Ed Delosh, a CSU professor, is bouncing back from an injury that threatened to end his running career. In 2017, he’s determined to prove the doctors wrong by completing the Gnar Slam. His journey starts with the Quad Rock 50 in May.
Elise McKnight is a nurse from Fort Collins, CO. She finished her first 50 miler this winter in Antelope Canyon and plans to take on the Gnar Slam this summer.
The Never Summer 100k will be Elise’s longest run ever, and we’re excited to follow along as she attempts to become our first ever female Slammer. Check out which race she fears the most and the one she’s most looking forward to.
David Boyd is a nurse and avid runner from Fort Collins, CO. To date, the longest he has raced is 50 kilometers. Last weekend, he kicked off his 2017 season with an impressive sixth place finish at the Salida Marathon. Next up is the Quad Rock 50 and the start of the 2017 Gnar Slam.
We’ll be following Dave all summer as he works his way through the series. Can he put pressure on Elijah Flenner’s record from 2016? We’re looking forward to finding out!
This summer, we’re going to follow four runners on their quest to finish the Gnar Slam. To earn the title of Gnar Slammer, our runners will need to complete the Quad Rock 50, the Never Summer 100km, the Black Squirrel Half Marathon, and the Blue Sky Marathon under the races’ respective cut-offs.
All four are relatively new to ultrarunning and one – Vince Vigil – has never raced longer than the half marathon distance. We’ll be introducing our Gnar Slammers over the next two weeks as we get ready for the Quad Rock preview run on April 1.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Vince Vigil, a self-described “old fat guy” who’s “gonna try and run the Gnar Slam.”
The fall permitting season has been a busy one for us here at Gnar Runners headquarters, with more than a few twists and turns to keep us on our toes. But the pieces are now in place and we’re ready to announce our dates and news for the 2017 season, which we’ll once again be hosting with the generous support of our top brand sponsor, Salomon Running.
Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2016.
Dates for the 2017 Trail Races
- May 13, 2017: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
– New This Year: Cap increase to 400 starters
– 50 Mile Early Entry: $85 (same bargain pricing as our very first year in 2012).
– Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
- July 22, 2017: Never Summer 100km
– New This Year: Cap increase to 350 starters
– Early Entry Fee: $175
– Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
- September 9, 2017: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
– Race Cap: 300 runners
– Early Entry Fee: $60
– Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
– New This Year: All-new picnic area and beefed-up after party
- October 21, 2017: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
– Race Cap: 275 runners
– Early Entry Fee: $65
– Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins Co
– New This Year: Date pushed back 3 weeks to improve parking logistics
What’s New for 2017?
- In 2016, we experimented with separate start times for the 25 and 50 mile Quad Rock Trail Races and things worked out well, so we’ll be continuing that format for 2017. The 50 miler will start as always with first light at 5:30, while the 25 mile race will start at 8:00. We implemented this change for a number of logistical reasons, but most importantly we wanted to create a larger and more social post-race BBQ. It’s that community vibe that makes trail and ultra running so special, so bring a chair and hang out for a while!
In partnership with our permitting agencies, we have negotiated cap increases for both Quad Rock and the Never Summer 100km. Both races have been sellouts from their opening years, so we’ve worked hard to figure out ways to build capacity and meet demand, while doing it in a sustainable manner. The cap for Quad Rock across both races has been increased to 400 starters and for Never Summer to 350. These caps are as high as we are comfortable raising them so they will remain in effect moving forward.
- Aside from the cap increase, much will remain the same for the third running of the Never Summer 100km. We are working hard to improve a number of behind-the-scenes logistical pieces, but the most significant changes from a runner/crew perspective will be the relocation of the Diamond Peaks aid station from the Highway 14 pullout down course to the Lake Agnes Rd. In addition, we have worked with our start/finish hosts at the Gould Community Center to significantly expand and improve the parking areas and will be offering a limited number of car camping spots on site.
- We’re ‘formalizing’ the Gnar Slam with an end-of-season award and a free entry into the 2018 Quad Rock Trail Races for all finishers. To be eligible for the award and free 2018 Quad Rock entry, participants must complete the Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100km, Black Squirrel Trail Half, and Blue Sky Marathon. To date we have had just four finishers – all male – with Elijah Flenner (2016) our fastest Slammer. Who’ll take on the challenge in 2017? And who’ll be our first female finishers? Click here for more details.
We continue to do roads too!
The Fort Collins Running Club has extended our contract to manage the 44th running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April 2017. If you’re looking for an early spring road event that offers something a little more challenging than the road norm, then consider taking the journey from the Holiday Twin Drive In to New Belgium Brewery by way of the challenging hills of the easternmost hogbacks of the Northern Colorado Rockies. The beer and music at the finish will be flowing and rocking until the last person leaves, so if you’re looking for a spring sharpener we suggest you look no further.
