Race Information

Horsetooth Half Marathon Course Elevation Profile


  • Date: Sunday April 23, 2017
  • Start Time: 8:30 AM
  • Distance: 13.1 miles with +917 ft / -1,154 ft of elevation change (net 237 ft loss)
  • Point-to-Point Course: Hughes Stadium to New Belgium Brewing
  • Packet Pick-up: Saturday, April 22, 2017 from noon to 6pm at the Raintree Athletic Club & from 7:00 to 8:15 race morning south of Hughes Stadium
  • Cash Purse: $4,000
  • Parking: Twin Drive In


Race MedalAll finishers will receive a unique finisher’s medal. Not only will this commemorate your achievement, but it will also double up as a bottle opener to remind you of your wonderful achievement every time you crack open a cool refreshment. Use it as a medal, use it as a bottle opener or use it as a key-ring & bottle opener.


The Horestooth Half Marathon course offers stunning views of the Fort Collins skyline between the iconic peaks of Horsetooth Mountain and Arthur’s Rock. The opening five miles of the course will deliver these views across azure waters as you make your way along the eastern shoreline of Horsetooth Reservoir on the hills of Centennial Drive.

The start of the race begins at 5,195 feet above sea level and takes runners on a nearly 500-ft. climb to the top of “Monster Mountain” at mile 1.7. After the big opening climb, the course follows the eastern shoreline of Horsetooth Reservoir, rolling past the ‘A’ Hill and North Dam Hill (5,579′) on a net downhill trajectory. Runners begin their eastward journey to the finish at New Belgium Brewing with the final climb of the course over Bingham Hill (5,252′). After climbing Bingham Hill it is all downhill along the Cache la Poudre recreational trail into The New Belgium Finish Line Party and post-race expo in Old Town Fort Collins. The party includes free New Belgium beer for those over 21, post-race food, raucous live music and giveaways at the sponsor expo and awards ceremony. Once you’ve had your fill, jump on a free shuttle bus back to the Holiday Twin Drive-In to pick up your car.


Course Map

Horsetooth Half Marathon Course Map

  • 6:30: Parking open.
  • 7:00 – 8:15: Race-day registration and packet pickup
  • 8:30: Race Start
  • 9:40: First finisher
  • 10:00: Live music & The New Belgium Post-Race Party begins
  • 11:30: Overall and Age Group Awards
  • 12:30: Final finisher, course closed
  • 2:00: Event closed


The Horsetooth Half Marathon will be chip timed using the My Laps timing system. A chip will be attached to the back of your bib. Your time will begin when you cross the starting line and stop when you cross the finish line. Cash awards in the overall and master’s division will be determined by gun time; age group awards will be determined by chip time.

To ensure that race officials and photographers can identify you, your bib must be clearly displayed and visible from the front at all times while racing.


Aid stations will be stocked with water and VFuel Endurance Drink. First-aid kits and a porta-potty will also be available at all aid stations. There will be a total 5 aid stations along the course, located at:

  • Mile 2.8 (Mid-Reservoir)
  • Mile 4.8 (Reservoir Ridge Trailhead)
  • Mile 8.5 (Lyons Park on Overland Trail)
  • Mile 10.3 (Taft Hill Road Crossing)
  • Mile 12.1 (‘One To Go’ at Lee Martinez Park)


Start Area Map


AIR: If you are coming to Colorado by plane, the closest airport to Fort Collins is the Denver International Airport. The start is approximately 70 miles northwest of the airport.

CAR: Fort Collins can be accessed from the I-25 freeway. The start is approximately 9 miles west of the Prospect or Harmony exits. For navigation purposes, the Holiday Twin Drive-In is located at:

2206 S Overland Trail, Fort Collins, CO 80526

Those parking at the Holiday Twin will be required to enter from the south off Overland Drive (right hand turn only), coming from Drake. 


