Never Summer Runners – before we set you on your way next weekend, we want to bring your attention to some final race instructions and reminders.
New/Important in 2023
All race and crew instructions pertinent to race weekend are available in the Never Summer Runners’ Handbook (a pdf of the race website). With limited data access in Gould and on the race course, we recommend that runners and crews print copies of all info and maps that they need for the weekend before traveling to the race.
The course has been tweaked a few times over the years, most significantly in 2020 and 2021, but we were essentially back on the original course last year. This year, we have one change to the course, otherwise all course details are the same as last year. The course change this year occurs in the American Lakes Basin and impacts both the 60km and 100km, adding a total of 1 mile (next to no extra vertical gain):
- The park has asked us to reroute off the game trail we’ve historically used to complete the American Lakes loop and to use the main trail instead. The main trail turn-off occurs just before the basin views open up, so we’re adding in a small lollipop out and back to the lower lake before hitting the trail back down. This ensures that runners get to enjoy the beauty of the American Lakes, one of the highlights of the course.
- New route from Michigan Ditch (Aid 1) to American Lakes (Aid 2): https://www.strava.com/routes/3114993348846932024
- Old Route: https://www.strava.com/routes/3114994722881521234
- Full 2023 100km .gpx file
- Full 2023 60km .gpx file
- Full course details are available on the course section of the race website
- To account for the extra mile, we are adding an additional 10 minutes to the Diamond Aid Station Cut-off (although the overall course cut-offs will remain).
Our required gear list remains the same as the one implemented two years ago. The list is detailed on the Rules section of the race website (#4). BRING THESE ITEMS TO CHECK-IN WITH YOU – we will be verifying that you have them at that time. These are all common sense items for a race or run in the mountains.
- Jacket (Wind/Waterproof Recommended)
- Warm Hat / Beanie / Buff
- Reusable Cup (extras available for sale at packet pickup for $5)
- Water Capacity of at least 32oz/1L
- Light + Spare Light/Batteries (100km)
Please also note that we recommend additional gear. While we are not requiring this gear from the get-go, we do strongly recommend it for all participants, and reserve the right to upgrade any/all to required on short notice if the unpredictability of mountain forecasts merit doing so:
- Cell Phone with course map loaded
- Extra Top Layer
- Space Blanket
Bibs, Runner Tracking, Dropping Out
If you need to drop out from the race, you must turn in your bib tag to the aid station captain where you drop. If we can’t find you on course and don’t have a record of you dropping, we will wake up your mother at 4:00a in Indiana to ask if she’s heard from you.
Race progress updates will be uploaded to OpenSplitTime.org. With help from Starlink, we are confident that all aid stations will be uploading splits at close to real time for those following from home. However, it should be noted that data connections are weak to non-existent on the lower, crew accessible sections of the course, so crews wishing to get updates may need to drive west towards Walden to pick up a signal.
Bib numbers will be assigned next week. You will be able to check your bib number on OpenSplitTime prior to race day. At each aid station, volunteers will record your bib number. You are responsible for making sure that aid station volunteers record your number. Please make sure that your bib number is visible from the front and call out and confirm your number when entering the aid station. This is important so that we can keep track of runners and know that you are not lost or injured.
A live finish line stream will be available on our YouTube Channel.
Camping at the Gould Community Center Start/Finish is restricted for our overnight volunteers and those runners who reserved space with their registration. Those who reserved a spot received an email earlier this week with more details.
Gates to the Community Center will be closed at 9:30pm Thursday and Friday nights. If you have reserved space and are arriving later, please follow parking directions posted at the gate.
If you have not reserved camping or lodging in advance and cannot find an open developed campsite in the area, you can park and camp anywhere on National Forest land south of Gould off County Road 21 past the Powderhorn Cabins. It’s about 3 miles away from the start. See the Parks Ranger District of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map for specifics on where camping is legal.
Safety and Communications
The event is taking place in a remote and mountainous part of Northern Colorado. As such, runner safety is our top priority. We will be tracking runners via ham radio communications at every aid station, so please be sure to check your bib number with volunteers at each and every stop along the way. If you need to drop out, you *must* notify the aid station captain and turn over your race bib tag before you leave the course. If you don’t officially check out of the race, we will assume you are missing on course & activate search and rescue.
