On Friday, 140 runners set off from Silverton, Colorado for a 102 mile (or so) counterclockwise jaunt through the San Juan Mountains. Only 32 hours into the race, 53 runners have already dropped. That’s Hardrock. Racing happens, but surviving doesn’t always. Among the notable drops are five-time champ Karl Meltzer (pre-race video interview) at Chapman (mile 81.6), last year’s men’s champ Jared Campbell at Telluride (mile 72.7), and Nerea Martinez (pre-race video interview) at Grouse Gulch (mile 42.1). In the end, 80 runners kissed the hardrock, which signifies their completion of the race, within the 48 hour cutoff. Two more crossed the line after the two-day time limit had passed.
Then there were the survivors who excelled. Frenchman Julien Chorier (pre-race and post-race video interviews) took the lead three or four miles into the race and never relinquished it. In fact, it felt as he accelerated through the day. He relentlessly built his lead. Pre-race intelligence that Chorier was a strong, methodical mountain ultra runner provided to be true when he crossed the line in 25:17:2?. That’s the third fastest Hardrock 100 in history behind only Kyle Skaggs (23:23:30 – 2008) and Karl Meltzer (24:38:02 – 2009) and that’s with an extra two to three miles of course heading out of Telluride.
The men’s race on the day turned out to be the battle between Dakota Jones (pre-race video interview) and Nick Clark (pre-race video interview). They ran in the top five (or so) from the early going, but by Engineer Pass (mile 49), they were sitting alone in second and third. After being separated by no more than 6 minutes and some yo-yoing, they were essentially together at Governor Basin (mile 64.5). At that point, Dakota built a lead up to 13 minutes at Telluride (miles 72.2), which Clark cut to 7 minutes leaving the KT aid station (mile 89). From there, Dakota built more than a half hour cushion en route to placing second in 27:10:0? in the race that started his quest to take up ultramarathoning.
Clark finished in 27:43:21 just two weeks after placing third at the Western States 100. Between States and Hardrock, Clark lowered Andy Jones-Wilkins WS-HR double record by 3 hours and 22 minutes.
Unknown to most, Frenchman Dan Levy went out in the top three and never faded out of the top six (as far as we know). With a late surge, he passed Diana Finkel to finish fourth in 28:57:10. That’s quite an introduction!
In a rematch from last year, Diana Finkel and Darcy Africa (pre-race video interview) had a day (and change) long battle for the women’s win. It was a much closer match than last year. After being in close proximity for all of the first 40 miles, they were essentially together at Grouse Gulch, before Finkel surged ahead. By Chapman Gulch (mile 81.6), Finkel had built an hour and 19 minute lead, but it wasn’t over yet. Africa closed and closed fast. With 5 miles to go, Finkel’s lead was down to 41 minutes. She held on and “lifted a weight off her shoulders” by finishing in good spirits and good health in contrast to her prolonged hospitalization after last year’s race. Finkel finished fifth overall in 29:27:39 to earn her fourth straight Hardrock 100 women’s title.
Africa crossed the line 19 minutes and two places behind Finkel in 29:46:33 sneaking under the 30 hour mark.
Joe Grant (pre-race video interview) was sixth overall in 29:38:27. He was further up in the field for much of the day, but got lost often and for long periods. At the finish, he estimated that he was lost half a dozen times and that it cost him a couple hours. The absence of the two largest diversions – 45 minutes in Governors Basin and 1 hour on Grant Swamp Pass – would have put Grant in fourth overall.
Two-time Leadville 100 champ Duncan Callahan never ran from the front nor did he ever fall of the pace. He is one consistent runner. Without looking at the splits, it feels like he was within three spots of 10th all day long. He finished on the high end of that in eighth with a time of 30:57:46.
Ted Mahon (31:55) and Danny Gnojek (32:21) round out the top 10.
2011 Hardrock 100 Top 10 (iRF’s unofficial times)
- Julien Chorier -25:17:2?
- Dakota Jones – 27:10:0?
- Nick Clark – 27:43:21
- Daniel Levy – 28:57:10
- Diana Finkel – 29:27:39
- Joe Grant – 29:38:27
- Darcy Africa – 29:46:33
- Duncan Callahan – 30:57:46
- Ted Mahon – 31:55
- Danny Gnojek – 32:21
The Hardrock website is posting live (sort of ) updates.
- Julien Chorier (1st) (two reports in French – 1 & 2)
- Dakota Jones (2nd)
- Nick Clark (3rd)
- Joe Grant (6th)
- Matt Hart (14th)
- Competitor Running men’s article
- Competitor Running women’s article
- Durango Herald
- Sarah Lavender Smith’s pacer’s perspective
Last updated July 27, 2011