The fifth running of the Never Summer 100km was another one for the record books. Once again we saw a new course record in the men’s race (as we have at every running of the race), in addition to a number of age-group records. And not only did we have a full field of runners, but we’re also pretty sure we had a record number of volunteers who again came out en masse to help competitors reach their goals. Congratulations runners and thank you volunteers.
The weather is always a potential factor through the course of a high altitude mountain race, and while welcome cool temperatures prevailed for most of the day at this fifth running of the race, intense afternoon thunderstorms produced hail and heavy rains. The moisture made for challenging conditions for all runners both in terms of regulating body temperatures and also in negotiating particularly muddy late-race trails, factors that lead to one of our lowest ever finisher rates. Whether you finished or not, we would like to offer a hearty congratulations to all runners that got out there and braved the elements.
When it was all said and done, 220 (165 men, 55 women) of the race’s 318 starters (231 men, 87 women) beat the race’s cut-offs and the adverse weather conditions to make it back to the Gould Community Center within 24 hours. This represents a 69 percent finisher rate (71 percent men, 63 percent women). Of those finishers, 28 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 – Sabrina Stanley, Megan Arauzo, and Amber Pougiales – who join Alyson Kirk, Heidi Sauerland, Addie Bracy, Clare Gallagher and Kristi Knecht in the exclusive club. And one runner, Danny Bundrock, made it five for five with his 13:38 ninth place finish.
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.
- Terry Grenwelge (Lake Agnes, Kelly Lake Trail)
- Eric Lee (Diamond Peak, Canadian Aid)
- Jeff Black (A Runner’s Tour)
In the men’s race Hannes Gehring from Denver took home top honors, becoming only the second runner to finish in under 12 hours, setting a new course record (by 40 seconds) of 11:47:06 in the process. He was followed home by Seth Wealing (12:07:57) from Boulder, CO who posted the race’s third fastest time ever, in addition to a new master’s record. And rounding out the men’s podium was Mathew Urbanski, also from Boulder, who came home in 13:02:10.
In the women’s race, Hardrock 100 champ Sabrina Stanley led from pillar to post in running the race’s second fastest time ever in the women’s division (13:46:47), while finishing fifth in the overall 2019 field. She was followed home almost an hour later by Megan Arauzo (14:45:07) from Nevato, CA, with Denver’s Amber Pougiales (15:22:22) rounding out the women’s podium. Megan and Amber recorded the race’s fifth and eighth fastest finishes ever.
A fast year all around!
As noted above, the men’s master’s record was convincingly reset by second-place finisher Seth Wealing. And we also saw a new record on the women’s side. Tara Carter followed up on her master’s record-setting run from Quad Rock in May with a Never Summer run for the record books (16:07:57) as she continued her quest towards completing the 2019 Gnar Slam.
In the grandmasters division (50+), it was California’s Daniel Kono who took home top honors in a time of 14:41:16. Daniel’s time was also good for a new division record, especially impressive coming from sea level. For the women, it was Prescott, AZ’s Carol Northrup bringing home the grandmaster’s hardware in a time of 21:35:52.
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 Denver’s Rachel Meier who beat the 24-hour buzzer by just under 10 minutes.
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 recognize Gnar Team member Elijah Flenner as our 2019 Trail Boss for his services clearing trail, hauling gear up and down the canyon for weeks prior to the race, staffing the Montgomery aid station, course marking and leading numerous training runs on the course in the lead up to the race.
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.
- 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:
We look forward to seeing you again in 2020. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events. On September 7 we’ll be hosting the seventh running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 19 by the 12th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins original and only Trail Marathon.
And 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 2020 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race. We will be updating our Gnar Slam page this week, with a list of all those in contention for the 2019 Slam.
Thank you all!