2018 Hardrock 100 Results

The 25th edition of the Hardrock 100 took place on July 20th to the 22nd, 2018 in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado under the Rocky Mountains’ typically tempestuous monsoon-season skies. Event participants had 48 hours to traverse the 100.5-mile loop made up of dirt roads, old mining trails, singletrack, and game trails at an average altitude of 11,000 feet and accumulating 33,000-plus feet of climb. The run switches direction each year, and ‘even’ years like this one bring about the clockwise direction of travel.

Following the disqualification of all-race leader Xavier Thévenard (pre-race interview) for receiving aid outside of an aid station in violation of event rules, Jeff Browning (pre– and post-race interviews) took home the men’s win. Thévenard’s DQ was a first in the history of the event and, perhaps almost unbelievably, the first of two DQs at this year’s running. (The second of which was after a mid-pack competitor inadvertently left the course during a thunderstorm and didn’t choose to return to the spot from which they deviated to continue on, which is required by the race rules.)

In the women’s race, Sabrina Stanley (pre- and post-race interviews) ran gutsy and off the front to take home the women’s win in her debut at the event. She was followed by ultrarunning icon Nikki Kimball (pre- and post-race interviews) in second place, who was also debuting at Hardrock.

After relatively calm but warm weather for first 36 hours of the event–save for a brief storm about 14 hours into the race that only a few leaders experienced–violent thunderstorms filled the skies above the final 20 miles of the course for about two hours on the second evening. A dozen or so participants hunkered down in the lowest places they could find during them, and all made it through safely. Australia’s Andy Hewat was the year’s final finisher, crossing the line in 47:56:14, with this finish his fifth at Hardrock.

Altra logoGU Energy

A special thanks to Smartwool for making our coverage of the Hardrock 100 possible!

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

To get all the latest ultrarunning news from iRunFar.com, subscribe to our daily email updates or our RSS feed.

Little Giant Valley - 2018 Hardrock 100

Sunrise on the Hardrock 100 course’s final descent in the clockwise direction from the Dives-Little Giant Pass. Photo: iRunFar/Kurt Schilling

Support iRunFar

Like what we’re doing? Please consider becoming a monthly supporter of iRunFar on Patreon or making a one time donation via PayPal in support of our coverage of the Hardrock 100. We’ve also got from great products in the new iRunFar Store! Your support helps make iRunFar happen. Thank you!

2018 Hardrock 100 Men’s Race

France’s Xavier Thévenard (pre-race interview) raced from the word ‘go’ and was out in front of the men’s field as early as a half mile into the event. From the start until roughly at Telluride, mile 28, Thévenard not only traveled alone and way in front of the rest of the men, but also at under course-record pace. On the long climb out of Telluride to the iconic Kroger’s Canteen, nestled in a tight pass at over 13,000 feet in elevation, Thévenard’s pace settled into what was certainly fast for the Hardrock course, but slower than record pace. Even so, his lead on the men’s field continued to increase, such that at Sherman, mile 72, he was more than 90 minutes ahead of anyone else. Thévenard arrived at the Cunningham aid station, mile 91, at the race’s lead, too. However, at Cunningham, Thévenard was disqualified after discussions with the race organization about a confirmed rules breach back before the course’s halfway point, two miles after the Ouray aid station, mile 44, where he was aided by his crew with ice and water, which is disallowed by the event’s rules.

Xavier Thévenard at Grouse Gulch, mile 58, of the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

After the event, race director Dale Garland told iRunFar that following a bystander report of a possible rules breach, the organization researched what happened, asked questions of both Thévenard and his crew at three different aid stations–two of these interactions were observed by iRunFar–and conferred with the organization’s rules committee before the incident’s culmination in Cunningham Gulch. Post-event, Thévenard told iRunFar that he, indeed, admits to taking aid outside an aid station, but that he felt the disqualification was a disproportionate penalty for the rule he broke. Tony Russ was the bystander who reported the rules breach to the race organization, and he told iRunFar after the event that he observed Thévenard receiving aid in the form of water to drink and his crew members doing something with his pack.

[Editor’s Note: We have published another article which details this disqualification. We have been told by the race organization that they have plans to release a more in-depth report, as well.]

As all this happened, Jeff Browning (pre– and post-race interviews), who had run in second place nearly the whole day (and night), went through the Maggie Gulch aid station, mile 85, thinking he was, indeed, in second place. However, when he arrived to Cunningham a bit later, he found himself at the head of the race. Not only that but second-place Jeff Rome (post-race interview) was hot on his heels, leaving the Cunningham aid station just 6.5 minutes behind. The gentlemen could both see the other and hear the small gathered crowd’s early morning cheering for both of them. A race of the Jeffs was on.

But we should back up, say, 91 miles. As early as the Mineral Creek crossing, mile 2, Jeff Browning crossed in second place with a long tail of men trailing him. This pattern continued for miles, with what looked like Browning doing his thing and that thing amounting to him essentially leading the men’s chase pack. While he mostly looked at ease in his effort, he would later say that he both felt the fact that he ran the Western States 100 just four weeks ago and that he struggled with motivation because he couldn’t make up time on the lead. After the race, he also said he got confused for a spell in the vicinity of Cataract Lake, mile 75, when he couldn’t see course markings and wandered back and forth for a bit. His GPS tracker indicates his wanderings amounted to perhaps 2.5 extra miles. Browning eventually encountered Troy Howard (pre- and post-race interviews)  who was at the time in third place, approaching from behind. Together they sorted his confusion, and headed on. Browning said he surged in the miles following his encounter with Howard to gain a new gap.

Jeff Browning at the top of the first climb, at mile 7, during the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Alex McGeorge

Jeff Rome turned heads at Hardrock last year when he finished in seventh place in 28:53. He would say after the race that his goal this year was to run under 28 hours. By 18 miles into the race, Rome was courting with the men’s top 10 and, at Telluride, mile 28, he settled into seventh position, the same position he finished in 2017 and a position he’d hold until after mile 58. And, then, the magic started happening as he moved up from seventh to third in the 27 miles that followed. He, too, was surprised to arrive to Cunningham and find out that, not only was he in second place, but he was also just a few minutes off the lead. He went up the final climb chasing Jeff Browning as hard as he could. In the end, the two Jeffs maintained their order, with Jeff Browning as the men’s champion and Jeff Rome in second place, a huge step up from his original goal.

Jeff Rome takes second at the 2018 Hardrock 100 in a finish sprint. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Troy Howard (pre-race interview) is slowly filling out all the finishing positions at the front of Hardrock. He came into this year’s race with two prior second-place finishes and a fifth, too. In a cursory way, Howard’s and Rome’s early races went similarly with Howard also occupying space in the back half of the men’s top 10 before moving forward in the rankings as the race went on. Grouse Gulch, the mile 58 aid station, seemed to serve as a hinge point between the first half of Howard’s race and its second half. There, he arrived in sixth place, but transitioned in and out of the aid station faster than a whole bunch of people, leaving in third. From there until after mile 72, Howard held that spot, though after that he was passed by Jeff Rome and was running in fourth place. After Thévenard’s disqualification, he moved up into and stayed in podium position until the finish. Another Hardrock paced hardrock solid from start to finish for Howard.

