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.
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
Age Group Awards
Furthest distance from Fort Collins!
Awesome Race Photo!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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).
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.”