Gnar Running Team

For the 2017 season, we’re extremely proud to be bringing together a group of local trail runners under the banner of the Gnar Runners Team. For this inaugural year, we’ve selected a small but passionate group of local trail runners across a broad spectrum of abilities to act as ambassadors for the Gnar Runners race series and the local Northern Colorado trail running community more broadly. Not only will you see the team out and about at local and regional races this season, but they’ll also be helping to lead training and social runs throughout the year. 

The 2017 Gnar Runners Team

Colleen Weitzel

Colleen is still fairly new to the sport of running, but she’s quickly making up for lost time, having run dozens of trail and road half marathons and marathons since discovering her passion for the sport in 2013. She is an active member of the Fort Collins Running Club and loves the camaraderie that running provides. When she’s not running or racing with friends, you can find her running and racing with adoptable dogs from Animal House Rescue & Grooming for whom she is an enthusiastic volunteer. 

Race Schedule:

Sarah Melby - Gnar Running TeamSarah Melby

Sarah has been a runner most of her life. Favorite early memories include running through cornfields and forest preserves in rural Illinois, then running for fun after moving to and growing up in Loveland, CO where she ran around Lake Loveland more than a handful of times and enjoyed access to the foothills and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Having lived in Northern Colorado most of her life, and having either hiked or run most of the trails and peaks around the region, Sarah is a great resource for local trail knowledge. When she isn’t referencing  maps, trail beta or guidebooks, you’ll find her training in the foothills, most likely at Lory State Park – her favorite place to unwind.

In addition to running, Sarah enjoys playing and listening to music, hiking, backpacking, biking (mtn & road), yoga, strength training, and travel. That’s when she’s not working her job in research and content development for a non-profit association.

Race Schedule:

Ed Delosh - Gnar Running TeamEd Delosh

Ed competed in high school and college, back in the days when the mantra for every workout was “no pain, no gain” (bad advice, he now claims!). At that time, his best event was the 800m. After a 15+ year break from competition, he began racing again, mainly in road races and run/bike duathlons. At one point, he achieved overall or age-division wins in seven consecutive races around Colorado.

Over the last several years he’s developed a passion for trail running and most days can be found running the trails west of town, most commonly out at Lory State Park. He’s had some success in shorter trail races, winning the master’s division at the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon, but is now looking to extend himself over longer distances. This upcoming season, he plans to complete the Gnar Slam (Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100k, Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon, and the Blue Sky Trail Marathon).

Now fully recovered from a fractured femur sustained in 2015, he’s happy to offer any advice and encouragement he can for overcoming potentially career-ending injuries.

You too can get out there and run, even with screws holding your hip together!

Race Schedule:

Deb Gulley - Gnar Running TeamDeb Gulley

Ever since she was a kid, Deb felt like she wasn’t cut out to be a runner. This dates back to her elementary school days when all the kids were supposed to be able to complete a mile in 9 minutes. Most were done in much less…except for Deb and a chubby kid in her grade.

“I hated running and wanted nothing to do with it because it was something I couldn’t do,” she remembers.

Fast forward to 2009 and a desire to lose some weight, Deb found a running group in Tulsa, OK where her family had recently relocated, and the journey began. Deb joined and completed the group’s Couch to 5K program before training for and completing a 15K race, a half marathon, and then finally a marathon. During this time, Deb developed a deep passion for the sport, becoming a run leader and helping others on their journey to new running milestones. She discovered that she COULD indeed run after all, and that you don’t have to run a 9 minute mile to “qualify” as a runner. Nonetheless, after two years of running, she did run under 9 minute miles for a 5K and that was a sweet moment on her running journey.

Since moving to Fort Collins in 2014, Deb has launched headfirst into the joys of trail running and in 2016 completed the Quad Rock 25 miler, her biggest running challenge yet:

“There is nothing better than a beautiful day out on the trails. I have enjoyed so much exploring the trails around Fort Collins, in Rocky Mountain National Park, and in State Forest State Park, sometimes with a friend or two, sometimes only with my faithful dog Barney, and sometimes alone since dogs aren’t allowed on trails in RMNP. I am truly in my happy place off exploring a trail with Barney on a sunny day.”  

Race Schedule:

Kristen Kovatch - Gnar Running TeamKristen Kovatch

Kris ran her first trail race – the Blue Sky Trail Marathon – in 2014, and immediately knew that this was the sport for her. 

“The amount of enthusiasm and encouragement from fellow adventure seekers has created lifelong friendships. To hear the words “good job” coming from everyone you encounter on the trail is the true reward. Spending hours on the trail, running from sunrise to sunset, and simply being surrounded by nature brings me pure enjoyment.” 

Kris hasn’t looked back since running the Blue Sky Marathon, and last year posted impressive top-10 finishes in her first attempts at both the 50 mile (Quad Rock) and 100km (Never Summer) distances.

