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.

Katie_Black_Squirrel

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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Black Squirrel Half Marathon – Final Race Details

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

First and foremost, it’s going to be a HOT day. All runners will need to start with at least one bottle. Slower runners may need 2 bottles or a hydration pack.

Aid stations will be stocked with plenty of water, ice, and Succeed S-Caps. We have provided a very generous cut off to finish the race so please pace yourself in the heat, stay hydrated, and enjoy the race.

  • Packet and bib pickup will be available on Friday from 4pm to 7pm at Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists. COLPTS is located at: 115 E Harmony Rd., Ste. 160, Fort Collins, CO 80525 (southeast corner of College and Harmony).
  • Packet pick up will also be available on race morning from 6:30am to 7:45am. Late registration (cash & check only) will be available on Friday at packet pick up and on race morning.
  • The race will start promptly at 8:00am.
  • Parking at the Soldier Canyon start/finish area (limited to 50-60 cars) is reserved for carpools. All other cars will be directed to park on the Lodgepole loop road or Timber trailhead lot.
  • This a cup-less race. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle for refills at the aid stations. It will be hot on race morning.
  • The three aid stations will have water, Succeed Ultra sports drink, and assorted snacks and fruit.
  • Bibs must be visible from the front.
  • 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 short kids race/run (no more than a mile, but more than half a mile) beginning at 11:00 from the start/finish area.
  • We have a great BBQ planned with burgers, black bean burgers, vegan salads, cookies, chips, IZZE soda, and a couple of kegs of locally (Boulder) brewed 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.
  • In addition to finishers awards, we have unique overall and age group awards (Open: under 40, outside top three; Masters: 40 and older outside top three). We also have gift cards to Runners Roost Fort Collins for all award winners.

Thank you to Colorado Physical Specialists, Justin Liddle DMD, and Countryside Vet 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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Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists Sponsor the Blue Sky Marathon

We are very pleased to have Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon and sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon.

In addition to supporting the Blue Sky Marathon for the last five years, and the Quad Rock races for the last two years, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists has helped many local runners get back out onto the trails by fixing IT band syndrome, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, back pain, and all forms of muscle and joint strains, aches, and pains. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished ultra runners and know how important running is for those who love to run.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists is now offering running assessments through video analysis to help improve running performance and decrease the risk of future injuries. In addition to a full examination, runners can receive specific recommendations for individual exercises to correct faulty mechanics and improve running performance.

We are also very fortunate to have several other local businesses supporting our races.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins running community with sponsorship of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Justin is also an avid trail runner and will be running in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

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 Cat at the front of the women’s field in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Succeed will stock our aid stations with Ultra Sports Drink and S! Caps. And our post race BBQ will include healthy vegan salads from Powered by Plants, Izze sodas, and goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co.

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

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Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists Sponsor the Black Squirrel Half Marathon

We are very pleased to have Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon and sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon.

In addition to supporting the Blue Sky Marathon for the last five years, and the Quad Rock  races for the last two years, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists has helped many local runners get back out onto the trails by fixing IT band syndrome, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, back pain, and all forms of muscle and joint strains, aches, and pains. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished ultra runners and know how important running is for those who love to run.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists is now offering running assessments through video analysis to help improve running performance and decrease the risk of future injuries. In addition to a full examination, runners can receive specific recommendations for individual exercises to correct faulty mechanics and improve running performance.

We are also very fortunate to have several other local businesses supporting our races.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins running community with sponsorship of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Justin is also an avid trail runner and will be running in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.  

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 Cat at the front of the women’s field in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Succeed will stock our aid stations with Ultra Sports Drink and S! Caps. And our post race BBQ will include healthy vegan salads from Powered by Plants, Izze sodas, and goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co.

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

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2013 Quad Rock Race Recap

“With the exception of vertical and suffering (there was a ton of that) we experienced a little bit of everything out there with sun, rain, lightning, thunder, hail and mud.” ~ Kraig Koski in a post-race note.

QuadRock2013Start

Quad Rock Finish 1_Eskew

Mother Nature threw us a few spring curveballs out there on Saturday, but She deterred nobody. A huge and sincere congratulations to everyone who came out to toe the line this weekend, from the seasoned veterans to the crazy first-timers who chose to make the Quad Rocker their virgin 50 miler.

Trail love. Erin Bibeau Photography

Trail love. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

We had some fast finishers on the trails and we had some great stories from the front of the pack to the back. Indeed our last 50 miler to the 25 mile turn posted perhaps the most impressive back 25 miles of anyone on the course. Oza Klanjsek was the only person who resisted the temptation of the post-race BBQ and actually upgraded to the full 50 … 25 miles and 6 hours 33 minutes into her race day.

The only view anyone had of Oza on the back 25. Photo: Milan Klanjsek.

All other 50 milers after her either dropped out or missed the cut offs. Oza not only finished but ran a negative split to pass 14 other runners and finish in 13:03:06. We haven’t checked all of the splits but we’re pretty sure no one runs a negative split on our course.

