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.

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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.

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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.

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Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Altra

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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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Black Squirrel Pre-Race Details

All information relevant to the event is available online here but here are a few final details and reminders.

  • Weather: Last year it was HOT, but this year things are looking a little more favorable. Currently, we’re looking at an overnight low of 50 and a race-day high of 70 with a good chance of rain in the afternoon, which means race morning should be just about perfect.
  • Nonetheless, please make sure you have adequate carrying capacity for your hydration needs between aid stations. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle or hydration pack. The three aid stations will be stocked with water, Tailwind sports drink, Succeed S-Caps, snacks, and fruit (Arthurs only).
  • Packet and bib pickup will be available on Friday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm at Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists located at: 115 E Harmony Rd., Ste. 160, Fort Collins, CO 80525 (southeast corner of College and Harmony).
  • Packet pickup will also be available on race morning from 5:30am to 6:45am.
    Late registration (cash & check only) will be available on Friday at packet pick up and on race morning.
  • The race will start promptly at 7:00am. The pre-race briefing will be at 6:45am. Please give yourselves an extra 10-15min to get parked and over to the start. Late arrivals may need to walk up to a mile to the start. If you arrive late, you will start late and finish results will be based on the starting gun time.
  • 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 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. Do not remove your pull tag.
  • As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.
  • 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 1km kids race/run beginning at 10:30 from the start/finish area.
  • We have a great BBQ planned with burgers, veggie burgers, a Whole Foods quinoa salad, Great Harvest cookies and cinnamon buns, chips, fruit, soda, and a couple of kegs from Boulder Beer that meets 3.2% State Park regulations. First beer is free with the BBQ, for additional beers we ask that you make a donation ($3 suggested) to Animal House, 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. Please bring id if you want a post-race beer.
  • Altra Zero Drop 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 finishers 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 also have Runners Roost gift cards for all award winners.
  • We’ll 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 Kristel Liddle LMT (massage) and Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.

Thank you to Colorado Physical SpecialistsJustin Liddle DMD, Cornerstone Home Lending, Altra RunningCountryside 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.

If you have questions that are not answered here or on the website, then please email. 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 (GnarRunners, LLC)

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Great Local Support for the Black Squirrel Half

Colorado Physical Therapy SpecialistsWe are very pleased to welcome back Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor of the second running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the seventh running of the Blue Sky Marathon. In addition to supporting Gnar Runner events for the last seven years, Colpts have also been fixing runners here in the Fort Collins community since 2007. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished trail and ultrarunners and know just how important pain-free bipedal movement is for those who love to run.

We are also fortunate to be receiving support from the Fort Collins branch of Cornerstone Home Lending. Broker Jim Hunter and his team have been supporting the local running scene for years, in addition to getting people into mortgages they understand and can afford, so we’re excited to be teaming up with the Hunter Team again.

Our footwear sponsor for both the Black Squirrel and Blue Sky Marathon is Altra Zero Drop out of Salt Lake City, UT. The brand is currently taking the running world by storm with their innovative foot-shaped shoe designs. Winners of both races will be receiving a free pair of Altras and we’ll have demos available to try out on race day.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins trail running community with sponsorship of both the half and full marathons.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Dr Catherine Speights is the go-to small animal vet in the running community (and beyond). Her practice, Countryside Animal Hospital, specializes in personalized care of dogs and cats in a home-like setting. Look for both Cat and Justin near the front of their respective fields.

New this year, we’ve partnered with the Fort Collins Running Club, and couldn’t be more excited about it. The club has been promoting fitness and running in the local community since 1971. Consider taking out an FCRC membership and enjoy seven free Tortoise & Hare races from Oct to April, a free subscription to Colorado Runner Magazine, local running store discounts, and discounts to both the Horsetooth Half Marathon ($20 off your registration, which is the same cost as an annual membership) and the FireKracker 5k.

