A Recap of the 2020 Never Summer 100km & 60km

The sun pokes up over Table Iron Mountain above the American Lakes as day breaks on the sixth running of the Never Summer 100km. Photo: Erin Bibeau

The sixth running of the Never Summer 100km was one that we’ll all remember for years to come. Despite the challenges presented by putting on a race in the midst of a global pandemic, we were truly impressed and humbled by everyone’s willingness to adhere to the contingency measures that were put in place to ensure a safe yet fulfilling race experience for runners and volunteers alike.

If we have one enduing memory from this year’s race, it will be that of our community coming together to do what we love to do and at the same time be accepting of working within the constraints of our current predicament. To you all, a huge THANK YOU for making it easy on us!

Our biggest debt of gratitude as always goes to our wonderful team of volunteers who again came out en masse – masked all day – to help competitors reach their goals. Thank You Volunteers

Kris Tyson and team work the new Crew Rally Point

We also feel a deep debt of gratitude to the small community of Gould, CO from where we host the race every year. The Community Association, along with the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, was quick to give their blessing for this year’s race.

Every year, we award the Never Summer Trail Boss Award in recognition of an individual or group who have gone above and beyond in services to the race. It is offered in the spirit of a broader recognition of the whole race community, and this year we wanted to recognize the community of Gould with whom we have received nothing but support from the very inception of the race. Thank you Gould Community Association.

Bron Austin (Never Summer Nordic, Gould Community Association Treasurer) & Jean Krause (GCA Secretary) accepting the 2020 Trail Boss Award on behalf of the Gould Community Association.

The Race

The weather is always a factor through the course of a high altitude mountain adventure, and this year we were blessed with near perfect running conditions for the full duration of the race. Cloud cover ensured cooler temperatures all day, while also offering intermittent bouts of cooling light drizzle.

The favorable weather combined with what we believe to have been an extra determination in the face of adversity among the Never Summer Class of 2020 resulted in our highest ever finisher rate. By far.

The digits:

100km Starters: 245 (192 men, 53 women)
100km Finishers: 212 (169 men, 43 women)
100km Finisher Rate: 87% (vs 69% in 2019)
60km Finishers: 43 (includes 10 100km drop downs)

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.

Race Results

Race Photos

  • Erin Bibeau (American Lakes) & Teal Wyckoff (North Diamond)
  • Terry Grenwelge (Kelly Lake & Clear Lake)

Due to a slight shortening of the course (~3 miles), times and course records this year will come with an asterisks, but nonetheless there were still some mighty impressive runs posted on race weekend.

And none more so than that of our men’s winner, Jon Rea, who took the race by the scruff of the neck from the gun, leading from pillar to post and finishing in just under 11 hours (10:58:04). While the short course does put an asterisks on Jon’s time, the margin over Hannes Gehring’s course record from last year (11:47:06) was enough for us to confidently state that it was the fastest 61.5 miles we’ve ever seen on the course. Remarkably, this is the sixth year in succession that a new men’s course record has been set.

Jon was followed home by Charlie Macarthur (12:25:08) from Steamboat Springs, CO and Laramie, WY’s Thomas Dean (12:52:15).

Charlie Macarthur approaching Kelly Lake on his way to a second place finish. Photo: Terry Grenwelge

In the women’s race, it was perennial Gnar podium finisher Meghan Spieker taking home top honors with a time of 14:33:13 in what was a close-run race. Meghan assumed the race lead from Michelle Kent on the Clear Lake section of the course, but was back and forth in the segment splits with Amanda Ax, who started 35 minutes after Meghan in the 3:30 wave. Ultimately Meghan would best Amanda’s second-place time (14:40:04) by less than 7 minutes. Olivia Bojan in the 3:20 wave would end up a close third in 14:46:50.

Olivia Bojan on her way to a third place finish. Picture: Erin Bibeau

In the master’s division, Wendy Stalnaker ran an impressive 15:45:05 for the win, while Eric Truhe took home top honors for the men (13:34:55). In the grandmasters division (50+), it was Pennsylvania’s Gary Lampman who took home top honors in a time of 16:04:28. For the women, it was Colorado Springs’ Tracey Anderson bringing home the hardware in a time of 18:13:02.

New this year was the late addition of our inaugural 60km race. Introduced as a safety measure, we hope this distance will be a permanent fixture moving forward into 2021 and beyond. Getting the ball rolling for the record books were winners Zach King and Amanda Grimes. The respective times to beat for future years will be 6:59:06 & 9:16:06.

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 Woodland Park’s Robert Elliot who beat the 24-hour buzzer by just under 8 minutes. 

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. Thank you again to each and every one of you.

And a special thank you also 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

Contributing Support From

Generous Product Support From

VFuelNew BelgiumMary’s Mountain Cookies, and BoBos

We look forward to seeing you again in 2021. We’d also love to see you later in the year at one of our shorter events.

On August 15, we’ll be hosting the postponed 9th running of the Quad Rock 25/50 Mile Trail Races for which we still have a few spots available. On September 12 we’ll be hosting the 8th running of the Black Squirrel Half Marathon in Lory State Park, followed October 17 by the 13th 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 2021 Quad Rock 25 or 50 mile race.

Thank you all!

This entry was posted in Gnews, Never Summer 100K.

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