Benjamin Bucklin and Jesse Haynes took fourth and fifth, respectively.

Notable among the rest of the men’s field, Blake Wood earned his 22nd finish, and Kirk Apt took home number 24.

Troy Howard (left) rolling into Grouse Gulch, mile 58, at dusk on Friday night in the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

2018 Hardrock 100 Men’s Results

  1. Jeff Browning (Patagonia/Altra) — 26:20:21 (pre– and post-race interviews)
  2. Jeff Rome — 26:34:33 (post-race interview)
  3. Troy Howard — 27:09:39 (pre- and post-race interviews)
  4. Benjamin Bucklin — 27:41:48
  5. Jesse Haynes (Altra) — 28:34:15
  6. Jeason Murphy — 28:41:50
  7. Ted Mahon — 29:26:51
  8. Michael Hewitt — 30:08:26
  9. Mick Jurynec — 30:10:37
  10. Zach Hermsen — 30:10:37

Full results.

2018 Hardrock 100 Women’s Race

Let’s tell it how it is: this race was the Sabrina Stanley (pre- and post-race interviews) show from start to finish. Stanley went immediately to the front of the women’s race, crossing Mineral Creek at mile 2 ahead of the other women. From here to about mile 28, Stanley ran just a couple minutes in front, such that the ladies caught sight of each other from time to time. Stanley said after that the race that catching sight of another woman behind her at the Chapman Gulch aid station, mile 18, encouraged her to put a strong effort on the climb out of the gulch. From Telluride, mile 28, to Ouray, mile 44, Stanley more than doubled her lead and arrived with an almost-half-hour gap. However, though she always remained handily in front of the women’s field, the gap between she and second place shrunk to 13 minutes again at Grouse Gulch, mile 58. But then the rest was really history, as at every location from which we reported from there to the finish, Stanley increased her gap on second place and her win was by 55 minutes. Immediately at the finish and resoundingly the day after too, Stanley stated she intended to use the entry into next year’s race that she earned by winning.

Sabrina Stanley 11.5 miles into her dominant win of the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Ashley Saloga and Scout Phillips

Steady as she goes, Nikki Kimball (pre- and post-race interviews) took second place in her Hardrock debut, though she and third-place Darla Askew (post-race interview) leap frogged each other a couple times as far as we observed, and who knows how many others, before their ultimate two-three finish. At mile 7, atop the first climb of the race, Askew and Kimball ran together, though Kimball would gap Askew on the long downhill to the KT aid station at mile 11.5.

Nikki Kimball looking thrilled with second place at the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

From that point until after Telluride, mile 28, Kimball ran a few minutes ahead of Askew. The pair flip-flopped again on the climb up after Telluride, with Askew arriving to the famous Kroger’s Canteen aid station, mile 33, up above 13,000 feet elevation, in second again. Askew maintained that second-place position until somewhere after Sherman aid station, mile 72. When we next saw the duo at Maggie Gulch aid station, mile 85, Kimball had put 14 minutes on Askew, and the pair would complete the journey back to the start/finish in Silverton in this order. Make that six finishes now for Askew!

Darla Askew in a high moment at Grouse Gulch, mile 58. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Japan’s Kaori Niwa (pre-race interview) took fourth and Lise Plantier rounded out the women’s top five.

Notable among the women’s race, 11 of the 14 women who started finished. Liz Bauer hit the 10-finish mark, Betsy Nye her 16th, and and Betsy Kalmeyer her 19th.

Kaori Niwa at the top of the first climb, mile 7, in the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Alex McGeorge

2018 Hardrock 100 Women’s Results

  1. Sabrina Stanley (Altra) — 30:23:36 (pre- and post-race interviews)
  2. Nikki Kimball — 32:18:35  (pre- and post-race interviews)
  3. Darla Askew — 32:52:30 (post-race interview)
  4. Kaori Niwa (Salomon) — 33:46:42 (pre-race interview)
  5. Lise Plantier — 38:57:27
  6. Betsy Nye — 42:30:44
  7. Colleen Ihnken — 42:57:38
  8. Brittany Klimowicz — 43:35:51
  9. Cindy Stonesmith — 44:18:59
  10. Betsy Kalmeyer — 47:02:40
  11. Liz Bauer — 47:46:16

Full results.

2018 Hardrock 100 Articles, Race Reports, and More

Photos and Video

Coming soon, check back.

Articles

Coming soon, check back.

Race Reports

Coming soon, check back.

Coverage Thanks

We are a big team of volunteers who worked a couple hundred hours total to bring you our Hardrock 100 coverage! Thanks so much to the members of this year’s coverage team, including Marissa Harris, Mauri Pagliacci, Kim Wrinkle, Kristin Zosel, Kurt Schilling, Ashley Saloga, Scout Phillips, Alex McGeorge, Roch Horton, Eric Senseman, Jacky Cooney, Charles Johnston, Eliza Hamm, Adam Schalit, Olivia Rissland, Adam Gerard, Vera Alves, and Steve Blackburn.

A Call for Civility from the iRunFar Editorial Team

We recognize the contentious nature of Xavier Thévenard’s confirmed rules breach and the decision by the Hardrock 100 run organization to disqualify him. Thus, we expect that comments about it will be contentious, as well. We welcome discourse on iRunFar, but we require it to be civil and in adherence with our comment policy. Thank you.

At the top of the first climb of the 2018 Hardrock 100. Photo: iRunFar/Alex McGeorge

Meghan Hicks

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

There are 119 comments

  1. Steve

    The DQ seems a bit pernickity but the rules are the rules. In this situation it doesn’t seem like the assistance would have made a material difference to the outcome but once the rot sets in with that bending of rules it becomes very hard for race organisers to stand their ground in more contentious circumstances. If there had only been a handful of minutes between Thévenard and Browning I think it would seem a much clearer decision and people probably wouldn’t turn their heads much.

    I once reported a runner to the race director in an ultra for a similar thing and nothing came of it. The runner went on to win the ladies race but pushed someone else out of the top ten, and I was thinking of that person when I reported the lead lady, as opposed to trying to ruffle feathers for the sake of it. A DQ will always seem like a high price to pay but if you started to use time penalties like triathlon it becomes very subjective about how much someone should be penalised.

    Feel sorry for Thévenard and I imagine it will sting for a while it here’s hoping he comes back and challenges for the title in a race he is clearly well equipped to win.

