2015 Hardrock 100 Preview

Hardrock 100A year after Kilian Jornet set a clockwise course record at the Hardrock 100, this year’s race might prove to be more exciting. For the unfamiliar, Hardrock is a 100-mile race with nearly 34,000 feet of elevation gain (and an equal amount of descent) that loops through the über-scenic San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.

Salomon - Hardrock 100With an average elevation of 11,000, the course pops over 13,000’ seven times. Starting and finishing in Silverton, the course reverses direction each year with this being a counterclockwise year.

As you’d expect, we’ll be covering the race live starting at 6 a.m. Friday, July 10. We’ll also have plenty of interviews leading up to the race, all of which are listed after the appropriate runner below.

Thanks so much to Salomon for their generous support of our coverage of this year’s Hardrock 100.

Smartwool logoThanks, too, to Smartwool and Ultimate Direction for making our Hardrock coverage possible.

2015 Hardrock 100 Women’s Field

Ultimate Direction LogoAt the moment, it’s safe to say women’s field boils down to a two-woman race between Darcy Piceu (pre-race interview) and Anna Frost (pre-race interview).

Darcy Piceu Africa - 2014 Hardrock 100

Darcy Piceu

Darcy Piceu is the three-time defending Hardrock champ and one of the most consistently strong women’s mountain ultramarathon runners of the past decade. (Post-race interviews in 2012, 2013, and 2014.) Let’s put it this way, if I were trying to race Hardrock, I’d try to race like Darcy. This year, she’s won the Red Hot Moab 33k in February and set a course record at the Big Horn 50 Mile early last month. Her three Hardrock wins have all been in the 29-and-change range.

It goes without saying that we can call Anna Frost one of the strongest women’s trail runners on the planet without listing off her resumé. She’s wanted to run the race for a few years now and ran her first 100 miler at The Bear last September to gain her Hardrock qualifier. She easily won and set a course record there. However, that’s her only 100 miler and Hardrock is a big step up. She also dealt with some injury issues earlier in the year, but spent most of June training hard in the San Juans. Even at less than 100%, Anna has the ability to go for the course record. However, a more conservative approach would give her a much stronger shot at winning the race.

[Insert a few hours here. ;-)]

2013 Hardrock 100 - Darla Askew

Darla Askew

If there’s any woman in the field with the potential to bridge that time gap, it’s Darla Askew, who has a pair of Hardrock finishes. She was third in 2012 in 33:52 and second in 2013 with a massively improved 31:09 (interview). Earlier this year, she’s tok fifth at the Sean O’Brien 100k in 11:40 and won the Scout Mountain 100k in 11:36, so she’s got solid fitness for this year’s race.

When thinking about Hardrock, it’s hard to separate the Betsies: Betsy Kalmeyer and Betsy Nye. Between the pair, they’ve finished 28 Hardrocks (Nye 13, Kalmeyer 15) and have won the women’s race six times (Kalmeyer 5, Nye 1). Last year, Kalmeyer had the upper hand when she finished second woman in 37:57 (post-race interview) to Nye’s third 42:22. Kalmeyer’s run a couple races this spring, including a fifth at the Jemez 50 Mile in 12:28. Nye, too, has raced a couple times this spring, including the Zion 100 Mile where she finished in 25-and-a-half hours.

  • Clare Abram — In 2013, she was 12th at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in 9:23 and 21st at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 36:16.
  • Leah Fein — A resident of nearby Durango who took fifth at the 2012 Hardrock in 38:09. She’s been running ultras for more than a decade.
  • Missy Gosney — While she lives in Durango and has been to the race many times, this is Missy’s first go at Hardrock. She has, however, been on many badass adventures including the 186-mile (with 85,000’ of climb) Petite Trotte à Léon and 205-mile (with 79,000’ of climb) Tor des Géants. Last year, she won the Bighorn 100 Mile in 24:30. This year, she was second at the Zane Gray 50 Mile in 11:18.
  • Meghan Hicks — She’s won the Marathon des Sables (2013 – awesome race report), a race where she’s been in the top five four out of her five runnings. Last year, she finished the Tor des Géants. Last month, she was sixth at the Squaw Peak 50 Mile in 11:04.
  • Suzanne Lewis — Took fifth at Hardrock last year in 42:55. Back in 2010, she was second at the Wasatch 100 in 27:27.

