The Inaugural Running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon: Race Recap

The start of the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Half marathon. Erin Bibeau Photography.

The start of the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Half marathon. Erin Bibeau Photography.

It was a hot one for the inaugural running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon, hosted on the beautiful trails of Lory State park, but that didn’t deter 206 hardy runners from completing the challenging course.

Runners snake up the start of the Timber climb.

Runners snake up the start of the Timber climb. Erin Bibeau

Corey Hanson led the charge off the front of the race, with a colorful procession of runners following him up the snaking Timber trail through the opening 1,500 feet of climbing to the high point of the Park on the Westridge doubletrack trail.

From there views opened up to Longs Peak on the west and the City of Fort Collins to the east, before the precipitous plunge down the Howard trail to the Arthurs Rock aid station.

Katie_Black_Squirrel

Human-sized Black Squirrel, aka, Katie Robinson. Erin Bibeau Photography.

Runners reported Black Squirrel sightings at both the bottom of the technical Howard descent and also at the Arthurs Rock aid station.

From the mile 8 Arthurs aid station, runners were treated to rolling hard pack singletrack on the south and east valley trails all the way into the finish. Although the majority of the climbing was over by the time runners hit the valley trails, this section proved to be the hardest for many due to the intense heat and lack of shade.

At the front of the field, Corey Hanson, who lives a half mile from the Park entrance, would hang on to win the inaugural running of the race and in doing so set the course record in an impressive 1:36:10. He was soon followed by Cory Linfield (1:37:33) and Christopher Knott  (1:41:26) in second and third respectively.

Corey Hanson in the lead at mile 8. Erin Bibeau

Corey Hanson in the lead at mile 8. Erin Bibeau

In the women’s race, Longmont resident Melissa Dock led pillar to post and crossed the finish line ninth overall in a time of 1:49:50. She was followed by Wyoming’s Esther Hartsky (1:56:50) and local favorite Jenn Malmberg (1:57:48).

The masters divisions were won by Ed Delosh (1:49:25) and Monica Brackney (2:04:10), while the open divisions (39 & under) were won by Adam St.Pierre (1:42:08) and Samantha Wood (1:58:36).

Our two final finishers, Ben Erickson and Gary Nelson, received a standing ovation before being escorted over to the post-race BBQ for burgers and beers along with the rest of the festive post-race crowd.

Prizes included gift certificates to Runners Roost Fort Collins, in addition to Black Squirrel awards crafted in the Arts and Crafts Department of Gnar Runners, LLC.

Melissa Dock on her way to winning. Erin Bibeau

Melissa Dock on her way to winning. Erin Bibeau

As race directors, Pete and I are always thankful for the wonderful trail running community we have here in Fort Collins. Pulling together a volunteer crew is an essential part of putting on a successful race and as always our volunteers were the biggest source of post-race compliments that we received. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our wonderful volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

We also couldn’t put on the types of races that we aspire to put on without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. So thank you Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Justin Liddle DMD, Countryside Vet, Runners Roost, Succeed, Great Harvest, IZZE and Powered by Plants.

The Arthurs Rock (1) crew. Erin Bibeau.

The Arthurs Rock (1) crew. Erin Bibeau.

We are greatly looking forward to the second running of the Black Squirrel Half, and hope to see you there too. Oh, and if you enjoyed the Black Squirrel, consider running it’s parent race, the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins’ first (and only) trail marathon.

The Creative Department at Gnar Runners, Mary Boyts, getting significant air. Erin Bibeau.

The Creative Department at Gnar Runners, Mary Boyts, getting significant air. Erin Bibeau.

Hanging out post-race. Erin Bibeau.

Hanging out post-race. Erin Bibeau.

Thanks for coming. See you next year! Erin Bibeau Photography.

Thanks for coming. See you next year! Erin Bibeau Photography.

 

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Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists Sponsor the Blue Sky Marathon

We are very pleased to have Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon and sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon.

In addition to supporting the Blue Sky Marathon for the last five years, and the Quad Rock races for the last two years, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists has helped many local runners get back out onto the trails by fixing IT band syndrome, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, back pain, and all forms of muscle and joint strains, aches, and pains. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished ultra runners and know how important running is for those who love to run.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists is now offering running assessments through video analysis to help improve running performance and decrease the risk of future injuries. In addition to a full examination, runners can receive specific recommendations for individual exercises to correct faulty mechanics and improve running performance.

We are also very fortunate to have several other local businesses supporting our races.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins running community with sponsorship of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Justin is also an avid trail runner and will be running in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

Dr Catherine Speights is the go-to small animal vet in the running community (and beyond). Her practice, Countryside Animal Hospital, specializes in personalized care of dogs and cats in a home-like setting. Look for Cat at the front of the women’s field in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Succeed will stock our aid stations with Ultra Sports Drink and S! Caps. And our post race BBQ will include healthy vegan salads from Powered by Plants, Izze sodas, and goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co.

Please consider supporting our sponsors – they are all local to Fort Collins and we couldn’t do this without their kind help.

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Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists Sponsor the Black Squirrel Half Marathon

We are very pleased to have Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon and sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon.

In addition to supporting the Blue Sky Marathon for the last five years, and the Quad Rock  races for the last two years, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists has helped many local runners get back out onto the trails by fixing IT band syndrome, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis, back pain, and all forms of muscle and joint strains, aches, and pains. Partners Terry Gebhardt and Tim Flynn are both accomplished ultra runners and know how important running is for those who love to run.

Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists is now offering running assessments through video analysis to help improve running performance and decrease the risk of future injuries. In addition to a full examination, runners can receive specific recommendations for individual exercises to correct faulty mechanics and improve running performance.

We are also very fortunate to have several other local businesses supporting our races.

Local trail and ultrarunners Cat Speights and Justin Liddle have once again stepped up to show their support for the Fort Collins running community with sponsorship of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Blue Sky Marathon.

Justin Liddle (DMD), an accredited and trusted Fort Collins prosthodontist, specializes in a wide variety of complex dental treatments. Justin is also an avid trail runner and will be running in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.  

Dr Catherine Speights is the go-to small animal vet in the running community (and beyond). Her practice, Countryside Animal Hospital, specializes in personalized care of dogs and cats in a home-like setting. Look for Cat at the front of the women’s field in both the Half Marathon and Marathon.

Runners Roost Fort Collins donates race equipment and product prizes. Succeed will stock our aid stations with Ultra Sports Drink and S! Caps. And our post race BBQ will include healthy vegan salads from Powered by Plants, Izze sodas, and goodies from Great Harvest Bread Co.

Please consider supporting our sponsors – they are all local to Fort Collins and we couldn’t do this without their kind help.

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