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Hardrock 100 builds a strong sense of family

The Hardrock 100 is one of the most enduring races of its kind in the world. Superstar athletes celebrate its “ambiance.”

SILVERTON – There’s no show in endurance running like the Hardrock 100.

Dale Garland has put on the Super Bowl of the sport for 24 years now in Silverton. The Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run draws the biggest names in the world, but the superstars of running deflect all of their personal success in the race to the organizers and volunteers who make it all possible.

“It is an amazing race. The mountains are beautiful, but there are many mountains around the world,” said Spain’s Kilian Jornet, who repeated as the champion of the Hardrock 100 on Saturday and who now owns both course records. “The course is great, but all the aid stations, and people is amazing, It’s really cool, this thing. That makes a difference.”

Canadian Adam Campbell, who has placed third the last two years, echoed Jornet’s sentiment and said he will return to the race every year, even if he isn’t competing.

Many racers from previous Hardrock 100s return to Silverton the second weekend of July for the event.

It becomes a family reunion of sorts for all the athletes, event organizers and the countless volunteers.

“People come here and want to be part of it, not change it,” Garland said. “They want the Hardrock experience, and that perpetuates it and makes it all the better.

“The word ‘family’ is over-used probably, but I think in this case it does apply. People come back even if they don’t get selected in the lottery. Even if they know they won’t make it off the wait list, they will come to support a runner or make a new friend.”

When Jornet gave his high praise of the event for a second year in a row, saying the “ambiance” of the race helps fuel his passion of being in the mountains, it reaffirms everything Garland and his staff work all year toward.

“When somebody with the experience and breadth of knowledge and credibility comes and says something like that, it means we’re doing something right,” Garland said. “That’s a sense of celebrating every runner and building a community that supports each other.”

The 2015 edition of the race dealt with live updating system problems, but there have been no major medical emergencies, and only 2 runners had dropped out of the 152-man field by 9 p.m. Saturday, a high finish rate for the event.

Runners have until 6 a.m. Sunday to complete the race – a 48-hour time limit from the race’s start.

It’s regarded as one of the toughest 100-mile races on the planet, but you’d never know it seeing the laughs and smiles that come along with the entire weekend.

jlivingston@durangoherald.com

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