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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Never Summer 2017 Post Race Wrap

North Diamond. Pic: Ben Barthel.

We’d like to offer a huge congratulations to all those runners who came together on Saturday July 22 to take on the third running of the Never Summer 100km. We love to see our finishers come across the finish line, so we were especially happy this year to be able to welcome home a record number of finishers. In helping get runners across the line, we owe a special debt of gratitude to our wonderful volunteers who came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers. 

When it was all said and done, 226 of the race’s 289 starters made it back to the Gould Community Center before the 5:30am cutoff. This represents a record 78 percent finisher rate. Of those finishers, 29 joined the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours). This includes our first two female members of the club, Alyson Kirk and Heidi Sauerland. We hope to see many more ladies join the club in the coming years.

No matter how far along the course you got, or indeed at what time you finished, we sincerely hope you enjoyed your experience in the beautiful mountains of Northern Colorado.


– Results with full aid station splits are available here.
– Race images: 


Heidi Sauerland finishing second. No headlamp required. Pic: Erin Bibeau

Alyson Kirk, now three-time winner. Pic: Erin Bibeau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
In both the men’s and women’s races new overall records were set. For the men, Tyler Fox from Boulder, CO took home top honors in a new course best of 12:11:10. He was followed home by Clark Messman (12:28:14) who posted the race’s second fastest time ever. Rounding out the men’s podium was Estes Park’s Kevin Sturmer who came home in 12:58:57.

Rob Raguet-Schofield lets it fly and finishes sixth overall, first from Fort Collins. Pic: Erin Bibeau

Tyler Fox (right) and Clark Messman go 1 & 2 in CR fashion. Pic: Erin Bibeau

 

In the women’s race, two-time defending champion Alyson Kirk bettered her 2016 time by a whopping one hour and four minutes to come home with a third Never Summer 100km title in a new course record time of 14:42:23. Although Alyson led from start to finish, she was pushed the whole way by Steamboat Springs’ Heidi Sauerland who posted the race’s second fastest time ever (15:10:59). Moab resident Meghan Hicks was our third place finisher, recording the race’s fourth fastest time ever, coming home in 15:53:50.

A fast year all around.

Heather Jossi on her way to a masters win. Pic: Joey Schrichte

The master’s categories (40-49) were won by Jesse Rickert and Heather Jossi. Heather, a newly minted master’s runner and three-time finisher of the event, ran her fastest time yet in winning the master’s category, taking over 45 minutes off her best to finish in 17:27:19. Jesse Rickert came within three minutes of taking down Elijah Flenner’s 2016 master’s record, finishing in a speedy 13:19:34 to finish an impressive fourth overall.   

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Junko Kazukawa who took home top honors in a time of 18:26:13. For the men, it was Fort Collins’ Steve Chaffee bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a time of 17:44:38. 

In the youngest and oldest categories, we had new records on both ends of the spectrum with Julian Cazares of Federal Heights CO finishing in 18:06:16 at the age of 20 and Joe Burleson of Erie, CO getting it done in 23:12:19 at the 67 years young.

 

Grandmasters winner Junko Kazukawa having fun at the American Lakes. Pic: Erin Bibeau

In recognition of the challenge that the course presents to all runners, we also give out a Final Finisher award for the runner that shows the most dogged persistence in being out there the longest. We were delighted to be able to hand off that award to Michelle Leong, one of many who made trip north from the Lone Star state. Michelle beat the buzzer by 11 minutes in a time of 23:49:09. 

We also like to make sure that we recognize our volunteers appropriately at the post-race breakfast awards ceremony by giving out the Never Summer Trail Boss award. While this award is given to one person who has shown particular dedication to the race, it is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole volunteer team who come together before, during and after the race. This year, we were honored to be able to recognize Bryan Bibeau as our 2017 Trail Boss for his dedication to race communications over the last three years. 

