Oh, July is here… which means that the Hardrock 100 is just around the corner. Come the morning of July 14th, 145 lucky runners will set off for 100 miles of beauty through southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Along the way, they’ll climb (and descent) 33,000′ all at high elevations up to 14,000′.
Despite the insistence of some that it’s a “run” rather than a “race,” there’ll certainly be some at the front of both fields going for the win or another top position. On the women’s side, it’s safe to say that we’ve never seen as strong a field at Hardrock. It’s no surprise that there’ll be another talented men’s field will be out there, as well.
Ahead of the race, we’ll publish interviews with some of the race favorites and, of course, we’ll be covering the race live starting at 6 a.m. MDT on Friday, July 14. Stay tuned.
2017 Hardrock 100 Women’s Preview
With 145 total entrants, there are 22 women entered in this year’s Hardrock 100 at the time of writing this preview. That necessarily means that it’s not going to be the deepest women’s field that we cover this year, but… no, BUT, the very front of the women’s field is as good as we may ever see at Hardrock.
La Tête de la Course
To start off, two-time defending champ (2015 & 2016) Anna Frost (pre-race interview) is entered in the race. So far, her two 2017 results–sixth at the Behind the Rocks 30k (casual effort) and 23rd at the Zegama Marathon–don’t match her talent. As much as Frost lives in any one spot, it’s in nearby Durango, Colorado at the moment, and she’s currently in a brief, but intense training block for the race. Anna shared in a recent profile on iRunFar that she’s yet to definitively decide whether or not she’ll race Hardrock this year.
This year’s Hardrock features two French women who race aggressively. The first, Caroline Chaverot (pre-race interview), is unquestionably the best female trail ultrarunner in the world over the past year and a half. Here are just some of her wins over that span: Transgrancanaria 2016, Madeira Island Ultra Trail 2016, Marathon du Mont-Blanc 80k 2016, Skyrunning World Championships 2016, UTMB 2016, the IAU Trail World Championships 2016, the Maxi-Race Annecy 2017, and Lavaredo 2017. Phew! Not only does Chaverot race aggressively, she races a lot. That may have led to her consecutive DNFs at Trail de la Galinette and Transgrancanaria early this year.
The other ferociously fast Frenchwoman is Nathalie Mauclair (pre-race interview). Her best season may have been 2015 when she won won UTMB and the IAU Trail World championships along with taking second at Lavaredo and fourth at Diagonale de Fous. Prior to that, she’d already won the IAU Trail World Championships once (2013) and Diagonale des Fous twice (2013 and 2014) as well as placing third at UTMB in 2014. The past two years, she’s been second at the Marathon des Sables, she was fourth at the IAU Trail World Championships in 2016, and fifth at those championships this year. It’s my understanding that both Mauclair and Chaverot have arrived in the San Juans to acclimate and to see the course.
And, now, we get to Colorado’s Darcy Piceu (pre-race interview), who won Hardrock three-straight years–2012, 2013, and 2014–and has three runner-up finishes (2010, 2011, and 2015) to go along with those wins. She didn’t get into last year’s Hardrock. Instead, she won the Jemez Mountain 50 Mile and the Wasatch 100 Mile as well as placing fifth at the Gorge Waterfalls 100k. So far this year, Darcy’s been second at the Red Hot Moab 55k, won the Coyote Cohort Backbone 68 Mile, and set an FKT on Peru’s Cordillera Huayuash circuit.
The Rest of the Field
Darla Askew is safest bet for a top finish from the women’s field. She’s run four of the past five Hardrocks, going third, second, and third in 2012, 2013, and 2015, respectively. Last year was her first time finishing off the podium when she finished fourth in 33:51. She’s run Hardrock as fast as 31:09 in 2013. She’ll either need to run faster or run strong with others ahead of her faltering to get back on the podium this year.
At only 26 years old, Hannah Green has already built up a strong ultrarunning resume. In 2015, she won the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile, took second at the Jemez Mountain 50 Mile, and was fifth at both the Dirty 30 and Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile. Last year, she was fourth at the Power of Four 50k before winning the 38-mile Telluride Mountain Run and Squamish 50 Mile and taking third at the Wasatch Front 100 Mile. Green’s success at two races in the San Juan Mountains–the Solstice and Telluride MR–are good signs going into this races, as is her recent success at 100 miles. She also calls Durango, Colorado home.
Rachel Bucklin did not run up to her potential at last year’s Hardrock 100, where she placed seventh in 42:55. I say that as she was fourth at the Bighorn 100 in 2014, second at the Rio del Lago 100 Mile in 2015, and second at the Scout Mountain Ultra Trail last year. She took second at the 108k River of No Return race last month.
You may recall that Katie Grossman stayed atop Hardrock’s ‘Never’ waitlist for seemingly forever last year, but never got in. Well, she’s in this year. She’s finished fourth in a bunch of her most notable performances the past few years, including at the Black Canyon 100k in 2015, the Angeles Crest 100 Mile in 2015, the Georgia Death Race in 2016, and the Jemez Mountain 50 Mile this May. She’s been training in the San Juans for quite a while now.
