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!

Share

Volunteers Needed for the Never Summer 100K

The Never Summer 100K race is sold out but we have a number of fun volunteer positions to fill if you still want to be a part of the weekend.  

Check out the full race week volunteer schedule online here.

We’re looking for help in many areas, including pre-race set up, aid station volunteers, medical, radio, timing, parking, packet pickup and more! 

Join us for a day, a night, or the entire week!

We’re also happy to say thank you by giving comp entries to upcoming races for those taking leadership positions. 

Apply today!

Michigan Ditch aid station crew members and course sweepers (2017).

 

Share

Never Summer 100K Training Weekend

Never Summer 100K Training Weekend

Join us this weekend (6/30-7/1) for an informal training and/or trail maintenance weekend on the Never Summer course. 

Saturday, 8:00am: meet at the day parking area for the Ranger Lakes campground to run the southern section of the course. From Ranger Lakes to the Diamond aid station it is roughly 16 miles (with 2 mile jog on hard shoulder of Hwy14 back to Ranger Lakes – or car drops/shuttle can be arranged). A bigger loop from Ranger Lakes to North Diamond, across to Montgomery and down to Bockman and back to Ranger Lakes via the Grass Creek/Gould Mtn section of the course would be in the 32 mile range. 

Sunday, 8:00am: meet at Ruby Jewel TH (or at the bottom of the Ruby Jewel Rd at 7:30am to carpool up to the TH). Run Kelly Lake/Hidden Valley, northern loop and back to Ruby via Canadian/North Yurt for 20/24 miles (with/without Clear Lake spur). A shorter option would be to shortcut on the access road to Canadian from the Kelly Lake junction (~16 miles).

Trailwork volunteers can meet up with us either day. We’ll mainly be working the southern Never Summer section of the course.

We have Bockman site 334 reserved for anyone to check in and find us Friday or Saturday evenings. There are plenty of additional sites available at Bockman and the Crags campgrounds that can be reserved in advance. 
http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/StateForest/Pages/Camping.aspx

Additional first-come, first-serve sites will be available for late arrivals at the Crags, dispersed park sites, or in the national forest to the south of Gould.

Updates and additional details (including route maps/GPX tracks) are being posted to our Facebook event page.

Share

2018 Quad Rock Competition Preview

It’s looking like we’ll have fast running weather for the 2018 Quad Rock 50 & 25 Mile Trail Races. And with fast fields in all four races, we feel like a few of the races’ course records might come under a bit of pressure this weekend.

Here are a few names to look out for on the race Twitter feed (@gnar_runners, #quadrock #QR25 #QR50) and via the OpenSplitTime race tracking site.

Women’s 50 Mile Race:

2017 Quad Rock 25 Female Podium

Ginna Ellis, Taylor Nowlin and Abby Mitchell

We saw an incredible race last year, with all three of our podium finishers going under the previous course record. Marianne Hogan ended up beating out Kaci Lickteig to reset the women’s mark at 8:29:27. And while none of last year’s podium finishers will be toeing the line this year, we’ve still got a potential barn burner on tap. Former Ultrarunner of the Year, Michele Yates will be continuing her comeback from injury and will be among the favorites on the start line. She will be joined by two-time US Mountain Running Champion Addie Bracy who is dipping her toe into the ultra running world with a second go at the 50 mile distance after an impressive second-place debut at the Behind The Rocks 50 Miler earlier this spring. Nikki Kimball has an incredible race resume to her name, including multiple Western States 100 mile wins. We’re excited to have her on the start line as she gets ready for the 2018 Hardrock 100. We’re also excited to have an equally experienced and decorated Suzanna Bon toeing the line. Should any of the above falter, look for local favorite and winner of many a local race, Jenn Malmberg, to pick up the pieces.

Men’s 50 Mile Race:

Boulder’s Ryan Smith reset the 50 mile course record at an incredibly fast 7:20:27 in 2016, some 20 minutes quicker than Ryan Burch’s record from the inaugural running of the event in 2012. Those likely to be pushing the pace this year include an unbeaten (over 3 races) Bobby Peavey, 2017 second place finisher Daniel Metzger, Oregon speedster Duncan Hoge, two-time podium finisher Frank Pipp, the guy who always punches above his weight Nick Pedatella, and holders of all manner of segment CRs on the Quad Rock course Elijah Flenner and (Cookie) Mike Neal. We’ve also been informed by one of our Twitter correspondents to keep an eye out for Gavin Coombs.

Women’s 25 Mile Race:

Reese Ruland is the only woman to have gone under 4 hours in the 25 mile race (3:58:07, 2015). While she will not be running this year, second to Reese in 2015 and second fastest ever over one loop is three-time podium finisher Ginna Ellis, who is back on the starting line this Saturday and perhaps starting as favorite. Ginna will be pushed by two former 50 mile Quad Rock winners, Becky Wheeler & Kerrie Bruxvoort. In addition, Boulder’s Abby Levene (winner of last year’s Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k), Longmont’s Becky Lynn (winner Pike’s Peak Ultra 50) and Windsor’s Katharine Kissane (winner 2017 Steamboat 50) will all be challenging for podium spots.

