It was another beautiful morning for the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. A capacity field of 300+ runners again took on the perimeter trails of Lory State Park on a 13.3 mile tour of some of Northern Colorado’s finest running trails. And we saw some exciting race action in both the men’s and women’s races with late lead changes in both and a new course record in one.
Addie Bracy is a familiar name in the pantheon of Gnar champions. She holds course records for the Blue Sky Marathon and the Never Summer 100km, with a fourth-fastest time at the Quad Rock 50. This was Addie’s first time running Black Squirrel, so expectations were high that pressure might be put on Melissa Dock’s long standing (2014) course record of 1:45:04.
Coming into the Arthurs West aid station at mile 8.3, all signs looked to be pointing in just that direction, with Addie in the lead and on course record pace. However, her lead was not much more than a minute over a comfortable-looking Rachel Rudel, and by the return visit to the Arthurs Trailhead, some 2.5 miles later, the former CSU-standout had closed the gap to less than 30 seconds. With another 2.5 miles to the finish, the race was on, and it was Rudel who had ended up having the extra gas in the tank, breaking the tape 24 seconds ahead of Bracy in a new course record time of 1:42:35. In what would turn out to be a fast year in the ladies’ race, former champion Abby Depperschmidt rounded out the podium in a sixth fastest time ever (1:49:47), with fourth place finisher Chelsey Heiden would posting the race’s ninth best time ever (1:52:33).
We didn’t see any new course records in the men’s race, but we did see some fun racing action go down. Former Black Squirrel podium finisher Peter Goble took the race by the scruff of the neck early and held a decent lead coming into the 8.3 mile Arthurs Aid station. But by the second visit to the Arthurs Trailhead at mile 10.3 it was all change. The lead had switched hands with Nathan Austin leading the field followed by David Leonard in second and Silas Thompson in third. Goble had dropped to fourth, now closely tracked by Adrian Macdonald in fifth. The top two positions would remain the same at the finish, with Austin taking the win in 1:38:30, holding off Leonard by just 12 seconds. The fastest closer of the bunch was Macdonald who jumped two spots in the last 2.5 miles to claim third (1:39:29) overall.
Top honors in our 5 age group categories were as follows:
- Under 30: Silas Thompson (1:40:05) and Chelsey Heiden (1:52:33)
- 30-39: Peter Goble (1:40:47) and Jenn Malmberg (1:54:42)
- 40-49: James Harmon (1:49:03) and Tara Carter (2:07:31)
- 50-59: Ed Delosh (1:54:23) and Cinthy Carson* (2:06:50)
- 60+: Paul Jensen (2:15:59) and Annie Littlewood (3:05:21)
* New Grandmasters (50+) record.
Results and Images
Prizes for overall and age group winners included Salomon running packs, bottles and belts in addition to Altitude gift certificates. 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 & High School XC teams once again showed up in numbers and with great enthusiasm at the Arthurs 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.
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 Running, Altitude Running, Colorado in Motion, and Justin Liddle DMD.
If you enjoyed Black Squirrel and are considering a step up in distance, why not join us on October 19 for the 12th running of the Blue Trail Sky Marathon? This local favorite will be our last event of the year.
Finally, a big thank you to the volunteers on our trail work crew who came out on Tuesday following Black Squirrel to leave the course even better than it was! Part of our mission is to promote responsible use of the public trails we are granted the right to race on each year. If you’d like to be added to our volunteer trail work mailing list to learn about these and other upcoming trail work opportunities, please visit our trail work page.
Top tier support from: