Community

The 2024 Gnar Runners Team

For the 2024 season, we’re extremely proud to be bringing together a group of local trail runners under the banner of the Gnar Runners Team. They are a passionate group of local trail runners with a broad spectrum of abilities we’re thrilled to have as ambassadors for the Gnar Runners race series and the local Northern Colorado trail running community more broadly. Not only will you see the team out and about at local and regional races this season, but they’ll also be helping to lead training and social runs throughout the year.

Terry Grenwelge - Gnar Running Team

Terry Grenwelge

Rob Raguet-Schofield - Gnar Running Team

Rob Raguet-Schofield

Michelle Foster - Gnar Running Team

Michelle Foster

Michelle Flenner - Gnar Running Team

Michelle Flenner

Megan Cruise - Gnar Running Team

Megan Cruise

Marlin Yoder - Gnar Running Team

Marlin Yoder

Kris Tyson - Gnar Running Team

Kris Tyson

Elise McKnight - Gnar Running Team

Elise McKnight

Elijah Flenner - Gnar Running Team

Elijah Flenner

Ed Delosh

Colleen Weitzel - Gnar Running Team

Colleen Weitzel

Brett Harkey - Gnar Running Team

Brett Harkey

A.J. Cohen - Gnar Running Team

AJ Cohen


Coni Hoerndli - Gnar Running Team

Coni Hoerndli


Catherine Huyett - Gnar Running Team

Catherine Huyett


Joe Huyett - Gnar Running Team

Joe Huyett


Christine O'Gorman - Gnar Running Team

Christine O’Gorman


Training

Quad Rock 50mi & 25mi Training

There are organized training runs every Saturday January-May for Quad Rock. See the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook Group for details on times, locations & routes. Most training runs will be on the race course.

We’ve put together two training outlines for the race. The ‘basic/intermediate’ plan is designed to get you ready to finish the race, and is suitable for those newer to trail and ultras. The ‘advanced plan’ is more aggressive and is designed for those with a good level of experience and looking to improve times. Pease use the links below to view the detailed plans:

Basic/Intermediate Quad Rock 25/50 Training Plan
Advanced Quad Rock 25/50 Training Plan

Quad Rock Preview Run

  • Date: April 6, 2024
  • Start: 8:00am at Lory State Park
  • BBQ Potluck: *Tentative* 1:00pm – 3:30pm (please bring something to share or a few dollars to contribute for picnic area rental, BBQ supplies, food and other misc.)
  • Fees: No registration is required. Runners are responsible for their own park entrance fee ($10 Day Pass per car if you don’t already have a Colorado State Parks Annual Pass or Keep Colorado Wild pass with your vehicle registration. Carpooling strongly recommended.)
  • Course: Most runners will follow the Quad Rock 25 mile loop (GPX File) but everyone is welcome to run any part of the course. And anyone is welcome to start earlier or later. The route will not be marked but we will have plenty of local runners attending so most runners should be able to buddy up with a similarly paced runner or group of runners, with at least one person who knows the course. If you are new to the area, however, please remember to print a map. Full size detailed maps of Lory and Horsetooth are available from Fort Collins JAX.
  • Other: We will not have any aid stations on the course. There are water pumps at the Horsetooth Trailhead, Soldier Canyon Trailhead, and the Lory Visitor Center. We will also place several jugs of water at the Arthur’s Trailhead.

Runners are responsible for their own safety – we will not keep track of attendance and will not have a course sweep.

For a shorter 18 mile route, the Spring Creek-Westridge loop can be cut off from the Horsetooth side of the course.
For a longer route, you can add an extra loop back up and over Arthur’s and straight back on the East Valley Trail for 34.6 miles.

Dogs on leash are welcome.

Never Summer 100km/60km Training

On Saturdays in June/July, there will typically be carpools of runners from Fort Collins heading to State Forest State Park to train on the course. Those will be posted in the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook group.

Never Summer Training Weekend – June 29/30

Camping

Continuing for 2024, we are offering camping and camaraderie at the Gould Community Center (race start). Reservations will be available Friday & Saturday nights. Open to tents and campers (no hookups). Please reserve your spot here.

Camping reservations for runners will open soon. Camping is free for trail work volunteers. Please email to confirm.

Schedule:

Saturday, 8:00am: Meet at the Seven Utes Parking Area to run the southern section of the course. The Seven Utes loop (7 Utes, Lake Agnes, bottom loop of North Diamond) is roughly 20 miles. A larger loop that also includes North Diamond and Montgomery Ridge with a return on the Bockman Road/Gould Mountain would be in the 32 mile range. American Lakes will still be open as of training weekend – while it’s not part of the 2024 race course, it’s a beautiful section you could easily add on for an extra 6mi.

Saturday Southside 20 Mile GPX
Saturday Southside 32 Mile GPX

Sunday, 8:00am: Meet at Ruby Jewel Trailhead. Run Kelly Lake/Hidden Valley, northern loop and back to Ruby via Canadian/North Yurt for 19/23 miles (with/without Clear Lake spur). A shorter option would be to shortcut on the access road to Canadian from the Kelly Lake junction (~14 miles).

Sunday Northside 15 Mile GPX
Sunday Northside 23 Mile (or 19 Mile if you skip the Clear Lake O&B) GPX

Trail work volunteers can meet up with us either day at the same starting trailhead. You’re welcome to just show up in the morning, but you can also let us know you’re coming.

Red Feather Trail Jamboree Training

We’ll be hosting our 2nd annual training/trail work weekend on the Red Feather courses on August 16/17, 2024. Free camping & more! Save the dates – more details to come!

Black Squirrel Half & Blue Sky Marathon & Half Training

We’ll be hosting a Blue Sky preview run either September 28 or October 5, 2024. More details to come!

Check out our Black & Blue Training Program for the Black Squirrel (9 Weeks) and/or Blue Sky (14 Weeks).

Also check out the Lory Summer Trail Series, a great lead-in to both races.

Recommended Blue Sky Long Runs

Blue Sky to Devil’s Backbone:

Start at the Soderberg Trailhead and run the full length of the Blue Sky Trail to the Devil’s Backbone Trailhead and back. If you skip the Indian Summer Loop, the total distance is about 20 miles. Add about 1.25 miles if you add the Indian Summer Loop. There is a water pump at the Devil’s Backbone Trailhead where you can refill. Just note that you will not run all the way to this trailhead during the race, but you can get familiar with the loops in Devil’s Backbone and note the turnaround location at the end of the Hunter Loop. This is also a great training run for anyone traveling up from the south since you can save some drive time by starting at the Devil’s Backbone Trailhead in Loveland. Devil’s Backbone (as well as the Soderberg and Blue Sky) Trailhead requires a Larimer County Parks Annual Pass or an $10 Day Pass.

Horsetooth Loop plus Blue Sky:

Start at either the Blue Sky or the Soderberg Trailhead and run the first north section of the marathon course in Horsetooth. Refill water back at the trailhead and then run the Blue Sky oute around the Indian Summer loop and back. This is a perfect 20 mile training run that combines the harder hill climbing at the start of the race with the rolling hills of the Blue Sky trail.

Weekly Fort Collins Trail Runners Runs:

As always, please respect trail closures. Check COTREX.org for the latest information.

Pineridge Social Run

Spring Canyon Park (by the dog park) – Every Thursday at 6pm

Typical route is 5mi, unless trails are closed for mud. This is a no drop run open and welcoming to runners of all abilities, with multiple stops to regather. The group typically enjoys additional socialization after the run at Intersect Brewing.

Towers/Horsetooth Social Runs

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space & Soderberg Trailhead – Alternating Mondays at 6p (this one is more likely to sometimes have the meetup location change – check Fort Collins Trail Runners on Facebook for the latest.

Runs vary from 4-7mi. The start is staggered to account for different ability levels climbing up the hill, with the goal for everyone to be together at the top by 6:50p. The route is typically 3-3.5 miles from the trailhead to the summit. Total elevation gain is 1500-1800ft and it takes anywhere from 30-60min depending on ability and motivation. Runners who plan to reach the top in 50 minutes start at 6pm. Anyone who needs more time can show up early and estimate their own handicap (i.e. a 60 minute ascent estimate would start at 5:50pm). Faster runners will start later based on their ascent estimate. Everyone gets to the top at about the same time, so no matter how fast or slow you are, you’ll have some good encouragement and motivation on the way up. Once everyone meets at the top, the group jogs back down the hill at a casual and conversational pace.

Women’s Trail Speed Building

Ever Tuesday morning. Various Locales but more often than not Spring Canyon Park (by the dog park) and usually 5:30a start, though may vary with the season. See Fort Collins Trail Runners on Facebook for the latest.

Groups meet every Tuesday morning for a group workout geared toward building speed for women, female identifying and non-binary runners. Typically intervals of various terrain/time; these runs is for all ability levels and professionally led by Coach and Gnar Team Member Michelle Foster.