For added safety, we will have first responders at every aid station and a team of backcountry EMTs located at strategic points along the course. It would be helpful to write any allergies or medical conditions on the back of your race bib to help first responders in assessing any given situation in the unlikely event of emergency.
There is cell phone coverage in most high areas with a clear view to the west. Runners who carry phones can get messages out to crew (text is best) periodically and may be able to make a call in the case of emergency.
Potential hazards on course include: high altitude; steep, technical terrain; downed trees and other obstacles; wildlife (cattle, moose, bears); significant temperature changes from daytime heat to overnight cold; storms and lightning; and some dense vegetation that may trigger allergic reactions.
Our 24 (100km) & 15 (60km) hour cut-offs are generous and should allow everyone enough time to get to the finish safely. With that in mind, we ask that you watch out for your fellow runners on course and run a smart and safe race.
There are two crossings of Highway 14 during the course of the race. One at mile 20, just after the Diamond Aid Station, and one at mile 63 just after the Ranger Lakes (mini) Aid Station. Traffic will not stop for runners and cars and trucks may be traveling in excess of 55 MPH (the posted speed limit). Runners are required to follow the instructions of road crossing volunteers who will be directing you safely across the road.
Crews are not permitted to park on the hard shoulder of Highway 14 under any circumstances – not even for a quick drop-off.
The route will be well marked with pink flagging; pink and white pin flags; flour and/or black arrows on yellow background at key turns.
Night-time marking from the Clear Lake Aid Station to the finish will be a combination of reflectors (attached to regular pink flagging) and LED lights. For nighttime navigation, we recommend as powerful a light setup as you have. And don’t forget backup lighting and/or batteries.
Parts of the course involve cross country travel. In these areas there will be flagging in line of sight at all times, so all runners who pay attention will have no problem staying on course. On more obvious parts of the course without trail intersections, confidence markers will be hung approximately every quarter mile and at every trail or road junction. With that said, there are many game trails, cow paths, and logging cuts on parts of the course that could lead you astray if you’re not paying attention. Never assume and always follow the course markings.
Runners are required to carry their own water bottles or hydration packs. A reusable cup is part of the mandatory gear list. If you do not have one, they will be available for purchase ($5) at race check-in. Please carry and use these (or similar) for soda and other drinks from aid stations.
We have 5 aid stations in the 100km race and 2 aid stations in the 60km race where you can leave a drop bag with essential supplies that you are unable to get from our aid stations.
Drop bags can be left at the start on race morning or during Thursday/Friday packet pickup. Please keep your bags to a reasonable size (small duffel bag or stuff sack) as volunteers will need to transport these for you. Please do not use coolers, buckets, or other large hard plastic containers and do not pack any breakable glass or valuables in your drop bags.
Label bags with 1) Your Bib Number, 2) Your Last Name & 3) The station it is going to.
Our biggest congestion point during race weekend is crew parking. The park has asked us to remind crews to:
- Obey speed limits (25 mph in the park)
- Follow parking directions and do not block gates or through-vehicle access
- Make sure all vehicles have a parks pass
- Limit crews to 1 vehicle
A Crew briefing will be held at 5:45am after the start each day. We will answer questions, offer directions, and may have park staff on site to sell park passes and offer additional information.
The route and all access points are entirely within the boundaries of State Forest State Park, so all crew vehicles are required to purchase a park pass ($10) in order to access crew areas if they do not have an annual Colorado State Parks pass. Passes are available at the main park entrance, the Moose Visitor Center, or various self-pay stations around the park. If your crew plans to get their pass after the start, bring cash/check for the self-pay stations.
The trails are open to the public and spectating is allowed anywhere on course. Crewing outside of designated crew aid stations is prohibited. Runners receiving any assistance outside of designated aid stations may be disqualified.
Some aid station details for crews:
- Diamond Aid is at the same location as 2021 & 2022. Crew parking is also at the new – vastly improved – location (Seven Utes trailhead) again this year. It is a 3/4 mile walk from the Seven Utes trailhead to the aid station location. Please do not arrive at the aid station before 7am to give our volunteer team time to set up. All crew must walk in from the trailhead.