Product support for this year’s half and marathon races will be coming from a host of other great local companies:

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Windsor-based Succeed! will stock our aid stations with S!Caps electrolytes, while Durango-based Tailwind Nutrition will be providing on course sports drink. And our post race BBQ will include nutritious salads from Whole Foods Fort Collins, baked goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co., and malted beverages from Boulder Beer. Salus Natural Body Care will provide goodies for the race bags and Kristel Liddle will be providing post-race massages.

Please consider supporting our sponsors – they are all local to Fort Collins and the Mountain West, and we couldn’t do this without their kind help.

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The Inaugural Running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon: Race Recap

The start of the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Half marathon. Erin Bibeau Photography.

The start of the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Half marathon. Erin Bibeau Photography.

It was a hot one for the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon, hosted on the beautiful trails of Lory State park, but that didn’t deter 206 hardy runners from completing the challenging course.

Runners snake up the start of the Timber climb.

Runners snake up the start of the Timber climb. Erin Bibeau

Corey Hanson led the charge off the front of the race, with a colorful procession of runners following him up the snaking Timber trail through the opening 1,500 feet of climbing to the high point of the Park on the Westridge doubletrack trail.

From there views opened up to Longs Peak on the west and the City of Fort Collins to the east, before the precipitous plunge down the Howard trail to the Arthurs Rock aid station.

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Human-sized Black Squirrel, aka, Katie Robinson. Erin Bibeau Photography.

Runners reported Black Squirrel sightings at both the bottom of the technical Howard descent and also at the Arthurs Rock aid station.

From the mile 8 Arthurs aid station, runners were treated to rolling hard pack singletrack on the south and east valley trails all the way into the finish. Although the majority of the climbing was over by the time runners hit the valley trails, this section proved to be the hardest for many due to the intense heat and lack of shade.

At the front of the field, Corey Hanson, who lives a half mile from the Park entrance, would hang on to win the inaugural running of the race and in doing so set the course record in an impressive 1:36:10. He was soon followed by Cory Linfield (1:37:33) and Christopher Knott  (1:41:26) in second and third respectively.

Corey Hanson in the lead at mile 8. Erin Bibeau

Corey Hanson in the lead at mile 8. Erin Bibeau

In the women’s race, Longmont resident Melissa Dock led pillar to post and crossed the finish line ninth overall in a time of 1:49:50. She was followed by Wyoming’s Esther Hartsky (1:56:50) and local favorite Jenn Malmberg (1:57:48).

The masters divisions were won by Ed Delosh (1:49:25) and Monica Brackney (2:04:10), while the open divisions (39 & under) were won by Adam St.Pierre (1:42:08) and Samantha Wood (1:58:36).

Our two final finishers, Ben Erickson and Gary Nelson, received a standing ovation before being escorted over to the post-race BBQ for burgers and beers along with the rest of the festive post-race crowd.

Prizes included gift certificates to Runners Roost Fort Collins, in addition to Black Squirrel awards crafted in the Arts and Crafts Department of Gnar Runners, LLC.

Melissa Dock on her way to winning. Erin Bibeau

Melissa Dock on her way to winning. Erin Bibeau

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 post-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, Justin Liddle DMD, Countryside Vet, Runners Roost, Succeed, Great Harvest, IZZE and Powered by Plants.

The Arthurs Rock (1) crew. Erin Bibeau.

The Arthurs Rock (1) crew. Erin Bibeau.

We are greatly looking forward to the second running of the Black Squirrel Half, and hope to see you there too. Oh, and if you enjoyed the Black Squirrel, consider running it’s parent race, the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins’ first (and only) trail marathon.

The Creative Department at Gnar Runners, Mary Boyts, getting significant air. Erin Bibeau.

The Creative Department at Gnar Runners, Mary Boyts, getting significant air. Erin Bibeau.

Hanging out post-race. Erin Bibeau.

Hanging out post-race. Erin Bibeau.

Thanks for coming. See you next year! Erin Bibeau Photography.

Thanks for coming. See you next year! Erin Bibeau Photography.

 

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