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The Hardrock Hundred is a go for 2023

High country snow not expected to be a factor for July 14 start
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. (Courtesy)

With snow blanketing the peaks in the San Juan Mountains, organizers of the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run had to evaluate whether the event could take place this summer.

After looking at the environmental and logistical considerations as well as the forecast for snow levels projected for the next six weeks, run director Dale Garland said “the Hardrock is confident we can host and conduct a safe and well managed event as planned on July 14-16.”

“We use a variety a variety of anecdotal and objective criteria when making our decision,” he said. “Primary among these are the totals at U.S. Department of Agriculture Snotel sites, the most important being the Red Mountain site. Not only do we measure snowpack, but also snow water equivalent levels. In addition, we look at forecast modeling and melt rates.”

Over the years, the Hardrock 100 has been canceled four times. It was canceled because of snow in 1995 and 2019, for fire in 2002 and for COVID-19 in 2020.

“To be honest, I was a bit nervous in the early part of the year when the snow kept falling,” Garland said. “So I was relieved when we made the decision to hold it. Hardrock holds such a special place in so many people’s lives that canceling it is never easy.”

This year’s event will run counterclockwise, beginning and ending in Silverton but also going through Telluride and Ouray as the runners cross 13 passes that are 12,000 to 13,000 feet in elevation.

Two runners from Durango are in this year’s field, Anthony Culpepper and Drew Gunn, while another six from Southwest Colorado are on the start list.

Gunn, who manages Pine Needle Mountaineering, will be going for his 10th finish.

“That puts him in very exclusive company among mountain runners and the Hardrock community,” Garland said. “If he’s successful, we’ll make sure he is recognized appropriately at our awards ceremony with some cool mementos from Hardrock, Ouray Glassworks and the North Face.”

Kirk Apt of Fruita, meanwhile, will be back to attempt his 27th finish while Betsy Kalmeyer of Leadville is going for her 21st finish.

This year’s field was drawn from more than 2,200 applicants that came from 47 states and 60 countries.

“Competitively, we have another strong field,” Garland said. “For the women, the field is headed by last year’s first female finisher, Courtney Dauwalter (of Leadville). She is joined by strong runners Annie Hughes (Leadville), Anne-Lise Rousset (France), Kimono Miyazaki (Japan) and Darla Askew (Bend, Oregon).”

The men’s field is wide open, he said, and several runners could be the first to reach the rock. Some of the favorites are 2021 runner-up, Dylan Bowman of California, former champion Jeff Browning of Arizona, Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz of France, Javiee Dominguez of Spain and Arlen Glick of Ohio.

In addition to Twitter updates, the event will be livestreamed this year while every runner can also be followed via satellite.

Also part of the weeklong Camp Hardrock, there will also be a seminar about safe traveling in the San Juan back country on July 10 at the Silverton School Performing Arts Center. The free seminar is offered in conjunction with La Plata County Search and Rescue, San Juan County Search and Rescue and Hardrock.

People interested in volunteering for the event can visit Hardrock100.com to register.

“Thanks in advance to all our local volunteers and supporters, we can’t do it without you,” Garland said. He also thanked hydration partner Tailwind Nutrition as well as the local members of the run committee: Ann Duft, Brett Sublett, Shauna Blaylock and Steve Blaylock. “Their commitment and expertise are such a huge part of Hardrock’s success,” he said.