2018 Hardrock 100 Preview

Come the morning of Friday, July 20, 145 lucky runners will set off for 100 miles of beauty and challenge through southwestern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in the Hardrock 100. Along the way, they’ll climb (and descend) 33,000 feet all at high elevations of up to 14,000 feet.

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. It’s looking like the 2017 edition may become a high point in the race’s competitiveness for both the women’s and men’s fields–it was perhaps the most competitive year the Hardrock 100 might ever see. While this year’s race lacks some of the depth and star power of last year’s race, its competitiveness is more along the lines of ‘normal’ for the Hardrock 100 and this year’s edition will certainly feature strong women’s and men’s races for the win.

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. Mountain Daylight Time on Friday, July 20. Stay tuned!
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A special thanks to Smartwool for making our coverage of the Hardrock 100 possible!

Thanks also to Altra and GU Energy Labs for their support of our Hardrock coverage.

2018 Hardrock 100 Women’s Preview

Here are the women we expect to be in the hunt for the top finishing positions.

Top Women

Nikki Kimball - Western States 100

Nikki Kimball

Nikki Kimball (pre-race interview) is running Hardrock! This iconic ultrarunner who has done–and won–some of the toughest events out there finally gets her shot at the Hardrock 100. We could spend this whole preview highlighting the appropriate accolades Nikki has achieved ahead of her first appearance at this race: she’s a three-time Western States 100 champion; a one-time UTMB champ; one-time Marathon des Sables champion; a winner of, I don’t know, dozens of trail ultramarathons; the women’s supported FKT holder for Vermont’s Long Trail; the course-record holder of the Bridger Ridge Run, the toughest race you’ve probably never heard of (unless you live in Montana)… you get the point, right?

Sabrina Stanley (pre-race interview) made a big splash last year when she took third at the 2017 Western States 100. Some of Sabrina’s other top performances have been a third place at the 2018 HURT 100 Mile, a fifth at the 2017 Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, and a fourth at the 2016 Leadville Trail 100 Mile. Sabrina moved out to the San Juan Mountains this summer specifically to train for Hardrock, even bowing out of her Western States entry to give it her all. Though I think Sabrina and Nikki are entirely different runners–a young gun with fire and specificity training versus one of the most experienced and toughest women out there–there’s something to be said for the fact that Sabrina ran 29:45 at the 2018 HURT 100 while Nikki did 29:46 the year before. This will be fun to watch.

2013 Hardrock 100 - Darla Askew

Darla Askew

Darla Askew, this could be your year! I believe Darla has five Hardrock 100 finishes, with her best time of 31:09 for second place five years ago. She was sixth in 33:54 at last year’s edition. Last month, she took second at the 2018 San Diego 100 Mile. Darla is quiet and fierce, and she races without flashiness. With certainty, she’ll put her head down, smile a lot, and race well from start to finish.

Japan’s Kaori Niwa (pre-race interview) is definitely the biggest X factor in the women’s race. Kaori seems unfaltering at the tough mountain ultras she undertakes. As examples, she’s been eighth and fourth(!!!) at the 2016 and 2017 UTMBs, second at the 2018 Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji, and second at the 2017 Ronda dels Cims. To compare her to the Hardrock women who’ve preceded her, her 2017 RdC finish was in 40 hours and change, while multi-time Hardrock champ Darcy Piceu just ran 36 hours and change at this year’s RdC. Her fourth at last year’s UTMB showed just how strong she is in difficult conditions. I am so curious about her Hardrock potential.

More Women to Watch

  • Betsy Kalmeyer — Going for her 19th Hardrock finish; many Hardrock wins; 2nd Hardrock 2014
  • Betsy Nye — 6th Hardrock 2016; 9th Hardrock 2015; 11 times on the Hardrock podium
  • Cindy Stonesmith — 4th 2017 Ozark Trails 100 Mile

Notable Withdrawals

  • Anna Frost — Made it up to as high as third on the Everyone Else waitlist, but pulled herself off it sometime before July 6
  • Andrea Huser — Chosen in lottery but pulled out of the race due to health issues by early May

2018 Hardrock 100 Men’s Preview

Let’s take a look at the top men running this year’s Hardrock 100.

Top Men

2016 Hardrock 100 - Xavier Thevenard

Xavier Thévenard

France’s Xavier Thévenard (pre-race interview) could win Hardrock by a country mile. With Kilian Jornet not at Hardrock for the first time in five years, the whole men’s racing dynamic is going to change. Case in point, Xavier took third to a tying Kilian and Jason Schlarb in 2016, running 23:57, what was the fastest runner-up time in the history of the race… by almost an hour. Though he’s just 30 years old, Xavier has some incredible performances on his resume, including two UTMB wins in 2013 and  2015 and a fourth place there last year. He should dominate.

Mike Foote withdrew from this year’s race on July 11. [UpdatedMike Foote has finished Hardrock three times–in 2010, 2015, and  2017, and taken second each time. How’s that for consistency? While he is choosy about races these days, when he marks an effort as an ‘A’ goal, he shows up ready to deliver from start to finish, rarely slowing later in the effort. In writing that, I’m thinking of the 24-hour vertical ski record effort he did last winter, where his final splits didn’t look like he’d been skiing for a full day nonstop. This could be Foote’s year at the absolute front.

2016 Western States 100 - Jeff Browning

Jeff Browning

Jeff Browning (pre-race interview) just got into the race yesterday(!!!)… and his entry has changed the men’s racing dynamic. Just four weeks before Hardrock, Jeff took fifth at the 2018 Western States 100. He’s familiar with this double, though, after turning in a third at the 2016 WS 100 and, then, a fourth at Hardrock three weeks later, setting the WS 100/Hardrock double record along the way. This year, he’s got an extra week of recovery time. Here’s hoping Jeff’s recovery has been sound, and, if so, this is going to be another fun race to watch.

You have to put Troy Howard (pre-race interview) into the quiet influencer category when it comes to Hardrock. He’s another guy who has finished twice multiple times, in both 2009 and 2013. And he also finished fifth in 2015, to boot. But even if you’re a die-hard fan of the sport, there’s still a chance you haven’t heard of him as he goes about kicking Hardrock butt without fanfare. Just a couple weeks ago he was 12th at the 2018 San Juan Solstice 50 Mile, presumably as a tune-up.

More Men to Watch

  • James Bonnett — 2nd Zane Grey 50 Mile 2018; 18th Hardrock 2017
  • Benjamin Bucklin — 1st River of No Return 108k 2018; 4th Sean O’Brien 50 Mile 2017
  • John Fegyveresi — Barkley Marathons finisher
  • Jesse Haynes — 20th Western States 2018 and tackling the WS 100/Hardrock double; 8th Western States 2017; 10th Western States 2014 and 2016
  • Mick Jurynec — 1st Bear 100 Mile 2015 and 2016; 8th Hardrock 2014
  • Jayson Kolb — 1st Eastern States 100 2017; 8th Cayuga Trails 50 Mile 2017
  • Ted Mahon — 9-time Hardrock finisher, including 12th in 2017 and 7th in 2016; Nolan’s 14 finisher
  • Jason Poole — 8th Hardrock 2013; 9th Hardrock 2012
  • Jeff Rome — 8th Hardrock 2017; 15th The Rut 50k 2014
  • Brendan Trimboli — 8th Jemez 50 Mile 2018; 11th Hardrock 2015
  • Mike Wardian — 10th Leadville 100 2017; 1st Eastern States 100 2015

It’s worth noting that both Jamil Coury (3rd 2nd Everyone Else) and Luke Nelson (3rd Never) are high on their respective waitlists. We’ll fully add them to the preview if either gets in. [Added July 11]

Notable Withdrawals

  • Adam Campbell — No longer on the entrants list as of July 9
  • Mike Foote — Withdraw from the race on July 11th.
  • Kilian Jornet — Had an automatic entry from last year’s win, but withdrew from the race on June 20

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?
Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Managing Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.

There are 57 comments

  1. Quigley

    Bryon Powell is going to surprise everyone this year! I can’t believe he didn’t make your list of More Men to Watch. Do you think he has a shot at finishing in the Top 10 this year? I think e he should be able to go faster than his 15th place 33:01 in 2016. If Xavier is not having a good day, I would not be surprised if Mike Wardian is the first to finish. Thanks for the preview.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Ha! I’d be surprising myself along with the others. :-) While I’m plenty fit enough to get around the San Juans, my 2018 fitness lags 2016 by a good bit and my training’s been far less focused. If conditions are favorable and I run a good race, I could see 30:XX as possible. (Of course, 47:XX is always possible, too!) With a bit less depth at this year’s race and the given that there’ll be attrition throughout the pack, there’s a teensy chance that I’d sneak in as 10th on a perfect day, but I doubt it.

      I consider Wardian a good friend, and I can still respectfully say he’s not winning Hardrock. ;-) He was 21st here last year in a time much closer to mine than to that of Thévenard, Foote, Browning, or Howard. Breaking into the top ten would be a good goal for Wardian.

  2. Jay

    I hope Hard Rock finds a way to let more women run this race in the future. In scanning the entrants list there are only 10-15 women total out of the 145. Maybe the lottery had the same ratio but still too bad. All 10-15 might as well make your preview.

    1. Huh

      Why is this a thing? This is a tough race for anyone to get into. If the tickets are dispersed based on attempts for “never”, it shouldn’t matter. My hunch (not certain) is that the proportion of accepted women is in line with those that applied.

      1. Amy

        See what Celia said. 18% of lottery entrants were women and 9% of entrants are women. So, no, the proportion is not in line with those that applied, which comes down to how the Hardrock lottery works.

        There are 3 separate lottery pools, the “nevers”, the “else” and the “veterans”. The majority of the entrants come from the “else” and “veterans” (70%), whereas the majority of the applicants come from the “never”. The % of women in the “veteran” and “else” pools is very low and more representative of the percentage of women you see on the start line each year. The % of women in this race will not change much and won’t reach the percentage of the overall lottery pool as long as this lottery process remains the same, or Dale picks women for all of his elective spots each year.

        1. SageCanaday

          +1 for what Jay and Amy said. It is a “heavily biased lottery” system. Because of this simple math newcomers and women will always be put at a disadvantage from gaining entry…as they have been historically.

          1. MJ

            if you want to run plan on waiting 10+ years … the odds for “nevers” are daunting and don’t favor gender …. you might get lucky and get it before 10 years but I wouldn’t bet on it …. you’ve got to settle in and enjoy the ride which means running hard 100’s year after year … it’s the ultimate congo line

        2. Trevor

          Amy, roughly 13% of the people applying for the “else” field were women, and many had raced in 2016 and 2017 – resulting in relatively few tickets. Roughly 13% of the people selected in the initial “else” draw plus the else lottery were women. Interestingly due to drops and electing to not run, there are no women in this year’s “else” category, which was compounded by a relatively low number (5%) selected in the initial lottery. However, there were multiple women who could have run, but elected not to.

          We all want to run Hardrock, for a variety of reasons. Shouldnt the lottery be fair to each person, giving each person the same relative chance of getting selected

  3. Anne

    I have been running with Nikki for several years now, and she is as strong as I’ve ever seen her. Much fitter than when she ran Hurt in 2017. This race is perfectly suited for her since she’s so strong on downhills and technical trails. So excited to crew and be there for her!

  4. nevtrik

    It’s sobering to see that with all her history Nikki was only able to get in to Hardrock this year.. It’s makes my 32 (potential) tickets probability this year kinda sad.

  5. andy mcbreen

    On the Woman’s side Nikki, Sabrina or Darla all are on even playing fields. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Very exciting to see how the Woman’s race will play out. On the Men’s side, Xavier, Mike and Jeff are so similar to the ladies in that They all have varied strengths and weaknesses. It should be awesome to see how things play out !!!

  6. Sam

    Baring a distaster Xavier will most likely win with ease. Browning with an easy second several hours off the lead. I’m hopefull for a dark horse to rise up and rustle things up, though.

  7. p.o.s.

    Hardrock is legendary race, but line up is not strong like other ultra races…this year Xavier is only top world ultra trail runner, Browing is legend and first close to Xavier…for my opinion, Hardrock deserve minimum 10 strong ultra names on start line…

    1. Sage Canaday

      In this biased “lottery system” it will always be like that…but then there are “Dale’s picks.” So maybe a few top runners get in each year. It won’t ever be like a WS100 or UTMB…which is fine as it is a very limited field size and technically not a competitive race (i.e. it is a “run”). It is interesting how the biased lottery system deters newcomers (runners that haven’t done Hardrock before) and women as well.

    2. Austin Baird

      This mentality boggles my mind. I enjoy trail running because I enjoy running on trails. I love Hardrock because it’s a beautiful, inspiring course. I’ve never once discounted a race or a course because there wasn’t enough of a track meet atmosphere or because I didn’t get to fanboy after the people running it.

      There are plenty of sports and hobbies for people who just want to watch other people do things. I’ll never understand why people would rather watch someone else do a thing than get to do that thing themselves. There are plenty of races where you can follow the breathless Twitter coverage while sitting ensconced in your home. Let’s leave at least some races free of the overhyped atmosphere and the fanboying of WS, UTMB, or the other circuses.

      If you need further comments on the matter, I’ll be kissing the Hardrock at 5:55 AM, Sunday morning. Ask me then.

      1. SageCanaday

        Congrats on getting in – However the fact is that the lottery system favors veterans and deters new people that haven’t done the race before. As a side product of that it also perpetually keeps the number of women from participating down. If the picks/”lottery system” were 100% transparent that would be refreshing to see as well. It is a very exclusive race that is only open to a select few. I was only commenting in response to pos said about the “relative competitive depth” and why that is the case. It is simple math and policy (and tradition).

        1. Austin Baird

          SageCanaday – sorry I wasn’t more clear. I was responding to p.o.s as well. I actually agree with the posters above, in that I’d welcome steps to get more women in these races, even if it means decreasing the relative chances for us dudes. (Although I got in with 2 tickets last year and finished HR as my second 100 ever, and then I got in for this year, so I can’t really complain about anything)

          I was commenting instead on p.o.s.’s seeming desire to take spots away from amateur runners in order to create a more competitive race for him to enjoy watching.

        2. Trevor

          Sage, Have you been given preferential treatment in getting into races due to being “Elite”? If so, I question your ability to complain that veterans have “preferential treatment”.

          The lottery system is transparent, and while Dales’ picks might not be, I can understand why they would be good for the run. Fair is relative thing, and I think that we should be able to agree that entry is fair within each category. A woman has the same relative chances of being selected as a man, which is the definition of fairness.

          1. SageCanaday

            In races where it is clearly stated how an “elite” can bypass a lottery that is definitely the case. In Western States that means actually earning a Golden Ticket by being top 2 in some fairly tough races…at UTMB it is strictly based on meeting the point requirements and having a high ITRA ranking/score. This is actually very transparent and quantitative and not applicable to this situation really (except for the transparency thing). Same thing with something like “Qualifying for the Boston Marathon” with a strict time standard. You earn it, you get in. Purely quantitative and not subjective. But that is not a good comparison. I know Hardrock is a “run” and not a “competitive race” and there is a special tradition and very limited field size here. Dale’s picks are not transparent but we can guess who they are pretty easily probably. What I’m talking about is how the lottery is biased to improve the chances of veterans getting in (and inherently because of this tradition it will keep the numbers of women and new runners participating quite low). This is simple math. It is a system that promotes exclusivity.

            1. Pete

              I can name an example from this year where WS100 granted an entry to an “elite” athlete without her/him having won a Golden Ticket or a lottery entry. The word “exclusivity” has been twisted into a bad word in today’s hyper-politically correct environment but I actually want my airline pilots and heart surgeons to be exclusively selected and qualified. It won’t “keep” the numbers of new runners, women, Asians, heavy-machine operators, (insert your favorite demographic), etc. low forever. The veteran pool will eventually age away and it can’t be refilled because nobody really has a chance anymore to accumulate five HR100 finishes given the daunting lottery odds. When that happens, perhaps they’ll increase the “Never” pool size and a proportional amount of women will be in that but no matter what, you can see that the number of women will only increase. Yes, what we’re observing with the HR100 entry scheme is evidence of a sport that was male-dominated in the 90’s. Sure, I’d like to see their entry system tweaked a bit but it’s within their bounds to say that they need a veteran group of runners on the course for safety and for carrying their tradition forward.

          2. Greg

            The Hardrock board can do whatever they want. It is their race after all. But, as one of the defining races in American ultrarunning, I think they have a duty to grow the sport—-or at least evolve with it. Elite professionals should be able to get into this race ahead of others, and legends in the sport should be added to the field if they want to run. Both of these things should be done even if it means fewer citizen runners get into the field. #SorryNotSorry

            The only reason race lotteries should exist is because of environmental and land use restrictions. My opinion would be that after the elite field is set, everybody’s name goes in the same hat and the field is filled by random draw. How about you get double the chance if you volunteer at the race the previous year? A little extra boost for females seems fair too. I’d be ok with a boy’s hat and a girl’s hat.

            Hardrock is a race. Times are kept; awards are given. Races line up the most competitive possible fields. If Francois D’Haene decided this week that he wanted to run Hardrock, there should be a place for him. If Serena Williams wanted to play in my tennis tournament, she gets to play. If I were hosting a basketball tournament and LeBron wanted to enter a team, I would make sure his team could play—-even if I had to kick out another team. As of now, Killian is back in the lottery for next year. That’s absurd. Jeff Browning was on the waitlist? Seriously. Come on, Hardrock.

            I get the previous poster’s point about being a participant over being a fan. That’s a great perspective, but fans become future participants, and U.S. ultradistance running has a growing fan base thanks to the inspiring stories of elites in world class events as shared on irunfar, etc. Hardrock should recognize that they are a cause of this evolution and that there are resultant effects of this evolution on their event that necessitate refinements in their practices.

            That’s my opinion. I respect that others may have differing views, however wrong they may be. :)

            1. Michael Miller

              They can do what they want as long as the FS gives them a permit. I think its contrary to public land ethics to run an event such as this as a private party. Sure, they can do what they want but if enough people voice their concerns about the lottery system to the FS they could enforce changes.

              Personally I have no interest in the race anymore. It has turned Silverton into a zoo. I lived in Durango for almost 20 years and I used to spend a lot of time on the trails that Hardrock uses but the last few years I was there I wouldn’t even go near them. Even after the race the non-trail sections were full of people wanting to experience the course. The whole situation around HR is just sad to me.

  8. Ryan

    Adam Wilcox is another one to watch. He is a two time Hardrock finisher who placed as high as 8th in 2012. He spends his time training in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, so he’s no stranger to rugged terrain.

  9. Stephen

    It will continue to get tougher to have an elite field at Hardrock unless the Board of Directors changes its entry process. By limiting the First-timers to just 45 of the 146 slots, many of the lucky ones finally selected to run this race are older, and often broken down after years of super tough qualifiers just to keep their ticket counts.
    The Veterans are certainly older. Why does anyone need 5 or more Hardrock finishes anyway? I get it that it’s a beautiful course, but so is the Ouray 100. (BTW, Slots open & registration closes July 24)
    Fairness at Hardrock would be having just one wait list and it’s just first-timers. I would propose that if a veteran didn’t set a PR they should never be allowed to run it again. Let someone else run their bucket list race and kiss the rock.

    1. Andrew

      Stephen – living in the UK I have never heard of Ouray 100 – I had a look at the website and its great – I love the info page, made me chuckle

      Also living in the UK I have never used a pacer nor had a crew! If someone came to do Ouray can do races like this without pacers and a crew? Do you have to navigate? The route looks really convoluted?

      All the best Andrew

      1. Brian

        I agree from first glace it looks convoluted but (though I have not run it) after looking into it more and reading race reports, its essentially out and backs that are very well marked. Doesn’t sound like navigation or getting lost are really an issue.