Other notable names: Liz Bauer and Pam Reed.

It’s worth noting that women’s course-record holder Diana Finkel pulled herself from the entrants list in May. She’s led the last few Hardrocks until very late in the race until the same health concerns have forced her to drop.

While still fifth on the “Never” waitlist as of this writing, Salt Lake City’s Bethany Lewis would be a huge addition to this year’s Hardrock. No doubt, she has the capability to run sub-30 hours and give Darcy and Anna a run for their money.

2015 Hardrock 100 Men’s Field

Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet

So, yeah, Kilian Jornet’s (pre-race interview) back and he’s going to be hard to beat. He simply dominated last year’s race and made everyone’s jaws drop as he crushed the final 25 miles of the course en route to a big course record (finish-line and post-race interviews). He’s not raced much so far this year, but his training outings suggest that he’s no less prepared for this year’s race. The only curve ball is that he’s not spent more than a couple days at high elevations for a few months and isn’t arriving in Silverton until race week.

Iker Karrera (pre-race interview) might be the guy who can hang with Kilian for the longest. They’re Salomon teammates, know each other well, both speak Spanish (and English), and they’ve raced in sync before. For example, the duo (along with Seb Chaigneau and Miguel Heras) ran together until mile 90 of UTMB in 2011. Kilian went on to win, while Iker was second in 20:45. Iker tied for second at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc last year in 20:55 (interview). He’s also won the 205-mile Tor des Géants in 70:04 (2013).

Mike Foote - 2013 TNF 50 Mile

Mike Foote

On the American side, Mike Foote (pre-race interview) might be the best shot for the win. He’s run incredibly well at UTMB, placing third in 2012 (interview) and fifth in 2013 (interview). He’s also run Hardrock once before, taking third in 2010 in 29:35. He’s capable of running at least a couple hours faster than that. It sounds like his training has been going well and he’ll have had an week and a half in Silverton before the race to acclimate.

Adam Campbell was third at last year’s Hardrock in 25:56 (interview). That’s a pretty strong piece of evidence in for another top finish. He’s got another dozen ultra results backing that up, including a second at both the CCC (2011 – interview) and Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji (2012). On the other hand, Adam runs hot and cold on running and his training log suggests he had a cold period this spring.

2013 Hardrock 100 - Troy Howard

Troy Howard

Troy Howard don’t get no love. He should. This guy’s twice placed second at Hardrock. Running 26:01 in 2009 and 25:20 in 2013 (interview). The only guy to have a faster second-fastest time at Hardrock is Julien Chorier. Last year, Troy was second at the Wasatch 100 in 20:58 and, last month, he was second at the Squaw Peak 50 Mile in 8:38.

At last year’s Hardrock, a rockfall hit Tsuyoshi Kaburaki in the face. No matter, he took sixth in 28:07. The year before, he won the Bighorn 100 Mile in 18:51. Go back a few years earlier and Kaburaki-san had podium finishes at UTMB, Western States, and The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. [7/3 Update: Tsuyoshi Kaburaki has withdrawn from the race.]

Jared Campbell - 2014 Barkley Marathons - finish

Jared Campbell

Jared Campbell is 35 years old… and he’s going for his 10th Hardrock finish. Wrap your head around that. He did happen to win the race in 2010 in 27:18. That’s still his fastest time and the 20th fastest time ever run at Hardrock. Last year, he took seventh at Hardrock in 28:23.