Bryan Bibeau (seated) heading up the event communications team. Pic: Erin Bibeau

As always, the volunteer support that we received for the event was – quite frankly – outstanding, and testimony to the special place the mountains of Northern Colorado hold in the hearts of the local outdoors community. Thanks to each and every one of you. And a special thank you to:

  • The Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club and their team of ham radio operators all of whom went above and beyond in ensuring that we had radio contact from every aid station on course, in addition to between medical and park staff.
  • The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol for offering up a team of skilled volunteers with first responder training and an intimate knowledge of the Never Summer and Medicine Bow Mountains.
  • State Forest State Park (SFSP) and their incredible staff of park rangers. We have received nothing but enthusiasm from SFSP in the years of planning and executing this event, and their professionalism on race weekend was second to none.
  • The Fort Collins Trail Runners. Though completely informal in affiliation, this group of trail running enthusiasts has been the backbone of the Gnar Runners operation from its inception. A continued Thank You to you all.
  • Poudre Valley Hospital’s team of medical professionals for going above and beyond in coordinating our emergency medical plans.
  • The Gould Community Association for their support and the use of the Gould Community Center.
  • The Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center for preparing both your post-race meal and awards breakfast. 

Team Canada. Pic: Erin Bibeau

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

Top tier support from:

Salomon Drymax Socks 
Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Contributing support from:
Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Generous product support from:
VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain CookiesTrader Joe’sSquirrel’s Nut Butter, Boulder Organic and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography and Joey Schrichte Photography. Digital images are available for download starting at 99 cents and print options are available too.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2018, tentatively on the weekend of July 28-29. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 9 we’ll be hosting the fifth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 21 by the TENTH running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

Remember, if you finish all four events in the calendar year you become a Gnar Slammer and receive an end-of-season award in addition to free entry into the following year’s Quad Rock. We will be updating our Gnar Slam page this week, with a list of all those in contention for the 2017 Slam. 

Thank you all!

Tyler Fox leading on Montgomery Ridge. Pic: Ben Barthel

Pic: Erin Bibeau

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2017 Never Summer 100km Runner and Crew Update

Before we set you on your way next weekend, we want to bring your attention to some final race instructions and reminders. 

New This Year

Safety and Communications

The event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our top priority. We will be tracking runners via ham radio communications at every aid station, so please be sure to check your bib number with volunteers at each and every stop along the way. If you need to drop out, you *must* notify the closest aid station captain and turn over your race bib before you leave the course. If you don’t officially check out of the race, we will assume you are missing on course.

For added safety, we will have first responders at every aid station and a team of backcountry paramedics located at strategic points along the course. It would be helpful to write any allergies or medical conditions on the back of your race bib to help first responders in assessing any given situation in the unlikely event of emergency.

There is cell phone coverage (at least with Verizon) in most high areas with a clear view to the west so runners who carry phones can get messages out to crew (text is best) periodically and may be able to make a call in the case of emergency. Potential hazards on course include: high altitude; steep, technical and rough terrain; downed trees and other obstacles; wildlife (cattle, moose, bears in particular); significant temperature changes from daytime heat to overnight cold; storms and lightning; and dense vegetation that may trigger allergic reactions.

Our 24 hour cut off is generous and should allow everyone enough time to get to the finish safely. With that in mind, we ask that you watch out for your fellow runners on course and run a smart and safe race.

Highway Crossings

There are two crossings of Highway 14 during the course of the race. One at mile 18, just after the Diamond aid station, and one at mile 62 just after the Ranger Lakes aid station. Traffic will not stop for runners and cars and trucks may be traveling in excess of 55 MPH (the posted speed limit). Runners are required to follow the instructions of road crossing volunteers who will be directing you safely across the road. Crews are not permitted to park on the hard shoulder of Hwy 14 under any circumstances.

Course Markings

The route will be well marked with pink flagging; pink and white pin flags; black and yellow turn signs; and flour at key turns. Night-time marking from the Clear Lake aid station to the finish will be a combination of white reflectors and LED lights. For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and/or batteries.

Parts of the course involve cross country travel. In these areas there will be flagging in line of sight at all times, so all runners who pay attention should have no problem staying on course. On more obvious parts of the course, confidence markers will be hung approximately every quarter mile and at every trail or road junction. With that said, there are many game trails, cow paths, and logging cuts on parts of the course that could lead you astray if you’re not paying attention. Never assume and always follow the course markings.

Detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions are available to print from the race website and the full course GPS files are available to download. It wouldn’t hurt to have this backup information with you if you are not familiar with the area. Please remember to print the information you need before leaving for the race. We will not have hard copies available to hand out to all runners at the start and will not have the ability to download and print documents on site.

Tricky Turns

The right turn off the Montgomery Road onto the Yurt trail at approximately mile 26 (~9,600′) is easily missed if you zone out coming down the jeep road from the Medicine Bow Ridge. It will be heavily flagged and flour’ed, but if you get to the Montgomery Yurts, you have gone too far. Turn around and retrace a third of a mile.