    1. M

      “[…] the rules are the rules. In this situation it doesn’t seem like the assistance would have made a material difference to the outcome[…]”

      To steal some lingo for the philosophers who have thought very hard about these types of things. In short, rules are categorical imperatives. The rules are enforced with no consideration to the consequences of the violation (so, whether or not X’s actions made a difference in the outcome of the race). We can consider whether or not the rules are just but we must always be consistent in enforcing the rules.

  2. Elias

    Thanks for the awesome report, as always. Regarding Thevenard, he should be old enough to know how to interprete the rules. “No aid outside aid stations” sounds pretty clear to me.

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Philip, thank you. It’s hard to articulate the level of exhaustion I feel and I can only imagine how the rest of our team also feels. One thing I’ll say, I’ve both covered and run the Hardrock 100… and running it is the easy part. ;-)

  3. Zoe

    Great coverage!
    Zach and Mick did indeed kiss the rock together.
    It had just started pouring rain as they came into the chute and I think most people were trying to seek coverage.

  4. Josh

    Excellent coverage!! And another great Hardrock to follow. Well done to all the runners and everyone else who makes this possible year-in-year-out.

    1. Will

      Sponsored athlete who takes aid where aid is not available to the rest of the field is the people’s champ??? Not sure I understand that one. Did he even finish the race under protest?

    2. AJW

      @JonBonesJones everyone entitled to their opinion but the rules are clear on this one and, to be honest, if there is one critical spot on the course, on a hot day, where extra aid would be beneficial it is exactly in the spot where Xavier took it. The two miles from Ouray to the bridge across the highway to the Bear Creek Trail is hot, exposed, technical, and just a grind. That, of course, is followed by a nearly 5000 foot climb up to Engineer. Having extra aid before that climb would make anyone’s life a bit easier. I’m sure most other runners would agree. Of course, they haven’t DQ’d Xavier for life and he has a chance to come back and make it right another year!

      1. unpopularopinion

        @AJW, there is a video of a certain runner with a certain video series on youtube, which is discussed elsewhere on twitter and this site so I will refrain from a name drop here, who can be seen chugging a beer – on video in full view of multiple volunteers and runners – at the mineral creek crossing at the end of the race. Precious water and calories. Was this runner disqualified? No. It light of recent events should their official finish from that year be revoked? If fair is fair, yes, it should be revoked. If hardrock officials are going to be getting petty then I think their pettyness should apply to everyone, right? From Xaviers personal description what he did was about innocuous and in the same spirit of what said video series runner did. I feel like Browning is somewhat a man of the hour in how he gracefully acknowledged his win – nothing but class.

        1. AJW

          @unpopularopinion Thanks for the comment. I’ve seen the Jamil video and perhaps that’s an issue to consider. That said, to take it further, as you may know, every year at Western States the streets of Auburn are filled with revelers on race day and evening. Oftentimes as runners are making their way through those streets reverlers will present runners with beers, snacks, etc within 1.3 miles of the finish. I know in my 10 years running there I availed myself if some of these. Should I be retroactively DQd? I hope not but it’s an interesting conundrum nonetheless.

          1. Nick D.

            Maybe there’s something about the issue of crew vs. spectator support. We know your crew is only there to support you, and no one else. Getting spectator support because both of you were there at the right time (or, because spectators give it to everyone, or nearly everyone) makes it seem less like a sneaky strategy than a stroke of luck. Perhaps that’s why the folks giving aid on the way in to Auburn doesn’t hit us the same as a crew vehicle meeting someone at mile 46.

            1. Poban

              hey Nick,

              I’ve seen people mention this idea in the past couple days and have to say I don’t think it holds up. help outside of an aid station from a stranger is not all that different from help from your crew- not all runners would have the chance to benefit from it.
              and while we’re on that topic – natural sources of aid (springs water, etc) are part of the course and akin to natural aid stations (available to all more or less equally), so I don’t think the comparisons to that are justified either (not that you have brought it up)

            2. Nick D.

              I think your point about everyone having access to the same opportunity is convincing. I was just trying to verbalize what others seemed to feel regarding this incident vs. others. There may also be permitting issues at play.

          2. FJK

            The question is what do you think should happen if the race leader with less than a min lead takes snacks and a sip of beer from spectators at that point? Would he be DQ’ed or not? It is clear that it is in violation of WS100 rules. If that hypothetical runner should get DQ’ed than every other runner, no matter which place they run in should be DQ’ed as well. Rules only are worth anything if they apply to everyone equally. We cannot prove that a snack and beer 1.3 mi from the finish did not help anyone finish just as we don’t know if that sip of water and ice helped Xavier.

          3. Davide Grazielli

            As for WS:

            Rule 4 of Crew Rules

            Crews must stay within a 200-yard radius of the aid station while attending to their runners. Exceptions: Crews may assist runners: 1) from bottom of Bath Road to the intersection of Foresthill Road and California Street; 2) from the Rucky Chucky far side to Green Gate; 3) from Robie Point to the finish line.

            Beers and snacks from WS parties are definitely allowed :-)

            I totally agree with AJW… Really sorry for Xavier, he was the better runner out there, hands down. But he’s a professional, he should know better about where and when crewing is allowed. On the fly water filling is a no-go everywhere, here in good ole Europe too.

          4. Wayne

            If you did it at hardrock then yes you need a DQ against your name rules are rules. If hardrock is going to be anal then it’s always gonna be messy

          5. Ben

            AJW – you state that “the rules are clear on this one” in reference to what Xavier did. Yet you admit to not knowing the rules at your beloved Western States and assumed you actually broke them in hindsight. How is that not a double standard?

            This sums up how I feel about the majority of the views being expressed on this Xavier situation where people are commenting “rules are rules.” These statements could be reworded as “rules are rules when they apply to someone else but I should be exempt in the same or a similar situation”. At least that would be the honest way to state it.

            1. AJW

              Thanks Ben, to clarify, I certainly know the rules at WS and that one can be “crewed” from Robie to the finish (as well as on Bath Road and up to Green Gate). However, in that context, there is no mention in those rules about “outside” aid or “spectator” aid (which is what I saw in the Jamil video). To be frank, I was simply attempting to make the point that for decades there has been quite a bit of “spirit of the law” vs “letter of the law” debate in the sport and the parties on Robie Drive are just one example. There are countless others and it’s both part of the charm and challenge of this quirky (not so)little sport of ours.

            2. Ben

              So perhaps, in the ‘spirit of the law’ could we make an argument that because his crew missed him at Ouray they had good intentions of simply getting him what he needed at the road crossing two miles later? It’s such a slippery slope but either we treat all rules infractions the same or we don’t.

              I really hope anyone who is claiming ‘rules are rules’ in this particular case have never run or paced ultras and bent or stretched the ‘letter of the law’ in any way. Few things are more irritating than hypocrisy.

    3. Harrison

      I find it ironic that “jonbonesjones” is commenting in favor of bending of the rules. I’m sure the name has been written in jest. I still don’t understand how it’s controversial to DQ someone for receiving after a two mile climb out of Ouray. If his crew missed him at Ouray, he can refuel his water/ice at Ouray, or wait for his crew. This wasn’t right outside the aid station… it’s two miles up… at a trailhead that was closed for all public access except for the runners.

  5. Sam Bosworth

    I’m happy to say that cured me of Hardrock fever. To dq an athlete from an event billed as a run (not a race) for taking a substance we wouldn’t deny to a death row inmate on the way to the electric chair. Do this pacers (whom never mule noo)must be eliminated and drug tests implemented. Ill just go walk around the San Juana where I don’t have to be in we inquisitioned by over zealous aid station enforcers. Have a nice quaint little “run” in the San Juana next year!

  6. 18342772

    With the caveat that the RD’s were well within their rights to DQ Xavier, it all adds up to a relatively uncompelling event for “spectators”. Which is fine, since Hardrock has never cared about that, or been about putting together the best field possible. But any famous race that essentially–post DQ–has an elite field of one person, and that person wins… well, it’s hard not to lament the lack of Kilian, Foote, Grant, Schlarb, etc.

    Having said that, I hope Browning gets credit for the race he ran, and this isn’t another Walmsley/Miller situation.

  7. Matt

    Of course I’m waiting on an official report, but the possibility of an initial denial stood out to me as the greater integrity infraction. Could be the reporter’s own interpretation or bias. However this reads as if Xavier denied the violation when confronted, had time to thinking about it and likely discuss with his pacer, then readjust his version of events in the hopes of a slap on the wrist.

    From the Durango Herald:

    “Garland found French interpreters to interview Thévenard and his crew. They didn’t want to make a decision without getting their side of the story. Initially, Thévenard denied accepting aid when interviewed at the Sherman aid station at 71.9 miles into the race. Later, the crew called Garland and explained that they were confused by the questions and wanted to talk more. After speaking with the crew again, and partnered with the evidence, it was clear Thévenard had accepted aid not permitted by the rules. Garland departed to Cunningham aid station to meet with Thévenard once more, again with a translator. Thévenard began talking and admitted the infraction. He hoped for a time penalty and was visibly upset by the disqualification.”

  8. Sabrina Little

    So impressed with the super women in this field! Congrats, Sabrina, Nikki, Darla, and all the others! You guys were so amazing to follow! And the men rocked, too!!

  9. Billy

    It’s unfortunate, but there was no choice but to disqualify him. If it was an inadvertent slip up versus an obvious infraction it would be different. If you let a runner get away with something so obviously, and clearly against the rules at basically every ultra, then you open the door much more egregious disregard for the rules. Unfortunately as our sport becomes more mainstream, and money (prize, sponsorships, etc.) gets involved, strict adherence to the rules becomes paramount.

    1. Poban

      Super level-headed response, Billy! This truly is an unfortunate situation – Xavier would have likely crushed without the extra aid. However… it was obviously extra aid in violation of the rules. It obviously was not a sneaky attempt at cheating and more along the lines of a misunderstanding, but his crew meeting him at that point and giving water/ice is not an insignificant thing.

  10. Wayne

    Congrats to Jeff a steller sensible run and a class human too boot.

    I think when the dust settles we will look back and feel we’ve lost a little of what makes an ultra like hardrock so special, the comeraderie, friendliness and the fact that it’s billed as a run not a race. Dq’ING a runner for a few ice cubes is really petty.

    I know rules are rules but some common sense would have been better served by Mr Garland as he could of warned xavier. To be consistent he now has to retrospective DQ Jamil because rules are rules.

    Hardrock just lost a little bit of its soul this weekend

  11. slowgoat

    The “rules” are actually guidelines. and include other gems like “no whining” “enjoy yourself” and “you must kiss the hardrock”.
    I’m sure many runners broke these rules too.

  12. 2020

    The race has 11 rules. The first rule is “no whining”, the 8th rule is “Enjoy yourself!!!!!” ( yes, with 5 exclamation marks). How serious is a runner suppose to take the rules? How many runners enjoyed themselves for the entire race course? How many runners who were not enjoying themselves were DQ’d?
    It also clearly specifies that if someone receives aid outside an aid station then they “may” be disqualified. So the race director could have chosen to not disqualify him for receiving “aid” outside of an aid station. this was a judgement call. I wonder if maybe he didn’t look like he was enjoying himself enough, he didn’t have a big enough smile on the course, and that was the real reason for being disqualified.

  13. Alex

    To deviate from the (predictable) non-stop DQ debate, how about

    THREE CHEERS FOR BRYON POWELL

    For his solid 18th place finish at Hardrock? Hats off to you, Bryon, for being able to prep successfully for a race of this caliber while still bringing us our favorite ultrarunning web site!

    1. Todd

      Agreed! It is very cool to see Bryon do well. I loved his post-race interview because it provided a glimpse into his life and who he is.

      Thank you to Meghan for leading the team that provided great coverage of Hardrock.

      Maybe we should all calm down a little about the DQ debate. Instead of worrying so much about the DQ, what would happen if we all took time to shower Meghan and Bryon with our gratitude for all that they do for the ultrarunning community?

  14. Brett

    Respectfully, I feel those people complaining about someone grabbing a beer or something here or there are splitting hairs and playing a little bit of a deflection game.

    We’re talking about a guy leading a race getting aid miles outside of an aid station out of their car. And this came to light only because someone saw it and asked a question. I’m not trying to impugn the integrity or intentions of XT and his crew, but if they did it once, how do we not know it didn’t happen a bunch of times without being seen. That is one reason of many why it matters to enforce the lead.

    Outside of DQing XT, I’m not sure what else they could have done to penalize him. An hour penalty? I mean, that stuff gets real hairy, because how do you then communicate back to the other racers what time they need to shoot for to ‘win’ or what. Its a mess. When Karl Meltzer couldn’t get Kilian to stop breaking the rules, they let him keep the win IIRC but no prize money. Hardrock has no prize money, so I can’t think of any other option, other than maybe to put him as an official finisher at 48:00:00. But that seems to me arbitrary and pointless, as it also stains the famous last finisher race to 48 hours.

    Its just simply a shame that he put Hardrock in an unenviable situation to have to do something about it. And just like with Kilian, its a real shame that such a talented runner and great person sacrificed their race over something that was probably unnecessary.

    1. Jared Friesen

      I think the Speedgoat issue was a little different. Karl admitted he didn’t have it clearly written in the rules that you could not cut the course, but figured he didn’t need to since that was an American thing (to stay on the trail). Killian didn’t get the win, CR, or prize money but the IIRC let him keep the points he earned. That protected the runners points and Karls race.

      1. zzzz

        I don’t see it as much different than stopping and taking a break for 3-4minutes. His girlfriend was there, stop to chat for a bit. Do you really think that he needed that or his race would have started going downhill? Be realistic.