Chris Price has run even faster than Jared, running 26:51 to take fourth in 2013. He continued running strong last year, with a fourth at the Sean O’Brien 50 Mile and 12th at Western States. In tuning up for Hardrock, he was second at the Jemez 50 Mile in 8:49.

In his seven Hardrock finishes, Karl Meltzer has won the race five times. The last time he won was 2009 and he did DNF in 2013. Last year, he won the Massanutten 100 Mile and, this spring, he won the Cruel Jewel 100 Mile.

Scott Jaime - 2012 Hardrock 100

Scott Jaime

In his eighth running of Hardrock last year, Scott Jaime ran 27:46, which was good enough for fifth. He’s finished as high as second (2008) and twice placed third (2009 and 2013, when he ran his fastest time of 26:38). He admits he’s not had as much time to train this year, but I’d still expect him to make it around the course in under 30 hours. [Updated 7/1 to reflect correct HR100 times.]

Other Candidates for Filling Out the Top Ten

  • John Anderson — 10th Hardrock 2010; 1st Tahoe Rim 50 Mile 2014
  • Jamil Coury — 14th Hardrock 2013 (ran close to, if not the fastest split for final 58 miles… after six-hour nap at mile 42); 2nd San Diego 100 Mile 2014; 3rd Angeles Crest 100 Mile 2013
  • Nick Coury — 6th Hardrock 2013; 5th Hardrock 2008; 1st PCT 50 Mile 2015
  • Matt Hart — 1st 2012 Tahoe Rim 100 Mile; 3rd Bear 100 Mile 2012; 5th Cascade Crest 100 Mile 2014; 12th Hardrock 2011
  • Adam Hewey — 10th Hardrock 2013
  • Jason Koop — 3rd Bear 100 2014; 2nd Zion 100 2014; 14th Hardrock 2012
  • Ben Lewis — 1st Scout Mountain 100k 2015; 2nd Scout Mountain 100k 2014; 3rd Wasatch 100 Mile 2012
  • Denis Mikhaylov — 2nd Massanutten 100 Mile 2013; 1st Virgil Crest 100 Mile 2012 & 2014
  • Jeason Murphy — 5th Bear 100 2014; 6th Bear 100 2013; 16th Hardrock 100 2014
  • Brandon Stapanowich — 2nd Zane Gray 50 Mile 2015; 7th Leadville 100 2012; 13th Western States 2013
  • Brendan Trimboli — 2nd San Juan Solstice 50 Mile 2014; 10th Wasatch 100 2012; 11th Leadville 100 Mile 2011

Call for Comments

  • Can anyone touch Kilian? Will he run another course record and, if so, in what sort of time?
  • Will Darcy’s consistency outlast Anna’s ability?
  • Who are you most excited to follow at Hardrock?
  • Who will surprise us most out there? We miss anyone?
  • Women’s and men’s podium predictions?

There are 46 comments

  1. Toddlikestorun

    Dang!! This is going to be such a great race to watch go down. The Europeans will be hard to beat. Seems it's their kind of terrain and profile. We'll likely see the clockwise record fall this year. Best of luck to you as well Bryon

    1. Daveski99

      I just would not be so sure that Kilian will dominate like last year. He has done little in the way of running this last few months. This time last year he was virtually unbeatable but he is in a different place this year. Iker had a leg injury last month but won a sky race in portugal at start of june as part of his prep. If he is fully fit he will push the whole way. However Kilian is Kilian and it is difficult to look past him

  2. deanger

    You forgot the "fiery dark horse with a mane to match his high mountain spirit whose training has been solid despite running this website and flying all over the world to provide us with such great coverage"!!! Go Bryon Powell!

  3. srspillman

    Brandon Stapanowich is a beast—mentally and physically one of the strongest people I know. Worth noting that he completed Nolan's last year and has conceived/completed both the Inclinathon and 24 Hours of Incline, so Hardrock should be up his alley. I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish in the top five, maybe top American.

