All posts by Nick

Press Release: Gnar Runners to Direct the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon

The Fort Collins Running Club (FCRC) has appointed Gnar Runners Race Management to direct the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon. Nick Clark, winner of the 2013 Horsetooth Marathon – held in conjunction with the Half Marathon for the 40th anniversary of the race – will assume the role of race director. Clark will direct the race with Pete Stevenson, who together make up the Gnar Runners Race Management team.

“The FCRC is excited to partner with Gnar Runners for the 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon. Gnar Runners’ proven track record of managing complicated running events with a national appeal and local flair while always keeping the runners experience as the top priority will make this year’s Horsetooth Half Marathon one of the most exciting in its 43 year history,” said Dan Berlin, President of the Fort Collins Running Club.

Registration for the 2016 race opened Monday September 14, the same day that a new race website and domain were launched: The new event management team will continue to focus on providing a fun, affordable and challenging race experience.

“Those who have run our events know that we bring a great deal of passion and energy to our races. Our focus has always been on delivering not only a great running and racing experience, but also a fantastic post-race party, all while keeping entry fees affordable. That philosophy will be no different with the Horsetooth Half,” Clark said.

The Gnar Runners team owns and directs four successful races in the Northern Colorado region, including the Blue Sky Marathon, the Quad Rock 25 & 50 mile trail races, the Black Squirrel Half Marathon and the Never Summer 100km. Clark has also directed the Fort Collins Running Club’s popular Tortoise and Hare (T&H) running series for the last eight years.

“We plan to integrate the T&H series into the build-up to the Horsetooth Half Marathon and we’ll also be offering free training programs and support for newer runners getting ready for the race. Although Gnar Runners will be in charge of all aspects of managing the event, the Club – which owns the race – will be much more involved than it has been in past years in terms of providing training support. This is a marquee Fort Collins running race and a great opportunity for the club to boost its membership and grow its role within the local running community,” said Clark.

In addition to growing community participation with the event, the Club and Gnar Runners plan to promote the city and race as a destination for out-of-state runners looking for a great weekend running getaway. This is in line with a broader plan to grow participation numbers – both among amateur and elite runners – and to establish the race as a major event on the Colorado running calendar.

“We’re putting up a $4,000 cash purse for the 2016 race and plan to increase the payout as the depth of the elite field grows over the years,” Clark explained. “Ultimately, we’d like to establish the Horsetooth Half not only as a great running experience for everyone in the field, but also as one of the most competitive half marathons in the region. We have an unbelievably scenic and challenging course. This is a great opportunity to showcase Fort Collins as the fantastic running town that we all know it to be.”

The Running Club shares the ambition of raising the profile of the event, all while maintaining strong support within the local community.

“We have a goal of bringing Fort Collins to the forefront as a nationally recognized running city, and the Horsetooth Half Marathon is the FCRC’s signature event with a potential national appeal for its beautiful course and close tie-in with Fort Collins culture. In addition, we are excited to expand on the tradition of this challenging half marathon as the running season kickoff event for many in our local running community, both novice and experienced alike,” Berlin explained.

The Horsetooth Half Marathon was run for the 42nd consecutive year in 2015, making it the oldest half marathon in the state and among the oldest in the nation. It was rated the top half marathon with the best post-race party in the state by readers of Colorado Runner Magazine in 2006. The 43rd running of the event is scheduled for April 17, 2016.

For more information, please contact:

Race Director, Nick Clark:

Fossil Creek Recap

Superbowl Sunday greeted us with a slightly warmer morning at Fossil Creek Park than was the case a month ago at Edora Park where the conditions were downright chilly. We had 67 runners come out and enjoy the sunny, yet brisk day, and we only lost one of them (later found nursing a slight calf strain).

In just his second Tortoise and Hare race, Tom Drungil performed a hatchet job on his predicted 30:23 finish time, running nearly three and a half minutes faster and beating his handicap by a larger margin than anybody else to finish first across the line. Katie Quatrano continued her return to post-pregnancy fitness with a three-minute drubbing of her handicap and an impressive second-place finish, while youngsters Kylie Chandler and Talia Berlin both had great runs to finish third and fourth respectively. Rounding out the ribbon winners was our fastest runner of the day, Reuben Sublett, who ran an impressive 18:50 for fifth overall.

Sixth across the line, and now current leader in the series standings was Greg Dickinson. After a slow start to the series, feisty Irish Bostonian, Celeste O’Connor, racked up another 8 points with her eighth-place finish to take her into second place overall in the series. Elizabeth Munson, Jan Huie and Reuben Sublett currently round out the top-five prize positions in the standings, but with two races left in the series it remains wide open.

Our fastest lady of the day was Karen Bertasso who showed good form to finish just north of 20 minutes (20:07), a time good enough for fifth speediest overall. Hot on her heels was Fern Baker, new to the T&H series, just one second back in 20:08 for the sixth fastest time of the day.

In total, we had six new runners at the T&H this month, so welcome to Fern, Nate Huner, Don Walker, Lorelei Miller, Jennifer Lynn and Carol Drungil. We hope to see you and everybody else next month at Lee Martinez park for 10 kilometers of fun on the Poudre Trail.

Edora Park 8k Recap

It was a cold one to say the very least this morning, but that didn’t deter the 56 runners, including seven who were new to the Tortoise and Hare series, from showing up to run the Edora Park 8k race.

Congratulations to Celeste O’Connor and her adoptable Animal House canine companion for being the first across the finish line. Congratulations also to Pete Stevenson and his Animal House companion (I’m noticing a theme here) for registering the fastest time of the morning (31:37). The youthful Mary Boyts was our female hare for the day, while Greg Dickinson and Kristy Dye scored 9 and 12 points respectively to climb to equal first in the overall series standings.

Next month we move south to Fossil Creek Park for the second 5k race of the series, before finishing out with longer 10k and 12k races in March and April.


Record Numbers at Rolland Moore 4k

I’m not sure if 90 runners is an all-time record for the Tortoise and Hare – the series has been around for a lot longer than I’ve been in town – but certainly in the five years I’ve been doing it, this was the biggest field on record.

All told, we had 31 returning runners and 59 new runners, with abilities and ages stretching across the board; a fact that defines the mission of the Fort Collins Running Club.

Thanks to all who came out, and especially to my hardy team of volunteers who helped smooth the complicated task of organizing a handicapped race. And, of course, to Felix Wong for creating a data entry system that significantly eases the process of inputing and outputing results and staggers.

Congratulations to the Scandrett family – all nine of you – for sweeping the podium and to everyone else who came out and had fun on what was a beautiful Colorado morning.

See you all in a month’s time for the Warren Park 5k! And remember, the Tortoise and Hare system favors those who improve their fitness and speed the most over the course of the series. Hint: go out and run a whole bunch in the next four weeks!