On Saturday, Darcy Piceu finished her sixth Hardrock 100. This year, she took second, but ran her fastest time yet on the course by dipping below 29 hours. In the following interview, Darcy talks about how her dynamic race with Anna Frost played out, how she ran a PR on the course, and why she’s going to Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in August.
For more on how the race went down, read our 2015 Hardrock 100 results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Darcy Piceu Post-2015 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at the finish line of the 2015 Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run with second-place women’s finisher, Darcy Piceu. Hey, congratulations!
Darcy Piceu: Thank you.
iRunFar: How’s it going?
iRunFar: Aside from a little lung issue?
Piceu: Yeah, I have a little bit of a cough.
iRunFar: We’re standing here in a little bit of thunderstorm which is kind of appropriate for Hardrock.
Piceu: Very appropriate for Hardrock.
iRunFar: Holy smokes, what a women’s race!
Piceu: Yeah, you know, it was. We were just out there running, but apparently it was pretty exciting for the people who were watching. Yeah, it was a good day.
iRunFar: Before we talk about yesterday specifically, this is your sixth finish at Hardrock. That’s 600 miles in the San Juan mountains. Do you have any…
Piceu: I don’t even think of it that way.
iRunFar: That’s a lot of miles and a lot of climbing. What keeps you coming back to this place?
Piceu: Yeah. I keep saying it over and over again, it’s the Hardrock family. You’ve experienced it now.
iRunFar: I joined it!
Piceu: You joined it now. It’s just this… it’s really hard to put into words what it means and the group of people. Dale [Garland], the race director, being there for every finisher and welcoming every finisher in is amazing. You just don’t see that very often at races. It’s just this community.
iRunFar: Yesterday’s race, well, yesterday and the day before—talk about your day. Talk us through a little bit. How did it start for you?
Piceu: It was a little bit like this where it would be sunny and all of the sudden you’d look up and there’d be clouds forming and rain would start, rain and snow, a little bit of everything. I felt like I was really comfortable and having a great day all day long. I was eating well, all of that stuff. Anna [Frost] had about anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes on me for the most part.
iRunFar: Aid station to aid station.
Piceu: Pretty much aid station to aid station for the most part up until… I think when I got down into Telluride. I got into Telluride… actually, I came into Ouray, and I knew I was kind of on my dream time. Then I ran up Camp Bird Road, and for the first time I ran most of that road in the light which was really exciting. I knew, Okay, normally I’m running this in the dark.
iRunFar: “I’m doing good!”
Piceu: I’m doing good. It’s light. I came into Telluride way faster than I thought I was going to. I think I closed the gap a little bit and came in… They said she had only left three minutes ago. So that was exciting. I don’t think… I didn’t catch her until we got up into Wasatch Basin. The flagging was really sparse through there and a lot of runners had gotten a little bit off course there. I knew that I just needed to get up into that basin, so we sort of just kept heading there and eventually we caught up to Anna and her pacer and also… I think maybe Karl [Meltzer] up there. When I passed her, she said she was just exhausted, as we all were. She said, “I think I need a nap. I’m going to take a nap.” I said, “Oh, hmm. Really? I hope you don’t take a nap up here.” It was a little cold. It was a little chilly up there. Anyway, so we came down Oscar’s and there are a couple snow sections, and actually down that road I passed Karl there and maybe one other person. I can’t remember. I can’t remember who it was. I came into Chapman feeling really good and started to climb back up Grant-Swamp. I think the climbs just really started to take their toll on me. I started to slow way down on the climbs. Grant-Swamp felt really slow to me. Then, sure enough, we got to the top of the pass and saw Anna right at the base. I thought, Oh, no. I just tried to do everything I could to keep moving there as best as I could. Then right before KT, the second-to-last aid station, she caught me and just passed me really solid, really solid and strong. I just thought, “Oh, my gosh.” My pacer said, “Are you ready to race? Can you race right now?”
iRunFar: How did you answer?
Piceu: “I don’t think so.” It’s mile 90; I don’t know that I can race.
iRunFar: Mile 90 of Hardrock.
Piceu: Oh, we have a visitor here. Hi. [Man passes through camera’s view.]
iRunFar: That’s amazing.
Piceu: She passed me and she was very focused. So, we kind of tried to hang on for a little bit, but again, the last pass was really hard to climb and I slowed way down. I think, in the end, for me it was about going under 29 hours. So we really pushed it over the last five miles to get in under 29 hours. We did that, so I was psyched.
iRunFar: Yeah, this is a PR for you at Hardrock. To see the 28 hours at the front of your finishing time is a huge thing!
Piceu: I was psyched.
iRunFar: What did that come from? Did that come from having competition? Did that come from having something within yourself?
Piceu: I’ve always kind of wanted to do that. I’ve known that I could run it a little bit faster. It’s hard. It’s hard to maintain that steadiness for that amount of time. Only 10 men can do that out there.
iRunFar: And apparently you. I want to ask you about where you were when the sunset on Friday night because pretty much everybody said they saw an amazing sunset. What was that like for you?
Piceu: We were climbing up Camp Bird Road. Petra [Pirc], my pacer, and I turned around and there was just pink, the mountains were all shining pink at that time. It was gorgeous, so gorgeous.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you.
Piceu: Thank you.
iRunFar: You’re turning your sights to UTMB.
iRunFar: Holy smokes!
Piceu: Holy smokes. I can’t think about it yet.
iRunFar: Another mountainous race. You’ve been there before, and you’re going back. What’s drawing you back to UTMB?
Piceu: Yes, just to get out of the little Boulder bubble and go to France for a little while with my daughter. I’m really excited.
iRunFar: You’re going to take her and stay awhile. Awesome.
Piceu: Yeah, it will be fun. Hopefully we’ll see you there.
iRunFar: Congratulations again.
Piceu: Thanks, Meghan. Congrats to you, too.