The Hardrock 100 kicks off at 6 am on Friday morning with what are likely the best men’s and women’s field in the race’s history. With no snow and, fortunately, smoke-free air, the course is shaping up to be fast. If the forecast mild weather holds up, that, too, will aid the runners. Regardless, the course through the San Juan Mountains will dish out a worthy test for each runner… as will the other runners. To keep things brief (for once, and for real), here’s a look at this year’s potential Hardrock 100 winners.
Ps. We’ll be covering the race live, as usual, here. (The link will go live on Thursday.)
Potential Women’s Winners – 2012 Hardrock 100
With four straight Hardrock wins and the women’s course record (27:18:24), defending champ Diana Finkel may seem an unbeatable force, but she’s got a stiff competition. Last year, Darcy Africa finished only 19 minutes behind Finkel to finish second among the women and seventh overall. In early June, Africa won the Bighorn 100 miler after a strong return to form at Transvulcania after being hampered by the injury. If there’s another woman perfectly suited to outrace Finkel and Africa around the San Juan Mountains, it’s Krissy Moehl. Back in 2007, she won Hardrock in a time three minutes faster than Finkel’s time from last year. Just three weeks ago, Moehl set a 100-mile PR (18:29:15) in placing fourth at the Western States 100 (video interview).
Potential Men’s Winners – 2012 Hardrock 100
Around Silverton, the town that hosts Hardrock’s start and finish, Dakota Jones is the odds-on favorite. He was second last year behind Julien Chorier. Since then, he’s finished second at last December’s TNF 50 (video interview) as well as winning both the Lake Sonoma 50 (video interview) and Transvulcania 50 (video interview) this spring. The past month, he’s been living in Silverton, putting in many long days on the course (as well as tapering). Hal Koerner is also being talked up around town and with good reason. Aside from his stellar long-term resume, he ran 13:24 at Rocky Raccoon in February and has taken his longest non-winter break from racing – three months – than he has in quite a while. That suggests he’s been focusing his energies on the San Juans. Uh, and Karl Meltzer’s won Hardrock a few times and still holds the course record in the counter-clockwise direction (24:38:02). (Note: Hardrock reverses course every other running and this year it’s being run in the clockwise direction.) This year the old goat’s blazed a 14:17 in placing second to Koerner at Rocky Raccoon and won the Antelope Island 100 in March (video interview). If one thing’s certain, someone will have to run a hell of a race to beat Karl. Joe Grant’s my dark horse for the win. With all the vert he’s been doing, I think he can go sub-26, which could nab a win if misfortune befalls those listed above.
Other Contenders for Top Three: Jared Campbell, Dominic Grossman, Scott Jaime, Nick Pedatella
Other Hardrock 100 Previews
For once, I actually kept a race preview short, so here’s another perspective.
Call for Comments
Who do you think will come out on top in the men’s and women’s races?