2018 Blue Sky Marathon Race Recap

We had perfect running weather for the 11th Blue Sky Trail Marathon. And we had a fast field ready to take full advantage of the ideal running conditions, with new course records being set in both the men’s and women’s races, and a total of 265 runners hitting the finish line from a total of 279 starters.

Addie Bracy winning the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon

In the women’s race, Addie Bracy was toeing her third Gnar Runners start line of 2018, after having claimed wins at both the Quad Rock 50 and the Never Summer 100km. As in her previous starts this season, Addie would be pushed through the early miles but would ultimately come out on top. At the 9 mile aid station, Addie was running shoulder to shoulder with Estes Park’s Michelle Hiland, but through the southern section of the course she would open a gap and grow it steadily by the finish, coming home in a new course best of 3:45:37. Michelle held steady in second, finishing with a flourish to sneak under the four hour mark (3:59:39). Rounding out the podium was Sarah Roberts (4:11:31) in her third Blue Sky Marathon finish and second overall podium. 

The men’s race was close from start to finish, with a large pack coming through the nine-mile aid station, all on course-record pace. By the Hunter turnaround at mile 18, the pack had been whittled down to just two – Bobby Peavey and Brian Condon – and they would remain connected all the way to an exciting sprint finish, where Denver’s Peavey edged out Longmont’s Condon by just a second in a new course best of 3:11:47. The new mark bests a Steve Folkerts record that has stood since 2009. Coming in third was Frank Pipp, who rounded out his Gnar Runners racing season with yet another podium after a win at the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and two seconds at the Never Summer 100km and Quad Rock 50. With his season filled with podiums, Frank took top honors in the Gnar Slam standing, setting a convincing new cumulative best time in the process (see below). 

Bobby Peavey out-sprints Brian Condon for the win and new course record at the 2018 Blue Sky Marathon.

The master’s wins went to Terry Grenwelge (4:02:44) and Candy Granger (4:30:36). The grandmasters winners were Sabrina Naftel (5:34:12) and Blaise Brochard (4:04:57). All award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from local artisan Amy Hayman in addition to gift cards from Altitude Running. 


Race Photos:


This year we saw 11 runners complete the Gnar Slam. The Gnar Slam is a recognition of those runner that complete all four Gnar Runners trail races in a calendar year:

As noted above, Frank Pipp came away top in the points standings on the men’s side. His cumulative time of 25:09:02, bested Elijah Flenner’s 2016 record by over two hours. In the women’s standings, Colleen Weitzel also posted a new record time (36:45:26), besting Kristen Kovatch’s record from 2018 by 48 minutes.

A hearty congratulations to all of our 2018 Gnar Slam finishers.

And 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.

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, Jax Mercantile 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, Juice Performer, and Boulder Organic!

The Blue Sky Trail Marathon marks the end of the 2018 season for us at Gnar Runners, but we’re already looking forward to 2019 with excitement.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, and see you in 2019!

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2018 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon Wrap

It was a beautiful morning for the sixth running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. A sellout field of 320 runners took on the perimeter trails of Lory State Park on the 13.1 mile tour of some of Northern Colorado’s finest running trails.

With defending champion and course record holder Stephen Pretak playing human-sized black squirrel and course marshal at the Howard turn, the race for the men’s win was wide open. Coming into the Arthurs West aid station at 8 miles, Frank Pipp had a small lead over Clint Anders and Chris Rom. Second at both the Quad Rock 50 and Never Summer 100k, Frank would hold his lead through the flatter valley miles to claim the win and set a new master’s record of 1:32:02. Frank is now a favorite to set a new record for the Gnar Slam, which will culminate next month at the 11th running of the Blue Sky Trail Marathon. Also riding high in the Gnar Slam standings this year is Clint Anders, who would also hold onto his Arthurs 8-mile position to finish second in 1:33:22. Chris Rom (1:36:13) rounded out the podium in his first Black Squirrel finish.

Men’s podium. L-R: Clint Anders, Frank Pipp, Chris Rom

Third in 2015, Ruth Waller-Liddle was back to run her second Black Squirrel Half, and this time she lead the race from pillar to post, with an impressive 1:52:43 finish, just narrowly pipped at the post by husband and race sponsor, Justin Liddle DMD. Broomfield’s Alisyon Hummelberg (1:56:49) followed four minutes later in second in her first Black Squirrel Half. Rounding out the podium in third, Coach Rachel Hulse was one place better and a minute quicker than in 2016, beating three-time runner up Sarah Roberts to the line by a scant 17 seconds.  

