2016 Black Squirrel Post-Race Wrap

Sunrise at the 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

September is a great time of year to race on the trails here on the Front Range, and we were treated to another picture perfect morning for the 4th running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. With the sun popping up over the horizon, just under 300 runners set off on the 13.3 mile tour of Lory State Park’s outer border trails.

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Pretak

Pretak

From the gun, it was pre-race favorites Stephen Pretak and Amanda Lee who set the early pace in the men’s and women’s races. Both would hold on for the victories in their respective races, and for the fourth straight year the men’s course record would be lowered. Pretak’s time of 1:29:05 is the race’s first finish under 1:30 and a minute quicker than Aaron Anderson’s winning time from 2015. Amanda Lee notched her second straight Black Squirrel win with a 1:48:56 finishing time. Her time ranks as the second fastest ever behind Melissa Dock’s 2014 winning time of 1:45:06.

Cookie Mike Neal - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

Cookie Mike on his way to the master’s win.

Second and third in the men’s race were Horsecow Lonac (1:35:13) and Erik Nau (1:37:21), while in the women’s race Michelle Gailey from Sydney Australia finished three minutes adrift from Lee in second, followed by Fort Collins local Molly Soasey in third (1:58:17).

After winning and setting course records in the master’s division of both the Quad Rock 50 mile and Never Summer 100km races, Elijah Flenner was the odds-on favorite for the Black Squirrel master’s title. Pushed the whole way, Elijah was overtaken in the valley by Lory local Mike Neal – owner and operator of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies Old Town. Cookie Mike would go on to register the master’s win in a time of 1:38:37, followed a minute and a half later by Elijah. Ed Delosh rounded out the men’s master’s podium.

In the female master’s division, it was Catherine Thomas from Fort Collins who took home the honors in a time of 2:02:00. She was followed by Amy Walsh (2:11:43) and Tonya Barber (2:14:08).

The open divisions (non-podium, under 40) were won by Rob Raguet-Schofield (1:39:10) and Rachel Dean. In the grandmaster’s division, Tony Dragan from Fort Collins set a commanding new divisional course record with an impressive 1:46:53, while Cathy Zitti posted an equally impressive finishing time of 2:10:57 for the over 50 competition, just a couple minutes off Theresa Rudel’s divisional mark from 2014.

Tony Draganblacksquirrel2016-296Molly Soasey Black Squirrel Half Marathon

Our youngest finisher this year was Opfer Camden (2:35), a 13-year-old from Fort Collins. On the other end of the age spread, we had two impressive septuagenarian finishes from 72-year-old Phil Nissen (3:11, LeHigh Acres, FL) and 73-year-old Jammie McMillin (3:49:44, Colorado Springs).

Coveted 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Awards

Coveted!

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running shoes and packs, Julbo sunglasses and Drymax socks. And, of course, the coveted Black Squirrel awards lovingly crafted in the Gnar Runners Gnarts and Crafts Department.

Of course, these races don’t happen without the help of an army of volunteers, 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 fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Post-Race BBQ

Animal House Volunteers Working the BBQ

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 Running, Colorado in Motion, Drymax Socks, and Justin Liddle DMD.

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.

We look forward to seeing you again on September 9th, 2017. Or, if you want more Gnar-filled trail racing fun this year, then check out the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon on October 2nd. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.

2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Finish

Black Squirrel Finish

Corrie Stevens - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half MarathonSara Callor Black Squirrel Half MarathonCharles Danforth - 2016 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon

Top tier support from:

Salomon Drymax Socks
Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Contributing support from:
Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuel, New Belgium, Fort Collins Food Co-OperativeMary’s Mountain Cookies, Julbo, Trader Joe’sSquirrel’s Nut ButterEldorado Natural Spring WaterKristel Liddle, LMT, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

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2016 Black Squirrel Pre-Race Information

Black Squirrel Trail Half MarathonAll information relevant to the 4th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon is available on the race website. Here are a few final details and reminders.

The current weather forecast is showing an overnight low in the high 40s, a sunny 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 and V-Fuel sports drink. The Arthurs 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). Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:30am.

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 1/2 a mile or longer to the start from their car, so we recommend getting to Lory State Park no later than 6:30. Please plan to arrive earlier 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 runners. 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.

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 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.

Black Squirrel Trail Half BBQWe have a great BBQ planned with burgers & brats, veggie (vegan) burgers and vegan quinoa salad from the Fort Collins Food Co-Op, Great Harvest cinnamon buns, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, fruit from Trader Joe’s, El Dorado Vitamin Water, and Fat Tire beer from New Belgium Brewing.

Additional meals can be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 cash donation to Animal House Rescue if not already purchased with registration.

Salomon Running will be demoing shoes for runners to try out after the race, and we’ll be giving away a pair of Salomon shoes to our top male and female finishers. We’ll also have Julbo sunglasses to give out to our age group winners.

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 also have some other gear and goodies to raffle off during and after the awards.

Massage and PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion and Kristel Liddle LMT.

If you have any nagging aches or pains that might prevent you from running your best or making it to the starting line, Colorado In Motion is offering discounted Trigger Point Dry Needling sessions for our runners this Thursday 9/8. More info is online here.

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

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. 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 sincerely look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!

Nick Clark & Pete Stevenson


Top Tier Sponsors

Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

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2016 Black Squirrel & Blue Sky Training Runs

Blue Sky Trail Marathon Course

Photo by Eric Lee

Gnar Runners will be hosting several informal training runs leading up to the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Black Squirrel Half Marathon Training Runs
Thursday 8/18 and 9/1 starting at 6pm at the Timber Trailhead in Lory State Park.
4.5, 8, 9.5, and full 13.1 mile route options are available.
Follow us on Facebook here or join the Fort Collins Trail Runners Group for more info.

Blue Sky Marathon Long Run
Sunday 9/4 starting at 7:30am at the Blue Sky Trailhead
We’ll have an informal potluck social gathering back at the trailhead at about 11:30-Noon after the run. More info is online here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/490427237827954/

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2015 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap

Black-Squirrel-2015-Start

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.

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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-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

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).

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Young-Gun-2-Black-Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon-Kisses

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.

Altra-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Altra

Katie-Chanteau-Black-Squirrel-Half-Marathon

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.

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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: http://woobox.com/t22obr

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 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!

Nick Clark & Pete Stevenson

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Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Recap

black squirrel half view

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

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

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

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Korey Skattum. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

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Melissa Dock. Photo: Erin Bibeau.

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

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

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

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

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

As race directors, Pete and I are always thankful for the wonderful trail running community we have here in Fort Collins. Pulling together a volunteer crew is an essential part of putting on a successful race and as always our volunteers were the biggest source of bs2014-6post-race compliments that we received. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

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

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists

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