Packet pickup will be available from noon to 6:00pm on Saturday April 22 at the Raintree Athletic Club, located on the NW corner of Drake and Shields at 2555 S. Shields St. Those wishing to drink a beer at The New Belgium Post Race Party (see below) have the option of showing proof of age and receiving and attaching their +21 wristband at packet pickup. 

To speed up the check-in process, you will be able to look up your bib number online here beginning race week:

Race day packets and registration will be available at our packet pickup location, immediately to the south of the start line, between 7:00 and 8:15. The race will start on time at 8:30, so we will be enforcing a strict cut-off on the 8:15 deadline to pick up packets. Please take note that parking at the Holiday Twin Drive-In is 3/4 of a mile from the start, so please build in the 15 minutes it will take you to walk to the start to your race day planning: get there early!


The Horsetooth Half Marathon is a point-to-point course. From 2017 we will no longer have use of the Hughes parking area due to uncertainty over the future of the facility. We will instead be parking at the Holiday Twin Drive-In off Overland Drive. To expedite the parking process, entry to the Holiday Twin will be from the south only (right-hand turn). Those coming from the north will be required to drive down to Cottonwood Glen and turn around to approach from the south. 

As noted above, the Drive-In is approximately 3/4 of a mile from the race start, so please ensure that you arrive early enough to allow for the walk to the start, especially if you are picking up your packet race morning. Please see below for details on leaving gear at the start. 

There will be a runner drop-off lane on Dixon Canyon Rd (CR 42C) near the Aggie Greens disc golf parking area. Those dropping off runners should approach CR 42C from the north (right-hand turn).


Runners can leave a *small* gear bag at the start with the clothing that they need transported to the finish area. The drop bag location will be under the race-day registration tent just south of the start line. Your bib number must be clearly visible on the outside of the bag, and you will only be able to claim your bag from the finish if you have a matching bib number. Duct tape and sharpies will be available at the bag drop area to help label bags. Bags must be deposited for transportation no later than 15 minutes before the start.


Finish Area Map

Your race registration fee includes free entry into the famed New Belgium Finish Line Party. For 2017, New Belgium will be hosting the party on their new and expanded patio. Those wishing to enjoy free beers from New Belgium will need to provide proof of age, so don’t forget to bring your ID. Runners will also have the option to show proof of age at packet pickup on Saturday. Runners showing proof of age at packet pickup will have to attach their Over 21 wristband then and keep it on until their finish the next day.

Boulder Organic! will be serving up delicious and healthy soups for all finishers.

The party will be energized by live music from a locally known and loved band who’ll play either side of the awards and prize giving. The party alone will be worth the price of your race entry. Consider the race itself an added perk.


We will be awarding a $4,000 total cash purse for the 2017 race. We are awarding the cash purse as part of the Fort Collins Running Club’s mission to support not only fitness and health through running, but also the competitive side of the sport. 

Cash prizes will be offered to the top three male and female overall finishers, in addition to the top male and female master’s finishers. All cash prizes will be based off clock time (first past the finish line). The prize structure is as follows:

  • Winner: $1,000
  • Second: $500
  • Third: $250
  • Top Master: $150

Age Division Awards will be offered to the top three in the following categories (based on chip time):

[18 & under][19-24][25-29][30-34][35-39][40-44][45-49][50-54][55-59][60-64][65-69][70 & over]

Monster Mountain Premiums


Giveaways at the top of ‘Monster Mountain’

In addition to the overall cash payouts, there will be two $100 premiums awarded to the King and Queen of the Mountain for first male and first female to the timing mat at the high point on the course.

We will also be offering a *FREE ENTRY* into the 2017 race to the runners that cross the Monster Mountain timing mat in the following positions (must be at the awards ceremony to accept):


Gift certificates in the amounts of $25 from Runners Roost Fort Collins will be awarded to runners that cross the Monster Mountain timing mat in the following positions:


The awards ceremony will be conducted from the stage at the finish line party beginning at 11:30.

Race results will be posted to a results board in the finish area shortly after you cross the line, and will also be posted online the afternoon of the race.