    2. Aaron Sorensen

      Good points.
      If he knew the rules and ran past the car giving them high 5’s and kept going, it would have never been an issue.
      You stop for 3-4 minutes to receive aid, big issue.

  15. Sam

    I wonder how many ultra-runners have accepted aid, either from crews, spectators, or bystanders, outside of designated aid stations? If rules are rules, then all these people should DQ themselves, if those “helpful” witnesses don’t happen to be there to report these major rule infractions (such as receiving a bit of water) to race directors.

    What if a runner isn’t feeling well, and another runner comes along and offers assistance (bit of water, ginger chew for an upset stomach), and then the runner recovers and finishes the race, should the runner be DQ’d by race management? Should race directors start questioning all finishers if they accepted aid, or are they relying on the tips from helpful bystanders to discover possible rules violations.

    1. Jared Friesen

      I feel it is different to grab a beer from a spectator at a race and unintentianally meet a crew vehicle. Something to remember too is that this is more than just water helping the runner or the aid not making a difference in the race, let’s face it, that didn’t. However, rules are there for safety of runners and crew and also protection of the race permits and property. Many races cut through private roads via permission so they are trying to keep traffic away intentionally. I guess I see this was more than just some ice and a few sips of water.

      1. Sam

        That may be so, we’ll have to wait for the official report and how much detail they choose to provide. I’m not familiar with those issues at Hardrock, but the races that have concerns about private roads, permitting issues, etc., are very strict regarding those issues. If it was an issue relating to future permits, private property, etc., I think the race admin at Hardrock would have said so directly. I haven’t read anything that hints at this being the case here.

  16. JJ

    I kept hearing “the rules are the rules,” and then the JamJam video pops up, and now it’s, “c’mon, we all take a swig of beer here and there….” I don’t think either should be DQ’d, but for the integrity of the rules/guidelines, they should be treated exactly the same. Since they can’t un-DQ Xavier, seems JamJam should be DQ’d. The rules are the rules after all.

  17. SJB

    Few comments on DQ:

    1. While folks are referencing the summary of 10 rules, the first line of the intro to the Runners Manual states clearly that “All runners are expected to have read the Runners Manual in its entirety.” As a participant in the race, I would expect Xavier to do the same thing. Being a foreigner who may not be experienced in American races which have their own unique standards and expectations (such as not cutting switchbacks, as Killian learned at 2012 Speedgoat), it was particularly critical that he be versed in the rules of the run.

    2. The Runners Manual also states that he is responsible for the actions of his crew, so he needed to not only know the rules but ensure that his crew did as well. The rules are clear that aid is to be giving within 400 yards of the aid station and a google search would have converted this to the 367 meters to assist them in applying it here.

    3. Those who have crew are expected to have planned out the expected times that they would hope to be at each aid station. The crew can then research how much time it will take to get to the aid station with time to spare in getting things ready for their runner. Besides google maps, there are plenty of people that can be consulted so adequate time is allowed. It appears that Xavier’s crew didn’t allow adequate time for traveling between Telluride and Ouray — minimum of 1 hour with no traffic issues. They are not given a pass and allowed to provide aid further down the course because of their miscalculation. The fact that they are foreigners that are not familiar with the area, isn’t an excuse. The resources for doing their job effectively are available to them.

    4. The spirit of Hardrock is that when unexpected things happen (such as your crew missing at the aid station) is that runners adapt and take care of themselves. Each aid station is well-stocked with everything that a runner needs, with able and eager volunteers who will assist the runner. When crew is not there to help, runners are able to get whatever is required for getting to the next aid station. If Xavier didn’t avail himself of the water necessary for the next segment (which is known for being hot and exposed), then he should have dealt with whatever consequences come from his choices. He shouldn’t be given a “pass” for neglecting his hydration at the aid station and taking additional water 2 miles up the road. That not only violates the rules, but also the spirit of the run which rewards those that are smart in their preparation, being able to take care of themselves while out there, able to avoid unnecessary risks (such as dehydration & heat stroke) and adaptability when things don’t go as planned.

    1. TJL

      Well said, SJB.

      Hardrock has some of the best aid stations (many food/fueling options) and volunteers (personal attention to each runner), period – I think even more so than storied treatment that runners get at WS aid stations.

      As it has been mentioned above, how many runners have received a gel, salt tab, etc., from a pacer during a race? I’d venture out and say the majority of runners who have run enough races. Also, have you ever had your pacer hold your poles, pack, water bottles, or other gear even for a few minutes while you stopped to urinate or tie your shoe? Again, I’d say yes. Does this violate the rules of most races? Yes. But I really don’t think that these are grounds for a disqualification.

      A bit off topic, but didn’t Geoff Roes exchange water bottles outside of the designated crew area during his CR run at WS? Wasn’t it captured on the Unbreakable film?

      1. John

        I agree that part of ultra running is being able to adapt to the environment and circumstances that happen. I know for a fact that Nikki Kimball’s crew did not make it to Sherman like they were supposed to. Her crew did not go meet her at an unsanctioned location to provide her with the aid she needed. Nikki made it work and her pacer had to run farther than he expected. Did it affect her race – maybe, but she and her crew followed the rules and she had an amazing Hardrock.

  18. Need more competition

    Sad that for all the hype that this race receives, it was one of the least competitive ultras I’ve ever seen. Just no competition whatsoever. Still excited Browning was able to pull out the win, but I wish there were more competitors in this race, as it would make it much more fun to follow.

    1. AJW

      From the beginning Hardrock has never considered itself a race and the organizers are clear that a competitive field is not necessarily a priority of theirs when making decisions about the run.

      1. 18342772

        I understand that; but runs don’t have winners, and they rarely have sponsors, a lottery/waitlist, and rather fawning (albeit niche) media coverage. Those in charge can call it whatever they want, of course, but I would suggest semantics only have so much power, and at a certain point we need to consider what it is, not just what it’s called. So: It’s a race. By any reasonable definition of the word, it’s a race. If they want it to be a friendly neighborhood fatass, cool. Ditch the clock, the sponsors, the entry fee, etc.

        1. Pat

          It can still have the timing and other aspects of competition, but have its own randomized entry system. Thousands of runners keep applying every year knowing that is how the event is organized, and plus – a lottery system means that a competitive field isn’t guaranteed.

      2. Nick

        It’s called a run because it’s run, it’s not a ride or whatever. Not because it’s not a race. WS100 is also called a run as are most of the early 100s. This silly semantics debate has to stop. HR100 has always been a race.

  19. MTC

    Thanks iRF for the excellent coverage. However, I’d make two arguments for not providing live coverage at Hardrock 2019:

    1. iRF has been a leader in promoting equal coverage for women in trail / ultrarunning. HR’s unique lottery system creates a strong bias towards maintaining women’s participation levels as they were a decade ago. This year iRF (very reasonably) stopped covering the women’s race after F4 because there was a >6 hour gap between the finishes of F4 and F5.
    2. While always appreciated, live coverage is most interesting when covering competitive fields. HR seems ambivalent about creating one, even pretending to be a run rather than a race (although disqualifying two people for “rules are rules” violations makes that increasingly untenable). Given limited resources, iRF might focus on other races with stronger fields.