Value for Money
As always, we seek to offer the best bang for the buck that we possibly can, without scrimping on any of the things that make Gnar Runner events the top-shelf experiences that you’ve come to expect. In that spirit, we’ve maintained first-year pricing for the Quad Rock 50, which at $85 continues to represent some of the best value in Colorado ultrarunning. And, as always, at all Gnar events you can expect:
- Hot food and cold beer after your run
- A fantastic post-race vibe
- Great courses on well-marked trails
- Unique awards
- Great swag giveaways
- High quality event t-shirts
- (Free) on-course training opportunities leading up to each event
Part of the reason we’re able to offer such great value for all our races is because we’ve worked tirelessly to partner with quality sponsors that share our vision for well-managed, yet affordable events. This year we are incredibly excited to be partnering again with Salomon Running, one of the greatest brand innovators in the sport.
We’ll be offering special Salomon shoe deals with our retail partners at all pre-race packet pickups. We’ll also be offering the opportunity to demo Salomon kicks at training runs and at race-day expos.
Our other top sponsors for the 2017 season include the following great businesses and brands:
We’ll have other exciting sponsor deals to promote as the season gets underway, in addition to tons of sponsor swag to give out during the BBQ awards and raffle at each and every race.
We’re incredibly excited for the 2017 season, and we can’t wait to welcome you to one, or perhaps all of our running events.
Be Gnarful out there!
September is a great time of year to race on the trails here on the Front Range, and we were treated to another picture perfect morning for the 4th running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. With the sun popping up over the horizon, just under 300 runners set off on the 13.3 mile tour of Lory State Park’s outer border trails.
From the gun, it was pre-race favorites Stephen Pretak and Amanda Lee who set the early pace in the men’s and women’s races. Both would hold on for the victories in their respective races, and for the fourth straight year the men’s course record would be lowered. Pretak’s time of 1:29:05 is the race’s first finish under 1:30 and a minute quicker than Aaron Anderson’s winning time from 2015. Amanda Lee notched her second straight Black Squirrel win with a 1:48:56 finishing time. Her time ranks as the second fastest ever behind Melissa Dock’s 2014 winning time of 1:45:06.
Second and third in the men’s race were Horsecow Lonac (1:35:13) and Erik Nau (1:37:21), while in the women’s race Michelle Gailey from Sydney Australia finished three minutes adrift from Lee in second, followed by Fort Collins local Molly Soasey in third (1:58:17).
After winning and setting course records in the master’s division of both the Quad Rock 50 mile and Never Summer 100km races, Elijah Flenner was the odds-on favorite for the Black Squirrel master’s title. Pushed the whole way, Elijah was overtaken in the valley by Lory local Mike Neal – owner and operator of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies Old Town. Cookie Mike would go on to register the master’s win in a time of 1:38:37, followed a minute and a half later by Elijah. Ed Delosh rounded out the men’s master’s podium.
In the female master’s division, it was Catherine Thomas from Fort Collins who took home the honors in a time of 2:02:00. She was followed by Amy Walsh (2:11:43) and Tonya Barber (2:14:08).
The open divisions (non-podium, under 40) were won by Rob Raguet-Schofield (1:39:10) and Rachel Dean. In the grandmaster’s division, Tony Dragan from Fort Collins set a commanding new divisional course record with an impressive 1:46:53, while Cathy Zitti posted an equally impressive finishing time of 2:10:57 for the over 50 competition, just a couple minutes off Theresa Rudel’s divisional mark from 2014.
Our youngest finisher this year was Opfer Camden (2:35), a 13-year-old from Fort Collins. On the other end of the age spread, we had two impressive septuagenarian finishes from 72-year-old Phil Nissen (3:11, LeHigh Acres, FL) and 73-year-old Jammie McMillin (3:49:44, Colorado Springs).
Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running shoes and packs, Julbo sunglasses and Drymax socks. And, of course, the coveted Black Squirrel awards lovingly crafted in the Gnar Runners Gnarts and Crafts Department.
Of course, these races don’t happen without the help of an army of volunteers, and as always our volunteers shone bright and provided a wonderful race experience for all participants. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.
We also couldn’t do what we do without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you to our top tier sponsors: Salomon Running, Altitude Running, Colorado in Motion, Drymax Socks, and Justin Liddle DMD.
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.
We look forward to seeing you again on September 9th, 2017. Or, if you want more Gnar-filled trail racing fun this year, then check out the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon on October 2nd. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.
Top tier support from:
Generous product support from:
VFuel, New Belgium, Fort Collins Food Co-Operative, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Julbo, Trader Joe’s, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, Eldorado Natural Spring Water, Kristel Liddle, LMT, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.