very few aid stations where you could benefit from changing socks or shoes. The mile 18 Diamond aid station might be a good location to take care of your feet if needed. The steep slope and uneven terrain above tree line and the hard rocky run down Montgomery Rd would be best done with dry feet. If you change at Ruby Jewel, you’ll have about 4.5 dry miles to Kelly Lake. There are several muddy sections and a river crossings between the Clear Lake aid station and the Canadian Yurt aid. And there is a muddy stream crossing 100 yards after the Canadian aid station and several swampy sections on the way to Bockman, so I wouldn’t bother with any extra foot care until you reach Bockman. You’ll have about 4 dry miles before going through a very swampy section on the old logging roads and then it’s dry all the way to the finish. I recommend applying a good coating of body glide to your feet before the start.

I wore calf sleeves and thought they were helpful to keep itchy, scratchy grass and weeds off my shins. I’ve had some itching reactions on past runs later in the summer from some of the sections on the course with heavy vegetation.

A few of the daytime aid stations will be stocked with bug spray and sunscreen. I highly recommend applying before the race and then supplementing at aid stations during the race. If we catch a clear day, the heat can be intense on the Medicine Bow ridge between the Diamond and Montgomery aid stations, and then on the climb to Kelly Lake. Mosquitos are also an issue in some areas of the course.

You will probably start to feel the heat in the last couple miles on the way to the Diamond aid station. We’ll have ice at aid stations, so take advantage of this to keep your drinking water cool. Fortunately there is plenty of water on the course to offer a lot of opportunities to cool yourself down if it gets really hot out there.

Watch out for cows on the Clear Lake trail and follow the course markers carefully. The cows have been tearing up the trail and making paths everywhere that could lead you off course if you don’t pay attention.

Be patient early in the race to keep up with your fueling and hydration in the early miles when you still feel good and the weather is cool. Take full advantage of our first aid station at Michigan Ditch. If you get behind on hydration and fueling, you may pay the price on the Diamond to Montgomery section, which is largely 11,000ft and above. So, try to get to mile 18 feeling as fresh, hydrated and well fueled as possible.

My final thoughts on the course….

Even though I’ve run every segment of the course several times, it was an incredibly cool experience to be able to link it all together in one grand tour of State Forest State Park. The course and terrain are unique. It’s rough and wild and it takes you through a huge variety of environments. At times the terrain can be frustrating, but the scenery makes it all worthwhile. Finishing the Never Summer 100k is going to be a very special and rewarding experience.

If anyone has any questions before race day, please don’t hesitate to email us at We’ll be very busy in the upcoming week but always try to respond to runner emails as quickly as possible.

I hope everyone enjoys running this course as much as I did!


Here are a few photos from my run:

7 Utes

First view of the Crags on the climb up 7 Utes

Silver Creek Trail

The view of the course to the north from the Silver Creek trail. North Diamond is straight ahead. Hidden Valley can be seen far to the north on the left edge of the mountains.

Lake Agnes

Early morning on the shore of Lake Agnes

Nokhu Crags American Lakes

The Crags from the top of the ridge over American Lakes.

Kelly Lake

A rocky, technical section across the saddle above Kelly Lake.

Kelly Lake Trail

A grove of huge aspen trees on the Kelly Lake trail.

Clear Lake Trail

The view south to North Diamond and the Nokhu Crags from the western edge of the Clear Lake Trail.

Clear Lake Trail

Dense vegetation and wildflowers on the Clear Lake trail.