Hardrock much more than a race for trail runners

Lost in the thousands of miles covered by runners in the 2012 Hardrock 100 is the fact that 98 of the 140 starters finished the arduous mountain test.

All of those 98 runners had to finish the 100-mile trail run/hike in less than 48 hours, the upper time limit for the endurance run.

Two of those 98 finishers – Kirk Apt and Betsy Kalmeye – extended their own records of longevity at the annual Hardrock 100 .

Apt, a 50-year-old trail running veteran from Fruita, completed the Hardrock in 2012 for the record 18th time. He’s finished the Hardrock every year of its existence except one.

This year, he completed the course in 38 hours, 24 minutes – good for 50th place, if you’re counting.

Kalmeyer, a 50-year-old mountain woman who lives at 10,000 feet in Leadville, finished 60th this year in 40 hours, 26 minutes. This year marked her 14th career finish in the Hardrock – a record for women.

“Kirk enjoys being out in the mountains ... the competition part is almost secondary for him,” Hardrock 100 race director Dale Garland said of the popular, if quiet, ultrarunner.

“He takes each year ... for what it is,” Garland said.

“He doesn’t ... have unreasonable expectations. He just goes out and tries to enjoy the experience, whether it takes 35 hours or 40 hours. I think he has a really good appreciation of the event ... a really good mental attitude,” Garland said.

“It’s the same attitude with Betsy,” he said. “She, like Kirk, is a former champion who made the transition. Neither one has any illusion of winning anymore ... but they still come here and run. They’ve found some other reasons (to participate).

“They are both good ambassadors for the Hardrock. They still enjoy being out there in the mountains,” Garland said.

Both Kalmyer and Apt are regulars at the Leadville 100 trail race and the Hardrock.

The finishing list for the 2012 Hardrock included five Durango-based runners, according to the final statistics.

Dakota Jones, 21 and the youngest competitor in the field of 140, finished third after running with the leaders for much of the race.

He finished third a year after finishing second in his inaugural Hardrock in 2011.

Durango running veteran Brett Gosney completed his seventh Hardrock 100 this year.

He was 28th overall in 34 hours, 3 minutes.

Three Durango first-time Hardrockers completed the 100-mile race last week.

Drew Gunn, 38, finished the Hardrock in 35:34, good for 33rd place.

Leah Fein, 32, placed 45th after finishing in 38:09.

And Megan Finnesy, 44, finished 44th in 39:24.

While he didn’t complete the course in the appointed time, Hans Dieter Weisshaar of Germany was the oldest starter in 2012 at age 72.

He completed 72 miles of the 100-mile course before the clock expired on his race.

He’s expected back again next year when he’ll be 73.

Apt and Kalmeyer also are expected to extend their streaks next year.

dstrode@durangoherald.com

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