We’re also incredibly proud of our final 25 mile finishers Molly Watkins and Debra Powell. Molly decided early this year that after giving birth to her son Ewan she would challenge herself with the longest (and toughest) run of her life. Molly trained hard to get ready for the event, so all of us in the Fort Collins trail running community were super excited to see her get the job done, and she couldn’t have had a better trail companion than Deb Powell who stuck with her all day.

At the pointy end of the field, we had some fast times and exciting race action. In the women’s races we had two Boulder(area)’ites take top honors.

Kerry Bruxvoort rolling through the Arthur's Meadow. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography.

Kerry Bruxvoort rolling through the Arthur’s Meadow. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography.

Kerry Bruxvoort ran uncontested the whole day, staying strong for a comfortable win and new course record (9:23). She was followed by Wyoming’s Becky Wheeler (9:42) in her first race back after a long injury lay-off, and rounding out the top three was Kris Klotzbach (10:15), finishing in exactly the same position as she did last year.

Silke Koester from Boulder was our 25 mile winner, looking smooth all morning in setting a new course record (4:20). She was followed by soon-to-be Fort Collins’ite Emily Warner (4:28) who ran all morning with her significant other Ryan Quinnelly as they checked out what will soon be their new backyard trails. Rounding out the top three was Nancy Citriglia from Winter Park.

Silke Koester. Erin Bibeau Photography

Silke Koester. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

The men’s 50 mile field featured some seasoned mountain ultra vets, a two-time Olympian, and a U.S. Olympic Marathon alternate. Mike Aish showed his Olympic pedigree by leading out the race through the early going, making the turn in approximately 3:30, followed in short order by Josh Arthur, Ryan Burch and Paul Hamilton.

Josh-Arthur-Finish

Josh Arthur getting it done in the 50 mile race. Photo: Chris Gerber.

Josh took the race by the scruff of the neck on the return 25, making it three wins out of three in his 2013 campaign (7:44). Watch out for Josh at Leadville this summer. Local runner Paul Hamilton wasn’t looking so hot at the turnaround, but somehow managed to rally for a really impressive second lap in his first stab at the distance, finishing just six minutes off the winning pace in second. Rounding out the top three was local favorite, last year’s winner, and still the course record holder, Ryan Burch (8:00). After a slight wrong turn early in the second lap, pre-race favorite Mike Aish faded to fourth (8:14).

Dane Mitchell came back this year to avenge his navigational mishap from 2012, posting a flawless and uncontested 25 mile win in a new course record time of 3:25. Andrew Catalano (3:40) and Andrew Bock (3:45) rounded out the top three in a finishing field of 176 25 mile runners.

There were 111 50 mile finishers, with approximately 61 calling it a day after 25 miles.

http://erinbibeauphotography.smugmug.com/photos/i-Sqf5RdS/0/M/i-Sqf5RdS-M.jpg

Dane Mitchell charging up the final climb in the 25 mile race. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

At 1:30 in the afternoon, we let loose the kids in the second annual Dirty Feet, Healthy Smiles one mile race. The kids all thoroughly enjoyed themselves before going back about the important business of rolling around in the mud.

liddle-muddy

The little Liddles making their parents proud. Photo: Shannon Price.

Of course, we couldn’t put on the kind of race we aspire to put on without the magnificent help of our sponsors and volunteers. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to live in the kind of town where people don’t even need to be asked to volunteer because hanging outside at an aid station, marking or tearing down a course, or helping with any other number of necessary jobs is their idea of fun. To our volunteers, a MASSIVE thank you; you were easily the biggest source of compliments we had all day from our runners.

And of course a big thank you to our very generous sponsors. Both Pearl Izumi and Cornerstone Home Lending (Hunter Team) came through in a big way to support our little event, and we ask that you consider supporting them if you’re in the market for high-quality race apparel and shoes, or a home mortgage (see reverse side of your race bib for a generous offer from Cornerstone Home Lending: tell Jimmy we sent you).

Cat Speights gets it done in the 50. Photo: Photo: Erin Bibeau

Cat Speights gets it done in the 50. Photo: Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

We’re also heavily indebted to our community sponsors, all of whom are linchpins in the local running community: Countryside Vet (Dr. Cat Speights), Justin Liddle DMD, and Colorado Physical Therapist Specialists. On-course nutrition was provided by First Endurance, and post-race schwag by Smith Optics, Highgear Altimeters, and Ultraspire Hydration. As always, Runners Roost Fort Collins came through in a big way with equipment, supplies and post race awards. We had beer from local brewery Pateros Creek, drinks from IZZE and the Bellevue Bean, and killer cookies and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co.

Thank you all.

 

The Roost was on site. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

The Roost was on site. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

Pateros Creek Brewing fuels the post-race party. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography.

Pateros Creek Brewing fuels the post-race party. Volunteers from Animal House Rescue staff the BBQ. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography.

Arthur's Aid. Photo: Erin Bibeau

Arthur’s Aid. Larimer County Search and Rescue volunteers helped to staff our aid stations. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

Lindsay Martin having a little too much fun. Photo: Erin Bibeau

Lindsay Martin having a little too much fun. Photo: Erin Bibeau

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.