Race Schedule:

  • March 18 – Chuckanut 50K
  • May 13 – Quad Rock 50
  • June 16 – Bighorn 50
  • July 22  – Never Summer 100K
  • Sept 8 – Wasatch 100 (Pending lottery)

Kris Tyson - Gnar Running TeamKris Tyson

Kris is a recent transplant to Fort Collins, coming most recently by way of Minnesota. He came to the sport of trail and ultra running through rock climbing, being drawn by a passion for adventure, challenge, and community engagement.  And also a tendency to dive headfirst into new outdoor activities which – on the running and racing front – started in 2011 with road marathoning and progressed in 2015 to 100 mile trail racing with a sprinkling of Iron Man’ing along the way.

In 2016, Kris ran his second 100 mile race, going comfortably under 23 hours at Bighorn in abnormally hot conditions. He also placed second overall at the inaugural Silverton Double Dirty Thirty in his first go at the 100km distance. 

“As a trail ultra novice, and being new to mountain life, the sky’s the limit on adventure and I’m truly enjoying the ride.”

And what a ride 2017 promises to be…

Race Schedule:

  • March 18 – Chuckanut 50K
  • May 13 – Quad Rock 50
  • June – Bighorn 100
  • July 22  – Never Summer 100K
  • Aug 11 – Fat Dog 120
  • Sept 9 – Wasatch 100 (Pending lottery)

Rob Raguet-Schofield

Rob Raguet-SchofieldRob likes to race, and he cares not if the distance is 1 mile or 112 miles (running distance PR); or indeed if the terrain is paved or mountainous; his mode of transport bipedal (foot), bi-wheeled (bike) or bi-planked (skis). Any race, any distance, any terrain, and any activity: he’ll race you.  

After running cross country and track in high school and college Rob – the Sexy Hermit – moved on to marathons, triathlons, bike racing, ultramarathons, obstacle course races, & ski mountaineering.  Rob has competed in over 250 races, winning foot races from 5K to 50 miles (most recently a 6:19 PR at the Des Planes River Trail Races), as well as wins in triathlon, criterium bike racing, cyclocross, and obstacle course races.  

Rob loves running in the mountains, though as a flatlander for most of his life, he finds more success on courses with less elevation gain.

Race Schedule (mostly TBD, but (reasonably) for sure…):

Stephen Pretak

Stephen PretakOriginally from Connecticut, Pretak began running in 2000 when he (once again) failed to make the high school baseball team. His best friend dragged him out for cross country where he fell in love with running. The rest, as they say, is history.

Pretak ran cross country, indoor and outdoor track his last two years of high school and for four years at Division II powerhouse Southern Connecticut State University. As Stephen explains it:

“My college claim to fame was finishing dead last in the 3000m Steeplechase at the NCAA DII Championships.”

After college Pretak continued to run, albeit sporadically. In 2010 he joined a USATF-CT club team and began running and racing consistently.  After a two-year stop in California, Stephen found his way to Fort Collins where he came upon the Fort Collins trail running community and the Gnar Runner race series. While he still loves to race the roads, he’s since begun running and racing on the trails and has started to have some good success, most notably taking an already stout Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon course record under 1:30 last year when winning in commanding fashion.

While Stephen has a growing appreciation for technical trail running and big climbs, he still enjoys hopping in a road race whether it’s a mile or half marathon. In 2016, he won the Fort Collins Mountain Avenue Mile outright in 4:24 and the men’s division of the Horsetooth Half Marathon (out-leaned for first overall by the incomparable Brianne Nelson). 

Fun-loving Pretak found a corner of internet fame in 2016 when Runners World ran an article on his much-photoshoped 2015 Black Squirrel Half race picture

Race Schedule:

AJ Cohen

AJ Cohen - HorsetoothAJ Cohen is a 26 year old physical therapist, originally from Long Island, New York. His love of the mountains lead him to move to beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado in July of 2014, just one month after running his first 50k ultra marathon.

AJ has completed many ultra distance events up to 100k, although feels that he races best at the Marathon-50k distance. AJ’s highlights include finishing 3rd overall at the Silverton Alpine 50k, 7th overall at the Hogs Hunt 50k, top 20 at the Salida Trail Marathon, and top 30 in the competitive field of the Moab Trail Marathon.

AJ will be out and about at the races and on the trails in 2017 getting some awesome Northern Colorado trail running footage that we hope to share with you throughout the course of the season. Stay tuned!

Race Schedule

  • July 22  – Never Summer 100K
  • August Adventures – Maroon Bells 4 pass loop, Teton Range Traverse, Longs Peak Grand Slam
  • September 8 – Run Rabbit Run 100 (TBD)