County Road 42C to Centennial Drive Road will be closed to traffic for the opening 3/4 mile of the race, after which runners will have a full lane closure on County Road 23E (Centennial Dr) to the top of Monster Mountain at mile 1.8. From Monster Mountain to the Bingham Hill Rd turn, runners will use the hard shoulder. Bingham Hill Road will be closed to all westbound vehicular traffic from County Road 23E to Overland Trail. Neighborhood traffic will be routed in and out from west to east.

Linden Street will be closed from New Belgium to Willow Street from 9:00am to 2:00pm to accommodate the finish line area.

Traffic control volunteers will be at all major intersections on the course to guide runners and stop traffic. Police officers will be manning the Taft Hill road crossing. All volunteer and police instructions are final.


All aid stations will be staffed with a volunteer first responder who will have access to a first-aid kit containing items that you may need for minor medical issues such as scrapes and blisters.

An ambulance staffed with a paramedic and EMT will be stationed at the finish to respond to any major medical issues.


Runners have a total of four hours to complete the course. This is an average pace of 18:20 per mile.


If you are interested in pacing a particular pace group, please contact race director Nick Clark for more information (racedirector@gnarrunners.com). We would like to offer pacing for the following time goals:

  • 1:30 (6:52 per mile pace) – Ryan Perrich; Fort Collins, CO
  • 1:45 (8:01 per mile pace) – Chris Aronson; Fort Collins, CO
  • 2:00 (9:10 per mile pace) – Tony Stafford; Longmont, CO
  • 2:15 (10:20 per mile pace) – Ron Michaels; Fort Collins, CO
  • 2:30 (11:30 per mile pace) – Melody White, Fort Collin, CO


April weather on Colorado’s Front Range can be somewhat unpredictable. Typically, you can expect morning lows in the mid 30s and daytime highs in the 60s. Some years have seen snow, some years have seen temperatures in the 80s. Fort Collins averages 300 days of sunshine a year. Expect blue skies, but come prepared for anything.


Please see the Visit page of the website to learn more about special rates through the two official race hotels. 


The Horsetooth Half is a spectator friendly course and runners love to see crowds out there supporting them.

The 10 Golden Rules for spectating the Horsetooth Half:

  1. Bring noise
  2. Bring cowbell
  3. Bring friends
  4. Bring signs
  5. Bring costumes
  6. Bring spandex (wait, what…)
  7. Bring friends with signs in costume and/or spandex
  8. Did we mention noise?
  9. Refer back to rule 2, and bring MORE COWBELL!
  10. Stay for the afterparty. We’re bringing the noise for that.

Some of the best spots to view and cheer on runners include:

  • Top of Monster Mountain (mile 1.8). Drive, bike or run in before the race starts and cheer runners on as they make their way up to the high point on the course. We’re giving away cash money for the first male and female to the top: watch this race within the race unfold. Park at the Rotary Park day use area.
  • The Turn onto Bingham Hill Road (mile 6.4). Cheer runners as they turn towards Bingham Hill Road and the final climb on the course. Drive or bike in from Bellvue on N. Co Rd 23.
  • The Turn off Bingham Hill Road onto Overland Trail (mile 8.3). They’re off the final hill and it’s all downhill from here, but there’s still a lot of running left to do. BE LOUD (see rules above on spectating!)
  • Lyons Park (mile 8.5). Park off Overland Trail Rd (21C) at the Lyons Park Open Space trailhead and cheer runners as they hit the bike path and follow the Poudre River into the finish.
  • Taft Hill Road Crossing (mile 10.2). Park at the trailhead right where the Poudre Trail crosses Taft Hill Rd and cheer loud or, better yet, bring on the cowbell. Your runners are really starting to hurt now, they’ll need all the support you can give them.
  • The Finish (mile 13.1). And they’re done. Save your loudest cheers for last.

Race Apparel Store

2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon Apparel Store

Apparel for the 2017 Horsetooth Half will be available for purchase soon.