Perfect Fall Morning Nets Fast Times at the 2021 Horsetooth Half

The 2021 Horsetooth Half Marathon will be remembered for beautiful fall weather and a triumphant return to racing. Now in its 48th year, the November 14th date offered a change from the norm, with falling leaves rather than budding April shoots. Nonetheless, the course was the same and the competition as fierce as ever. 

Overall, we saw 1,653 runners from 43 different states cross the finish line. A new record was set by Boulder’s Sara Vaughn in the women’s race, while local favorite Tyler McCandless posted the third fastest time ever in winning the men’s event. 

If the conditions weren’t perfect, they were pretty close to it. 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. This year, the crowns went to Sara Vaughn (11:32) and Garret Lee (10:15). 



Sara Vaughn at the top of Monster Mountain

Vaughn’s Queen of the Mountain lead was just 5 seconds over Briana Boehmer, with a small chase behind Briana. By the turn onto Bingham Hill and the race’s halfway point, Vaughn’s lead over Boehmer had extended to a minute and would continue to increase through to the finish. By the time Vaughn hit Linden St, it was apparent that Ivy Kibet’s 2019 record (1:15:30) was in jeopardy, and a final push from Vaughn was enough to secure a new women’s mark that now stands at 1:15:15. Racing across the line in second, Boehmer’s time of 1:17:53 stands as the fourth best on record, while Bria Wetsch (1:18:17, 3rd), Sophie Seward (1:19:27, 4th) and Sarah Anderson (1:19:58, 5th) posted the fifth through seventh best marks respectively in finishing 3rd through 5th.

It was a fast year!

In the men’s race, Garret Lee’s early lead on the opening climb was quickly covered by the chase pack and by the top of Bingham Hill at mile 7, it was Tyler McCandless and David Goodman with a small lead over a strung-out chase pack of Simon Grannetia, Andrew Tario and Carson Hume. McCandless made his move on the descent to Lions Park and by the bike path had built a lead that he would hold through to the finish (1:07:52). Grannetia (1:09:23) caught Goodman (1:09:34) in the closing miles to claim second, with Goodman holding on for third over Carson Hume (1:10:35) and Andrew Tario (1:10:37) who sprinted it out in the home stretch for the final money spots.  

McCandless wins at his third time trying

Taking home the wins and prize money in the master’s division were previous race winner AnnMarie Kirkpatrick (1:23:39) and Colorado Springs’ Ben Payne (1:14:10).

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 finisher’s medal that will pair with the 2022 medal to complete a single picture from the Fall/Spring Horsetooth Half Double.   

Former race winner Pablo Vigil wins the men’s 65-69 age division

In closing, we’d like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers that helped out in many different capacities to help make the 2021 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.

2021 Horsetooth Half medal will parter with the 2022 medal for a full Horsetooth mountain-scape

New Fall Date for the 2021 Race Announced

The Fort Collins Running Club and Gnar Runners have announced that the 48th running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon, traditionally held on the third Sunday in April, will be rescheduled for Sunday, November 14th.

We are heartened to see progress being made on three separate Coronavirus vaccines, with FDA approval seemingly imminent. After a very tough year, we hope that these vaccines will prove effective in saving lives and allow a return to normality.

Our goal for the 2021 Horsetooth Half is to offer as close-to-normal a race experience as we can, and we believe pushing the race date back to late fall offers the best chance of making that happen.

While there still remain many unknowns as to how exactly the 2021 event will look, the Fort Collins Running Club has decided upon this initial plan of action: 

  • The race will take place on November 14 at the usual time (8:30a), on the usual course (Dixon Canyon to New Belgium Brewing) under what we hope will be close to normal circumstances.
  • The initial race cap will be 1,000 runners. This is subject to change based on input from County Health and our other permitting partners. There is hope that we will approach our typical field size (2,000).
  • Those with deferred entries from 2020 will have a priority window to register for the 2021 event. This window will open Tuesday, December 15 and an invite to register will be sent to all deferred entrants. Regular registration will open Friday, December 18. Deferrals can also register anytime through race day as long as there are spots once general registration has opened. 
  • Deferred entries from 2020 will be good for use in 2021, 2022 or 2023. If you choose not to use your deferral in 2021, it will remain valid for two more years. After our 50th anniversary in 2023, deferrals will expire.
  • If you have a deferred 2020 registration, you can expect to receive an email with specific details on how to claim your free 2021 entry prior to Dec 15.

We will strive to offer as close to a normal race experience as we can, but will prioritize safety above all else. We will adhere to any and all protocols required by the Larimer County Department of Public Health in order to produce a safe event. We hope these will be minimal, but only time will tell. 

We’re also extending our COVID registration guarantee. If the race is cancelled or postponed due to the Coronavirus in 2021, we will again offer a 100% deferral opportunity.

We also hope to be able to offer a version of the typical RunningU training program in the lead-up to the event, contingent on public health advice.

Thank you all for your understanding and patience during this time. And here’s to a safe, healthy and ever-closer-to-normal 2021. 

The Fort Collins Running Club & Gnar Runners

2020 Virtual Run

We’re looking forward to celebrating with our Virtual Run participants starting TOMORROW.

We guarantee the shortest bathroom lines and most available parking you’ve ever seen at a race!

The guidelines are simple:

  • Complete your run between April 1 – 20, 2020
  • Any location is valid, as long as it’s 13.1mi in one go

Submit Your Run Here

You are invited to also share photos from your run through the same form. Results and photos are live as galleries for you to view & celebrate with your fellow runners

Packets will be mailed the week of April 20.  If you’d like to pick up a bib before your big run, those are available anytime on the porch of 1461 Edora Rd, Fort Collins.

We’ve added a few more categories to recognize folks who went the extra mile to make the day fun!

  • Most elevation gain/loss
  • Oldest Participant
  • Youngest Participant
  • Age Group Awards
  • Furthest distance from Fort Collins!
  • Awesome Race Photo!
  • Stroller Power!
  • Pooch Power!

Depending what creative stories & photos come in, we will likely make up more fun categories to recognize.  All submissions are on the honor system.

Finally, if you are thinking of running the course on your own or with a small group of friends on the morning of April 19, know that there are dozens of others considering the same. Coming together as a large gathering – even accidentally – could present a serious health risk.

Please lead the running community in setting an example of health and safety by avoiding that possibility. Enjoy the infinite variety of options to run your virtual race anytime, anywhere between April 1 & 20.

Run strong and stay safe!
~ The Horsetooth Half Team & Fort Collins Running Club

2020 Race Cancellation – Runner Options

The Fort Collins Running Club appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding after the cancellation of the 2020 Horsetooth Half Marathon. We are offering registered participants 3 options. Please visit the race registration page to choose and complete your desired option:

OPTION 1: DONATE MY REGISTRATION FEE

Donate your registration fee to help support the Fort Collins community! Many non-profit organizations and school groups volunteer on race day each year to make sure the Horsetooth Half is a success. In turn, the Fort Collins Running Club provides them with funding support. These groups include Athletes in Tandem, Animal Friends Alliance, LC Dive Rescue, LC Food Bank, Project Self-Sufficiency, Teaching Tree, and many of FC’s high school track and XC teams. The Fort Collins Running Club will use your donation to make sure we can donate to these partners this year despite the cancellation of the event.  Funds that are donated will also be used to support local community organizations working with senior and homeless populations, both of whom are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.

OPTION 2: GO VIRTUAL!

Continue your training, take on our Virtual Challenge and transfer your 2020 race entry into a virtual run. You can run the distance (on course or anywhere) on your own time between April 1 and April 20 and claim your packet – including race shirt, medal & bib. If you are part of the race training program, we will continue to offer training support and training runs leading up to your race time. 

If you want to run the Virtual Challenge, the only thing you need to do is choose the Virtual Challenge Option and decide how you want to receive your packet.

– Packet Pickup: (Fort Collins location TBD)
– Ship me my packet.
 
To choose the shipping option, follow these steps: 

– Log into RunSignup and go to your profile: https://runsignup.com/Profile
– Under the Upcoming Events section, click MANAGE REGISTRATION next to your Horsetooth Half Marathon Registration
– Click ADD-ONS tab
– Select the Packet Option add-on and choose if you would like to pick up your packet or have your gear shipped
– If you select the shipping option, you will be prompted to enter your shipping address
– Click Complete.


OPTION 3: DEFER MY REGISTRATION 

You can defer your registration to next year’s event to be held on April 17, 2021. Please note that the new race name for 2020 is ‘virtual,’ but you are deferring to the regular running for 2021.

For a limited time (March 14 to March 18 @ 11:59 PM) we are waiving our normal deferral fees. After March 18th, the regular deferment fee of $25 will be charged. This option will be available until April 20.

To complete your deferral, follow these steps: 

– Log into RunSignup and go to your profile: https://runsignup.com/Profile
–  Under the Upcoming Events section, click MANAGE REGISTRATION next to your Horsetooth Half Registration
– Click the DEFER REGISTRATION tab
– Click the CONFIRM DEFERRAL button
– Here is a tutorial with more information: https://help.runsignup.com/support/solutions/articles/17000062915-defer-registration-claim-deferral


Again, thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. We hope one of the options above will work well for your particular situation. 

If you choose to donate your entry: thank you. If you choose to complete your training and participate virtually, we look forward to continuing the journey with you and will follow up with additional details. If you choose to defer your entry, we look forward to seeing you in 2021.

~ The Horsetooth Half Team & Fort Collins Running Club

Horsetooth Half 2020 Cancelled

It is with heavy hearts that we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Given guidance from local, federal and international public health agencies related to large events and community transmission of COVID-19, we feel it is the only responsible option available to us in doing our part to help slow the spread of the virus.

We fully understand that this news will come as a huge disappointment to the many of you that have trained and made sacrifices for months in anticipation of a great personal accomplishment. However, this is an unprecedented global public health issue and we must do our part.

As part of the mission of the Fort Collins Running Club, the race annually donates a significant portion of race proceeds to community programming and also to partner non-profit organizations. Given current circumstances, we will be looking for ways to redirect a portion of the funds from this year’s event to programs helping the local community deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Specifically, we hope to be able to help populations at increased risk of infection and more serious illness such as our seniors and homeless populations.

The Running Club Board of Directors is meeting this afternoon to finalize next steps and options. (EDIT: See options here). We anticipate being able to provide a range of runner options tomorrow after all possibilities are explored and more definitive decisions are made.

Thank you for your understanding.

Fort Collins Running Club

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update (3/10/2020)

With our top priority being the health and safety of runners and volunteers, we are closely monitoring the local impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and are in contact with our partners at the City and County.

On the current recommendation of the Larimer County Health Department, there have been no scheduling changes to the race or any of our training activities at this time.

We will continue to monitor this rapidly changing situation and encourage all runners to respect the appropriate health guidelines while ensuring that they are well enough to participate. We are evaluating all possible enhancements to make the race as healthy and safe as possible and will be sharing those in future updates.

Below are recommended habits from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention on how to prevent the spread of infectious illness and proper etiquette to consider while running. You can find more information relevant to the local situation at the Larimer County Department of Health.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Clear your nose away from other runners.
  • Dispose of your drink cup, gel packs, and other personal items in the proper receptacle. 

Free Live Race-Day Tracking

We’re offering free race-day tracking and cheers! Carry your phone and use the RaceJoy mobile app for iPhone or Android to add to your race experience at the Horsetooth Half.

Live Phone Tracking

  • Supporters near and far can track you live in a map view
    as you progress along the race course. One map tool will let them track up to 50 participants.
  • NearMe alerts will let on-course spectators know you’re drawing near.
  • Find each other using the MeetUp tool.

On-Course GPS Progress Alerts for Runners

  • Receive progress updates as you complete the course! Audio updates are typically sent at every mile and include pace, elapsed time, and estimated finish time.
  • We’ll have special messages and encouragement that play for you at key points on course
  • Have friends and family track your performance.
  • Track your competition or friends who are also doing the race.

Send-a-Cheer

  • Receive and send fun, motivational audio cheers.
  • Use RaceJoy’s Text-to-Cheer to send custom messages.
  • Start sending cheers to others doing the race at any time!

Download RaceJoy and search for the Horsetooth Half

Horsetooth Half Prize Pool Increases to $11,000 in 2020

The top four ladies at the 2018 Horsetooth Half Marathon

With generous support from the Fort Collins Running Club, the Horsetooth Half Marathon will be offering a total prize purse of $11,000 for the 47th running of the race in 2020. In the overall category, money will be offered to the top 8 finishers, from $1,000 down to $200, with an additional $500 being offered to winners posting a new course record in either the men’s or women’s races. 

The top three master’s finishers will also be eligible for cash payouts as will the first man and first woman to the top of Monster Mountain, some 500 feet above the race start at mile 1.75 on the course. 

As in previous years, the top three finishers from the Fort Collins Running Club – not in the overall or master’s money – will also earn cash awards. In order to be eligible for the FCRC-only pool, runners must be a member of the Club as of Dec 31, 2019.

The Fort Collins Running Club was founded in 1973 with a mission of supporting fitness through running for runners of all levels and all abilities. The Club offers a cash purse in both the FireKrakcker 5k and the Horsetooh Half Marathon as a means of supporting the competitive, elite-level side of the sport.  

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

2020 Race Registration to Open with Door-Buster Pricing

Registration for the 2020 running of the Horsetooth Half Marathon will open on Labor Day, Monday September 2 with door-buster pricing. The 47th running of the 13.1 mile race will take place Sunday, April 19, 2020, starting to the south of the 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.

Prices for this year’s race will remain the same as they have for the last four years. Registration will once again open with one-week-only, door-buster pricing of just $65. Regular early bird pricing of $75 will run through to the New Year.  

“It’s our great honor to continue the grand tradition of the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Now in its 47th 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. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve and also to make sure that we offer fantastic value for money by making the race as accessible and affordable as possible,” 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.

“All members of the Running Club receive a $20 discount on their registration, which means a $45 race entry if purchased in the early bird window. We don’t think you can find better value than that in Colorado – or across the country – for a major running event. In 2018 & 2019 we saw record crowds with upwards of 2,100 registrations, and for next year’s race we expect to be at our 2,500 runner capacity,” Clark added. 

“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,incredible crowd support, the deepest elite 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 2020.”

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. A number 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, the New Year’s Eve Resolution Run 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).

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.