    There is no reason that Hardrock has to operate the same way as Western States or UTMB if its leadership doesn’t want to. But similarly, there is no obligation to cover or follow it in the same way.

    1. zzzz

      Yes, I did a quick check earlier, and I think I counted 13 women among the 140 entrants, less than 10% of the field. I wonder how many women applied?

  20. Chad

    Could we please use some common sense here! Someone taking obvious aid outside of an aid station is not the same as a good-natured beer from a bystander. You could actually argue that beer would be physically detrimental to the runner. Perhaps it would give some type of physiological boost, but is that any different than people simply lining the course and cheering?

    It appears that Xavier was given outside aid in an attempt to gain an advantage over the field, the same argument could not be made for the beer.

    1. NoLogicHere

      Reason, logic, and common sense??? Good luck getting most folks to use those.

      Does anyone know if Xavier finished the race? If so, what was his time? There seems to be conflicting reports.

    2. FJK

      According to the Hardrock statement they said “we do not feel it was made with malicious intent”, so I doubt they found he purposefully attempted to gain an advantage. We’ll see once they release the report.

      Considering the beer, in terms of the rules it is the same. That it could be detrimental is immaterial as the same is true for some food options available at aid stations. Your stomach might not be able to handle what’s on offer, doesn’t mean it’s ok to take it somewhere else on the course. Camille Herron certainly thinks it helped her at Comrades. Now I don’t think that runner’s should now be DQ’ed retroactively. However I think it’s a good opportunity to look at the current rules and perhaps change/clarify them.

    3. zzzz

      Good natured is the key now? I’m sure Xavier was happy to see his girlfriend for a few minutes, and they were friendly too. The comment from the race said that they didn’t see it as a malicious thing, like your “attempting to gain an advantage over the field”.

  21. Need more competition

    Agreed.. We are literally on a website about Ultra races that spent countless resources/hours covering this exact race. It’s a race.

    If it wasn’t a race – why are media outlets covering it?

    It’s kind of a weird event.. gets tons of coverage, but there is limited to no competition in the field besides a handful of runners. I would love to see Hard Rock modify their rules to bring in more talent and let the old guard of 5-10x finishers move on so that the new folks can experience this event.

    1. Brett

      Hardrock does not ask for the media coverage or publicity. They should put on their event as they desire. Folks who want a them to change should go create their own event.

      1. 18342772

        Eh. They and their sponsors issue press releases regarding the event every year, which is the definition of asking for media coverage and publicity. Which is fine! Like you said, they can/should do what they want. But let’s not be naive.

  22. kilian

    I’m feeling sad for Xavier, he was doing a great race and he did a mistake, maybe the DQ was to hard, but anyway that is the RD decision and the rules permit that. At Bear Creek he could taken easy the uphill and lose maybe 30′ to prevent heat and still win the race easly, probably he didn’t do-it in propose but in Europe it is a problem with out-zone help. In many races both in skimo and trail running you can see bottles placed by coaches or crew in the mountains, or the crew there to give something. And many times even after saying to organisations is not any measures, even sometimes it is show in films. Knowing a little Xavier I don’t think he and his crew are the ones who do that but anyway it is a problem, mostly in shorter races.

  23. Greg

    Section 2.2 of the Hardrock handbook specifies that “runners must follow the specified route.” Part 2 of the Runner’s Handbook indicates that “runner’s must be able to “navigate the course with or without course markers.” First place finisher, Jeff Browning, failed to abide by these rules. He indicated in video published on irunfar that he back tracked on the course for multiple miles. This should lead to his disqualification.

    Rule #1 of the Hardrock Rules Executive Summary indicates that there should be, “No Whining.” If Meghan Hicks live updates are to be trusted, she witnessed and published multiple reports of runners who whined along the course, indicating that the were having rough days or even that they wanted to be done. Hopefully she will be interviewed by the rules committee and the whiners will be disqualified for violating the event’s number one rule.

    The rules are the rules. If you let these folks get away with these things, you’ve created a slippery slope!

    But wait, nobody should be DQ’d, including Xavier, as the rules don’t indicate anywhere what the penalties are for violation of any of the published rules.

    And, regarding the spirit of these rules, having a few ice cubes and an extra cup of water did not provide a benefit to Xavier that was substantial enough to merit any form of penalty. Without that extra aid, he’d still have won the race by two+ hours. What would have been a reasonable step would have been to remind/warn his crew that aid must be provided with 400m of aid stations.

    #HardrockFailed

    1. Nick D.

      It sounds like Jeff tried to find the course and traced his steps back, at which point he saw Troy. So he didn’t cut the course or take the wrong path (like someone else did, and they were the 2nd DQ).

      The course manual on page 4 explicitly states you can be disqualified for receiving aid outside of designated aid stations from your crew.

      As soon as you have to argue about how much or how little an infraction impacted his performance, you’ve already gone into hypotheticals. That diminishes the integrity of the race and the trust of other competitors. The rule exists for a reason, and it has a penalty specified. It’s one of the few rules that has such a penalty specified – Xavier should have heeded it, and breaking it meant he was undoubtedly going to face some consequences. I can’t imagine that not admitting to it at the first opportunity reflected well.

        1. Nick D.

          I’ll be honest, I don’t really care if someone in the past also received extra aid somewhere on a course. I’m not making an argument that race management has been infallible in the past, or that they’ve had to refine their decision making as the race has become more high-profile. I’m merely stating that I think they made the right decision now.

          I’m imagining how it would have looked if the eventual winner of a race received aid from their crew in the middle of a section.

          1. zzzz

            Then everyone that took candy from that woman mentioned by Xavier during the current race should self-disqualify themselves. As well as runners that got help from other runners on the course, or any other spectator received aid. It’s human nature to offer and accept, so I’m 100 positive that there are many more cases in the current year race. You can’t watch everyone, so it should be on the honor system.

            1. Adam St.Pierre

              I think the difference is that that woman (Megan Finnessy) was on course offering Hershey Kisses to everyone. Similarly, streams along the course are available to everyone as are the races official Aid Stations. Xavier’s crew was not at that pull off when I got there a few hours after XT, though I would have loved to have had some cold water and ice at that particular spot on the course! Therein lies the infraction.

      1. Greg

        The rules say “may be disqualified” and “possibly” disqualified. Not only are those non-imperatives, their past practice indicates that they don’t have a “rule” about this matter. There’s no standard described regarding what the threshold is for disqualification. If it were that Xavier received unfair advantage, he wouldn’t have been DQ’d.

        1. Nick D.

          “The rules say “may be disqualified” ”

          That sounds like something you should not do, unless you want to risk being disqualified.

