2018 Blue Sky Marathon Race Recap

We had perfect running weather for the 11th Blue Sky Trail Marathon. And we had a fast field ready to take full advantage of the ideal running conditions, with new course records being set in both the men’s and women’s races, and a total of 265 runners hitting the finish line from a total of 279 starters.

Addie Bracy winning the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon

In the women’s race, Addie Bracy was toeing her third Gnar Runners start line of 2018, after having claimed wins at both the Quad Rock 50 and the Never Summer 100km. As in her previous starts this season, Addie would be pushed through the early miles but would ultimately come out on top. At the 9 mile aid station, Addie was running shoulder to shoulder with Estes Park’s Michelle Hiland, but through the southern section of the course she would open a gap and grow it steadily by the finish, coming home in a new course best of 3:45:37. Michelle held steady in second, finishing with a flourish to sneak under the four hour mark (3:59:39). Rounding out the podium was Sarah Roberts (4:11:31) in her third Blue Sky Marathon finish and second overall podium. 

The men’s race was close from start to finish, with a large pack coming through the nine-mile aid station, all on course-record pace. By the Hunter turnaround at mile 18, the pack had been whittled down to just two – Bobby Peavey and Brian Condon – and they would remain connected all the way to an exciting sprint finish, where Denver’s Peavey edged out Longmont’s Condon by just a second in a new course best of 3:11:47. The new mark bests a Steve Folkerts record that has stood since 2009. Coming in third was Frank Pipp, who rounded out his Gnar Runners racing season with yet another podium after a win at the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and two seconds at the Never Summer 100km and Quad Rock 50. With his season filled with podiums, Frank took top honors in the Gnar Slam standing, setting a convincing new cumulative best time in the process (see below). 

Bobby Peavey out-sprints Brian Condon for the win and new course record at the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon.

The master’s wins went to Terry Grenwelge (4:02:44) and Candy Granger (4:30:36). The grandmasters winners were Sabrina Naftel (5:34:12) and Blaise Brochard (4:04:57). All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman in addition to gift cards from Altitude Running. 


Race Photos:


This year we saw 11 runners complete the Gnar Slam. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

As noted above, Frank Pipp came away top in the points standings on the men’s side. His cumulative time of 25:09:02, bested Elijah Flenner’s 2016 record by over two hours. In the women’s standings, Colleen Weitzel also posted a new record time (36:45:26), besting Kristen Kovatch’s record from 2018 by 48 minutes.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2018 Gnar Slam finishers.

And of course, our races would simply not be the same without the magnificent support of our volunteers. From Towers to the Hunter turnaround, the Blue Sky volunteers were out there on course keeping runners motivated, fed, and hydrated. As always, race participants were glowing in their praise of the volunteers, whether they were parking cars in the morning, marshaling runners at the turns, or filling bottles at the aid stations.

We also couldn’t put on our trail races without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you Salomon RunningColorado in MotionDrymax SocksAltitude RunningJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Animal Hospital, Jax Mercantile and the Fort Collins Running Club for your incredible race support.

And also to our fantastic product sponsors: VFuelNew Belgium BrewingGreat Harvest Bread Co.Squirrel’s Nut ButterMary’s Mountain Cookies, Juice Performer, and Boulder Organic!

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2018 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2019 with excitement.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2019!

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2018 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Information

The 11th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is this Saturday. Hopefully your training has been on point and you’re ready for a strong run. 

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

The weather forecast through the rest of the week and into Saturday looks great with daytime highs in the low 60s. However be aware that the Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, 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. We will be handing out bibs on race morning to ensure we have an accurate list of starters. Altitude Running is located at: 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

Altitude Running will be offering a 20% discount on both Salomon and Drymax products at packet pickup. Salomon will also be offering a gift with any Salomon purchase.

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

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 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 just off Shoreline Drive 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 here.

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.

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 adequate 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.

As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.

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’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 CookiesGreat Harvest cinnamon buns, New Belgium beer, and Juice Performer. 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 Athlete’s in Tandem and Beyond Rescue.