    2. Get Off My Lawn

      That logic makes zero sense. Why do people need more than one car? Why does AJW need a 10 year buckle at WS? Why do people run Boston, or NYC, or London year after year?

      Before the internet and smartphones Hardrock was an old school race with a bunch of old school pioneers of the sport that didn’t need to be drawn from a gatorade container with 5000 other hipsters wanting to join them. Maybe it’s their 1 race a year, a family reunion for them and perhaps the one weekend they look forward to most on the calendar. Running through something they did in a beautiful setting that they did before the popularity. That’s what makes Hardrock special.

  10. Robert

    whatever the reasons (lottery, limited number of entries, race admin, etc) Hardrock is the least interesting run/race of the year.

  11. Sarah Lavender Smith

    I think Adam St. Pierre, a coach for CTS/Koop, is one to watch. He’s got a lot of smarts & talent. As for the lottery, I won’t wade into that — except to say I admire how the Western States 100 board has found other avenues for entry (golden tickets, volunteer & sponsor tickets) to balance things out. I don’t think I’ll ever get into Hardrock … so I’ll be toeing the line at the Ouray 100 the following weekend!

    1. Adam St.Pierre

      My life is complete- I got a shout out in a race prediction article on iRunFar from Sarah Lavender Smith! I hope you’ve been practicing with your poles for Ouray 100! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  12. Michael

    I like following all the races and athletes, I’d really hate to see Hardrock become just another competitive event on the ultrarunning calendar. We all would love to be a part of it (run entrant), not only for its fabled beauty, but because of that quality which dosen’t make it just another race but an experience beyond the uber hyped fields of Western States or UTMB. Isn’t it nice to have a big Run where there’s space to breathe in?
    I hope it retains that sense of ease about her, where just gaining entry is all the win anyone hoped for, even among the elites,and for the most part the sense urgency to be competitive is allowed to fall away from everyone’s thoughts and what sinks in is the calm exuberance of just running because it’s fun and a magnificent thing to be alive among the magnificent.

    As for the lottery, I can understand them wanting to give preference to those whom, for years, made Hardrock what it is communally. It would be nice to see it undergo some change as to bring in more first timers, though. When you look at some of the Nevers that have been waiting for years to run it just once… that’s pretty harsh.

    Just my two cents. Hope everyone has a good run this weekend.

  13. Eric Hodges

    I’ve spent the last several minutes reading through the comments concerning the Hardrock 100 lottery system. I hear a lot of whining and sour grapes.This run was created by Gordan Hardman, John Cappis, Charlie Thorn, Dale Garland & other Hardrock Pioneers. It is the Hardrock board of directors that should have the final say as to how the lottery system is developed ; not a bunch of “elite” or “not-so-elite” runners trying to pressure the board into developing a new process to get more “elite” runners into the field. I do not believe that the originators of Hardrock really want to have it become a run that favors “elite” runners,( of either gender ), over the people that have helped make Hardrock the type of run that it is; a run that brings together a group of like-minded people to a beautiful place to challenge themselves while supporting each other along the way.
    Maybe all of the complainers can get together to create their own “Elite” run/race in another part of the Rocky Mountains. Find out what it takes to create such an iconic running event. I’m sure that the Hardrock 100 Board of Directors would be happy to share their collective knowledge to get you started.

    1. Stephen

      Eric,
      I don’t blame the veterans for wanting to keep coming back. Especially a guy like you, who has finished this race 11 times. You have probably formed many friendships out there. But have you considered that just volunteering in the future would provide enough of that social aspect that you crave from this race? You will always be a part of the Hardrock Family. You have been given so much. And yet others want that experience just once.

      I hope you run well this year and achieve your goals. I also hope HR board of directors will listen and find a way to get more first-timers in this race.

      Thank you IRF for providing a forum to allow all voices to be heard.

  14. Eric Hodges

    As a quick followup to my last comment, both I and my wife,( pacer, coach, crew chief ), believe it would be nice if the “elite” runners that show up to run the Hardrock 100 would take at least a couple days to volunteer for course marking and trail work
    ,( instead of sitting down for the media, or complaining about the lottery system ), they would become more aware of what the Hardrock Family is really all about.

