Blue Sky Events held its second annual Blue Sky Marathon trail races on Sunday October 4th, 2009 under not so blue skies and cool temperatures.
The race doubled in size with 191 runners competing in three events: a 50k, full marathon (closer to 27 miles) and a half marathon run on the Blue Sky Trail that connects Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and the Devils Backbone Open Space Park. Precipitation fell towards the end of the event for a portion of the runners enabling many to enjoy fast times as shown by the results. Enthusiastic volunteers motivated runners throughout the 50k, full marathon and the half marathon courses. Hot chili and a wide variety of food greeted the runners at the finish along with post race massages and consultations with Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists.
Ryan Burch of Greeley, Colorado won the inaugural 50k trail race in a time of 4:05:48 averaging 7:55/mile. Victoria Funk of Fort Collins took the overall women’s 50k race in a time of 5:33:30.
Eric Gustafson ran his first 50k and spoke of his fondness for the event "…I ran in the rain and the mud and had a blast. I met a lot of great people on the course… and the aid station staffs were fantastic."
The overall marathon winner was local Fort Collins runner Steve Folkerts who also ran his first trail marathon in a time of 3:13:47 lowering the course record by ten minutes. Nick Clark, a avid trail runner in Fort Collins, came in second in 3:22:01. For the women, Kelli Picon of Greeley, Colorado took first overall for the women in 4:52:33. Second and third place for the women was separated by a mere eleven seconds between Kendra Emery of Boulder and Molly Holemberg of Nederland.
The majority of half marathon runners were able to capitalize on ideal cool running conditions before the rain started. Suzan Nuzum of Boulder repeated as the returning women’s champion in a time of 1:41:44 lowering her course record by over a minute and a half. For the men Andy Ames, also of Boulder, smoked the course in a time of 1:24:39 lowering the record by almost seven minutes.
Cocona, Inc was this year’s presenting sponsor of the event providing race hats and visors for race participants. Cocona fabrics provide a natural solution utilizing the shells of coconuts to provide evaporative cooling, odor management and UV protection. Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists (Premiere Sponsor), The Runners Roost (Supporting Sponsor) both returned this year to contribute to the organized and appreciated event.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Northern Colorado Running Foundation, Larimer County Search and Rescue and Larimer County Parks and Open Lands Areas.