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

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