There may be a short overlap (for an eighth of a mile) between the first and last runners on the Ruby Jewel Rd (mile ~29 out, ~53 back). Runners heading outbound (north) from the Montgomery Aid to the Ruby Jewel Aid will turn right onto the Ruby Jewel road and proceed right up the road to the Yurt aid station. Front runners coming south from the Canadian Yurt will turn right to head down the Ruby Jewel Road towards the turn for the Lumberjack Trail. This junction will be heavily and unambiguously marked (likely with a course marshal), so there should be no cause for confusion. Nonetheless, everyone should be aware of these junctions to make sure that you can follow the route without guidance from a volunteer.

Drop Bags

We have 5 aid stations where you can leave a drop bag with essential supplies that you are unable to get from our aid stations. Drop bags can be left at the start on race morning and during Friday check in. Please keep your bags to a reasonable size (small duffel bag or stuff sack) as volunteers will need to transport these for you. Please do not use coolers, buckets, or other large hard plastic containers and do not pack any breakable glass or valuables in your drop bags.

Crew Details (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/aid-stations/)

The route and all access points are entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park, so all crew vehicles are required to purchase a park pass ($7) in order to access crew areas if they do not have an annual Colorado State Parks pass. Passes are available at the main park entrance, the Moose Visitor Center, or at the self-pay station on the Lake Agnes Road.

To save parking space at the start, we ask that crews drop off runners at the entrance to the Gould Community Center (the start area) and park .5 miles west at the Moose Visitor Center and walk over on the short connector trail. Crews can use the extra parking at the Visitor Center after hours before 9am and after 5pm. In the unlikely event that we run out of parking space at the finish, there is another large parking turn out off the highway about 1 mile to the east of the start that connects with the Gould trail leading to the finish.

Parking is allowed anywhere on park roads as long as vehicles do not block traffic and do not block any access gates.

Important Crew Notes

  • Diamond Aid: all crew parking will be at the pullout by the aid station or on the south side of the Lake Agnes access road leading to the aid station. There is absolutely no parking on Hwy 14.
  • Ruby Jewel: Crew vehicles are permitted to drive a mile up the Ruby Jewel Rd as far as the junction with the Francisco Loop Forest Road (a left turn off Ruby Jewel Rd). Parking will be on the right side of Ruby Jewel Rd (below Francisco Rd) or on the right side of Francisco Road, but will not be allowed on the Ruby Jewel Road past the Francisco Road. Please park as tightly to the side of the road as possible so all additional park visitor traffic and race vehicles can pass through unimpeded. From the Francisco Road, it is a little less than a mile hike/run up the Ruby Jewel Road to the aid location and crew access point at the Ruby Jewel Yurt. Additional parking space is available at the start of the Ruby Jewel Rd off of the main park road. It is just under 2 miles to the aid station from this location. 
  • Crew vehicles should not enter the Bockman campground (near the Bockman aid station) – especially after dark – unless they have a camp spot. We will have a port-a-john at the aid location. Additionally, there is a public bathroom and water pump on the main park road by the Michigan Reservoir on the way to the Boackman, Ruby Jewel, Clear Lake and Canadian aid stations.
  • Dogs with crew must be leashed at all times. Please keep dogs out of the aid stations and out of the runner lanes to avoid interfering with volunteers or tripping runners.
  • Crews and pacers should plan to bring their own water and food for the weekend. Gas and food is very limited in the area. The nearest gas is in Walden, 25 miles from Gould. There is a small store with snacks at the North Park RV campground by the main entrance to the Park. There is also a small store with ice, drinks and snacks in Gould off Hwy 14 a few miles west of the race start/finish. 

Pacing (http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/race-rules/):

Pacers are allowed starting at the Clear Lake aid station (mile 39.4 or 43.9). Runners over the age of 60 can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station. Clear Lake access is a 5 mile hike/run in from the trailhead at the north end of the main park road (CO 41). Pacers heading to Clear Lake to pace should be made aware that there is a junction a little over a mile from the trailhead (just up the road from the Canadian aid location) that indicates a left for trail access to Clear Lake and a right for road access. The quickest way to the aid location is to take the right fork following the forest road. This could be somewhat confusing as course markers will be coming in from the left off the trail (the race route from Clear Lake to the next aid station). If pacers follow the course markings and trail to the aid location (i.e. take a left at the junction), the run/hike in will be closer to 7.5 miles.

