A Race Recap of the 45th Running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon

It was another record year for the 45th running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon, with over 1,750 runners from more than 40 different states crossing the finish line. In both the men’s and women’s races it was a close run thing with tight podiums, lead changes and drama all the way to the finish.

In the men’s race, 2017 King of the Hill Tyler McCandless once again took it out hard from the gun, claiming the race premium for first man over the hill in a record 9:55 (5:40 pace). Eventual race winner Brandon Johnson (1:08:15) crossed the hill in sixth some 40 seconds back. Johnson would have to wait until mile 10 to claim the lead from last year’s champion and course record holder, Gebre Abadi (1:09:02), who would hold on for second place. Colorado Springs-based, Tesfaalem Mehari (1:09:37) ran a controlled race to round out the podium in third, with Scott Dahlberg (1:09:51) and Alejandro Garcia (1:10:28) following in fourth and fifth for the final money spots.

As in the men’s race, a new record was set for the Queen of the Hill with Boulder-based Kyle Blakeslee beating Sam Rivard to the top of Monster Mountain by some 18 seconds (11:49) and besting Brianne Nelson’s record from 2016. By mile 4, a sizable lead pack had formed with former winners Maggie Callahan and Nelson mixing it up with Blakeslee, Rivard, AnnMarie Kirkpatrick and Misiker Demessie. Once off the hills and onto the bike path at mile 9 it was local favorite Kirkpatrick and Ethiopian Demessie racing for the win with Rivard charging hard in third. Coming into the home stretch, Kirkpatrick was able to find the extra gear for the win in a time of 1:20:20 (second fastest ever), just 14 seconds ahead of Demessie in second and 30 seconds ahead of Rivard in third. Last year’s champ, Callahan would hold on for fourth (1:22:05) ahead of training partner Blakeslee in fifth (1:23:12).

Taking home the prize money in the men’s master’s division was local favorite and previous winner Steve Folkerts (1:22:58), who beat last year’s masters champ Dan Clark by less than a minute. In the women’s division, Fort Collins’ Jenny Powelka (1:35:55) finished just over two minutes ahead of Vail’s Katie Crofton. 

Overall and 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 from Altitude Running, Fort Collins. And for those that did not get a commemorative pint glass at the finish, they are available for pickup at the New Belgium Brewing Tasting Room.

The deep field and fast times were aided by the perfect running conditions we were blessed with this year. Race morning temperatures ranged from the low 40s into the mid 50s and gave way to beautiful post-race conditions which were perfect for hanging out and enjoying music from The Patti Fiasco at the New Belgium Finish Line Party. Some years you get lucky!

  • Full results are available from the results page of the race website
  • Official race photos from our 5 race photographers are available here.

In closing, we’d like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers that helped out in many different capacities to help make the 2018 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.

 

Pre-race details for the 2018 Horsetooth Half Marathon

Thank you for choosing to participate in the 45th running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon. This year we’ll be welcoming record numbers of runners to undertake the journey from Hughes Stadium to New Belgium Brewing, and we’re excited that you’ll be a part of that journey. 

While all relevant race information is available on the race website, we’d like to draw your attention to a few important race details and to also highlight a few of our partners who are helping to make this year’s event the best yet. We’re especially thankful to our top-tier sponsors who have all become integral parts of the race planning and execution process.

DaVinci Sign SystemsRaintree Athletic ClubNew Belgium BrewingColorado In Motion Physical Therapy 


Packet Pickup

Pre-race packet pickup will be at Raintree Athletic Club on Saturday April 14 from noon until 6:00pm. Raintree is located on the NW corner of Drake and Shields at 2555 S. Shields St.

In order to avoid lines on race morning, we encourage you to pick up your packets on Saturday. If you are not able to make it to Saturday’s packet pickup, then we will also be offering race morning packet pickup from 7:00am – 8:15am at our new staging location on the private lot directly to the south of the race start.  

* Please look up your bib number HERE*

** We have a very limited number of entries left. If you have friends of family interested in running, we suggest they register by Friday.

*** Per our race registration policy, we cannot offer transfers, refunds or deferrals to 2019. 

Race Start, Parking and Busing

The race will begin at 8:30am on County Road 42C (Dixon Canyon Rd) adjacent to the southwest gate of Hughes Stadium, directly under Dixon Canyon Dam. Parking will be at the Holiday Twin Drive In. All Drive-In parking wll be from the south, off Overland Trail Rd (right turn only). We expect parking to be tight, so please carpool with friends or get dropped off if you can. Additional parking is avaiable on city streets directly to the north of the Drive-In.  

Runner drop-off will be on the hard shoulder of the westboud lane of CR 42C. Drop-off will be ‘airport style’ so please be ready to ‘de-car’ once you arrive. All drop-off access onto CR 42C will be from the north off Overland Trail (right turn only). There will be no U-turns on CR 42C once runners are dropped off. Drop off vehicles will exit to the west and can circle back into town south on 38e or north on Centennial. 

The Drive-In is located 3/4 of a mile east of the race start. Race morning registration, port-a-johns and packet pickup will all be on the private lot directly to the south of the race start. Please plan accordingly in terms of the time you’ll need to get from your car to the start. We advise getting to the Drive-In no later than 7:30.

If you need clothing or other gear transported to the finish, a bag drop will be available on race morning at the packet pickup and registration location. A tag from your race bib must be pinned to your bag prior to dropping off (we will not be providing bags). You will need to show your race bib to collect your bag at the finish. While we will make every effort possible to ensure all bags are reunited with their owners, we strongly recommend that you not pack valuables in your gear bag.

Free busing will be available from the finish at New Belgium back to the Drive-In parking. Buses will be running from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

New Belgium Post Race Party

 

The famed Horsetooth Half Marathon post race party will take place on the grounds immediately to the south of New Belgium Brewing. All race participants are welcome to enjoy free beer from New Belgium, in addition to post-race burritos from The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant with cinnamon rolls from the Great Harvest Bread Company and cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies (Old Town). Non-alcoholic beverages will be available from Eldorado Spring Water.

Beers will be served only to those runners who have shown proof of age and are wearing an over-21 wristband. This can be taken care of at packet pickup on Saturday (wristband must be attached then) or at the entrance to the beer garden after the race.

Wristbands will also be available to friends and family for a suggested donation of $10. All proceeds will be donated to the Teaching Tree Early Childhood Learning Center

With your race run, and food and beverages in hand, please sit back in the beer garden or picnic area and enjoy live music from The Patti Fiasco. Or peruse the post-race expo booths and enjoy samples from vendors or a complimentary massage from our volunteer masseuses.

Food for family and friends will be avilable from food trucks at New Belgium. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the live music and vendor expo.  

On-Course Entertainment

Weather permitting, we will have on course music at three separate locations courtesy of the Blevins Middle School Jazz Ensemble, the African Drum Collective of Fort Collins, and the Poudre High School Drum Line.

Pace Groups

If you’re looking to hit a specific finish time, we have a team of pacers lined up to help you get there. If you have questions related to pacing, then be sure to stop by the pace group table at packet pickup on Saturday. We’ll have pace leaders for the following goal times: 1:30, 1:45, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30.

Given the hilly nature of the course, mile splits will not be even. We will have suggested mile-for-mile pacing charts available at packet pickup.

Or, check out sample pacing splits here

Aid Stations

Vfuel sports drink and water will be available at all five aid stations. There will also be a port-a-john at each aid station, in addition to a first aid kit. Additional medical coverage will be provided by Poudre Valley Hospital EMS. Aid stations will be spaced out and staffed as follows:

Additional Information

Be sure to read through the race website for additional race details, instructions, rules, and directions.

Thank you and have a great race! 

Fort Collins Running Club

   

 

   

 

Fort Collins Running Club Announces 2018 Horsetooth Half Elite Field

The Horetooth Half Marathon will be awarding a record $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 – new this year – 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 added an additional $4,000 to the 2018 Horsetooth Half prize purse, as well as increasing our support of local runners by offering cash awards for our top club members,” said Fort Collins Running Club Co-President, 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 45th 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

Tyler McCandless (right) beats Gebre Abadi and Scott Dahlberg over the hill to win the 2017 King of the Hill prem.

Mens’s Field Summary

In 2017, we saw the top three men all go under the existing course record, with Gebre Abadi setting the new standard at 1:07:27. For the 45th running of the Horsetooth Half on April 15, 2018, we’re excited to be welcoming back the full 2017 podium. 

As the defending champion and course record holder, Gebre Abadi will be wearing the number one bib and he will be the man to beat. Denver-based Abadi looks to be in good form, with a 1:05 win at the January Carlsbad Half Marathon and a quick 14:20 at the Carlsbad 5,000 last month. 

Perhaps in even better recent form is Tyler McCandless. Second last year in 1:09:16, McCandless has since set a massive marathon PR while finishing second in the USATF Marathon Championships at the California International Marathon in December. His time of 2:12:28 is a true breakthrough performance and puts him among the best U.S. marathoners in the country, and surely suggests he will be in contention at the 2020 Olympic Trials qualifying race (location TBD).

University of Wyoming Assistant Track Coach, Scott Dahlberg, was just 8 seconds back of McCandless while finishing third last year. He too will be back to toe the line for the 45th running of the event after winning the Seattle Half Marathon in November. 

Other elite entrants that will be in the hunt for a podium finish include Brandon Johnson who, like McCandless, had a breakout run at the Cal International Marathon, debuting at the distance with an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:18:13. With a 1:05:11 half PR, we expect Brandon to be firmly in the mix. 

Previous course record holder, Paul Petersen, collects his 2017 age group award.

Others showing recent form include Bashash Walio, winner of the 2017 Fall Equinox Half Marathon (1:10:23) here in Fort Collins; Germay Tesfai, winner of the Two Cities Half Marathon in November with recent college (Chico State) PRs of 30:33 (10k) and 14:30 (5k); and Eddie Perez, who ran a 1:09:54 at the USA Half Marathon Invitational in San Diego. Alejandro Garcia was a 2017 DII All American and recently won the Spring Equinox Half Marathon (1:12:01) here in Fort Collins. Known more as a trail and mountain runner, former Pikes Peak Ascent winner (2:12, 2010) Timmy Parr is likely be looking to push the pace for the Monster Mountain premium. 

Others in the field with Horsetooth Half form include former course record holder (1:10:32) and multi-time winner (2013 & 2015), Paul Petersen; 2010 winner Steve Folkerts; 8th place finisher in 2017 Chris Copenhaver; and defending Master’s Champ Dan Clark

Women’s Field Summary

Maggie Callahan wins the women’s 2017 race.

Brianne Nelson reset the record books in 2016 with her amazing 1:16:44 run, which was not only good enough for the women’s win but indeed the overall race win. While we don’t think that Brianne will be taking home overall honors this year, we can’t help but think she’ll be the runner to beat in the women’s race.

Brianne Nelson on her way to an overall win in 2016, followed closely by Stephen Pretak in second.

However, last year’s winner Maggie Callahan may have a few things to say about that. And Fort Collins was a great venue for Maggie last year. Not only did she win the Horsetooth Half, but she also took home top honors in the inaugural Fortitude 10k Pro Chase and the Fort Collins Running Club’s July 4th FireKracker 5k Elite race.  

AnnMarie Kirkpatrick has been in great form since here 4th place finish at the Horsetooth Half last year. The highlight of AnneMarie’s 2017 running year was an Olympic Trials Qualifying run at the Cal International Marathon in December (2:44:51). And, with a 1:14:30 finish at the 2018 Houston Half Marathon in January, AnnMarie looks to be ready to go at least one better than her string of two consecutive fourth-place finishes at the Horsetooth Half in 2017 and 2016. 

Besting AnnMarie for 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. 

Adriana Nelson (nee Pirtea) has a marathon PR of 2:28 (London, 2008), a half marathon PR of 1:11 (New York, 2013), and finished second at the 2007 Chicago Marathon. In 2013, she won the USATF Half Marathon Championship (1:11) in Duluth. Adriana will be using the Horsetooth Half as her first race back from giving birth to her first child, AJ. She claims a lack of fitness, but all things are relative and we’re just excited to have such a world-class talent in the field.

Among those that are newcomers to the Horsetooth Half course are pro triathlete Uli Bromme, who has a marathon PR of 2:47 and a 2017 altitude half marathon win (1:24) at the Three Creeks Half Marathon. Kyle Blakeslee is a 7-Time DII All American and ran a 1:16:24 half marathon PR at the Houston Half Marathon in January. Caroline Veltri is also coming into the race with great recent form, winning the San Antonio Marathon (2:56) in December and running a 1:22 half marathon in Las Vegas in November. 

Strongest and Deepest Field Ever

Race Director, Nick Clark, believes that this will be the strongest and deepest Horsetooth Half field in the 45-year history of the race, noting, “with the generous support of the Fort Collins Running Club, we have been able to double the prize purse this year, which has enabled us to attract what we believe to be the deepest and strongest Horsetooth Half field ever, and among the strongest half marathon fields 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.”  

Horsetooth Half Training Season Underway

Horsetooth Half Marathon Training Group 2018

We kicked off the Horsetooth Half Training Season in grand style on Sunday, January 7 with a mega-group run from New Belgium Brewing. We want to extend a few words of thanks to our hosts New Belgium for their continued support of the race as we enter our 45th year, and also to the Fort Collins Running Club for coming through with post-race snacks and also for their help in organizing the RunningU training program. 

The run was followed by a great presentation from Terry Gebhardt at Colorado in Motion. Terry demonstrated some key strengthening exercises that endurance athletes can use to keep themselves healthy and on track as they increase their mileage in preparation for race day. Contact Colorado in Motion if you’d like to learn more about their ‘Run Stronger’ program designed specifically for runners.

We were also excited to have Hoka One One on hand with demo shoes, and welcome them as our newest race partner. Both Hoka and Colorado in Motion will be on hand at future training runs to offer advice on training and shoe choice as you get ready for race day on April 15.

We will be offering group runs and activities every Sunday leading up to the race. Please check out the Training Page for more information.  

Jan Price Bump, Training and Racing

Price Bump Jan 7

Early bird pricing for the 44th running of the Horsetooth Half 2016 Horsetooth Half Marathon Finisher 351Marathon will expire January 6 at midnight. We’re expecting record numbers in 2017 and will cap at 2,500 registrations. If you plan on running the race this year, register soon and save.

On race day, we’ll have medals and commemorative pint glasses for all finishers. And of course, once you’re done we’ll celebrate together at the legendary New Belgium Finish Line Party with free beer, free food and raucous live music, this year on the brewery’s newly expanded patio. 

Train With the Running Club

If you need a little motivation to get that training kick-started, then check out the race Training page for a customized schedule or to learn about the weekly group training runs through the FREE Fort Collins Running Club RunningU program. 

We’ll be kicking off the training season on January 15 with runs of 4 or 6 miles on the Poudre Bike path, beginning and ending at New Belgium. After the run enjoy drink specials (beer-mosas, anyone?), a training presentation from Colorado in Motion and a chance to try on the all new Salomon road line. 

Group runs will be held each Sunday at 8am (Maxwell) or 10am (NBB) depending on location. Sunday runs are free and open to all. Fort Collins Running Club members also enjoy weekly motivational emails, mentoring, communication with other members and free entry to the Tortoise and Hare Race Series.

Sign up today!

Train with the Running Club

optimized-wp_20161009_08_17_07_pro_li-1Join the Fort Collins Running Club this Sunday (Jan 8) for the fourth Tortoise and Hare of the 2016/17 season, an 8k (5 miles) from Edora Park. 

The T&H races are a low-key “handicap” series of seven races, run monthly from October to April. Computer-predicted handicaps allow runners of all levels to compete equally. Participants are scored across the series and the top five are awarded checks to one of Fort Collins’ two specialty run stores: Altitude Running or Runners Roost.

The series is free to all Running Club members or $10 to non-members. Join us afterwards at Raintree Athletic Club for bagels and coffee.

All participants for this Sunday’s race must register by noon on Saturday.

2017 Horsetooth Half Training Program Begins Jan 15

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The 2017 Horsetooth Half RunningU Training Program will officially kick off January 15 with a run from the New Belgium Brewery, followed by drink specials and a training presentation from Colorado In Motion. The Sunday before the official kick-off to the Horsetooth Half training season, we’ll be gathering for a ‘soft launch’ at Edora Park for the Fort Collins Running Club’s Tortoise and Hare 8k race.

Details for the free 14-week training program have been updated on the race website, and like last year there are two programs to choose from. The Beginner Program is designed for participants new to running or new to the half marathon distance. The Intermediate Program is designed for runners with a couple of half marathon finishes under their belts and who are looking to improve their times. 

The Fort Collins Running Club’s RunningU training group is offered free to members and includes:

  • A 14-week training program, gradually increasing weekly mileage.
  • Group long runs every Sunday, which alternates between New Belgium (flat) and the race start by Hughes Stadium (hills).
  • Post-run informational sessions at New Belgium Brewery from Colorado in Motion, previous race winners and other race partners.
  • Sponsor giveaways.
  • Peer/mentor support and motivation through a closed Facebook group and email list.

Details for the two programs and the weekend long run and presentation schedules can be accessed from the Horsetooth Half Training Page

All weekend runs are free and open to anyone, but we encourage you to register for the program if you’d like to be included in the peer mentoring benefits, midweek group run opportunities or just want to get to know your half marathoners in training better. 

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VIRB Picture

 

Rolland Moore T&H 4k Kicks Off Horsetooth Half Marathon Season

We had outstanding weather for the 4k kick-off to the seven-race Tortise & Hare (T&H) series last Sunday, with over 150 runners coming out to enjoy the beautiful morning at Rolland Moore Park.  The T&H races are used by many as part of their build-up to the Horsetooth Half Marathon, with the January-April races incorporated into the official training program. Under the handicapped format, everyone – no matter how fast or slow – has an equal shot at winning. The real emphasis though is on fun and community.

The next race is a 5k on November 6 at 8:00am starting and ending at Spring Canyon Park. We hope to see you out there!

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