2018 Gnar Race Registrations to Open Dec 15

Registration for all four races in the 2018 Gnar Trail Racing Series will open on December 15. Once again, we’re proud to be hosting all four of our trail running events in partnership with our top brand sponsor, Salomon Running.

Gnar_manSalomon

Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2017.

Dates for the 2018 Trail Races

  • May 12, 2018: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $95
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 400
  • July 28, 2018: Never Summer 100km
    – Early Entry Fee: $175
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • September 8, 2018: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $65
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300
  • October 20, 2018: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Early Entry Fee: $65
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – Race Cap: 300

Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Finish at Lory State ParkNever Summer 100K Climb up North Diamond

What’s New for 2018?

  • The Quad Rock Trail Races will again have separate start times for the 25 and 50 mile events. The 50 miler will start as always with first light at 5:30, while the 25 mile race will start at 8:00.
  • The short re-route on the Spring Creek section of the Quad Rock course may be implemented again next year. Final plans will be published in April and will be dependent on where and if the eagles nest in the crags above Spring Creek.
  • Due to the logistical challenges of getting into and out of the Clear Lake aid location at the Never Summer 100km, we have removed it as a crew/pacer access point for 2018.
  • The cap for Never Summer has been cut slightly to 300 starters.
  • Never Summer will again be a qualifying race for the Western States 100. In addition, we have submitted applications for both Quad Rock and Never Summer to serve as UTMB qualifying races.
  • We have added a couple of extra age group award categories for the Black Squirrel Half and Blue Sky Marathon, with 10-year increments from <30 to 60+.
  • With the success and excitement surrounding the Gnar Slam this year, we will again be offering end-of-season awards and a free entry into the 2019 Quad Rock Trail Races for all runners that complete the Quad Rock 50, Never Summer 100km, Black Squirrel Trail Half, and Blue Sky Marathon.
Gnar Slam Class of 2017 Finishers

The Gnar Slam class of 2017.

  • Once again we’ll be managing the Horsetooth Half Marathon in 2018. This year, we’ll be celebrating the 45th running of Colorado’s oldest half marathon. The race will be offering all the fun you’ve come to expect from the Horsetooth Half, with group training runs beginning in January, a super-sized post-race party at New Belgium Brewing and the biggest half marathon purse ($8,000) in the state.

Great Partners

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 partner, Altitude Running, at all pre-race packet pickups. We’ll also be offering the opportunity to demo Salomon kicks at training runs, community events and race-day expos.

Our other top sponsors for the 2017 season include the following great businesses and brands:

Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy

Getting Fort Collins runners back on their feet

Drymax Socks

The official sock of the 2018 Gnar Runners race series.

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.

Stay tuned for updates about new events, training opportunities, and our expanded Gnar Running Team. Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates as our 2018 season unfolds.

We’re incredibly excited for the 2018 season, and we can’t wait to welcome you to one, or perhaps all of our running events.

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2017 Blue Sky Trail Marathon Race Recap

Blue-Trail-MarathonWith its grassroots beginnings, the Blue Sky Trail Marathonh has been a true community undertaking since its inception in 2008. Considering this, it was wonderful to see a record crowd from the trail running community turn out to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event this past weekend.

As usual the weather had a role to play in the proceedings, this year delivering ideally cool temperatures intermixed with strong and blustery winds. While the final eight miles running into the northwesterly headwind proved tough, the temperatures allowed for generally fast times and ultimately we saw 275 runners hit the finish line from a total of 285 starters.

Both the men’s and women’s winners seemed to get their pacing spot on this year. Chris Mocko for the men waited patiently in second for much of the race before taking the lead in the closing five or six miles of the race, passing early race leader Seth DeMoor ChrisMocko-BlueSky17between the Indian Summer aid stations, closing a four-minute gap in as many miles from the 18 mile Hunter turnaround. Mocko would go onto finish in 3:14:33, less than a minute shy of Steve Folkerts’ long-standing record from 2009. Former pro-triathlete, Kyle Leto finished second (3:21:26), followed a couple of minutes later by Dustin Moore in third (3:23:42). Showing just how close it was for the places, defending champion Brent Kocis would lead the next three runners across the line, all finishing within a minute of third.

In the women’s race, Abby Mitchell (3:49:32) went AbbyMitchell-Blue Skyone better than her second place finish at this year’s Quad Rock 25 miler by putting on a pacing master class. Leading from pillar to post, Abby grew her lead over second place finisher Julie Olsen-Smith (4:00:46) by three, six and ultimately 11 minutes between the nine mile, 18 mile and finish line timing locations. Like Mocko in the men’s race, Mitchell would finish one minute adrift of the course record set in 2015 by Reese Ruland. Defending champion Jeanne Cooper (4:04:36) rounded out the podium, finishing third in her return to racing after a long injury lay-off.  

The master’s wins went to Ed Delosh (4:02:57) and Sarah Omann (4:18:29). The grandmasters winners were Don Sims (4:16:48) and Cindy Stonesmith (5:17:10). All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman in addition to gift cards from Altitude Running. 

BlueSkyAwards17


Race Photos:


In addition to keeping track of our fastest finishers, we also like to keep track of our oldest and youngest-ever finishers, and we had new records on the younger side of the spread this year. Noah Kieser of Longmont finished in an impressive 4:58:34 at just 16 years of age. Tying for youngest female finisher ever was 18 year old Jordyn Milbrath also of Longmont, CO, finishing the course in 6:08:31. 

NoahKeiser-BlueSky2017

Noah Keiser. Youngest Finisher Ever.

And this year we saw a record 13 runners complete the Gnar Slam, including our first four female finishers. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

Aaron Youngberg came away top in the points standings on the men’s side, while Kristen Kovatch took top honors on the women’s side. A hearty congratulations to all our Gnar Slam finishers.

GnarSlamChamps2017

GnarSlamClass2017And of course, our races would simply not be the same without the magnificent support of our volunteers. From Towers to the Hunter turnaround, the Blue Sky volunteers were out there on course keeping runners motivated, fed, and hydrated. As always, race participants were glowing in their praise of the volunteers, whether they were parking cars in the morning, marshaling runners at the turns, or filling bottles at the aid stations.

The Hunter Turn Team exchanging notes to make sure all runners are accounted for.

The Hunter Turn Team exchanging notes to make sure all runners are accounted for.

We also couldn’t put on our trail races without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you Salomon RunningColorado in MotionDrymax SocksAltitude RunningJustin Liddle DMDCountryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club for your incredible race support.

And also to our fantastic product sponsors: VFuelNew Belgium BrewingGreat Harvest Bread Co.Squirrel’s Nut ButterMary’s Mountain Cookies, and Boulder Organic!

Sponsors-BlueSky17

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2017 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2018 with excitement. If you enjoyed Blue Sky, consider running the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April, the 25 or 50 mile Quad Rock races in May, the Never Summer 100km in July, the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in September, and of course the Blue Sky Marathon in October.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2018!

See you in 2018!

See you in 2018!

Rob Broomfield - Gnar Slammer

Rob Broomfield – Gnar Slammer

A fifth finish for Katie Oglesby.

A fifth finish for Katie Oglesby.

Gnar Slam finisher Diane Bergstedt

Gnar Slammer Diane Bergstedt

ShannonSmith-BlueSky17

Shannon Smith having fun

Top Tier Sponsors
Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD ProsthodontistRace SupportCountryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club
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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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