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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Quad Rock Post-Race Wrap

Spring Creek - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Runners coming up Spring Creek. Photo: Brandon Yonke

May is an unpredictable weather month here in Colorado, and we were again reminded of that at the fifth running of the Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races with damp, cool conditions despite a forecast that looked decidedly more comfortable. While not the best conditions for our fantastic team of volunteers to be working in, the weather ended up making for fantastic running conditions, leading to a number of new course records and generally fast times across the board.

RMR Ryan Smith - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Ryan Smith heading home during a dominating CR performance. Photo: Brandon Yonke.

In the 50 mile men’s race, Boulder-based Brit, Ryan Smith took it out hard from the gun and never looked back. He would run in the lead from pillar to post and better Ryan Burch’s long-standing course record by an impressive 20 minutes (7:20:27). Ryan was followed 20 minutes later by reigning Blue Sky Marathon champion Kody Coxen in his first 50 miler, and last year’s runner up Frank Pipp who ducked under the 8 hour mark by five seconds.

On the women’s side, there was no new course record but the race was a close run affair with the podium positions being decided by just four minutes and the top five by 12 minutes. Wyoming’s Marina Fleming (10:15:54) took the lead in the final two miles, beating out Meghan Spieker by less than a minute. Never Summer 100km champion Alyson Kirk rounded out the podium positions with a well run third-place finish.

Sandra Carpenter - 2016 Quad Rock 50

Sandra Carpenter (foreground) cruising early on her way to a new master’s course record. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

Both Sandra Carpenter and Elijah Flenner came into the weekend with one goal in mind, to better the existing master’s course records. And both of them accomplished their goals. Sandra finished fifth in the women’s race, setting the new master’s mark at 10:27:57, while Elijah finished sixth with a strong 8:32:04.

Ginna Ellis has a bit of a history with second place finishes at Gnar Runners events, with silver at last year’s Quad Rock 25 and also at the 2015 and 2013 Blue Sky Marathons, so we were excited to see her come home to a commanding win in the morning’s 25 mile race, posting the second fastest women’s time in the process (4:05:12). Ginna was followed by Jeanne Copper, second in last year’s 50 mile race, and Cat Bradley.

Ginna Ellis - 2016 Quad Rock 25

A focused Ginna Ellis on her way to the 25 mile win. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

Mike Aish repeated as the men’s 25 mile champion, running a couple minutes slower (3:20:08) than he did last year when setting the course record. Mike was pushed the whole way by fellow Golden’ite Matt Kempton who finished second in an impressive 3:20:50. Recent Horsetooth Half Marathon men’s winner Stephen Pretak rounded out the podium, rolling home in 3:22:37.

Master’s awards went to Mike Neal, owner of race supporter Mary’s Mountain Cookies, and Nancy Goodman.

In addition to those pushing the pace up front, we of course had a full field of talented and enthusiastic runners behind. The best part of our job is watching finishers come home, especially those who are out there working their way through their first trail race or their first 50 miler. Seeing that sense of accomplishment in the faces of so many finishers is something that never gets old and the main reason we love our job so much, so congratulations to you all. And thank you!

Happy Runners - 2016 Quad Rock Trail Races

Megan Kunkel and Ann Labosky enjoying the day. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

As always, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our team of wonderful volunteers. Year after year we receive heaping compliments from our runners about how fantastic our volunteer team is, and they are absolutely right. Come rain or shine, you guys are out there getting the job done and helping our runners get to the finish safely. Thank You!

And to our amazing sponsors, thank you!

SalomonDrymax SocksAltitude Running                    JulboJustin Liddle DMD ProsthodontistCountryside Animal HospitalFort Collins Running Club

With generous product support from: VFuel, Trader Joe’sNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest Bread Company, Cafe Richesse, and Kristel Liddle, LMT.

For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography. Or check out the Gnar Runners Facebook page for photo shares from other photographers out on the course.

Thank you all!