- Ruby Jewel Aid is again at the Clark Peak Yurt (50 yards up the road from the old location at the Ruby Jewel Yurt). Crew vehicles should drive up the Ruby Jewel Rd to park. Please do not use the Francisco Rd to access Ruby Jewel. Crew vehicles will be directed by our parking team on where to park. Please park as tightly to the side of the road as possible so all additional park visitor traffic, race and/or emergency vehicles can pass through unimpeded. Depending on where your crew ends up parking, the walk to the aid station will be between 1 & 2 miles (with some vertical gain).
- Canadian Aid parking is at the end of the main park road (CR41). We will have parking volunteers there. Please follow their instructions, do not block campsite and/or gate access. Expect a 1mi hike to the aid station. We will have a port-a-john at the aid location.
- Bockman Aid parking will be limited to one side of the road only to allow access for emergency vehicles. Please advise your crew to follow the direction of parking volunteers and be prepared for a short walk in. Crew vehicles should not enter the Bockman Campground (near the Bockman aid station) – especially after dark – unless they have a camp spot. We will have a port-a-john at the aid location.
There is a public water pump on the main park road by the eastern bathrooms along Michigan Reservoir on the way to the Bockman, Ruby Jewel, Clear Lake and Canadian aid stations.
Dogs with crew must be leashed at all times. Please keep dogs out of the main aid station area and out of the runner lanes to avoid interfering with volunteers or tripping runners.
Gas and food are very limited in the area. The nearest gas & grocery is in Walden, 25 miles west of Gould. Cabins Gift Shop is a small store with ice, drinks, and snacks in Gould off Hwy 14 a few miles west of the race start/finish.
If coming from the east on Highway 14 (Fort Collins/287), the last 24-hr gas station is at Ted’s Place at the mouth of the canyon (approximately 65 miles from the race start). There is also one pump in Rustic (halfway up the canyon) that closes at 7:00pm. We strongly recommend filling up on gas before entering the canyon.
Pacers in the 100km race are allowed to join/swap at the Canadian and Bockman aid stations. Runners over the age of 60 in the 100km race can pick up a pacer at the Ruby Jewel aid station.
Pacers CANNOT leave cars parked at the Canadian & Bockman aid stations while they pace to retrieve later – please plan to get dropped off and/or find a ride
Pacers are there to provide company, moral support, but are primarily allowed for added safety for runners after dark. Muling (schlepping runner gear) and crewing outside of designated aid stations, or providing any other assistance is not allowed.
Pacers may not have extra drop bags – any extra items that a pacer needs must be packed in the runner’s drop bag. Pacers should plan to bring whatever water and food that they need while waiting for their runner to arrive. While on course with their runner, pacers may make full use of the aid stations.
Race and Aid Station Pacing
Results and aid station splits from the last eight years are available here.
Awards, Post Race Food, and Runner Breakfast
Hot food (including vegetarian, vegan & GF options) will be available for all runners at the finish. If you did not purchase extra meal tickets with your registration, they will be available for pacers and crew on the day for $10 each. Each finisher meal includes a drink from our friends at New Belgium Brewing (in addition to non-alcoholic options).
Extra food for 100km runners will be available for purchase from the 60km Finish BBQ on Friday evening.
We will be offering a pancake breakfast during the 100km awards and prize giving on Sunday morning, beginning at 10am. 100km finisher awards will be handed out at this time. We encourage you to come and enjoy the breakfast with your fellow competitors, crew members and race volunteers.
If you cannot make it in the morning, finisher awards will also be available at the finish line, so please check in there before you leave. Breakfast is free to all runners and volunteers. Friends and family are welcome to join too and are asked to make a $10 donation to race beneficiaries if extra meal tickets have not been purchased in advance.
60km finisher awards will be handed out as you finish. Our 60k Awards Ceremony (for Overall and Age
Group Awards) will be at 4p on Friday.
Artist, CJ Olson will be on site at the finish (And Sunday awards breakfast) offering personalized laser-engraved finisher awards for those interested in purchasing.
We thank you for registering to run the Never Summer 100k/60k. We have received considerable support from friends, family, volunteers and sponsors in bringing this 9th running of the race to fruition.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who have helped get the course ready and who will be out volunteering on race day. Please remember to thank those out there helping you achieve your goals.
We also encourage you to consider the products and services of our sponsors: