Thanks for a Successful 2012 Race!

Once again, our Blue Sky Marathon was a huge success thanks to our generous sponsors and hard working volunteers.

We had ideal running weather this year. The 7am start was a bit chilly but runners quickly warmed up on the climb up Towers Road and the rest of the day was comfortably cool with gorgeous clear blue skies.

128 runners started the race this year. 116 finished under the official 7 hour cut off. Another 5 runners made were recognized for finishing the full course just over the cut off.

Ryan Burch won the race in 3:21:28. A perfect homecoming for Ryan’s first race after returning from basic training earlier in September.

Ryan Burch running through Indian Summer. (Photo by Erin Bibeau)

Kaija Staley won the women’s race in a course record time of 3:57:39. The previous course record was 4:16:47. Kaija is the only woman who has run the race under 4 hours.

And thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we were able to raise over $8,000 for our beneficiaries this year. Funds will be distributed to local trail projects, Larimer County Search and Rescue, and other outdoor programs.

Runners make their way across the valley towards Coyote Ridge during the 2012 Blue Sky Marathon. (Photo by Erin Bibeau)


Khumbu Adventure Gear Sponsors the 2012 Blue Sky Marathon

We would like to welcome Khumbu Adventure Gear as our latest sponsor for the 2012 Blue Sky Marathon.

Khumbu Adventure Gear just opened their doors this last spring in Old Town Fort Collins. They offer a variety of outdoor gear and clothing designed locally here in Ft Collins and made and tested in the Himalayas. Tech shirts, base layers, jackets, packs, tents, sleeping bags, are all very well designed and reasonably priced.

The store will also feature monthly meetups and adventure movie/documentary nights. In addition to providing high quality outdoor gear designed by experienced mountaineers, Khumbu Adventure Gear will organize travel expeditions to Nepal every spring and fall.

Khumbu Adventure Gear will be providing prize packages for our Overall, Masters, and Grand Masters winners and will contributing several other goodies for our post race raffle.

For more information, please visit the Khumbu Adventure Gear store at 109 S College Ave in Old Town. New products are being added to their online catalog every week and you can get new updates from their Facebook page here.


High Park Fire Update

We’ve had several emails asking about the status of our 2012 event and the impact of the High Park fire.

As of now, the fire has been 100% contained and none of the trail systems that the Blue Sky Marathon runs on have been affected. The fire reached the northwest border of Lory State park but crews were able to contain it at the border of the Timber Trail and Well Gulch. All trails in Lory State Park are in good shape and are currently open to the public. Horsetooth Mountain Park and the Devil’s Backbone Open Space were not affected by the fire.

The current fire containment doesn’t mean that it is out completely. It will take a large amount of rain or more likely snow later this fall to fully put out the fire. So there is still a risk that it could restart at some point this summer. The majority of our Blue Sky Marathon course runs through the Devil’s Backbone Open Space where there is little to no risk of fire on the actual course. But there is still a chance that our race could be cancelled due to park or road closures from fire activity in our area.

Every year there is always a chance that park management could cancel our event due to extreme rain and mud, snow, or fire. But we feel that the risk of cancelling our race this year is no greater than any other year and plan to proceed with the event as usual.

For the most accurate maps and news updates, you can check out the DTS Wildfire site here:




Innaugural Quad Rock 50 Race Recap

The typical views of our prominent Horsetooth and Arthur’s rocks remained shrouded in mist on race day. (Photo by Eric Lee)

The sun didn’t shine, the ridge lines were lost in the mist and yet we still had a great day at the inaugural running of the Quad Rock 50.

A total of 219 runners toed the start line, with 125 in the 50 mile race and 94 in the 25 mile race. When it was all said and done, 99 runners finished the 50 miler and119 completed one loop for 25 miles, with 26 registered 50 milers calling it a day after one trip across the Fort Collins skyline.

In the men’s 25 mile race, Loveland resident Dan Goding came home with the win in a time of 3:33, after leader Dane Mitchell took a wrong turn at the three-way coming down off the Spring Creek trail. Just three minutes back in second was Scott Jaime in a strong showing for team Pearl iZumi, one of the race’s title sponsors. Zach Crandall rounded out the top three, just 30 seconds back of Jaime.

Ryan Burch leading the Quad Rock 50 Mile race. (Photo by Erin Bibeau)

With a 25-mile split that would have finished him fourth in the one lapper, Ryan Burch charged through the turnaround and headed out for his second – reversed – loop with almost the whole field to say ‘hi’ to on his way back up the Timber trail towards Arthurs Rock. The gap between Ryan and second place finisher Jim Rebenack was relatively small, but stayed essentially the same for most of the second loop, with Jim closing slightly to finish six minutes back of Burch. Jason Koop finished third with yet another strong run in his loaded 2012 season, and Patrick Stewart rounded out the sub-8 hour finishers.

Our first finisher in the women’s 25 mile race was Eliza Walthers in a time of 4:44, closely followed by Kelli Picon (4:47:26) and Jenn Malmberg (4:47:56). At the turn for the 50-mile race Jenny Pierce, a palladium miner from Livingstone Montana, had close to a ten-minute lead over local favorite Steph Lynn. The gap would stay close for most of the second lap, with Steph fighting some stomach demons, but gaming through as best she could to finish a quarter of an hour back of Jenny’s 9:51 winning time. Third across the line was Kristine Klotzbach from Parker, CO in her first 50 mile race, which she completed in its entirety with her husband Phil.

Just a week after winning the masters division of the Colorado Marathon, Cat Speights – owner of race sponsor Countryside Animal Hospital – came home for the masters win in the Quad Rock 50, a most impressive double. Ryan Philips from Sturgis, SD took home the master’s victory in the men’s race.

Despite the dank and cold conditions, runners huddled around the campfire post race to listen to the rhythm and blues of Lee Holiday and the Time Off, enjoy a special batch of “Mile 51 Mild” beer from Pateros Creek Brewing, eat food barbecued by volunteers from the Animal House Rescue – a race beneficiary – receive cowbell awards and prizes from race sponsors including Cornerstone Mortgage, Justin K Liddle DMD, Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, Pearl iZumi, Smith Optics, Highgear, and Runners Roost.

The race of course could not have happened without the help of our amazing core of over 50 volunteers, drawn mainly from the ranks of Colorado trail runners from Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and even as far away as Colorado Springs. Of all the praise we received after the race, the most commonly heard comment was how great the volunteers were. You guys rocked. Thank you. And thank you also to all the runners who took part, the two park jurisdictions (Lory and Horsetooth), our kind sponsors and to Mother Nature for not raining us.

Our dedicated team of volunteers camped out in the mist on top of Towers Road. (Photo by Eric Lee.)

Maggie and Lindsay entertaining our 50 mile finishers at the last aid station with Tu point Tu miles to go. (Photo by Eric Lee)


Final Race Details

With just 4 days to go until the inaugural running of the Quad Rock 25/50, some final thoughts and instructions.

Packet pick up will be at Runners Roost on Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Roost is located at 2720 Council Tree Ave #112, just west of I-25 off the Harmony Rd exit. Pearl Izumi gear will be offered at 20% off during packet pick-up hours. If you can, we ask that you come by Friday to pick up your race gear to help smooth race day parking and sign in.

Bib numbers will be distributed race morning beginning at 4:00 a.m after Lory Park opens to race traffic. For those of you who can’t pick up packets Friday afternoon, EFS gel flasks will be distributed with your bibs in the morning.

Bob’s Coffee in Laporte will be open from 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. race day. Mention the race and they will take 15% off your order: 3522 County Road 54G, Laporte, CO 80535.

Parking passes will be distributed at packet pick up on Friday or by parking volunteers at the entrance to the park in the morning. Carpools will be given priority parking close to the start, all others will be directed down the main park road to loop left back towards the start on the Lodgepole Loop. Parking on Lodgepole will be on the side of the road. The earlier you get there, the closer to the start you’ll be parked.

The race will begin at 5:00 a.m. sharp, so we recommend you give yourself plenty of time to get your bib and do whatever it is you do to get ready to run 25/50 miles. Race packets, including T-shirts, will be available after you finish if you don’t pick up on Friday at The Roost.

Horsetooth drop bags must be dropped off by 4:45 a.m. There will be a short pre-race briefing five minutes before the start. Bib numbers have been assigned, if you want to pre-label your drop bag with name and race number.

Headlamps/flashlights will be necessary for the first 15-20 minutes of the race. There will be a drop box at the Arthurs East Valley Aid station at mile 2.2. Please label your light for post-race retrieval or keep it and drop it in your Horsetooth drop bag, if you prefer. Faster runners who might pass through Arthur’s before it is light enough to see can leave headlamps at the Towers aid, although we cannot guarantee that those will be back to the start/finish until that aid station packs up and returns later in the afternoon. We may try to make an arrangement for a drop at the Sawmill turn, but that is yet to be confirmed.

Aid station fare is detailed here.

Pateros Creek Brewery will be providing a special English Mild brew, ‘The 51st Mile,’ for the post-race BBQ. Please remember to bring an i.d. if you wish to partake. Runners will receive a meal ticket in their race packets. For those bringing family/friends who didn’t order extra meals when registering, food and brews will be available for $10 (cash). All proceeds will be donated to the Animal House Shelter along with race sponsorship funds from Countryside Vet. The race is also benefiting Larimer County Search and Rescue.

Lee Holiday and the Time Off will be playing at the post-race BBQ from 1:30 – 2:30 and 3:30 – 4:30.

In addition to the Pateros Creek recovery blend, First Endurance’s Ultragen recovery drink will be available post race, as will massage and PT help from Colorado Physical Therapists.

Trail conditions are currently stellar, if a little dry and dusty. Recent rain has helped firm things up. Weather for Saturday looks about as good as you could hope for – 60s and overcast, with just a slight chance of showers.

There will be an unmanned water drop at the intersection of Westridge and Timber between Arthurs aid and the Start/Finish.

Course markings will be pink ribbons, hung every 1/4 mile or so, with a run of three ribbons leading up to and beyond each turn. There will be glow sticks for the very early going in the dark.

Activities for family and friends:

Trails are open to everyone to enjoy all day; however, crewing outside of designated areas is not allowed. There is a BMX bike park right by the start/finish area, so bring a bike for the kids. Trails are also open to bikes. The reservoir is just a short walk down from the start/finish and there is a small cove ideal for paddling or submerging battered legs. There will be a half mile kids race (half (closed) road, half trail) beginning at 1:00 ish.

Crew access info is available here.

Early 25-mile finishers who want to shower before the post race can use the facilities at Horsetooth South Bay, located at the southern end of Horsetooth Reservoir off 38e by the Stout sign and shop. Showers are coin operated and cost $2. It is an approximately 15 minute drive to get there. Alternatively, a cold dunk in the reservoir is also available.

And, finally, if you have questions that can’t be answered here or on the race website, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to get back to you.

On behalf of Pete, myself and our outstanding battalion of volunteers, we look forward to seeing you all on Saturday.