May is an unpredictable weather month here in Colorado, and we were again reminded of that at the fifth running of the Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races with damp, cool conditions despite a forecast that looked decidedly more comfortable. While not the best conditions for our fantastic team of volunteers to be working in, the weather ended up making for fantastic running conditions, leading to a number of new course records and generally fast times across the board.
In the 50 mile men’s race, Boulder-based Brit, Ryan Smith took it out hard from the gun and never looked back. He would run in the lead from pillar to post and better Ryan Burch’s long-standing course record by an impressive 20 minutes (7:20:27). Ryan was followed 20 minutes later by reigning Blue Sky Marathon champion Kody Coxen in his first 50 miler, and last year’s runner up Frank Pipp who ducked under the 8 hour mark by five seconds.
On the women’s side, there was no new course record but the race was a close run affair with the podium positions being decided by just four minutes and the top five by 12 minutes. Wyoming’s Marina Fleming (10:15:54) took the lead in the final two miles, beating out Meghan Spieker by less than a minute. Never Summer 100km champion Alyson Kirk rounded out the podium positions with a well run third-place finish.
Both Sandra Carpenter and Elijah Flenner came into the weekend with one goal in mind, to better the existing master’s course records. And both of them accomplished their goals. Sandra finished fifth in the women’s race, setting the new master’s mark at 10:27:57, while Elijah finished sixth with a strong 8:32:04.
Ginna Ellis has a bit of a history with second place finishes at Gnar Runners events, with silver at last year’s Quad Rock 25 and also at the 2015 and 2013 Blue Sky Marathons, so we were excited to see her come home to a commanding win in the morning’s 25 mile race, posting the second fastest women’s time in the process (4:05:12). Ginna was followed by Jeanne Copper, second in last year’s 50 mile race, and Cat Bradley.
Mike Aish repeated as the men’s 25 mile champion, running a couple minutes slower (3:20:08) than he did last year when setting the course record. Mike was pushed the whole way by fellow Golden’ite Matt Kempton who finished second in an impressive 3:20:50. Recent Horsetooth Half Marathon men’s winner Stephen Pretak rounded out the podium, rolling home in 3:22:37.
Master’s awards went to Mike Neal, owner of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and Nancy Goodman.
In addition to those pushing the pace up front, we of course had a full field of talented and enthusiastic runners behind. The best part of our job is watching finishers come home, especially those who are out there working their way through their first trail race or their first 50 miler. Seeing that sense of accomplishment in the faces of so many finishers is something that never gets old and the main reason we love our job so much, so congratulations to you all. And thank you!
As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our team of wonderful volunteers. Year after year we receive heaping compliments from our runners about how fantastic our volunteer team is, and they are absolutely right. Come rain or shine, you guys are out there getting the job done and helping our runners get to the finish safely. Thank You!
And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!
Thank you all!
We look forward to seeing you again in 2017 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you July 23rd at the Never Summer 100km or at one of our shorter events. On September 10 we’ll be hosting the fourth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 2 by the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.
If you aren’t racing, consider volunteering for one of our next events. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Never Summer 100K.