          “There’s no standard described regarding what the threshold is for disqualification.”

          But it is made known that you risk disqualification, hence the organizers feel it is worth upholding and is something you definitely should not do.

          I’m sympathetic to the fact that in practice, almost nothing is clear cut. Having seen the photo of the incident and hearing that Xavier may have lied to race management, though, I cannot imagine race management letting this go without a disqualification.

          I could be convinced that I’m wrong if you can argue why disqualification is not justified for someone who gets crewed out of a car, by their crew, part of the way up a hot, steep climb that necessitates taking a lot of water, which is heavy to carry, when the rules explicitly state you can be disqualified for doing exactly that.

  24. EH

    I recall in 2012 or 2013 a runner was off course, got into a moving vehicle, and was taken backwards to near where they left the course. That would seem to violate the rule on no aid farther than 400yards from an aid station. I don’t recall any penalties. Anyone else remember this?

    1. AJW

      Yep, Jonathan Basham, Barkley Finisher, in fact. Ended up way lost down a drainage about four miles away from Cunningham. Got a ride back to close where he went off course, hiked the rest of the way back to that point and then went on to finish the race (albeit about 7 hours slower than he intended and after covering close to 115 miles)

      1. Sam

        Wow – if this is true, then it is a clear violation of rules acceptable at pretty much any ultra. How was this allowed and the runner not DQ’d. It is examples like these that make people so angry about the DQ of Xavier.

      2. unpopularopinion

        Insane. A ride in car doesn’t get a DQ but a swig of water does? I’ll bet if Basham was the race leader he would have been DQ’d. I’ll bet if Xavier was in 15th place no one would care. Race directors at hardrock are very unsporting, it would seem.

    2. Meghan Hicks

      I would honestly reserve judgement on this story, as not all the facts are here in the comments. While I was at that race and at the aid station when Basham arrived from the wrong direction, it’s been too long for me to feel confident in my memory of all that happened as a second-hand observer so I won’t speak to them and instead we can wait for someone who was first hand a part of that story to share. However, I will say there are definitely more details that aren’t yet here in the comments.

      1. EH

        I have a fuzzy recollection that Dale mentioned the car ride in a humorous manner at the awards ceremony, in typical Dale manner. I think the humor was based on the significant bonus miles covered on foot. I don’t recall anyone upset with the decision, which again didn’t involve any penalty to the best of my memory.

  25. Pete

    I don’t see the presence of ASICS at many USA ultra’s or trail events and am wondering if they perhaps supplied an inexperienced crew to support Xavier. Contrast this to the other Big Name shoe companies that always bring out their experienced sponsored USA athletes to crew and pace whenever one of their elite athletes from overseas compete here.

      1. Guy

        Wait, Xavier’s pacer has multiple girlfriends and they were all asked to help crew? I’m surprised there wasn’t even more drama out there. The plot thickens.

  26. Steve

    Thanks for the great race coverage IRF! Congrats to all the runners this year! I’ve been racing for a few years now, started later in life, and have never taken aid outside of and aid station with no plans on doing so in the future. I have shuffled into a few AS dry as a bone like many other runners. When I have a crew I always tell them if they have any questions on where to set up with the space available to check in with AS attendants and get permission. The incident with XT happened at potentially the warmest spot on the course in this direction with lots of miles left, a potential win and CR on the line. He is a professional runner with presumable an experienced crew, this should not have happened.

  27. Randy

    Congratulations to all of this years runners! So cool to see Mothers and Fathers killing it in such a relentless course. Jeff and Sabrina deserve some major kudos here!

  28. Paul

    Does anybody know if the car trunk was opened before Xavier arrived or after? I think if it was opened before that shows some premeditation.

    Also, we are relying on Xavier’s word regarding what he received. Given that he denied the encounter before being presented with evidence, his word is not reliable. We don’t know what aid he received from the car.

    We also don’t know what other evidence the race officials may have of him receiving unauthorized aid elsewhere on the course. He was caught here. Who knows where else he received aid and was not caught. If someone has a lot of time they could analyze his track on Hardrocklive and look for suspicious pauses near roads. That by itself wouldn’t be enough evidence, but could go to establishing a pattern.

    Finally, well done on the coverage and congrats to Bryon on finishing.

    1. zzzz

      Car hatch open? That’s probably what anyone would do hanging outside at a car while waiting for something, so that showing premeditation is ridiculous.

  29. Trevor

    Gonna be a bit of a lawyer here: unless there’s some clause stating it, there’s not necessarily any need to ‘retroactively’ enforce anything for consistency’s sake. You could argue the opposite and say there’s no explicit statute of limitations for reporting infractions (“Did a runner in 2016 drink a beer???? DQ him!!!”). Jamil took an off the cuff moment with a beer– XT himself and his team should’ve known better than to meet somewhere not in an aid station. Circumstantially, these are WORLDS apart.

    In the world of ultras, you don’t meet your crew outside of an aid station. This is well known and there’s no fudging it. Doesn’t seem that hard to figure out. I feel for Dale having to make a tough decision. XT shouldn’t have put the race (or ‘run’) in such an awkward position.

    XT should run again and show everybody he can do it that’d be all I have left to say.

    1. zzzz

      In the world of ultras? I don’t really run ultras, but the trail and mountain races that I’ve done don’t have rules against receiving aid from spectators. Informal aid from spectators is very, very common and not against the rules in just about every race I’ve ever done.

      1. Wayne

        I saw Jamil [Coury], and I was like… I just need to do whatever he tells me to do.
        Russ: Yeah, I showed him the pictures, and he was like, ‘Yeah, you need to go tell Dale right now.’ …

        ,Talk about a hypocrite.

  30. Rob

    Hardrock sucks. The post race awards ceremony is basically the same people congratulating themselves for running the same race every year. 22 and 24 finishes? There really is no doubt as to why no one else stands a chance at getting in.

    If it is just a “run” why so uptight about the rules with xt? Were there creeks and lakes to drink from? Would the uptight board care if runners drank from those?

    1. Eric

      If you dismantled the veteran lottery and gave its 33 spots to the never lottery your odds of getting in with a single ticket would go from 0.4% to 0.7%. A large part of what makes Hardrock special is the family reunion feel you get from a small field full of plenty of returning veterans.

      If giving more people the chance to run is the goal why not let in 300 runners and cap everyone to three lifetime finishes? Because then Hardrock isn’t Hardrock, right? While nobody is stopping you from running the course (it’s all on your public lands!), basic math and supply & demand means it’ll continue to be a tough start line to get to.

      And re: creeks and lakes: those are course features available to every runner on the course. You can disagree with the severity of the punishment but you have to see the difference between what Xavier did and taking a sip from a creek, right?

      1. Marissa

        Agreed re: Hardrock spirit and Hardrock being Hardrock. As a four year volunteer for iRunFar race coverage at #HR100 the spirit and people involved in the run (from runners to volunteers to spectators) draw me in.

