A Perfect Day for the 46th Running of the Horsetooth Half

It was a record year for the 46th running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon, with a total of 1,701 runners from 39 different states crossing the finish line. A new record was set by Kenya’s Ivy Kibet in the women’s race, while fellow countryman Dominic Korir came within six seconds of the men’s course record. 

The fast times were aided by the perfect running conditions we were blessed with this year. Race morning temperatures ranged from the high 30s to low 50s and gave way to beautiful post-race conditions which ended up being perfect for hanging out and enjoying the New Belgium Finish Line Party.

In celebration of the beautiful hills that define our state and the course, we annually crown a King and Queen of the Mountain at the course high point just 1.7 miles into the race. It’s not often that the first man and woman to the top of the hill end up winning the race, but that was the case this year with Korir topping out in 10:11 (16 seconds off the hill climb record) and Kibet posting a new women’s record of 11:27 more than a minute ahead of Grace Kahura who was second over the hill.



Ivy Kibet wins and sets a new course record.

From the top of the hill, Kibet was in complete control and the only question remaining was how quickly she would cover the remaining ground and how many elite men she could leave in her wake. And, by the time she hit Linden St, it was apparent that Brianne Nelson’s impressive 2016 record (1:16:44) was about to go down. The new women’s mark now stands at 1:15:30, a time that was almost eight minutes quicker than second place Grace Kahura (1:23:10) who ran with last year’s champion AnnMarie Kirkpatrick (1:24:01) before pulling away on the Poudre Trail to secure second. AnnMarie would come in a minute later to secure the final podium spot.  

The men’s race was a closer-run affair. An early lead pack of five through the early hills was whittled down to three on the way to Bingham Hill. Reports from the lead bike were indicating that Korir was gapping Fort Collins’ Grant Fischer and Boulder’s Kurt Roeser on the uphills but being caught on the descents.

On the final climb over Bingham Hill though, Korir made his move on Roeser and Fischer, putting close to 20 seconds on them by the time they hit the Lions Park aid station at mile 8.5. Averaging exactly 5:00 pace over the final five miles, Korir would go on to win the race by just over 40 seconds in a time of 1:07:33. A late charging Hillary Chesire would catch Fischer and finally Roeser in the final miles of the race, posting a time of 1:08:11 for second just 14 seconds ahead of Roeser in third. Fischer would ultimately finish fourth in 1:09:13.

Dominic Korir wins , just six seconds off the course record

Taking home the prize money in the master’s division were local favorite Shannon Teslow (1:36:00 (55 years young)) and Colorado Springs’ Andy Rinne (1:22:51).

Age group award winners took home beautiful pottery awards from famed local potter Amy Hayman. For those that weren’t able to collect their awards at the post-race prize giving, they are available for pickup for the next few weeks at Altitude Running. In addition to our award winners, all finishers went home with a beautiful commemorative pint glass from New Belgium Brewing and a unique, handmade finisher’s medal also made by Amy Hayman.

In closing, we’d like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers that helped out in many different capacities to help make the 2019 running of the race a success. Thank You! We’d also like to thank our seven wonderful top-tier sponsors who have supported this year’s event with total enthusiasm.

Please visit our sponsor page to see the full list of business sponsors and non-profit volunteer organizations who helped make this year’s race a success.

Fort Collins Running Club Announces 2019 Elite Field

The Horetooth Half Marathon will again be awarding $8,000 in prize money this year, with generous support from the Fort Collins Running Club.

Overall awards for the 45th running of the event will go five deep. In the master’s division, payouts will go three deep, and – once again – there will be a separate Fort Collins Running Club-only pool. In addition, the race will be awarding a $200 premium to the first man and first woman to the top of Monster Mountain at mile 1.8, some 500 feet above the race start on Dixon Canyon Drive. 

“The Fort Collins Running Club is committed to supporting runners of all ages, talent, and experience.  As part of our mission to support the elite side of the sport in Colorado, the Club has continued its support of the Horsetooth Half prize purse by matching the $4,000 put up by the race, as well as increasing our support of local runners by offering cash awards for our top club members,” said Fort Collins Running Club Board Member, Kate Schulte.

“We love the Horsetooth Half course and  its vibe, and want to make it THE race for all Coloradoans, and even all U.S. runners, to add to their bucket list of races.  With a challenging and beautiful course,  the best post-race party in the state, and now with even more of the best talent in the area, the 46th running of the race is sure to be exciting!”