  4. marginwalker

    in 2012, new england's Adam Wilcox took 8th at hardrock in 28:55. he did just run western states, but set a very impressive FKT on the pemi loop in new hampshire's white mountains. he's got the fitness to go top 10 again if he's recovered.

  5. Max

    If Mike is in good race shape, this terrain might prove to be too runnable for Killian with his current big mountain focus. This will be a pretty interesting fight for the lead to watch. On other news the Hardrock course might be "too runnable" for someone.

  6. SeanMeissner

    "[Insert a few hours here. ;-)]"
    Wow, really? I realize you put the cute smiley face after that comment, but you obviously realize that Darcy finished 1hr15min ahead of Darla in 2013. Like usual, Darla's not getting the pre-race credit she deserves. She, of course, would never mention this to anyone, but we know…

    She was in February-shape for Sean O'Brien, which definitely isn't indicative of her current fitness. I'd point to Scout Mountain as a realistic showing of her current fitness. It's good.

    1. measinb

      While Scout Mountain 2015 was mentioned, who's course record did she break by 24 mins? Oh…right…Darcy Africa's! Go get it Darla!

  7. trailriddle

    Also well worth note is the fact that Jared Campbell has finished (FINISHED, meaning he kicked everyone's butts!) the Barkley Marathons TWICE! Now, clearly he's not the 'speedster' that some of these other guys are, but if anything weird goes down out there (as always seems to), he's the goat that'll still be coming on strong! I put him in the top 10 for sure, and maybe even the top 5. Kilian is definitely the strongest, but Jared is the most badass trail runner out there.

    1. WildmanHanson

      Great note. If I remember correctly – last years Hardrock Preview correctly stated something like: if there is an earthquake, flash flood, locusts, and general armageddon (think Barkley Marathons) Jared's chances of winning will improve by 5000% – The dude is, indeed, hardcore.

  8. David_FL

    I agree that Kilian is not coming in to this year's Hardrock the way he did last year. He has done very little running and even less racing. That said, he stands a good chance of winning (unless he gets injured at Mount Marathon, which is not unlikely), given his natural talents and good match of race terrain to his skills, but likely not in dominate fashion and if he is ever vulnerable, this would be the year.

  9. @hangingbelay

    I guess I'm a bit surprised to see all the questions about Kilian. Based on his strava page, he seems to get up to 13K or 14K elevation quite regularly (remember he lives in Chamonix). It's true that he didn't run Transvulancania this year as he has in year's past, but remember that last year he was in Alaska, on skis, for part of the month of June. (i.e. not running).

    1. deanger

      I can only speak for myself in saying – having not looked at his Strava page – I just wasn't sure what he had been up to.

      I think most of us who follow the sport and 'watched' the race last year have a sense that Kilian will need to have something go (very) wrong not to win the race. The course just seems to suit all his strengths. The only wildcard, in my opinion, is acclimitization — and that's mostly because he spent so much time on Denali last year (sleeping high) as compared to this year.

      And in general it is said that arriving a week before is not that great to arrive at elevation. (Long enough for the body to suffer, but not long enough for blood cells to compensate).

      Last year it really appeared he could have finished nearly an hour faster if he needed to… I still remember when he took nearly 40 minutes out of the record in 10 miles when he started to hammer.

    2. @ChebCheb2015

      I was over in Chamonix the week before last (when he ran the VK and came 7th?). The day before the VK he spent 24hrs crossing the Jorasses, and the day after the VK he was up/down Mont Blanc with Karl Egloff. Going by his Strava page he's been doing quite a bit of that sort of thing lately (overnighting at refuges above 12000'), as well as the volunteering he did in Nepal recently. No he's not done many races this year, but I think he's pretty well prepared.