        I think the veterans, everyone else, and nevers are part of which makes the run in the San Juan’s unique. Sitting on a porch looking at Kendall Moutain with a passel of people talking about the run is unique. I would like to see a significant increase in women but that’s another topic. Oh, and the ginormous mountains are truly “wild and tough.”

        I doubt I will ever kiss the rock during the run but the great thing about the land is that it is truly open to everyone. I’ve hiked/run parts of the course and it’s stunning (except when the electrical storms come in!)

        Finally, the work by iRunFar even in an electronic/everything on social media age is truly impressive. Meghan Hicks spent countless hours prepping everyone for reporting and then managed to follow the contour of the run story as it developed despite limited service. To get information out requires many volunteers with 30+ hours of no sleep in remote sections of the course. I’ve never felt more apart of a run than to report on it.

    2. Zak

      If your pacer is dating the creek or lake and then the creek or lake gets in a car and drives out to meet you on the course between aid stations, it would be the same thing.
      Oh yeah, that’s not the same thing as your crew meeting you in a car.

    1. Zak

      If someone doesn’t like the published rules, don’t run the race.
      Instead you break the rules and then complain about the rules??

  31. Nick

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned yet is how film-makers (Jamil Coury, Billy Yang, Myke Hermsmeyer, etc.) and gangs of buddies (Coconino Cowboys anyone?) routinely provide tremendous advantage over lonelier others between aid stations, whether at Hardrock, Western States or other races. Walmsley took a wrong turn at WS 2016 when he was on his own, but he was prevented by Dylan Bowman from doing it again at Lake Sonoma this year. Some films show him running with what looks like five pacers at a time. Yang, Coury et al. provide encouragement, a mental boost, and who knows what to famous US runners at major races all the time.

    Seems like our sport is up for a major overhaul.

  32. Quigley

    According to the Durango’s Herald, “After admitting to the violation, Thévenard was given the option to finish the race in Silverton as an unofficial finisher, but he opted to drop out.” Although I am still on the fence as to whether or not he should have received a DQ, I think he should have finished the race. Also, I want to thank Tony Russ for taking the photos and reporting Xavier. Deadspin posted one of his shots online yesterday and his thoughts: “An interesting hard rock for me personally to say the least… I happened to be the only person around to witness the leader of the race receiving illegal aid outside the aid station. The whole situation felt really wrong and was completely outside the rules. After much thought and wondering if I could be a snitch, I decided the integrity of THIS race was not ok to diminish… I think the race made the right decision to DQ.” Reading Tony’s comments again now, I am convinced the DQ decision was likely corrrect.

    1. zzzz

      He made the right choice not to finish. If they are DQing him, what’s the point? Upstage who they will pronounce as the real winner. It doesn’t make sense.

  33. Linda

    Yes, Mick and Zach did finish together. They had been running back and forth for a number of miles and decided at the end to finish together. By the way, Zach’s last name is Hermsen. Great race and excellent coverage-can’t wait for next year!

  34. Speedgoat

    I think it’s important to have rules, and if everyone who violated “something” in the rules book at any race, the race % of people who are DQ’d would go WAY UP. People use pacers, and that’s fine, but pacers pick up one gel pack….then they are a mule. One sip of water….they break a rule. One ride in a car, they break a rule.

    I remember a few years back, a particular runner was coming into Grouse Gulch Aid station and it was getting dark, his “crew” drove up the road, brought him a headlamp. Noone cared, but it was clearly a rules violation. Hardrock, just needs to make it more clear about aid from crew….or….just do it the right way like many races in Europe, No crew, runners only, then rules would be tough to break. It’s the crew that breaks the rules, not the runner. European is an older world, the US is the “new world” where everyone wants assistance. Dump pacers and crew and rules are hard to break….just my two cents, worth about a penny. And yes, I’ve used “crew” too. :-)

      1. MJS

        if you want aid every two miles run a road race … Follow the rules and quit whining. It isn’t supposed to be easy. Crews are the greatest source of infraction and creating an advantage. If they weren’t, why are they there? Either embrace the rules (because the RD, USFS, BLM, etc. probably has a reason for the rule) or find another race (like a road race). It has nothing to do with country of origin it has everything to do with equal playing field, respect for competition and celebrating the fact you have a trail to run on ….

    1. Great point

      Great point Karl – it seems like it’s clear that there are two separate sets of rules in play here at Hard Rock.

      The insular Colorado running community or those with the “in crowd” have a different standard than “outsiders”. Just super lame.

  35. GMack

    Pacing is primarily a U.S. practice and a relic from when running an ultra seemed to be the fringe of human ability. It’s time to ban it from the sport. If you meet the high qualification standards of a race like Hardrock, you can certainly manage without a pacer.

    In 40+ ultras, I’ve seen muling at every event. It seems expected. I used a pacer once and I can see how the arrangement is all about giving a competitive advantage to the runner, not safety. If it were safety, every runner would be required to have a pacer.

    As far as Xavier’s DQ, his offense was being photographed getting aid while in the lead. Sounds cynical, but compared to all the muling and other “commandment” violations that regularly occur, he was certainly singled out. The picture and witnesses put the RD in a tough spot – damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    The solution to minor violations like his is established time penalties. Get your time penalty for being stupid or unprepared. I imagine Hardrock will mature with respect to having a more regimented runner’s manual and gone is the race’s c’est la vie, thanks to one careless frenchman.

    1. Josh

      Take the pacers and crew from the elite, fine. Run Rabbit Run does something along these lines. But leave them for the rest of us mid & back-of-the-packers for whom it enhances the experience and competitive advantage is irrelevant. This “practice” allows the pacer and crew to be involved in an experience that they may not otherwise ever have the chance or ability to accomplish by themselves. Participating in somebody else’s incredibly audacious and sometimes even life-changing experience is a privilege and an honor, and bottom line – It’s fun, which is the very reason the vast majority of us do this at all.

      “It’s time to ban it from the sport” is an elitist and myopic perception of the practice. Because somebody else doesn’t need or want them, the rest of us shouldn’t either? Get over yourself.

      1. speedgoat

        Josh, I agree with you. I love the idea of the rabbits and hares at Steamboat, and the staggered start is cool like that too. I helped establish RRR many moons ago, and the whole idea of the rabbits and hares was to allow pacers for those that want them, but if you run for the big cash….you gotta do it yourself.

        1. Stephen

          I agree with this, and fwiw Kilian also said he would support eliminating crew. Don’t remember if he said anything specific about pacers.

  36. Emerson Thoreau

    One solution is to to have no winner on the men’s side this year. This would recognize that Browning was truly second place and put the XT controversy in its place in HR history; it is also consistent with the “race” being called a “run.” Either way, this is a shame all the way around as Dale is a volunteer doing his best and XT paid a heavy price for his mistake– with cogent arguments on both sides of the issue.

Post Your Thoughts