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Blue Sky Trail Marathon, Fort Collins, CO
 
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  • Start: Blue Sky Trailhead, Horsetooth Mountain Park
  • Distance: 26.5 miles with ~3,500′ of vertical gain and ~3,500′ of descent
  • Mode of Transportation: Bipedal
  • Date: October 2, 2016
  • Start Time: 7:00 AM
  • Cut Off: 9 Hours at 4:00 PM

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Welcome to the 9th running of the Blue Sky Marathon, Fort Collins’ original and only trail marathon.

Taking place on the trails between Horsetooth Mountain Park and the Devil’s Backbone Open Space, the course takes you on a north-south tour of the easternmost hogbacks of Northern Colorado’s mighty Front Range. With 3,500 feet of elevation gain and an equal amount of elevation loss, the route offers a little bit of something for everyone. It is designed to appeal to both veteran trail runners and those looking to experience their first trail racing adventure. The generous nine hour cut-off should ensure a successful day for everyone.

The course is 100% dirt and 90% sweet Colorado singletrack. The terrain ranges in difficulty from smooth dirt trail to  technical rock gardens.  A small portion of the route is on smooth dirt road (no motor vehicle access) and gravel bike path, with the meat of the running done on the beautiful and distinctive redstone hardpack of the Blue Sky Trail.

After the race, kick back and enjoy the always-popular barbeque and generous sponsor giveaways.

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2016 Blue Sky Marathon Pre-Race Details

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The ninth running of the Blue Sky Marathon is just a couple of days away. Hopefully your training has been on point and you’re ready for a strong run.

All information relevant to the event is available from the race website here. In addition, we’d like to bring your attention to a few key details:

The weather forecast for Sunday is showing a daytime high near 80 degrees. The Blue Sky course is very exposed over the last 18 miles and the trail can get pretty toasty, so please plan accordingly.

An optional packet pickup will be available on Saturday from 4pm to 7pm at Altitude Running. We will be handing out bibs on race morning to ensure we have an accurate list of starters. Altitude Running is located at: 150 E Harmony Rd on the northeast corner of College and Harmony.

Packet and bib pickup will be available on race morning at the Blue Sky trailhead from 5:30am to 6:30am.

Limited parking is available at the trailhead for carpools of two or more runners (55 spaces, first come, first serve) and additional parking will be at the Marina off Shoreline Drive, a half mile from the start. If you are driving solo and parking in the Marina, please give yourself adequate time to get from your car to the start. Race day parking passes will be handed out when you arrive at the Marina entrance.

A map of the parking setup is available on the race day info page.

We will have a start/finish gear drop area, if you want to avoid heading back to your car before the race starts – or think you might need or want to drop or pickup something when coming back through at mile 9.2 after the Horsetooth loop. Bags should be labeled (we’ll have duct tape and sharpies at the start). There are no other drop bag locations on course.

Late registration (cash & check only) will be available on Saturday at packet pickup and on race morning.

The race will start promptly at 7:00am.

Aid stations will be checking bib numbers. Please make sure your bib is visible from the front. It would also be helpful if you could call out your number as you leave and/or enter the aid station.

This is a cup-less race. We ask that all runners carry a water bottle or hydration pack for refills at the aid stations. Be sure you have adequate carrying capacity as the forecast is showing a hot day. 

One of several well stocked aid stations.

The four aid stations (six total, as the two Indian Summer aid stations are visited twice) will have water, VFuel Cool Lime sports drink, in addition to assorted snacks and fruit. The first Towers aid station will have water and Vfuel drink only.

We will have VFuel bulk gel (Mountain Berry, Cool Citrus, and Vanilla) at the start of the race and at the Blue Sky aid station at mile 9.2. Bring your own flask to fill if you would like to use gel during the race – packets will not be available.

The South Hunter turnaround is a checkpoint only – no water or aid. A volunteer will be marking bibs as people come through to make sure the loop is completed.

As a courtesy to other runners on the trail (and per the terms of our insurance policy), we ask that you not wear headphones.

Please pocket any trash and dispose of it at aid stations or at the start/finish.

Trails are open to the public. Watch for bikers and yield to horses.

As always we’ll be offering a full post-race BBQ with beef burgers, vegan burgers and quinoa salad from The Fort Collins Food Co-op, Mary’s Mountain Cookies, Great Harvest cinnamon buns, New Belgium beer, fruit from Trader Joes, and Vitamin Water from El Dorado Natural Spring Water.

The BBQ is free to all participants. If you did not purchase extra tickets with your registration, additional meals can be purchased at the BBQ for family and friends for a $10 donation to Animal House Rescue, one of the race beneficiaries.

In addition to finisher awards, we have overall and age group awards (Open: under 40, outside top three; Masters: 40 and older, outside top three; Grandmasters: 50+). We have gift cards to Altitude Running for award winners, Salomon running shoes for overall winners and a smorgasbord of sponsor gear to give away in the post-awards raffle. 

PT work will be available after the race courtesy of Colorado in Motion.

Thank you as always to our fabulous race sponsors in helping us make this event possible:

Salomon RunningColorado in Motion, Justin Liddle DMD, Drymax SocksAltitude Running, Countryside Animal Hospital, and the Fort Collins Running Club.

Thank you also to all our wonderful product supporters. Please consider supporting these businesses that support our races.

If you have questions that are not answered here on the website, then please email. We will do our level best to respond in a timely manner.

We sincerely look forward to seeing you all on Sunday morning!

Pete Stevenson & Nick Clark
Gnar Runners, LLC
racedirector@gnarrunners.com
www.facebook.com/gnarrunners


Top Tier Sponsors

Salomon Drymax Socks Colorado In Motion Physical Therapy
Altitude Running Justin Liddle DMD Prosthodontist

Race Support

Countryside Animal Hospital Fort Collins Running Club

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