And a final note: if you left anything behind at the race, there is a good chance it is hanging out at Runners Roost in the lost and found pile. We also have one runner looking for a Polar GPS unit, so please email us if you found that.

Looking forward to seeing many of you in 2014 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you later in the summer at one of our shorter events. On August 31 we will be hosting the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 6 by the sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Be GNARful out there!

Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

Mike Hinterberg leading the way under Arthur’s Rock. Photo: Erin Bibeau Photography

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Final Details for the 2013 Running of the Quad Rock 25/50 Mile Trail Races

With under a week to go until the second running of the Quad Rock 25/50, some final thoughts and instructions, including details of a slight course re-reroute:

Packet pick up will be at Runners Roost on Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Roost is located at 2720 Council Tree Ave #112, just west of I-25 off the Harmony Rd exit. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in. Pearl Izumi will be at packet pick up for anyone interested in demo’ing their new E:Motion shoe line.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:30 a.m until 5:20 a.m. Please keep bib numbers visible during the race, and the pull tag at the bottom intact. Those of you who can’t pick up packets Friday afternoon, EFS gel flasks will be distributed with your bibs in the morning.

The race will begin at 5:30 a.m. sharp, so we recommend you give yourself plenty of time to get your bib and do whatever it is you do to get ready to run 25/50 miles. Race packets, including T-shirts, will be available after you finish if you don’t pick up on Friday at The Roost.

Parking passes will be distributed at packet pick up on Friday or by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Lory Park will be open for parking at 4am. Carpools will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead. All others will be directed to the Timber trailhead parking area and down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole will be on the right (east) side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked. Directions and parking details here.

Horsetooth drop bags must be dropped off by 5:15 a.m. There will be a short pre-race briefing five minutes before the start. Bib numbers have been assigned on the entrant list if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish area by 5:00 pm. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.

Aid station fare is detailed here.

The Bellevue Bean Coffee Shop in Bellvue will be open from 6:00 a.m. if crews need to get food, coffee or tea after the start of the race. We will also have a (limited) supply of BB Coffee at the race start for runners and volunteers. The Bean is the most convenient stop for crews, spectators, and volunteers to get coffee, food, and wifi on race day. The shop is 3.5 miles from the race finish. Exit the park on 25G and turn north on 23 to the corner of Rist Canyon Rd in Bellvue.

Pateros Creek Brewery will be providing a special English Mild brew, ‘The 51st Mile,’ for the post-race BBQ. Please remember to bring an i.d. if you wish to partake. Runners will receive a meal ticket in their race packets. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and brews will be available for $10 (cash). All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Shelter along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Vet. The race is also benefiting Larimer County Search and Rescue.

Lee Holiday and the Time Off will be playing at the post-race BBQ from 12:45.

In addition to the Pateros Creek recovery blend, First Endurance’s Ultragen recovery drink will be available post race, as will massage and PT help from Colorado Physical Therapists.

Since March we have had a 1,000 acre+ fire in Lory State Park and 5 feet of snow, including 2 feet of snow in the last week. The snow has melted out super quickly, and we expect – but are not guaranteeing – reasonably dry conditions for Saturday. There is rain in the forecast for this week, and the current forecast for Saturday shows a high of 60 and a chance of rain. Conditions should be great for running, but bring a layer or two for after the race.

Needless to say, the the last two months have been challenging for Lory State Park officials. We are incredibly thankful for all their hard work in getting the park reopened. Ten bridges on the lower valley trails burned out during the March fire, and thanks to the heavy snow since then, the parks have not yet had a chance to rebuild. This means we will have a very minor re-route of the course. Details as follows & updated on race website and on race map:

Runners will take the Lory Service Road all the way to the Arthurs Rock trailhead (mile 2) rather than hopping on the East Valley trail at Eltuck picnic area. From Arthurs, runners will run the West Valley Trail to Sawmill rather than the East Valley Trail. Additionally, in Horsetooth, some trail work on Sawmill has resulted in a slightly lengthened section of trail there. 50 mile finishers will return through Arthurs via the West Valley Trail, run the road to Eltuck and then finish on the East Valley Trail. The current loop comes in at about 26 miles, a quarter mile longer (give or take a quarter mile) than last year. We consider this year’s slightly altered route to be no faster or slower than last year’s course.

There will be an unmanned water drop at the intersection of Westridge and Timber on the 7 mile stretch between Arthurs aid and the Start/Finish.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with a run of three ribbons leading up to and beyond each turn. Flour markings on the ground will supplement at key intersections.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so feel free to bring a bike for the kids. Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish area and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. There will be a half mile kids race (half (closed) road, half trail) beginning at 1:30 ish.

Crew access info is available here.

Early 25-mile finishers who want to shower before the post race can use the facilities at Horsetooth South Bay, located at the southern end of Horsetooth Reservoir off 38e by the Stout sign and shop. Showers are coin operated and cost $2. It is an approximately 15 minute drive to get there. Alternatively, a cold dunk in the reservoir is also available.

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

On behalf of Pete, myself (Nick) and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

Cheers!

Gnar Runners Event Management

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