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Hardrock Hundred taking shape with a fast field

Big names return to challenge themselves in endurance contest
Four-time Hardrock 100 winner, Kilian Jornet of Spain, is back in this year’s field. (Courtesy of Jordi Saragossa)

The Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run will return to the San Juan Mountains on July 15-17, and this year’s competition should be a fast one, said run director Dale Garland. The race not only has a deep field of strong runners, but there also isn’t much snow on the course to slow them down.

This year’s race will go clockwise, heading from Silverton to Telluride first, then to Ouray and Lake City before finishing in Silverton.

Four-time champion Killian Jornet is back this year. One of Jornet’s most-recent accomplishments includes climbing Mount Everest twice in six days.

Last year’s champ, Francois D'haene, will also return. D’haene won last year’s Hardrock in a record 21 hours, 45 minutes and 50 seconds. He then went on to win the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France, the largest 100 miler in Europe, for the fourth time.

Ultra runners in the Hardrock Hundred move day and night, breaching 12,000 feet in elevation 13 times; 13,000 feet seven times and summit 14,058-foot Handies Peak along the 100-mile course that begins and ends in Silverton and passes through Telluride, Ouray and Lake City. (Photo courtesy of Hardrock Hundred)

Daniel Jung, Jeff Browning, John Kelly, Luke Nelson and Nick Coury will also challenge for the men’s title.

Last year’s women’s champ, Sabrina Stanley of Silverton, will return to defend her title.

Darcy Piceu, an eight-time Hardrock finisher with multiple championships, is also part of the field, as is Courtney Dauwalter. Dauwalter also won the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc last year.

Maggie Guterl of Durango, Angela Shartel and Stephanie Case will also compete for the women’s title this year.

New this year, the percentage of women in the field is equal to the percentage of women who applied. So, since women accounted for 18% of this year’s applications, 27 women will line up for the race.

“This is the first year we’ve done that,” Garland said. “We did it to try to be equitable.”

Kirk Apt of Fruita, meanwhile, will be going for his 26th finish. The Hardrock began in 1992, and after four runs were canceled because of snow, fire and COVID, will have its 27th running this year. Garland said they’re keeping an eye on the fire danger. “We’re hoping for the monsoon to come sooner than later so we’re able to mitigate that,” he said.

Betsy Kalmeyer of Leadville, meanwhile is going for her 21st finish.

This year’s Hardrock has athletes from 30 states and 13 countries, including runners from Australia, France, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Canada, Mexico, Portugal, New Zealand, Spain and the U.S. as well as Great Britain and Hong Kong in China.

Drew Gunn of Durango will be going for his eighth finish. Neal Matosky of Durango is running toward his first finish.

To make the endurance contest happen, however, requires a lot of work.

“Hardrock couldn't happen without a dedicated group of Durangoans who help form the core of the Hardrock Run Committee,” Garland said.

In addition to Garland, local committee members include Steve and Shauna Blaylock, Leo Lloyd, Dr. Dave Hughes, Ann Duft and Brett Sublett.

“Steve is our longest-serving volunteer, and Shauna coordinates all our ham radio operators and serves on the communications subcommittee,” Garland said.

Lloyd is the run’s emergency services coordinator.

Hughes serves as the Hardrock medical adviser.

Duft is the runner tracking coordinator. All runners wear satellite trackers, and Duft coordinates the wearing, distribution and monitoring the trackers.

Sublett, meanwhile, is trail marking coordinator.

“It's Brett's job to coordinate marking the entire course so that runners can navigate their way,” Garland said.

He said some of the toughest sections for the runners are a downhill in a scree field on the north side of Grant-Swamp Pass, and the last climb on Grouse Gulch at around mile 93.

The run switches directions every year, from clockwise to counter-clockwise. Which way is faster, however, depends on who you ask, Garland said. “That’s one of the great debates of Hardrock lore,” he said.

This year’s strong field might be able to add to the debate.

The following trails will be utilized in this year’s Hardrock Hundred, with the estimated overlapping times due to the fact that runners will be spaced out at ever-increasing distances as the run progresses.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 15: Ophir Pass Rd. Oscars Pass Wasatch Trail, and Bear Creek Trail (Telluride).

From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 15: Jeb Wiebe Trail, Mendota Ridge Trail, Virginius Pass and Camp Bird Road.

From 5 p.m. July 15 to 2 p.m. July 16: Bear Creek Trail (Ouray), Engineer Pass road, Grouse Gulch Trail, American Basin, Handies Peak, Grizzly Gulch trail and Cinnamon Pass Road.

From 11 p.m. June 15 to 8 p.m. June 16: Cottonwood Creek Trail, West fork of Pole Creek, Cataract-Pole Pass and Maggie Gulch.

From 5 a.m. July 16 to 6 a.m. July 17: Stony Pass, Green Mountain Trail, Cunningham Gulch, Dives-Little Giant Pass and Arastra Gulch.

There are only two changes to the course this year. The Grouse Gulch aid station was moved to Animas Forks to accommodate for parking. There is also about a half-mile reroute from Pull Creek to the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail

Competitors will have 48 hours to complete the run. The men and women will all start at the same time.

For a complete course description, aid station locations and other run information, visit www.run100s.com/HR.

For more information on this year’s Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, contact Garland at dale@harrock100.com or 970-259-3693.