We look forward to seeing you again in 2017 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you July 23rd at the Never Summer 100km or at one of our shorter events. On September 10 we’ll be hosting the fourth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 2 by the ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.

If you aren’t racing, consider volunteering for one of our next events. We are currently recruiting volunteers for the Never Summer 100K.

Horsetooth Falls - 2016 Quad Rock 50 and 25 Trail Races

Runners dropping down to Spring Creek. Photo: Mahting Productions.

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Quad Rock Pre-Race Information

With under a week to go until the fifth running of the Quad Rock25/50 Trail Races, some final thoughts and instructions:

Weather: The forecast for Saturday is currently looking good, with a projected high in the low 70s and a Friday overnight low in the 40s. The week leading up looks stellar too, so the trails should be in fine fettle for you on Saturday.

An optional packet pick up will be held at Altitude Running on Friday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Altitude Running is located at 150 East Harmony Road just north and east of the Harmony/College intersection on the south side of town. Race partner Salomon Running will be offering a gift with the purchase of any pair of Salomon shoes at packet pickup.

If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in. Those of you that can’t pick up packets and shirts Friday afternoon can do so with your bibs in the morning.

New this year, we have two separate start times for the 25 mile and 50 mile races. The 50 mile race will begin at 5:30 a.m. and the 25 mile race will begin at 8:00am.

If you wish to switch from the 50 Mile race to the official 25 Mile race start at 8am to be eligible for 25 Mile awards, please notify us by the end of packet pickup on Friday. 50 Mile starters who drop out at 25 Miles will receive a finish time and finisher award but will not be eligible for overall or age group awards.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:00 a.m until 5:20 a.m. for the 50 milers, and between 6:30 a.m. and 7:50 a.m. for the 25 milers. Please keep bib numbers visible during the race and the pull tag at the bottom intact. We will be pulling 50 miler bib tags at the 25 mile turn and at the finish.

We will be at full capacity on Saturday, so we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to park (up to a half mile away from check-in), get your bib, and get ready to run. If you can carpool, please do. Not only is it one less vehicle on the road but it helps reduce stress on Lory State Park’s limited parking infrastructure, and it gets you priority parking near the start.

There are park toilets at the Timber parking lot (first one to fill on right as you come in), at the top of the Soldier Canyon parking lot, at the bottom of the Soldier Canyon lot near the start, and at the South Eltuck trailhead at the far end of the spur road which overflow cars will be parked on. We will also have port-a-johns near the start/finish (always the longest line).

Parking passes will be distributed by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Lory State Park will be open for parking at 4am. Carpools of two or more participants for both races will be given priority parking close to the start at the Soldier Canyon trailhead. All others will be directed to the Timber trailhead parking area and down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole will be on the right (east) side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked. Directions and parking details are here.

Horsetooth and start/finish drop bags must be dropped off by 5:15 a.m. for the 50 mile race and 7:45 for the 25 mile race. Bib numbers will be assigned on the Ultrasignup entrant list by Thursday if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number. Horsetooth drop bags will be returned to the start/finish no later than 5:00 pm. We will try to get 25 mile bags back sooner. It is a 20 minute drive from Lory to Horsetooth if you need to pick up your drop bag before then.

Aid station fare is detailed here. VFuel gel will be served from bulk containers, so we recommend that you carry a 5oz flask (or similar) if you want to use aid station gels. We will also have dixie cups at the aid stations for gel ‘shooters.’

New Belgium Brewing will be providing Fat Tire Amber Ale for the post-race BBQ. Runners will receive a meal ticket with their finisher mug. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and a brew will be available for $10 (cash). First beer is free for everyone, we then ask that you make a cash donation for additional beers. Our BBQ will be well stocked with burgers, brats, black bean burgers, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Trader Joe’s fruit, Great Harvest buns, and lots of other goodies. All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Rescue along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Animal Hospital.