For full award details, including age group awards, please visit the awards section of the race website

Men’s Race

There will be a new champion this year, with 2018 champion Brandon Johnson currently working his way back from injury. That leaves the field wide open. 

The top returning runner from last year is University of Wyoming Assistant Cross Country Coach, Scott Dahlberg, who finished fourth in 2018 in a quick 1:09:51 after finishing third in 2017 (1:09:21).

Scott Dahlberg finishing fourth at the 2018 Horsetooth Half

An interesting addition to the field this year is Poudre High & Colorado State standout Grant Fischer, who continues to train post-collegiately with the Siemers Dreamers group. He’ll be stepping up in distance to the half marathon for the first time at the Horsetooth Half, abd comes into the race with 5k/10k PRs of 13:44 & 28:45.

Both Scott and Grant will be pushed by a long list of other elite entrants that will be in the hunt for a podium finish. These include Dominic Korir, a Colorado Springs-based Kenyan training with the American Distance Project. Korir appears to be in great form, running a 1:02:59 for second in December at the San Diego Holiday Half.

Boulder’s Kurt Roeser will also be toeing the line eyeing a podium finish on Sunday after running his way into the 2020 Olympic Trials (Marathon) at the California International Marathon in December with a 2:17:55.

Finishing fifth in 2018, Alejandro Garcia is showing some recent form, coming off a win at the 2019 Spring Equinox Half Marathon (1:10:57) here in Fort Collins. Second and third place finishers from that same race, Brian Eimstad and Alexander Mauro, will also be toeing the line on Sunday. Bashash Walio was seventh last year and will be back on the start line after running a 1:05 at the Bryce Canyon Half last summer. He too has had success at the Equinox races winning the 2017 Fall Equinox Half Marathon.

Others to watch out for include:

  • Kevin Kochei, coming off a recent 47:13 15k
  • Wisconsin’s Derek Johnsrud with a recent 1:10 half and 31:55 10k
  • Joshua Mirth (11th last year)
  • Former course record holder Paul Petersen
  • Adrian Macdonald with a recent 2:28 marathon PR at Houston and 53rd overall at Boston last year
  • Eder Pina stepping up in distance with 5k/10k PRs of 30:54 and 14:43
  • And 13th place finisher in 2018 Chris Copenhaver who swears he’s cracking the top 10 this year

Women’s Field Summary

AnnMarie Kirkpatrick will be headlining the women’s field at the 46th running of the Horsetooth Half on Sunday. And she has been in great form since last year’s win, scoring a big PR at the Cal International Marathon (2:37:49) in December. Her run last year was the second fastest ever in the 45 year history of the race, but she’ll likely have to go quicker this year to defend her title.

AnnMarie is going to be pushed hard by a very strong field, led by Boulder-based Kenyan Grace Kahura who had a breakout race in June of last year, running a 2:34:02 at Grandma’s Marathon in MN. She followed that up with a 1:14:20 half in Columbus, OH. Countrywomen, Ivy Kibet, based in Colorado Springs is also likely to be in the mix after running a PR 1:13:26 in Santa Fe in September.

Westminster’s Ashley Brasovan does a bit of everything. Last year alone she won a number of trail and mountain races, including a third fastest ever at the Mount Evans Ascent, while also staying sharp on the roads with an 11th place finish at the US Road Half Marathon Championships. With 1:14 and 2:40 half and full PRs, she too will be in the mix on Sunday.

Nicole Feest was a CSU standout over a decade ago, before pursuing a post-collegiate career with Brad Hudson in Boulder. She ran a 2:41 marathon PR in 2013 to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials, then took a couple years off. Now training under Kathy Butler, she is using the Horsetooth Half as her comeback race.

Both Laura Cook and Adrian Neal punched their tickets to the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in December with runs of 2:43 and 2:44 respectively. Both of the Colorado residents will be looking to push for the podium this Sunday.

Finishing third in 2016 was Ruth Waller-Liddle. A 800 meter standout at Baylor University, Ruth has been stepping up in distance in recent years and looks ready for another strong run at the Horsetooth Half this year after an eighth place finish last year. One place ahead of Ruth last year was triathlete Uli Broome who will also be back on the start line this year.

Others pushing for top spots include Broomfield’s Emily Renner who ran a 2:54 at last year’s Grandma’s Marathon, and Texas A&M miler Sophie Blake who has been stepping up in distance, last year running 1:22 at the Houston Half.

Strong and Deep Field

Race Director, Nick Clark, believes that this will be among the strongest and deepest Horsetooth Half fields in the 46-year history of the race, noting, “with the generous support of the Fort Collins Running Club, we have been able to maintain a generous prize purse, which has enabled us to attract another strongest Horsetooth Half field, and likely the strongest half marathon field in the state this year.”

“While our focus for the race is primarily on providing a unique, fun and community-focused experience for all of our runners, we also have an opportunity to support the sport of running through the Running Club’s sponsorship of the prize purse and we hope to be able to continue to focus on developing the race as one of Colorado’s most competitive half marathons.”

“We think the race is going to be fiercely fought this year and we encourage running fans to come on out to spectate the race and see some of the fastest runners in the state compete.”

Race Day Road Closure Details

Be Aware & Plan Ahead

With up to 2,000 runners on course, our number one concern on race day is runner safety, which every year means that we have to plan for a number of road closures and detours at the race start, on the race course, and at the race finish. Please make sure you are aware of our traffic plan and also communicate it to friends and family that are planning to get around the course to support you.

**** This year, we have a full lane closure on Centennial Dr (northbound lane). Please respect the open southbound lane and stay inside the cones. ****  

Start 

  • All race morning parking will be at the Holiday Twin Drive In (2206 S Overland Trail). Access to the Holiday Twin parking off Overland Trail Rd will be from the south only (right turn), so plan to access Overland from Drake Road. Parking traffic coming from the north will be required to continue south and turn around at Cottonwood Glen Park.
  • For runner drop-off on Dixon Canyon Dr (42C), access will be from Overland Trail Rd only. All vehicles will be required to access Dixon Canyon Dr from the north (right turn only). After dropping runners, all vehicles will be required to continue west on Dixon Canyon Dr. The south shoulder of Dixon Canyon Dr will be exclusively for pedestrian traffic from the parking lot to the race start. The two drive lanes will be used for runner drop-off, and the north shoulder will be used for thru traffic (westbound). 
  • Dixon Canyon Dr will be closed to all eastbound traffic from 7:00am – 8:45am. Southbound traffic from Centennial Dr will be diverted to 38e. Traffic from 38e will be required to turn around or route north on Centennial Dr. 
  • Dixon Canyon Dr will closed to all traffic at 8:15am to allow for the race start at 8:30am. It will reopen after the last runner clears South CR 23 at approximately 8:45am.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Race Course (Centennial – North CR 23)

As noted above, there will be a full road closure for the first 3/4 mile of the course on Dixon Canyon Road (CR 42C) from the race start to South CR 23. From South CR 23 to Bingham Hill Road (mile 6.5), there will be a single lane closure (northbound lane) on Centennial Drive (North CR 23). Flagged two-way traffic will run between South CR 23 & Bingham Hill Rd (50e) on Centennial Dr. Be prepared for up to a 10 minute wait to drive south or north on Centennial Drive. With the exception of local traffic, we advise alternate routes. If planning to spectate on Centennial Dr, we advise bike (or run) access only.

The northbound lane closure and flagged two-way traffic on the southbound lane of Centennial Dr (North CR 23) will be in effect from 8:15 – 10:15. 

On Bingham Hill Road, the westbound lane will be closed from 8:30 – 10:30. Local traffic coming from the east (Overland Trail Rd) will be asked to detour north through Bellvue and approach from the west. 

Finish

  • Linden St. will be closed from the Poudre Bike Path to Linden Centre Drive (north) to accommodate the finish and post-race party. Access to Linden Centre Drive parking opposite New Belgium will be from the north via Vine Dr. 
  • Buckingham St. will be closed from 1st Street to Linden. Traffic from Lemay on Buckingham will be for local access only.
  • Detour traffic will use Vine, Lemay and Lincoln. 

CLICK TO ENLARGE

2019 Medals Handmade in Loveland, CO

The Horsetooth Half is locally owned (Fort Collins Running Club) and operated (Gnar Runners) and we’re all about community and keeping it local. This year’s finisher medals and awards are being handmade less than 10 miles from the race start in Loveland, Colorado by the wonderfully talented Amy Hayman. Amy grew up and competed as a runner in the Poudre School District and is herself a multi-time finisher and age group award winner of the Horsetooth Half.

And don’t forget those finisher pint glasses: made in Denver and filled in Fort Collins with beer brewed 100 yards from the finish line at New Belgium Brewing.

        

2019 Shirts

We’re really excited to reveal the design for this year’s official Horsetooth Half Marathon race shirts. Local Laporte artist Mary Boyts offers a beautiful watercolor rendition of the iconic Horsetooth Rock as seen from  the eastern shores of the reservoir in the opening miles of the course.

All registered participants will receive the technical Green Layer shirts with their packets, available the day before the race on Saturday April 13 at the pre-race expo at Raintree Athletic Club. Shirts and bibs will also be available for pickup on race morning.

 

Horsetooth Half Season Officially Underway

Thanks to all who joined us for the kick-off to the 2019 RunningU Horsetooth Half Marathon training program!

Runners enjoyed a 4-6 mile run on the Poudre Trail with 200+ of their closest friends, followed by New Belgium drink specials, snacks, sponsor giveaways and a training presentation from our friends at Colorado In Motion.

See below for a series of 5 suggested strengthening exercises from Colorado in Motion designed specifically for endurance runners.

Group runs happen each Sunday, with much more information, runs, newsletters & more available for RunningU participants. See the full training schedule.

Some of the action at New Belgium snapped by Terry Grenwlege before and after the kick-off training run. View the full photo album from the morning’s run.

Price Bump on January 3

Be a part of Fort Collins’ largest locally-owned and produced race!  What started as a bet between friends in its 46 year as an annual tradition with 2000 of your closest friends.

Make sure to register soon, as prices increase on January 3.

Remember: the 2019 Horsetooth Half Training Program will officially kick off January 6 with a 4-5mi run on the Poudre Trail from New Belgium Brewing followed by drink specials, snacks and a training presentation from Colorado In Motion. Please register for this free program HERE

We Love Our Volunteers

The Horsetooth Half relies on the generous support of an army of volunteers each year. We are eternally grateful for that support and the leverage it allows us to make charitable donations to over a dozen local charities, and also to help fund the activities of the Fort Collins Running Club each year.

Fort Collins residents tackle monster hill during Horsetooth Half Marathon

If you are interested in supporting the Northern Colorado running community, and would consider donating a few hours of your time to help make the 46th running of the event happen, then we have a range of opportunities to choose from (packet pickup, parking, aid stations, setup, tear down, beer pouring, logistics, and the list goes on).

Or perhaps you have a group that is interested in getting involved and would like to help raise funds for your non-profit or a particular beneficiary? If so, we are happy to make financial contributions to non-profit groups or beneficiaries of those groups that support the race with a team of volunteers.

To learn more, please visit our ‘Get Involved‘ page, or visit the volunteer signup page. 

2019 Registration Now Open

Registration for the 2019 running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon is now open. The 46th running of the 13.1 mile race will take place April 14, 2019, starting to the south of former location of Hughes Stadium on Dixon Canyon Road and finishing by New Belgium Brewing on Linden Street in Old Town Fort Collins. Registrations will be capped at 2,500 on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It’s our honor to continue the grand tradition of the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Now in its 46th year, the race has a proud history as Colorado’s oldest road half marathon, and has been a longtime staple of the Fort Collins running community,” said race director Nick Clark, owner of race management company Gnar Runners which began managing the race on behalf of the Fort Collins Running Club in 2015.

“In 2018 we saw a record 2,000+ registrations, and for next year’s race we expect to be at capacity.” 

“The Horsetooth Half is a wonderful community event that celebrates many of the things that make Fort Collins such a great town to live in and visit. We’ve got unbelievable scenery on a challenging course, a wonderful in-race atmosphere, the deepest field in Colorado half marathoning, and a memorable finish line party at New Belgium Brewing, the epicenter of the Fort Collins craft brewing scene,” Clark said. “We’re also really excited about the great community partnerships that we’ve been building over the last couple of years among our sponsors and non-profit partners. It was fantastic to be able to make financial contributions to over a dozen non-profit groups and school cross country programs this year through the help of our corporate partners, and we plan to grow both the corporate and non-profit partnerships in 2019.”

The Fort Collins Running Club will support runners training for the race through its Horsetooth Half RunningU program, a free 15-week training program beginning in early January and leading up to the race. The training program includes weekly long runs every Sunday. Six of those runs will start and end at New Belgium, with presentations and drink specials after each one. The group training runs are open to everyone, whether registered for the race or not.

Along with the Horsetooth Half Marathon, the Fort Collins Running Club also puts on the FireKracker 5k and the Tortoise and Hare races, a series of seven handicapped races beginning in October and ending two weeks before the Horsetooth Half. The races range in distance from 4k (2.5 miles) to 12k (7.5 miles).