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 2018 Gnar Slam finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion, with massage offered by Diane Bergstedt.  

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

Salomon RunningColorado in MotionJustin Liddle DMDDrymax SocksAltitude RunningCountryside Animal Hospital, the Fort Collins Running Club, and Jax Mercantile.

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

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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Blue Sky Marathon & Black Squirrel Half Training

Need some motivation to train for the Blue Sky Marathon or Black Squirrel Half Marathon?

Click here for a 15 week training program for the marathon and a 9 week training program for the half marathon. 

We will be hosting a series of Tuesday evening training runs at Lory State Park starting August 7th. Stay tuned for more info.

Sign up for the Blue Sky Marathon by 6/30 to take advantage of our $65 early registration deal!

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Gnar Runners 2018 UTMB Qualifying Races

UTMB Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Qualifying RaceWe are proud to announce that Quad Rock, Never Summer, and the Blue Sky Marathon are now Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® qualifying races.

Registration is now open for all Gnar Runners 2018 trail races. Sign up for the full Gnar Slam and earn 10 UTMB points!

A lone runner descends from North Diamond Peak on the way to Montgomery Pass on the Never Summer 100K course.

The view of Longs Peak from the Quad Rock 50 course.

Technical rocky trail at Devil’s Backbone on the Blue Sky Trail Marathon course.

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2017 Blue Sky Trail Marathon Race Recap

Blue-Trail-MarathonWith its grassroots beginnings, the Blue Sky Trail Marathonh has been a true community undertaking since its inception in 2008. Considering this, it was wonderful to see a record crowd from the trail running community turn out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event this past weekend.

As usual the weather had a role to play in the proceedings, this year delivering ideally cool temperatures intermixed with strong and blustery winds. While the final eight miles running into the northwesterly headwind proved tough, the temperatures allowed for generally fast times and ultimately we saw 275 runners hit the finish line from a total of 285 starters.

Both the men’s and women’s winners seemed to get their pacing spot on this year. Chris Mocko for the men waited patiently in second for much of the race before taking the lead in the closing five or six miles of the race, passing early race leader Seth DeMoor ChrisMocko-BlueSky17between the Indian Summer aid stations, closing a four-minute gap in as many miles from the 18 mile Hunter turnaround. Mocko would go onto finish in 3:14:33, less than a minute shy of Steve Folkerts’ long-standing record from 2009. Former pro-triathlete, Kyle Leto finished second (3:21:26), followed a couple of minutes later by Dustin Moore in third (3:23:42). Showing just how close it was for the places, defending champion Brent Kocis would lead the next three runners across the line, all finishing within a minute of third.

In the women’s race, Abby Mitchell (3:49:32) went AbbyMitchell-Blue Skyone better than her second place finish at this year’s Quad Rock 25 miler by putting on a pacing master class. Leading from pillar to post, Abby grew her lead over second place finisher Julie Olsen-Smith (4:00:46) by three, six and ultimately 11 minutes between the nine mile, 18 mile and finish line timing locations. Like Mocko in the men’s race, Mitchell would finish one minute adrift of the course record set in 2015 by Reese Ruland. Defending champion Jeanne Cooper (4:04:36) rounded out the podium, finishing third in her return to racing after a long injury lay-off.  

The master’s wins went to Ed Delosh (4:02:57) and Sarah Omann (4:18:29). The grandmasters winners were Don Sims (4:16:48) and Cindy Stonesmith (5:17:10). All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman in addition to gift cards from Altitude Running. 

BlueSkyAwards17


Race Photos:


In addition to keeping track of our fastest finishers, we also like to keep track of our oldest and youngest-ever finishers, and we had new records on the younger side of the spread this year. Noah Kieser of Longmont finished in an impressive 4:58:34 at just 16 years of age. Tying for youngest female finisher ever was 18 year old Jordyn Milbrath also of Longmont, CO, finishing the course in 6:08:31. 