If you plan to have a pacer meet you at the Canadian Yurt aid station, the hike in is less than a mile and the aid station will be located at the junction of the Clear Lake Road and the Canadian Yurt Trail.

The Bockman aid station is accessible from the park road, and is about a half mile shy of the Bockman Campground. If you have somebody pacing you from Bockman, try to arrange a carpool to avoid crowding the area with too many parked cars. The aid station is just a small pull off on the Bockman Rd.

Pacers are there to provide company, moral support, but are primarily allowed for added safety for runners after dark. Muling (schlepping runner gear) and crewing outside of designated aid stations, or providing any other assistance is not allowed.

Pacers may not have extra drop bags – any extra items that a pacer needs must be packed in the runner’s drop bag.

Pacers should plan to bring whatever water and food that they need while waiting for their runner to arrive. While on course with their runner, pacers may make full use of our aid stations.

Race and Aid Station Pacing

Results and aid station splits from the last two years are available here: http://gnarrunners.com/never-summer-100k/results/.

A pacing spreadsheet/calculator with course notes from a run through prior to the inaugural race is available here:
http://gnarrunners.com/2015/07/never-summer-100k-course-preview-pacing-estimates/

Awards, Post Race Food and Runner Breakfast 

We will be offering a Great Harvest pancake breakfast during the awards and prize giving on Sunday morning, beginning at 10am. Finisher awards will be handed out at this time. We encourage you to come and enjoy the breakfast with your fellow competitors, crew members and race volunteers. If you cannot make it in the morning, finisher awards will also be available at the finish line, so please check in there before you leave.

Breakfast is free to all runners and volunteers. Friends and family are welcome to join too and are asked to make a $10 donation to the Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center if extra meal tickets have not been purchased in advance.

Volunteers from Teaching Tree will also be preparing post-race burgers and veggie burgers and Boulder Organic! soup for all finishers through the afternoon, evening and night on race day. This is free to all runners. Again, if a meal has not been purchased in advance for crew and pacers, extra tickets will be available for a $10 donation. Included with the meal will be a cold beverage from our friends at New Belgium Brewing, in addition to non-alcoholic options.   

Thank You

We want to thank you for registering to run the Never Summer 100km. We have received considerable support from friends, family, volunteers and sponsors in bringing this third running of the race to fruition. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who have helped get the course ready and who will be out volunteering on race day. Please remember to thank those out there helping you achieve your goals.

We also encourage you to consider the products and services of our sponsors:

Top Tier

Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

Product and Service Support

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to email us at racedirector@gnarrunners.com and we’ll do our best to get back to you. We will have limited internet access on site at the race so we may not be able to respond to all emails or Facebook posts after Thursday 7/20.

We look forward to seeing you in and among the majestic peaks of the Northern Colorado Rockies!

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Never Summer Training and Trail Work Weekend

Join us the weekend of July 1st and 2nd for our annual Never Summer training and trail work weekend. This is an informal training weekend that will give you a chance to get up high and preview the trails that make up the Never Summer 100km course. Race staff and volunteers will also be out finishing up the final pieces of trail maintenance and we’d appreciate any support you can offer if you don’t plan on running.

For those out training, we will provide limited support with water drops and car shuttles for the following routes:  

Saturday 7/1 (~16.5 miles, 33 miles) – 8am meet at 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 back to Ranger Lakes – or car drops/shuttle can be arranged). The full 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 is a little over 33 miles.

Route data (Elijah Flenner)https://www.strava.com/activities/628066417

Sunday 7/2 (21 miles) – 8am meet at Ruby Jewel TH. Run up the Ruby Jewel Road to Kelly Lake/Hidden Valley. Complete the northern loop after descending from Kelly Lake and return via Canadian/North Yurt for 21/25 miles (with/without Clear Lake spur). A shorter option would be to shortcut south on the access road to Canadian from the Kelly Lake junction (~17 miles).

Route data (no Clear Lake o&b)https://www.strava.com/activities/629223222

Trail work volunteers can meet up with us either day. We’ll mainly be working the southern section of the course.

We suggest the Crags Campground (first come, first served, rarely fills) for those that want to camp.

We’ll update plans on the event facebook page as we get a handle on numbers and logistics: https://www.facebook.com/events/307921969657055

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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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