It looks like 55-year-old Becky Bates only got rolling with ultras the past few years and she’s had strong results throughout. Last year, she won the Sun Mountain 50 Mile and was second at the IMTUF 100 Mile. So far this year, she was sixth at the Gorge Waterfalls 100k and won the 45k Wildhorse Traverse.
Back to 2014, Jamie Frink took third and, then, second at the Bighorn and Tahoe Rim 100 Miles just a month apart. Going back a bit further, she was eighth at the Western States 100 in 2009. She’s had a strong year so far, taking third at the Zion 100k in April and fourth at the Silver State 50 Mile in May.
Connecticut’s Debbie Livingston will bring more than a decade and a half of ultrarunning experience when she steps up to the Hardrock start line for the first time at this year’s race. In 2015, she finished fourth at the Miwok 100k and 16th at Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. Last December, she was eighth at the Hellgate 100k and last month she was second at the burly 54-mile Manitou Revenge.
No woman will bring more Hardrock experience to the start line than Betsy Kalmeyer, who has 17 Hardrock finishes! While she finished tenth in 45:50 last year, she was second as recently as 2014, when she ran 37:57. Kalmeyer has five Hardrock victories, most recently wining in 2006, when she ran 31:53.
Other Notable Women
- Kari Fraser — 5th 2015 Hardrock 100; 7th 2014 Bighorn 100 Mile
- Tina Ure — 4th 2011 & 2014 Hardrock 100; 5 Hardrock finishes
- Bethany Lewis
- Betsy Nye
2017 Hardrock 100 Men’s Preview
So there’s this guy who’s won the Hardrock 100 the past three years (2014, 2015, and 2016) and, during that time, he’s run three of the five fastest times ever run on the course. His name is Kilian Jornet (pre-race interview). You may have heard of him. As far as I can tell, he’s only run two other races since the start of last year–the Zegama Marathon last year and the Marathon du Mont-Blanc a few weeks ago–he won both. There’s no doubt that he’s the guy to beat.
I don’t know if anyone can straight out outrun Kilian at Hardrock, but last year Jason Schlarb (pre-race interview) managed to do what no one else has done during the past three Hardrocks, and that’s run with Kilian. The pair finished together in 22:58. Only Kilian’s 22:41 from 2014 is faster on the course. Schlarb hasn’t raced much since last year’s Hardrock. I can only find his win at the Zion 50k in April and his ninth at Transvulcania in May. He lives in nearby Durango, Colorado with easy access on the course.
Just two years ago, Mike Foote (pre-race interview) was second at Hardrock in a time of 25:45. Over the past half decade, he’s also been third (2012) and fifth (2013) at UTMB as well as third at Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji in 2015. Clearly, Foote excels in long, mountainous races. In his only trail race that I can find for this year, Foote beat last year’s Western States champ Andrew Miller as well as Mike Wolfe to win the Old Gabe 50k last month.
Just a few years ago, Iker Karrera (pre-race interview) was clearly one of the best ultrarunners in the world. In 2011, he was second at UTMB and Transvulcania. In 2012, he won the Lavaredo Ultra-Trail and was fifth at Transvulcania. In 2013, he won the Tor des Géants. In 2014, he was second at UTMB (again) and won the Buff Epic Trail. However, he’s not been the same runner the past few years. He had an injured hip heading into Hardrock in 2015, where he finished ninth. Don’t get me wrong, Iker’s still run strong races the past two years, but when his top finishes at big races during that span are a fifth at Diagonale des Fous and 23rd at Les Templiers last year, we’ve just not seen the same dominant Iker of the past. That said, if he’s once again in top form, he can run with Kilian for a long way and certainly compete for the podium.
Likely Top-10 Candidates
But for his horrendous mountain accident last summer, Adam Campbell would be on the list above. As it is, it’s amazing that he’s running at all, let alone toeing the line at Hardrock. Rewind to before the accident and Adam was third at both the 2014 (obligatory lightning-strike mention) and 2015 Hardrocks. He’s obviously got high upside, but it’s hard to know where he stacks up at the moment.
Chris Price has racked up solid Hardrock results, placing fourth in both 2013 and 2015 while living in southern California. Price now lives on the course in Ouray, Colorado and spends plenty of time training in the high mountains there. Last year, Chris was third at the San Juan Solstice 50 Mile and 11th at the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile. This May he won Jemez Mountain 50 Mile in 8:39, bettering his 2015 time by 10 minutes.
Perhaps no one has had more quiet success at Hardrock than Ted Mahon. He’s already got eight finishes to his name. Working back from 2016, he’s has placed seventh, tenth, tenth, fifth, ninth, sixth, 11th. In his past four runnings starting in 2012, he’s stayed between 28:19 and 29:23. You might not see him in the top 10 at Grouse Gulch, Ouray, or even Telluride, but rest assured, he’s out there and he’s moving up.
After a year away (setting the Appalachian Trail FKT), Karl Meltzer is back at Hardrock, where he should be. Karl is a five-time Hardrock winner, taking home victories in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2009. When he last ran Hardrock in 2015, he logged his lowest place (21st) and slowest time (32:45) at Hardrock to date. It would be easy enough to write off the 49 year old, but in April he was fifth at the 68-mile Georgia Death Race and won the Zane Grey 50 Mile. His 9:32 at Zane Grey is far from his fastest time there (8:07), but it’s within nine minutes of his 2005 run, a year in which he won Hardrock in 28:29 three months later.
Joe Grant has a second (2012) and a fifth (2011) to his name at Hardrock with a best of 25:06 at the 2012 race. He’s also DNFed at Hardrock in 2014 (quad injury) and 2016 (concussion). After some big years of racing, Joe’s raced much less of late. While I could be missing something abroad, I think he’s only run the Red Hot Moab 55k (10th) since last year’s Hardrock.
New Zealand’s Grant Guise has a strong shot at being a top-two Kiwi at the race. He’s also got a good chance of repeating his top-10 finish from last year’s Hardrock, his debut at the race, where he finished tenth in 30:35. While quite a different race, he showed strong fitness in placing eighth at the 100k Ultra-Trail Australia in May.
It’s time for Scott Jaime to make a go at his tenth Hardrock finish. As I noted in last year’s preview, no one has a faster fourth-fastest Hardrock time than Jaime. At last year’s Hardrock he placed 13th in 32:13, amidst competing in the Leadman competition. He was fifth in his second-most-recent appearance at Hardrock in 27:46 in 2014, while he was third in 26:38 in 2013. He was 11th at the Zane Grey 50 Mile in April.
While I know very little about him, Wyoming’s Gabe Joyes could be the big surprise of this year’s Hardrock. He’s steadily improved in recent years, moving from further back in results to finish eighth at both The Bear 100 Mile in 2014 and the Bighorn 100 Mile in 2015. Then, last year, he won both the Scout Mountain and Never Summer 100ks. This spring, he was third at the Quad Rock 50 Mile.
The last time Nick Pedatella ran Hardrock in 2012, he finished fourth. He didn’t have his greatest year of racing last year, but did finish the Nolan’s 14 route last September. So far this year, he’s placed eighth at the Massanutten 100 Mile and finished the Bob Graham Round.
Tennessee’s Brian Pickett has won plenty of ultras from 50k to 100k out East, but, to the best of my knowledge, lacks experience in big-mountain races out west. In his favor are a second at the Pinhoti 100 Mile and fifth at the Grindstone 100 Mile, both in late 2015. On the down side is his 15th at the Zion 100 Mile in the spring of 2016.
Other Notable Men
- James Bonnett — 3rd 2016 Mongollon Monster 100 Mile; 9th 2014 JFK 50 Mile; 1st 2013 Zane Grey 50 Mile
- Gregory Brant — 3rd 2016 Massanutten 100; 6th 2016 The Bear 100; 19th 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile
- John Burton — 12th 2014 Hardrock 100; 1st 2016 Fat Dog 120 Mile
- Christopher Calzetta — 1st 2016 Skyline 50k; 2nd 2016 Quicksilver 100k; 26th 2016 Western States 100
- Jamil Coury — 14th 2013 Hardrock 100
- Nick Coury — 14th 2016, 13th 2015, 6th 2013 (28:50 race PR), 5th 2008 Hardrock; 9th 2017 Zane Grey 50 Mile
- Dennis Gamroth — 2nd 2015 Iron Horse 100 Mile; 6th 2013 Tahoe Rim 100 Mile
- Adam Hewey — 8th 2010, 10th 2013, 14th 2015 Hardrock 100; 4th 2016 Fat Dog 120 Mile
- David Huss — 4th 2017 Umstead 100 Mile; 9th 2015 Grindstone 100 Mile
- Jake Milligan — 2nd 2017 River of No Return 108k; 2nd 2016 Scout Mountain 100k; 2nd 2015 Cruel Jewel 100 Mile
- Steven Moore — 7th 2016 Bandera 100k; 2nd 2015 Arkansas Traveler 100 Mile; 11th 2016 San Juan Solstice
- Jeason Murphy — 16th 2014, 19th 2015 Hardrock 100; 6th 2017 Red Hot Moab 55k
- Jack Pilla — Long-time strong ultrarunner making Hardrock debut at age 59
- Jeff Rome — 4th 2015, 6th 3016 Don’t Fence Me In 30k; 19th 2013 Leadville 100
- Stephen Tucker — Continuous improvement over past five years; 1st 2017 TNF EC 50 50 Mile – DC
- Michael Wardian — 4th 2016 JFK 50 Mile; 8th 2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon; 47th 2017 Western States 100
Call for Comments
- Who do you think will before the first woman and first man to finish?
- Who do you think will surprise everyone at this year’s Hardrock?