Men’s 25 Mile Race:

Chris Mocko

2017 Blue Sky Trail Marathon champion, Chris Mocko

Michael Aish holds the two fastest 25 mile times with a best of 3:17:29 dating back to 2015. He will not be back this year, but Brent Kocis will be back to defend his 2017 title (3:28:07). Pushing Brent will be last year’s Blue Sky Trail Marathon winner Chris Mocko, former 50 mile record holder and local favorite Ryan Burch, Boulder youngster (and speedster) Jackson Brill, and 2017 Never Summer 100k Trail Race champ Tyler Fox. Add in previous Blue Sky Champ Sam Malmberg and dark horse, Chris Copenhaver, and we’ve got ourselves a race!

We’re looking forward to watching the action unfold. Be sure to check into the gnar_runners Twitter feed during the day for lead updates, pictures and commentary. And for aid station splits across the whole field, we’ll be doing our best to post as close to real time as we can on OpenSplitTime.org.

Share

Quad Rock 2018 Pre-Race Information

With a week to go until the 7th running of the Quad Rock 50 & 25 Mile Trail Races, here are some final thoughts and instructions:

Weather: The current forecast is looking pretty good, but as we’ve learned from previous years, anything can happen. It’s spring time in the Rockies. Be prepared for heat, cold, sun, or rain. Should there be any weather-related last minute changes, details will be emailed to participants, published on our blog, and posted on Facebook.

Course Conditions: The trails are currently in great shape, the park is green and the creeks are flowing. We will be following the same 2017 re-route this year due to an eagle-nesting closure on the Spring Creek trail. The re-route around the closure on the Herrington & Stout trails will add a mile to the section between the Towers and Horsetooth aid stations. To compensate, we are taking a mile out of the course in the opening section of the race from the start to Towers. Mileage will be almost exactly the same and there will be a net loss of 200 of vertical gain per lap. Time-wise the course may be a touch quicker than the original route, but the re-route adds a mile of technical singletrack and removes a mile of dirt road so it’s pretty much a wash. 

Pre-race packet pick up will be held at Altitude Running on Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at 150 East Harmony Road just north and east of the Harmony/College intersection on the south side of town. Race partner Salomon Running will be on site demo’ing their latest offerings, including the new S/LAB Ultra. Altitude Running will be offering 15% off any Salomon or Drymax Socks products bought at the store. There will also be a coupon on the back of your race bib that is good for 15% off Drymax and Salomon products bought at the store after the race.

Bibs will not be handed out at Friday packet pickup. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race shirt, schwag, and any pre-ordered merchandise to help smooth race day check in. Those of you that can’t pick up your bib and packet Friday afternoon can do so in the morning from 4:00 – 5:00 for 50 milers and from 6:00 – 7:30 for 25 milers.

The 50 mile race will begin at 5:30am and the 25 mile race will begin at 8:00am

If you wish to switch from the 50 mile race to the official 25 mile race start at 8am, please notify us by the end of packet pickup on Friday.

50 mile starters who drop out at 25 miles will receive a finish time and finisher award but will not be eligible for overall or age group awards.

**New Soldier Turnaround Aid Station for 50 Milers**
50 Milers will not check through the finish line at the 25 mile Soldier Canyon Aid station. All 50 Milers will be directed to the new aid location next to the shed by the race start to check in and out after the first lap. Drop out times will be recorded and 25 mile finisher awards will be handed out at the aid station for any 50 miler who decides to stop after the first lap. Drop outs should not run through the finish line to avoid confusing our timing staff. 

**New 25 Mile Early Start Option**
If you think you will need more than 9 hours to finish the 25 mile race, you can start with the 50 milers at 5:30am. Arthur’s Aid Station at mile 17.5 will close at the 50 mile cut off at 2:10pm and anyone over a 9 hour pace will not make make it on time.
Please email racedirector@gnarrunners.com to request the 5:30am start option.

Bib numbers must be worn on the front and visible at all times. Please do not remove, fold, or pin your bib tag – this will be used for your official finish time. 

We will be at full capacity on Saturday, so we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a mile away from check-in), get your bib, and get ready to run. If you can carpool, please do. Not only is it one less vehicle on the road but it helps reduce stress on Lory State Park’s limited parking infrastructure, and it gets you priority parking near the start.

There are park toilets at the Timber parking lot, at the top of the Soldier Canyon parking lot, at the bottom of the Soldier Canyon lot near the start, and at the South Eltuck trailhead at the far end of the spur road which overflow cars will be parked on. We will also have port-a-johns near the start/finish (always the longest line).

Parking passes will be distributed by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Make sure your pass is visible on your dash. Vehicles without a park pass may be ticketed.