Women’s Podium. L-R: Alisyon Hummelberg, Ruth Waller-Liddle, Rachel Hulse

This year, we expanded the age groups to include an under 30 and over 60 category. Top honors in our 5 age group categories were as follows:

  • Under 30: Peter Goble (1:41:27) and Alicia Grove (1:59:12)
  • 30-39: Craig Depperschmidt (1:42:42) and Hilary Freese (2:02:31)
  • 40-49: Christoph Justen (1:52:13) and Sarah Roberts (1:58:19) 
  • 50-59: Ed Delosh (1:49:18) and Jeanne Bascuk (2:19:46)
  • 60+: Ivan Rezucha (2:21:31) and Paula Murray (3:22:58)

Results and Images

Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running packs, Altitude gift certificates and Drymax running socks. Unique squirrel-themed awards were lovingly hand-crafted by Amy Hayman.

Of course, our races don’t happen without the help of an army of volunteers. The Liberty Middle School XC Team was once again out at the Arthur’s aid stations, the CSU Food & Nutrution Club served up our post-race pancake breakfast, and as always, the Fort Collins Trail Runners community came out in force. Our volunteers shone bright and provided a wonderful race experience for all participants. So, once again, a huge thank you to all our fantastic volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you.

The Liberty XC Team with teacher and race participant Lauren Calvert

We also couldn’t do what we do without the help of our wonderful sponsors, all of whom are tireless supporters of the Northern Colorado running scene. Thank you to our top tier sponsors: Salomon RunningAltitude RunningColorado in MotionDrymax Socks, and Justin Liddle DMD.

If you enjoyed Black Squirrel and are considering a step up in distance, why not join us on October 20 for the 11th running of the Blue Trail Sky Marathon. This local favorite will be our last event of the year.

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 CookiesSquirrel’s Nut Butter, and Great Harvest Bread Company.

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The 4th Running of the Never Summer 100K is a Wrap

Lake Agnes at the 2018 Never Summer 100K

The fourth running of the Never Summer 100km was another one for the record books. Once again we saw course records in both the men’s and women’s fields (as we have at every running of the race) and once again we welcomed a record number of runners to both the start and finish lines. And not only did we have a record number of runners, but we’re also pretty sure we had a record number of volunteers who, once again, came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers

When it was all said and done, 264 (200 men, 64 women) of the race’s 341 starters (250 men, 91 women) beat the race’s cut-offs and  made it back to the Gould Community Center. This represents a 76 percent finisher rate (80 percent men, 70 percent women). Of those finishers, 34 joined – or renewed their membership in – the Sunset Club by making it home without the use of a headlamp (15.5 hours). This includes three new female inductees – Addie Bracy, Clare Gallagher and Kristi Knecht – who join Alyson Kirk and Heidi Sauerland in the exclusive club. 

But of course, 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.

Montgomery Pass at the 2018 Never Summer 100K


Results with full aid station splits are available through OpenSplittime.org here.

Race Photos


North Diamond at the 2018 Never Summer 100K

Mark Marzen summiting North Diamond on his way to the overall win and a new course record..

Addie Bracy at the 2018 Never Summer 100K

Addie Bracy on her way to the women’s win and a new course record.

In both the men’s and women’s races new overall records were set. For the men, Mark Marzen from Denver took home top honors setting a new sub-12 hour standard of 11:47:46. He was followed home by Frank Pipp (12:11:56) from Longmont, CO who posted the race’s third fastest time ever. And rounding out the men’s podium was Fort Collins’ very own Ryan Burch who came home in 12:45:01, just two minutes slower than his winning time from the inaugural year in 2015.

In the women’s race, we crowned a new champion after three years straight of awarding the big axe to Alyson Kirk. And 2018 is Addie Bracy’s year when it comes to Gnar Runners events. Fresh off her win at the Quad Rock 50 in May, Addie scored a dominant win in the Never Summer Mountains, resetting the record books by over 90 minutes and beating decorated ultrarunner Clare Gallagher (14:11:06) by over an hour. If the new women’s record of 13:10:39 is to once again go down next year, we feel like it will take a pretty special performance. Rounding out the women’s podium behind Clare was Flagstaff, AZ’s Kristi Knecht (14:28:53) who finished in the race’s third fastest time ever. 

A fast year all around!

Kristi Knecht rolling into the Montgomery aid on her way to a third-place finish.

