“With the exception of vertical and suffering (there was a ton of that) we experienced a little bit of everything out there with sun, rain, lightning, thunder, hail and mud.” ~ Kraig Koski in a post-race note.
Mother Nature threw us a few spring curveballs out there on Saturday, but She deterred nobody. A huge and sincere congratulations to everyone who came out to toe the line this weekend, from the seasoned veterans to the crazy first-timers who chose to make the Quad Rocker their virgin 50 miler.We had some fast finishers on the trails and we had some great stories from the front of the pack to the back. Indeed our last 50 miler to the 25 mile turn posted perhaps the most impressive back 25 miles of anyone on the course. Oza Klanjsek was the only person who resisted the temptation of the post-race BBQ and actually upgraded to the full 50 … 25 miles and 6 hours 33 minutes into her race day. All other 50 milers after her either dropped out or missed the cut offs. Oza not only finished but ran a negative split to pass 14 other runners and finish in 13:03:06. We haven’t checked all of the splits but we’re pretty sure no one runs a negative split on our course. We’re also incredibly proud of our final 25 mile finishers Molly Watkins and Debra Powell. Molly decided early this year that after giving birth to her son Ewan she would challenge herself with the longest (and toughest) run of her life. Molly trained hard to get ready for the event, so all of us in the Fort Collins trail running community were super excited to see her get the job done, and she couldn’t have had a better trail companion than Deb Powell who stuck with her all day. At the pointy end of the field, we had some fast times and exciting race action. In the women’s races we had two Boulder(area)’ites take top honors. Kerry Bruxvoort ran uncontested the whole day, staying strong for a comfortable win and new course record (9:23). She was followed by Wyoming’s Becky Wheeler (9:42) in her first race back after a long injury lay-off, and rounding out the top three was Kris Klotzbach (10:15), finishing in exactly the same position as she did last year. Silke Koester from Boulder was our 25 mile winner, looking smooth all morning in setting a new course record (4:20). She was followed by soon-to-be Fort Collins’ite Emily Warner (4:28) who ran all morning with her significant other Ryan Quinnelly as they checked out what will soon be their new backyard trails. Rounding out the top three was Nancy Citriglia from Winter Park. The men’s 50 mile field featured some seasoned mountain ultra vets, a two-time Olympian, and a U.S. Olympic Marathon alternate. Mike Aish showed his Olympic pedigree by leading out the race through the early going, making the turn in approximately 3:30, followed in short order by Josh Arthur, Ryan Burch and Paul Hamilton. Josh took the race by the scruff of the neck on the return 25, making it three wins out of three in his 2013 campaign (7:44). Watch out for Josh at Leadville this summer. Local runner Paul Hamilton wasn’t looking so hot at the turnaround, but somehow managed to rally for a really impressive second lap in his first stab at the distance, finishing just six minutes off the winning pace in second. Rounding out the top three was local favorite, last year’s winner, and still the course record holder, Ryan Burch (8:00). After a slight wrong turn early in the second lap, pre-race favorite Mike Aish faded to fourth (8:14). Dane Mitchell came back this year to avenge his navigational mishap from 2012, posting a flawless and uncontested 25 mile win in a new course record time of 3:25. Andrew Catalano (3:40) and Andrew Bock (3:45) rounded out the top three in a finishing field of 176 25 mile runners. There were 111 50 mile finishers, with approximately 61 calling it a day after 25 miles. At 1:30 in the afternoon, we let loose the kids in the second annual Dirty Feet, Healthy Smiles one mile race. The kids all thoroughly enjoyed themselves before going back about the important business of rolling around in the mud. Of course, we couldn’t put on the kind of race we aspire to put on without the magnificent help of our sponsors and volunteers. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to live in the kind of town where people don’t even need to be asked to volunteer because hanging outside at an aid station, marking or tearing down a course, or helping with any other number of necessary jobs is their idea of fun. To our volunteers, a MASSIVE thank you; you were easily the biggest source of compliments we had all day from our runners. And of course a big thank you to our very generous sponsors. Both Pearl Izumi and Cornerstone Home Lending (Hunter Team) came through in a big way to support our little event, and we ask that you consider supporting them if you’re in the market for high-quality race apparel and shoes, or a home mortgage (see reverse side of your race bib for a generous offer from Cornerstone Home Lending: tell Jimmy we sent you). We’re also heavily indebted to our community sponsors, all of whom are linchpins in the local running community: Countryside Vet (Dr. Cat Speights), Justin Liddle DMD, and Colorado Physical Therapist Specialists. On-course nutrition was provided by First Endurance, and post-race schwag by Smith Optics, Highgear Altimeters, and Ultraspire Hydration. As always, Runners Roost Fort Collins came through in a big way with equipment, supplies and post race awards. We had beer from local brewery Pateros Creek, drinks from IZZE and the Bellevue Bean, and killer cookies and cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest Bread Co. Thank you all. For more images from the day, please visit Erin Bibeau Photography. Digital images are available for download starting at 99 cents and print options are available too. And a final note: if you left anything behind at the race, there is a good chance it is hanging out at Runners Roost in the lost and found pile. We also have one runner looking for a Polar GPS unit, so please email us if you found that. Looking forward to seeing many of you in 2014 at the same place and approximately the same time. Or even better, we’d love to see you later in the summer at one of our shorter events. On August 31 we will be hosting the inaugural Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 6 by the sixth running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon. Be GNARful out there!