Lory State Park will be open for 50-mile parking at 4am. Carpools of two or more participants for both races will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead (while spots last). All others will be directed first to the Timber trailhead parking area and then down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Spur Road. Parking on the Lodgepole Spur Road 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 are here.

Horsetooth drop bags (mile 10.3 and 39.5) must be dropped off by 5:00 a.m. before the 50 mile race start. 25 Mile runners may drop off a Horsetooth drop bag at Friday packet pickup. Finish drop bags may be left any time before each race start. 
**Horsetooth trailhead parking is not guaranteed for crews as it is a very busy trailhead that fills early every weekend. If you need any specific items that aren’t provided by our aid station, make sure you include them in your drop bag.**

Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list and on OpenSplitTime by end of day Wednesday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish at about 5:00pm after the aid station team returns to the finish. 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. VFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels.

This year at the post-race BBQ we will have beer from New Belgium Brewing (Fat Tire Amber Ale). Runners will receive a meal ticket with their finisher mug. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and a beer will be available for a $10 donation to our race beneficiary (cash/check). First beer is free for everyone, we then ask that you make a cash donation for additional beers. Our BBQ will be well stocked with burgers, brats, Amy’s vegan burgers, vegan quinoa salad from the Fort Collins Food Co-Op, Boulder Organic SoupMary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest buns, fruit, and lots of other goodies.

Salomon Running will be on hand after the race demo’ing their trail running line up. Check out the back of your race bib for an Altitude Running offer on Salomon shoes and also Drymax socks. Also check out your bib for an offer from our physical therapy partners, Colorado in Motion. During the awards and raffle, we’ll be giving away some great stuff from those sponsors and other race sponsors.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with additional marking at all junctions.  Flour markings and/or pink pin flags will supplement at key intersections.

Limited in-race updates will be via the Gnar Twitter feed (gnar_runners, #QR50), and we will be attempting to publish aid station split updates to OpenSplitTime.org; however, data connections can be fickle at Lory, so please have patience if this doesn’t work out quite as planned.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated aid stations 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 (or yourself). 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. The Healthy Smile, Dirty Feet One Mile Kids Race (half (closed) road, half trail) – sponsored by long-time race supporter Justin Liddle DMD – will begin at 2:00 from the race start.

Crew access info is available here.

** Please note that if the weather is nice, both Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park may reach capacity. Parking space at Horsetooth or Arthur’s trailheads is not guaranteed. Crews and spectators are highly encouraged to meet at the starting line after the start of each race to try to carpool together to the Horsetooth aid station. 

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.

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!


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

Share

Salomon S/LAB Ultra Review

Released last October, the Salomon S/LAB Ultra is a trail running shoe designed by trail runners. It incorporates many new features from the Salomon product innovators.

Local Salomon rep Ryan Lassen promotes it as “a shoe that I would 100% recommend to Quad Rock runners (along with the Sense Ride, and S/LAB Sense 6 SG)”

 

Ed DeLosh Salomon S/LAB Ultra

Ed DeLosh

Key Innovations:

Progressive Stack Height – Unique to any shoe on the market, Salomon has introduced a variable stack height for the S/Lab Ultra to help standardize the shoe’s drop and offset as it wears. As shoes compress differently across sizes, the stack height of the S/Lab Ultra increases slightly for larger shoes to ensure a standard ride for all, regardless of the size or mileage of the shoe.

Hydrophobic Materials – The S/LAB Ultra incorporates the hydrophobic material made popular in the XA Amphib. This means when the shoe gets wet, the weight hardly changes.

Energy Save – The design adds a special piece of EVA foam in the forefoot that does not pack out over time. 

Adaptive Sensifit – The shoe warms up as your foot does, allowing it to adjust the way it wraps around your foot as the race goes on and foot swell occurs.

Premium Wet Traction – The outsole retains the same lug pattern as its predecessor and uses Salomon’s stickiest rubber compound.

Gnar Team Members Testify:

Elijah Flenner – I brought one trail shoe on my five week trip to France, the S/Lab Ultra. There were no other contenders.

Ed DeLosh – I love the endofit inner sleeve and the lacing that Salomon uses. They provide for a good, stable fit and really allow you to dial it in. The outsole is just like the previous version, which I found to provide pretty good traction without feeling like you’re running on big knobby tires.
When I saw this new version, my immediate concern was that the more rigid upper could cause hot spots on long runs, and when I put them on, they definitely gave the sensation of having less give than the prior version. The shoe also has a tongue that comes up higher on the ankle, raising the concern the it’d irritate the tendons on the top of the foot. But I’m happy to say that after a couple of short runs and now a 25 miler, I experienced no issues at all, and so far find them to be a solid shoe that I enjoy running in. For me, they are an improvement over the previous version and may well be the shoe that I end up turning to for my racing this year, after I get a chance to try them out on a couple more long runs.

Salomon will be joining Gnar Runners for our Quad Rock Preview Run, April 7 at Lory State Park, with shoes to wear test. Come out for miles, fun, food and try out a new pair of kicks.

Share