Former winner and course record holder, Ryan Burch, on his way to another Never Summer podium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The master’s categories (40-49) were won by familiar faces, Elijah Flenner (13:41:23) and Sandra Carpenter (16:26:09). Both Sandra and Elijah are multi-time winners of master’s awards at both the Never Summer 100km and the Quad Rock 50. This year, they finished 7th and 4th overall in their respective gender divisions. 

In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Wisconsin’s Dede Gibbs who took home top honors in a time of 20:08:37. For the men, it was Gnar Team member Ed Delosh bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a new divisional course record time of 15:35:00. 

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 Fort Collins local, Sarah Beck. 

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 Ruby Jewel aid caption, Brian Walter as our 2018 Trail Boss for his dedication to trail running and racing within the Fort Collins running community for well over a decade.

Ruby Jewel at the 2018 Never Summer 100K

Brain Walter overseeing the action at the Ruby Jewel aid station.

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.
  • The Teaching Tree for preparing the post-race awards breakfast.
  • 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.

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 CookiesSquirrel’s Nut Butter, Boulder Organic, Founding Foods, and the Great Harvest Bread Company.

We look forward to seeing you again in 2019. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 8 we’ll be hosting the sixth running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 20 by the 11th 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 2018 Slam. 

Thank you all!

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Run Through Time Marathon/Half – Salida, CO Mar 10, 2018

The Run Through Time Marathon/Half in Salida, Colorado typically marks the beginning of the Colorado trail racing season. 39 athletes and dozens more supporters from Fort Collins Trail Runners ventured down for a weekend of racing, pizza, music & fun!

Multiple community houses provided base camp for a full weekend of community building. Clear skies, perfect temperatures and minimal snow/mud made for ideal racing conditions, and copious hardware was collected. Congrats to all finishers!  Local results below.

Post-race, many of the crew descended on Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub for an afternoon of patio-sitting, beer and pizza. Later that evening, Fort Collins-based band The Swashbuckling Doctors provided entertainment with a live concert at the Victoria Tavern.

Marathon:
Ryan Burch – 5th Overall, 1st Age Group, 3:29:40
Nick Clark – 7th Overall, 1st Age Group 3:34:43
Chris Copenhaver – 9th Overall, 3rd Age Group 3:39:02
Mike Hinterberg – 10th Overall, 4th Age Group 3:40:29
Horsecow Lonac – 11th Overall, 5th Age Group 3:41:27
David Boyd – 16th Overall, 4:01:14
Ed DeLosh – 23rd Overall, 1st Age Group 4:06:08
Jaime Yebra – 25th Overall, 5th Age Group 4:10:01
Daniel Clark – 27th Overall, 4:11:52
Terry Grenwelge – 30th Overall, 4:14:23
Ben Kuster – 49th Overall, 3rd Age Group 4:40:35
Stephanie Forrest-Swedenborg – 7th Female, 4th Age Group, 4:48:16
Tina Duncan – 9th Female, 1st Age Group 4:57:21
Brad Bishop – 68th Overall, 4:58:32
Colleen Weitzel – 10th Female, 5:01:16
Myra Shanks – 18th Female, 5:11:01
Richard McDonnell – 91st Overall, 5:13:22
Brett Carlson – 93rd Overall, 5:15:28
Stephanie Dalager – 35th Female, 5:36:55
Marie-Helene Faurie – 56th Female, 5th Age Group, 6:23:48
Dan Blankenship – 174th Overall, 4th Age Group, 6:59:28

Half Marathon:
Ruth Waller-Liddle – 2nd Female, 1:51:18
Johann Ripsam – 23rd Overall, 5th Age Group, 2:02:34
Levi Flint – 34th Overall, 2nd Age Group, 2:09:15
Eliza Walthers – 11th Female, 1st Age Group, 2:09:26
Richard Michelson – 42nd Overall, 1st Age Group, 2:13:44
Mica Adesso – 28th Female, 4th Age Group, 2:25:09
Katie Robinson – 30th Female, 2:25:39
Catharine Speights – 53rd Female, 4th Age Group, 2:42:16
Pete Stevenson – 118th Overall, 2:44:05
Caitlin Yates – 56th Female, 2:45:58
Trevor Yates – 121st Overall, 2:45:59
Steve Loewenkamp – 125th Overall, 2:47:39
Paige Jaquish – 68th Female, 2:53:28
Celeste O’Connor – 74th Female, 2:58:03
Elizabeth O’Brien – 87th Female, 3:08:22
Deborah Gulley – 117th Female, 3:41:05
Sara Ripsam – 119th Female, 3:47:43

Kids Race:
Will Raguet-Schofield – 1st Overall

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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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