  10. @hangingbelay

    It will also be interesting to see how "rookies" like Frosty and Iker do, as well as some of the veterans. Meltzer has the 4th fastest time ever (2nd fastest for the CCW direction), although that was six years ago.

  11. @garyaronhalt

    What if Kilian is actually coming in well-rested and focused, not undertrained? I'm actually kind of thrilled to see him coming in having had a lighter schedule… with top ultrarunners dropping like flies to overtraining symptops, it's kind of refreshing. Also, remember the Twitter-sphere last year mid-race, where people where harping about "he'll not go for the record, there's no way he'll do it…" and all that? Yeah, don't count Kilian out too soon.

  12. Vascopampa

    Hello, I'm Federico from La Pampa, Argentina. First, thank you very much Bryon & Co. for your work and the community for the amateur spirit that STILL survives in the sport. Im a trail runner from La Pampa and a fan of the sport itself. Having introduce myself, after Mount Marathon results I think that more than one hardrocker aspirant to the tittle should be worried about Mr. Jornet actual capabilities that aparently are far beyond the rest right now. Kilian is just playing outside. Greetings! (Sorry for my language mistakes)

  13. WildmanHanson

    Is Tony Krupicka in or out? I remember him being very excited to get into Hardrock this year. Is this true, or am I misremembering?

  14. EvanKimber

    Really excited for the race and coverage! Killian will win and set a CR for this direction, just as he did last year. And he'll probably do so smiling most of the way, stopping to chat with the volunteers, and even purposely running with others for company. I find it to be a privilege that we get to witness him run this course in both directions, he will leave a long lasting mark.

  15. deanger

    Anyone know how the course is this year? Last year there wasn't a ton of snow… I would assume there is more snow this year up high… And that that would make for slower times?

    1. iRunFar - Bryon

      If I recall correctly, there wasn't much snow last year. Having not been up high last year, but I'd guess there's more this year. Still, after three weeks of massive melting, I'd guess the snow will be in the normal-to-moderate range. Little patches here with snow over Virginius (good) as well as in American (after Handies) and Wasatch (after Telluride) Basins.

      1. npedatella

        You are correct that last year was fairly dry. I don't remember any snow on Engineer Pass or Handies. Though I think it may have been fairly wet around Pole Creek. The weather at night last year wasn't really ideal conditions, though I think I read that Kilian said he had to run fast to stay warm, so maybe cold rain is good for setting course records :-)

        Though the recent melt eliminates the actual snow on course, this does have the side effect of wet trails. I would have to imagine some of the course is fairly wet compared to usual. That may have more of an impact on times then having a little snow on the course.

  16. @davidity

    Darcy, Anna, Kilian, Iker, Mike, Adam… The real question is Meghan or Bryon? Will they work together or run their own races? Will they interview each other after the run?

        1. iRunFar - Bryon

          Andy Jones-Wilkins will be interviewing me later today. (With the slow internet here in Silverton, look for it to be up tomorrow.) Meghan would prefer not to be interviewed before the race.

  17. boybunting

    Killian is always super humble. Can you imagine the fitness base and knowledge base he has? I feel like a well rested Killian will be astounding. Following hardrock on irunfar for the 3rd year in a row. One of the best chunk of hours during my summer. Thanks irunfar! Might not have the scratch to donate this year. I've kind of went batshit buying vinyl the last couple months. Too many rad reissues coming out!

  18. rundavejames

    So many amazing stories! Perhaps the most inspirational moments for me here in Silverton this week have been meeting the veterans of Hardrock. These gals and guys are truly hard core and incredible! I know there are a bunch of people capable of top ten but I want to throw out a local name. Watch out for Anthony Culpepper. He has overcome some health issue recently, but in 2010 he ran a fast time at Wasatch for 4th. In 2011 he hiked for 9 months in a giant circle from Canada to Mexico. The guy has been waiting 7 years to get into Hardrock and has lived in Silverton since 2012 working for Mountain Studies Institute in the San Juan's.

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