Spring Vertical Madness

Once the weather turns for the better, things start getting a little silly among the Fort Collins Trail Running crowd. The spring vertical series includes the following training staples for Fort Collins ultrarunners trying to whip themselves into shape for the summer season. These are highly recommended in preparing for Quad Rock:

March Mileage Madness – Horsetooth Reservoir Circumnavigation

The Round Up – 30 Miles, 10,000′, One summit of Round Mountain. The Round Up is a full set of ladder repeats up to each mile marker until you reach the summit. For an extra challenge, try to negative split each mile repeat both up and down. A single summit trip is about 9 miles and there are unlimited options to run whatever series of repeats that you like.

Crosier Mountain Triple Bagger – 26 Miles, 8,000′, three summits of Crosier Mountain.

Anyone is welcome to post an invite on the Fort Collins Trail Runners group to coordinate a group run. Someone from the group is always going out for a long run somewhere every weekend and there is usually an announcement or two to the group each week from people looking for company.

We will update this page and will post to our Gnar Runners Facebook page when we confirm any formal plans for additional race training runs.


Discounts & Deferrals

Deferrals / Race Credits are available for all Gnar races. Each typically has deadlines for 100%, 75% and 50% credit of your registration fee (minus UltraSignup / RunSignup fees) reflecting the timeline along which event costs are paid. Please see the Registration section of an individual race for specifics on deadlines and deferral credit procedures.

We are also typically happy to make exceptions to our deferral policy as thanks for volunteering. If you’re a late withdrawal from racing but are still available to help that day, contact us about volunteering and we’ll almost always be happy to forward your full registration forward regardless of your date of withdrawal.

We are also happy to offer a Parental Deferral Policy. We recognize that a new addition to a family is a team effort and taxing on both partners, and as such we want to support balance in a growing family. A runner may request a 100% deferral credit of their entry, valid towards any Gnar Runners race in the next two years if they meet one of the criteria listed below:

  • The runner becomes pregnant after entering the race
  • The runner or their partner gives birth to a child in the time between the runner entering the race and the race’s final deferral deadline
  • The runner adopts a child under the age of 5 in the time between the runner entering the race and the race’s final deferral deadline

For more details, including procedures for requesting a parental deferral, please see the full policy.

Discounts – there are multiple ways to earn reduced/free entries to Gnar races:

  • Volunteering – all race volunteers earn credits toward future races. Credit amounts vary based on shift length/difficulty – contact us if you have specific questions
  • Fort Collins Running Club – all paid, active members of the Fort Collins Running Club have access to discount codes for Gnar races via their club membership portal
  • Sponsor Entries – all Gnar sponsors receive race entries as part of their sponsorship packages

Skills for Race Credits – *NEW for 2024*

Gnar Runners values the wonderful skills that trail runners bring to the outdoors, and wants to encourage more growth! Starting in 2024, we will happily offer race credits to runners who grow their own skillset in the following ways:

  • First Aid/CPR/WFA/WFR
  • Trail Crew Leader
  • Ham Radio*

For any of these, get certified, send us a copy of your receipt, and we’ll give you credit toward a Gnar race this season or next for that amount (up to $100).

While we certainly hope you bring these skills to volunteer with us, there’s no obligation – we simply want to help equip the worldwide trail running community.

(And while we appreciate & value those of you who are already certified in any of these, this pilot program is aiming to motivate new folks, so we’ll start with crediting receipts dated 3/1/24 and forward.)

*Hopefully you’re able to find a Ham Radio class / testing for free – most radio clubs offer that. If so, send us a copy of your new license, and in lieu of a paid receipt we’ll give you a $50 race credit AND a starter radio!

Here are some resources to find classes:


Advocacy

Gnar Runners regularly participates in local advocacy efforts on behalf of our trails. Nick & Brad are members of the Northern Colorado Trails Advocacy Group (TAG) representing the full breadth of trail users (hike, run, bike, equestrian, etc).

Local trails are managed by a host of governmental authorities, from City to County to State to National. Each has their own management and volunteer programs, and we work hard to keep current and promote opportunities with each. At any given time, at least one is updating a Park Management Plan, and we similarly promote and participate in the development processes. Follow our Gnar Runners Facebook Page, the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook Page, and/or join our Email List to stay current on the latest.

