The 2013 Hardrock 100 starts this Friday with another quality field assembling in the grandest mountain range in the lower 48, Colorado’s San Juans. Little more than a week ago, the race was in jeopardy due to wildfires along the course, but an influx of monsoonal moisture means the race is a go. Of course, if that monsoonal flow sticks around for race day, it could be a wet and stormy one out there. One thing’s for sure, there’s not a lot of snow along the course this year!
No offense guys, but the race to watch at this year’s race could be the women. Last year’s women’s champ Darcy Africa (2012 pre- and post-race interviews) will be back to defend her title having spent plenty of time on the course this year. Earlier this year, she also won the shortened version of Miwok (60k) before taking second at the Squaw Peak 50 Mile in early June. [We’ve wrapped up our pre-race coverage with this pre-race interview with Darcy Africa.]
Four-time Hardrock women’s champ Diana Finkel promises to put pressure on Darcy all day. In fact, Diana had a full hour lead on Darcy when she dropped at mile 85 of last year’s Hardrock. This spring, Finkel took second at the Zane Grey 50 Mile before winning the Jemez Mountain 50 Mile in late May, breaking her own course record from 2012 by 11 minutes. Given her history at the Hardrock, you’ve got to call Finkel the favorite to win again this year. Heck, having nearly won Hardrock outright in the past… she could threaten to do so again this year.
Where, oh, where has Tracy Garneau been? She won Western States in 2010 and took fourth there a year later. Then, she won the HURT 100 and TNF EC Bear Mountain in the first half of 2012, but that’s it from this Canadian in the past two years. Anyone know how Tracy is fairing in the lead up to this year’s Hardrock? If she’s fit, she certainly has the talent and skill set to run well. Update: Well, we now know where Tracy isn’t… and it’s at Hardrock. She failed to check in before the 11 am Thursday deadline, so she won’t be racing this year.
Last year’s third-place woman Darla Askew has been running well again this spring with strong runs at the Gorge Waterfalls 50k (3rd), Capitol Peak 50 Mile (win), and Pocatello 50 Mile (2nd). She’s unlikely to outrun any of the three ladies already mentioned… but Hardrock’s rarely about outrunning anyone, so another podium spot is surely a possibility.
While little known outside of Utah, Sarah McCloskey (neé Evans) has been training hard and is ready to surprise on a larger stage. Last summer, McCloskey took third at the competitive Speedgoat 50k before finishing second at the Wasatch 100. I don’t think she’ll win Hardrock, but a podium seems possible if not likely.
The Betsies, Nye and Kalmeyer, are infused and intertwined with the spirit of Hardrock. While their speediest days are likely behind them, their experience and the relatively small number of women in race mean either could go top five if/when things get ugly out there.
While it’s hard to name a Hardrock rookie as the favorite, France’s Sebastien Chaigneau is likely just that on the men’s side. Not one to overwhelm with speed, his second (2009) and third (2011) places at TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc show just how strong and patient a runner he is. [Our post-2011 UTMB and pre-2013 Hardrock 100 interviews with Seb.]
Why isn’t Karl Meltzer the favorite? Well, he just took tenth at Western States 12 days before Hardrock. That’s why.
If When Karl starts, he’ll not be the same runner who’s capable of 24-hours and change at Hardrock. Not after his calf injury and so close on the heels of a strong run at States. That said, it’d be silly not to pick the Speedgoat to be in the hunt for a podium spot. [In addition to our 2013 pre-race interview with Karl, we have 2011 and 2012 pre-race interviews)
Why isn’t 2010 Hardrock champ Jared Campbell the favorite? Three words: Ronda del Cimes. Yeah, that’s right, Jared Campbell took on Andorra’s brutal 100+ mile race less than three weeks before Hardrock. Yes, Jared knows how to slog and how to recover from one, but a 33-and-a-half-hour race still has to take something out of you heading into Hardrock. Also, Campbell took 13th at last year’s Hardrock in 29:38.
Ok, while Sebastien Chaigneau might be the favorite on paper, experience means a ton at Hardrock… which is why a fresh Joe Grant might just have the best chance of winning the race this year. Joe is this year’s top returning runner after taking second 16 minutes behind Hal Koerner in 2012. (Joe Grant and Dakota Jones post-race interview) Joe’s run at the Iditarod Trail Invitational this winter can only have made him that much tougher. Aside from a disastrous go at Transvulcania, Joe’s been laying low the past few months. [Our pre-2013 Hardrock 100 interview with Joe.]
This year’s wildcard is Chris Price of California. Last year’s Angeles Crest champ heads east to take on the steeps of the San Juans. Chris has had great success racing in California – hardly ever finishing below second, but he ain’t in SoCal any more. At the end of April, he took on the Zane Grey 50 Mile taking fourth – nearly forty minutes behind third-place runner Jamil Coury.
Like I was saying, experience counts at Hardrock and Troy Howard has a fast (26:01) second place at Hardrock to his credit back in 2009. However, over the past few months Troy ran 11th at the Quad Rock 50 Mile before taking 14th at the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k. Those aren’t Hardrock podium performances.
The Coury brothers, Jamil and Nick, know both Silverton and Hardrock well. Jamil’s been racing well over the past year with wins at the Mongollon Monster 100(+) Mile and Old Pueblo 50 Mile before a third at Zane Grey. On the other hand, younger brother Nick represented the US at the 24-Hour World Championships earlier this year after running nearly 140 miles at the Desert Solstice 24 Hour last December.
If there’s a quiet spirit of Hardrock it’s Scott Jaime. In a small race filled with big personalities, you’re most likely to notice Fast Eddy for his ever present smile somewhere along the sidelines. On the experience front, Jaime has five top-ten Hardrock finishes, including a second (2008) and fourth (2009). He’s lined up for four 50 milers in the past four months in the lead up to Hardrock winning the Antelope Island Buffalo Run (6:24), taking ninth at Zane Grey and fifth at the PCT 50, and, um, not running as well at Jemez Mountain.
Ted Mahon was fifth at last year’s Hardrock and, as such, is the second highest placing returnee from last year. We can’t find a result for Ted since his seventh place at last September’s The Bear 100. Ted, how’s it going?
Adam Hewey wins plenty of local races in the Pacific Northwest without ever really taking a big one. That said, his resume is plenty impressive. He was second at last year’s San Diego 100 in 17:54 after finish second at the Cascade Crest 100 a year earlier in 19:05. Hewey’s also taken sixth at Hardrock in 2010 in just under 31 hours.
Last year’s 9th man, Jason Poole is back again in 2013. He squeaked under 29 hours last year (28:57).
Other Men Who Could Surprise:
- Matt Hart – We’d have Hart listed above, but he’s currently fifth on the previously-run wait list… so the surprise would be him getting in.
- Mick Jurynec
Call for Comments
- Who do you think will come out on top in the men’s and women’s races?
- Who’d we miss in our preview?
- Any info on runners who’ve raced infrequently of late?