    1. Brad

      Not sure who you’re referring to, but Jeff Browning just did exactly that and I’d certainly count him among the “elite”.

  15. Jay

    Eric is right, the board can do what they want with the race. If they think it’s fair to have a system which will always keep the amount of new runners low and therefore keep the women’s field at about 10% of the total field while using trails and resources supported by tax payer dollars that is their right. My issue isn’t so much with the board anyways as it is with the irunfars of the world treating it like it’s more than it is. VT 100, a grand slam race and one of the largest and oldest 100s in the US with 350 runners and probably a more competitive field is happening the same weekend and doesn’t get a sniff of pre race coverage from them. It’s apparent from this thread that hard rockers don’t want the media coverage anyway as it is not in the spirit of the race.

    1. Stephen

      Tahoe Rim Trail 100 is this weekend too. 221 entrants and no waitlist applicants. That event would be a beautiful, high-altitude experience.

      1. Jay

        Sorry if my sarcasm didn’t come through, ofcourse I think that they should find a way to get more women in the race. In fact, until they do I would like to see irunfar and ultra runner mag and all the other media to turn their focus to races that promote women participation in ultra running and let the old boys club of hard rock to themselves.

    1. Evan K.

      Great call with Michael Hewitt – he’s the rare breed that is getting faster in his late 40’s and runs very smart.

  16. Pete

    Thanks Meghan for mentioning Cindy Stonesmith as a contender. She’s tough as nails and is in top form. Watch her to surprise many on her way to making the podium.

  17. Aaron Sorensen

    The only way you’re going get a better field at Hardrock is to have it be a pacer-less race.
    As tough as it is, pulling the comfort of a pacer out of the equation would be a game changer.
    Then add another 145 starters into the mix and you can have a returning top 10 and golden ticket races for several spots.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I’m gonna take a strong guess that the Hardrock Board will never add another 145 spots to the race, even if they remove pacers, which I also very much doubt they’d do.

    2. Greg

      Keeping the pacers, the Hardrock board could set aside 20 spots for elite women, 20 spots for elite men, and 5 spots for legends/friends of the race, and then have a one ticket per person lottery for the rest of the field. Going pacerless isn’t the only way they could put together a stronger field. I just named one of the many ways it could get better. The Hardrock board just hasn’t been willing to prioritize the competitive side of the event——even though it’s obviously designed to be a competitive event. There are many great runners worldwide who’d like to compete at Hardrock, but they don’t even bother trying to get in because of the intentionally prohibitive lottery process. Professionals need to be able to plan a season’s race calendar well in advance. Lotteries make doing so unmanageable. These professionals, by the way, are typically great people who become ambassadors for the events and communities where they race. I’ve not met a ‘whiny’ elite ultrarunner as described by a previous poster, btw. That’s an oxymoron.

      This measure isn’t just for the elite runners. Having a strong elite field makes races more fun and more memorable for all of the participants. That also attracts greater sponsorship dollars, media interest, and overall positive buzz. Those things wouldn’t ruin the spirit of this event. Rather, those things could make the event even healthier and more sustainable. The more people who care about Silverton, the San Juans, and Hardrock, the better. Vested parties become stewards. This part of Colorado needs more stewards.

      What happens with organizations that refuse to evolve despite strong evolutionary forces is that the organizations—-can curmudgeonly hold off change for a period of time——but they are eventually overrun and they lose all of their influence and control all at once. I fear this for Hardrock. My message to the Hardrock board is that this event is never going back in the box. A proactive board should recognize that and manage the growth of the event while being mindful of the event’s core values and history——not try to make the event like the good old days (which will never happen anyways).

      Hardrock, thanks to its leadership thus far, has become a world class event. It won’t stay that way without a (cautiously) progressive mindset.

    3. Ling

      It doesn’t really work that way. Extra runners can’t replace pacers. You’d have double the runners racing from the start. Pacers join in after the field has spread apart.

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