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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once again, we will be offering pacers for the following goal times:
1:30 (6:52 per mile pace) – Ryan Perrich; Fort Collins, CO
1:45 (8:01 per mile pace) – Chris Aronson; Fort Collins, CO
2:00 (9:10 per mile pace) – Will Greenwood; Fort Collins, CO
2:15 (10:20 per mile pace) – Joel White; Fort Collins, CO
2:30 (11:30 per mile pace) – Melody White & Dan Yap; Fort Collins, CO
Thank you to LuLuLemon for outfitting our pace team this year. If you want to learn a little more about the runners pacing the different groups, please see the recent profiles on the race facebook page.
We will also have a pacer table at Saturday’s packet pickup at Raintree Athletic Club where you can chat with our pacers and pick up a custom-made Horsetooth Half split guide for the 5 different goal finish times. You can also check out the split guide at the link below.
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.