NoahKeiser-BlueSky2017

Noah Keiser. Youngest Finisher Ever.

And this year we saw a record 13 runners complete the Gnar Slam, including our first four female finishers. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

Aaron Youngberg came away top in the points standings on the men’s side, while Kristen Kovatch took top honors on the women’s side. A hearty congratulations to all our Gnar Slam finishers.

GnarSlamChamps2017

GnarSlamClass2017And of course, our races would simply not be the same without the magnificent support of our volunteers. From Towers to the Hunter turnaround, the Blue Sky volunteers were out there on course keeping runners motivated, fed, and hydrated. As always, race participants were glowing in their praise of the volunteers, whether they were parking cars in the morning, marshaling runners at the turns, or filling bottles at the aid stations.

The Hunter Turn Team exchanging notes to make sure all runners are accounted for.

The Hunter Turn Team exchanging notes to make sure all runners are accounted for.

We also couldn’t put on our trail races without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you Salomon RunningColorado in MotionDrymax SocksAltitude RunningJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for your incredible race support.

And also to our fantastic product sponsors: VFuelNew Belgium BrewingGreat Harvest Bread Co.Squirrel’s Nut ButterMary’s Mountain Cookies, and Boulder Organic!

Sponsors-BlueSky17

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2017 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2018 with excitement. If you enjoyed Blue Sky, consider running the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April, the 25 or 50 mile Quad Rock races in May, the Never Summer 100km in July, the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in September, and of course the Blue Sky Marathon in October.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2018!

See you in 2018!

See you in 2018!

Rob Broomfield - Gnar Slammer

Rob Broomfield – Gnar Slammer

A fifth finish for Katie Oglesby.

A fifth finish for Katie Oglesby.

Gnar Slam finisher Diane Bergstedt

Gnar Slammer Diane Bergstedt

ShannonSmith-BlueSky17

Shannon Smith having fun

Top Tier Sponsors
Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD ProsthodontistRace SupportCountryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club
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2017 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Details

The 10th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is less than a week away. Hopefully your training has been on point and you’re ready for a strong run.

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

The weather forecast for Saturday is showing daytime highs near 60 degrees, which would be ideal; however, the forecast during the week up to Friday looks decidedly warmer with highs in the mid-70s. The Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, so please plan accordingly if the warmer temperatures carry over to the weekend.

An optional packet pickup will be available on Friday from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running. We will be handing out bibs on race morning to ensure we have an accurate list of starters. Altitude Running is located at: 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

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

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 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 or Blue Sky trailhead entrance.

Runner Drop Off will be just off Shoreline Drive 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 here.

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.

We have added a 10am cut off at the mile 9.2 Blue Sky aid station. Indian Summer South cut off times will remain the same as previous years at 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.

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 adequate 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 (Cool Lime or Black Cherry Cola), 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 (Mountain Berry, Cool Citrus, and Vanilla) 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 marking bibs as people come through to make sure the loop is completed.

As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.

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’ll be offering a full post-race BBQ with beef burgers and vegan burgers and soup from Boulder Organic (both gluten free and vegan options). Also look for Mary’s Mountain CookiesGreat Harvest cinnamon buns, and New Belgium beer.

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 The Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center, one of the race beneficiaries.

In addition to finisher awards, we have overall and age group awards (Open: under 40, outside top three; Masters: 40-49, outside top three; Grandmasters: 50+). We have gift cards to Altitude Running for award winners, Salomon running shoes for overall winners and a smorgasbord of sponsor gear to give away in the post-awards raffle. We will also be recognizing the 2017 Gnar Slam finishers and Blue Sky Five-Year Finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion.

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

Salomon RunningColorado in MotionJustin Liddle DMDDrymax SocksAltitude RunningCountryside Animal Hospital, 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. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We sincerely look forward to seeing you all on Saturday morning!

Nick & Pete
Gnar Runners, LLC
racedirector@gnarrunners.com
Twitter/Instagram: @gnar_runners
www.facebook.com/gnarrunners


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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