Salomon Running will be on hand after the race demo’ing their trail running line up. Check out the back of your race bib for an Altitude Running offer on Salomon shoes. Also check out your bib for an offer from our physical therapy partners, Colorado in Motion. During the awards and raffle, we’ll be giving away some great stuff from other race sponsors, including Drymax and Julbo.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with additional marking at all junctions.  Flour markings and/or pink pin flags will supplement at key intersections.

Limited in-race updates will be via the Gnar Twitter feed, and race results will be posted the evening of the race on the Quad Rock Ultrasignup page.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so feel free to bring a bike for the kids (or yourself). Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish area and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. The Healthy Smile, Dirty Feet One Mile Kids Race (half (closed) road, half trail) – sponsored by long-time race supporter Justin Liddle DMD – will begin at 2:00 from the race start.

Crew access info is available here.

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll do our best to get back to you.

On behalf of Pete, myself (Nick), all of our race sponsors, and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.

Cheers!

Gnar Runners Event Management

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2016 Blue Sky Marathon Registration Opens 12/15/2015

We’re opening registration for the 2016 Blue Sky Marathon with a super early discount of just $55 on 12/15/2015!

Preparations for the 2016 season are well underway here at race HQ. We’ve got dates and a few news items to share for the 2016 Gnar Runners Race Series, which this year will be hosted in partnership with the generous support of Salomon Running.

Click here for the full details.

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News and Dates for the 2016 Gnar Race Season

Preparations for the 2016 season are well underway here at race HQ. We’ve got dates and a few news items to share for the 2016 Gnar Runners Race Series, which this year will be hosted in partnership with the generous support of Salomon Running.

Gnar_manSalomon

Registration for all Gnar Trail Races opens on December 15th, 2015.

Dates for the 2016 Trail Races

  • May 14, 2016: Quad Rock 25 & 50 Mile Trail Races
    – Registration Cap: 400 runners
    – 50 Mile Early Entry: $85 (same bargain pricing as the very first year).
    – Location: Lory State Park & Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – New This Year: Separate 25 & 50 mile start times
  • July 23, 2016: Never Summer 100km
    – Registration Cap: 330 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $160
    – Location: State Forest State Park, Gould CO
    – New This Year: Qualifier for the 2017 Western States 100
  • September 10, 2016: Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon
    – Registration Cap: 350 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $55
    – Location: Lory State Park, Fort Collins, CO
    – New This Year: Registration opens Dec. 15
  • October 2, 2016: Blue Sky Trail Marathon
    – Race Cap: 275 runners
    – Early Entry Fee: $55
    – Location: Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins Co
    – New This Year: Record-low early entry fee

NeverSummer2015-305-XL-SoGood

What’s New for 2016?

The 2016 running of the Quad Rock Trail Races will have two separate starts. The 50 miler will start as always with first light at 5:30, while the 25 mile race will start at 8:00. This should make the race check in and parking much easier and make for a larger, more social post-race BBQ.

2017 WS100 Qualifying RaceThe registration cap for the Never Summer 100km in July has been increased to 330 runners. Next year’s race will also serve as a qualifying event for the 2017 Western States 100.

We do roads too! We are incredibly honored and excited to be managing the 43rd running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon in April. The Horsetooth Half is an iconic point-to-point Fort Collins road race that hugs the eastern shoreline of Horsetooth Reservoir, navigating the challenging hills of Centennial Drive, before heading into the finish and a raucous party at New Belgium Brewing. The beer will be flowing until the last person leaves, so if you’re looking for a spring sharpener we suggest you look no further.

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 great value. And get this: we’ve dropped the early entry fee for the Blue Sky Trail Marathon to $55, the lowest it has ever been in the nine-year history of the event. This is our end of season party and we really want you to come celebrate with us.

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 with Salomon Running, one of the greatest innovators in the sport. We’ll be offering special Salomon shoe deals with retail partner Altitude Running 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.

Altitude Running Logo - 2012 FinalOur other top sponsors for the 2015 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 Justin K. Liddle DMD, LLC
Countryside Animal Hospital Julbo

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 2016 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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