2017 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Details

The 10th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon is less than a week away. Hopefully your training has been on point and you’re ready for a strong run.

All information relevant to the event is available from the race website here. In addition, we’d like to bring your attention to a few key details.

The weather forecast for Saturday is showing daytime highs near 60 degrees, which would be ideal; however, the forecast during the week up to Friday looks decidedly warmer with highs in the mid-70s. The Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, so please plan accordingly if the warmer temperatures carry over to the weekend.

An optional packet pickup will be available on Friday from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running. We will be handing out bibs on race morning to ensure we have an accurate list of starters. Altitude Running is located at: 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

Packet and bib pickup will be available on race morning at the Blue Sky trailhead from 5:30am to 6:30am.

Limited parking is available at the Blue Sky trailhead by the race start for carpools of two or more *runners* (55 spaces, first come, first serve) and additional parking will be at the Marina off Shoreline Drive, 3/4 of a mile from the start. If you are driving solo and parking in the Marina, please give yourself adequate time to get from your car to the start. Race day parking passes will be handed out when you arrive at the Marina or Blue Sky trailhead entrance.

Runner Drop Off will be just off Shoreline Drive around the corner from the Blue Sky Trailhead. 

**Parking is not allowed anywhere on 38E, along Shoreline Drive, or on any connecting residential street.**

Additional details and a map of the parking setup is available on the race website here.

We will have a start/finish gear drop area, if you want to avoid heading back to your car before the race starts – or think you might need or want to drop or pickup something when coming back through at mile 9.2 of the race after the Horsetooth loop. Bags should be labeled (we’ll have duct tape and sharpies at the start). There are no other drop bag locations on course.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am.

We have added a 10am cut off at the mile 9.2 Blue Sky aid station. Indian Summer South cut off times will remain the same as previous years at 12:30pm outbound (15.6 miles) and 1:45pm inbound (20.3 miles). 

Aid stations will be checking bib numbers. Please make sure your bib is visible from the front. It would also be helpful if you could call out your number as you leave and/or enter the aid station.

This is a cup-less race. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle or hydration pack for refills at the aid stations. Be sure you have adequate carrying capacity so you can hydrate adequately between aid stations

One of several well stocked aid stations.

The four aid stations (six total, as the two Indian Summer aid stations are visited twice) will have water, VFuel sports drink (Cool Lime or Black Cherry Cola), in addition to assorted snacks and fruit. The first Towers aid station will have water and Vfuel drink only.

We will have VFuel bulk gel (Mountain Berry, Cool Citrus, and Vanilla) at the start of the race and at the Blue Sky aid station at mile 9.2. Bring your own flask to fill if you would like to use gel from the aid stations during the race – packets will not be available.

The South Hunter turnaround is a checkpoint only – no water or aid. A volunteer will be marking bibs as people come through to make sure the loop is completed.

As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.

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’ll be offering a full post-race BBQ with beef burgers and vegan burgers and soup from Boulder Organic (both gluten free and vegan options). Also look for Mary’s Mountain CookiesGreat Harvest cinnamon buns, and New Belgium beer.

The BBQ is free to all participants. If you did not purchase extra tickets with your registration, additional meals can be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 donation to The Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center, one of the race beneficiaries.

In addition to finisher awards, we have overall and age group awards (Open: under 40, outside top three; Masters: 40-49, outside top three; Grandmasters: 50+). We have gift cards to Altitude Running for award winners, Salomon running shoes for overall winners and a smorgasbord of sponsor gear to give away in the post-awards raffle. We will also be recognizing the 2017 Gnar Slam finishers and Blue Sky Five-Year Finishers. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion.

Thank you as always to our fabulous race sponsors in helping us make this event possible:

Salomon RunningColorado in MotionJustin Liddle DMDDrymax SocksAltitude RunningCountryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses that support our races.

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 & Pete
Gnar Runners, LLC
racedirector@gnarrunners.com
Twitter/Instagram: @gnar_runners
www.facebook.com/gnarrunners


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

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Elise McKnight Gnar Slammer

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.

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David Boyd Gnar Slammer

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!

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Vince Vigil Gnar Slammer

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.”

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News and Dates for the 2017 Gnar Race Season

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.

Gnar_manSalomon

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 RacesFallsDescent_QuadRock
    – 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

NeverSummer2015-305-XL-SoGood2016 Never Summer 100K

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! 
  • 2018 Western States Qualifier

    The Never Summer 100km will be a 2018 Western States 100 Qualifying Race.

    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.  
elijah_gnar_slam

Elijah’s 2016 Slam Award Haul

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.

horsetoothhalfstart

Snow

Horsetooth11

…or shine, the show goes on.

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.

Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalWe’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:

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy

Formerly Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, same great care.

Drymax Socks

The Official Gnar Sock Sponsor. Keeping you blister free, no matter the conditions

Fort Collins Running Club Countryside Animal Hospital

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!

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