Ed Delosh, a CSU professor, is bouncing back from an injury that threatened to end his running career. In 2017, he’s determined to prove the doctors wrong by completing the Gnar Slam. His journey starts with the Quad Rock 50 in May.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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 Races
– 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
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!
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.
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.
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.
We’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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.