Each year, we also build on our own internal efforts to respect the land and environment we run through. In 2023, we transitioned to 100% reusable dishware at all aid stations and finish line meals. In 2024, we are moving closer to becoming fully carbon neutral for all of our events by addressing our largest consumption of fossil fuels – transportation – via support of the Crow Lake community-owned Wind Farm in South Dakota. In addition to donations from Gnar to cover race management, all registrants have the opportunity to contribute a minimal amount to cover their own travel ($1 for <500mi, $2 for 500-1500mi, $3 for $1500+mi). All donations will go directly toward the growth and maintenance of the wind farm.


Fort Collins Trail Runners

Join the Fort Collins Trail Runners Facebook group to get additional updates on local training and social runs.


Fort Collins Running Club

“Promoting fitness through running since 1971”

The mission of the Fort Collins Running Club is to promote running in Fort Collins, Colorado and its surrounding communities by:

  • Providing an enjoyable and positive running atmosphere.
  • Providing competitive and participatory events for runners of all abilities and interests.
  • Promoting the healthful benefits, both physical and mental, that running can provide.

For additional winter road runs, consider joining our Horsetooth Half Marathon training series with the Fort Collins Running Club.


Beneficiaries

Our events wouldn’t be possible without the help of an army of amazing volunteers. After each of our races, we make donations to non-profit groups that bring out volunteers to help staff key positions. Want to fundraise for your organization? We’re always open to new non-profit groups of 8 or more looking to trade volunteering for cash donations. Contact Us to learn more.

If you enjoy our events, then please take a look at the following list of contributing organizations and consider making a donation:

Diamond Peaks Ski PatrolDiamond Peaks Ski Patrol

The Diamond Peaks Ski Patrol (D.P.S.P.) is a volunteer organization, providing educational services about emergency medical care and mountain safety. Patrollers also provide emergency medical care and information on backcountry preparedness and snow conditions. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Diamond Peaks patrols trails within the National Forest at Cameron Pass. They are an adaptable resource of valuable individuals dedicated to education and service in the skiing and outdoor recreation community.


Northern Colorado Amateur Radio ClubNorthern Colorado Amateur Radio Club

The Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club (N.C.A.R.C.) uses their network of technical resources for recruiting, training and assisting Amateur Radio Operators as well as supporting the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (A.R.E.S.) by providing equipment and skilled operators for emergency communications services when called upon.

N.C.A.R.C. radio operators offer their communications services strictly on a volunteer basis and will never accept payment or a direct donation. Consider becoming a Ham Radio Operator to volunteer time and give back to the community. Many of our remote trail races would not be possible without the communication support provided by licensed radio operators.

Beneficiaries of Gnar Runners events also include:


About Us

Gnar Runners was founded in 2011 by local Fort Collins trail runners Nick Clark and Pete Stevenson.

Gnar Runners hosts events designed to promote enthusiasm and passion for the sport of ultra, trail and road running in beautiful Northern Colorado settings. We are committed to not only hosting top quality races, but also to building community through year-round training events and outdoor volunteer projects. Run a race, attend a training event or spend a day volunteering on the trail with us and become a part of the community. We welcome you with open arms.

Nick ClarkNick Clark has been running Colorado trails since moving to Fort Collins in 2006, and has logged literally thousands of miles on his neighborhood trails at Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park, the venues for the Quad Rock 50, Black Squirrel Half Marathon, and Blue Sky Trail Marathon. Nick once competed at the national level in ultra-distance races and has numerous titles and course records to his name. He is an active member of both the Fort Collins Trail Runners and the Fort Collins Running Club and loves to share his enthusiasm for running up mountains with just about anyone who’ll listen or tag along.


Brad BishopBrad Bishop moved to Colorado in 2011 because he’d spent enough of his life not living near mountains. He finished his first ultra in 2009 with the Kansas City Trail Nerds, and has since accumulated more than 80 ultra finishes, including 30+ 100milers and a pair of Grand Slams. After a few years running, volunteering and working Gnar Runners, he joined the organization as a partner in 2019. You can find him at most group runs around town, especially with the Fort Collins Running Club and their Tortoise & Hare races, as well as his ‘side-gig’ as Aid Station Director & Webmaster for the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run. (And his annual Christmas light display is worth checking out.)


Managed Events

In addition to owning and managing the Gnar Runners Quad Rock, Never Summer, Staunton, Black Squirrel, Red Feather, Blue Sky, and Colorado 24 Hour Run trail races, Gnar Runners also offers race management services for the following local events:

Interested in contracting Gnar Runners to manage your event? Contact us today!