2021 Hardrock 100 Results: A Course Record for D’haene and a Near Miss for Stanley

Kailas logoIn a historic year at the Hardrock 100, the top-three men all broke the previous counterclockwise course record of 23:28:00 set by Kilian Jornet in 2015. François D’haene (pre-race and post-race interviews), Dylan Bowman (pre-race and post-race interviews), and Ryan Smith filled the podium, all finishing before sunrise on a beautiful Saturday morning, with D’haene exactly one hour ahead of Bowman. What’s more, D’haene’s time was also the fastest time ever run on the course, bettering even Jornet’s clockwise record of 22:41:33 run in 2014.

Returning champion Sabrina Stanley (pre-race and post-race interviews) missed Diana Finkel’s women’s course record of 27:18:24 set in 2009 by less than four minutes, running a strong and gutsy race throughout in her trademark style. Courtney Dauwalter led for much of the race until she was forced to drop out of her Hardrock debut due to stomach issues, leaving an open path for Stanley to the finish. Darcy Piceu (pre-race  and post-race interviews) and Meghan Hicks (post-race interview) rounded out the women’s podium.

More broadly, after a two-year absence, runners were raring to go for 26th Hardrock, held on July 16 through 18, 2021 in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The race had been canceled in 2019 because of snow and avalanche danger, and in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. That meant that all of the runners making their Hardrock debuts were originally drawn to run the 2019 race and, then, waited more than two-and-a-half years to push themselves physically and mentally in one of the hardest mountain races in the world.

Runners making their way up the first climb less than one mile in.

Squirrel's Nut Butter - logoRunners making their way up the first climb less than one mile in with Courtney Dauwalter leading this pack. Photo: iRunFar/Olivia RisslandWith a 48-hour limit, many runners are pushed to their breaking point, whether due to the 33,000 feet in cumulative elevation gain, the punishing average of 11,000 feet in altitude, or the inability to keep food down after a full day (or two) of hard work. The 100.5-mile loop takes runners through Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and across the mountains and valleys in-between: even attempting to complete the course is an accomplishment in and of itself.

The 2021 Hardrock presented almost ideal conditions for runners: minimal snow on the course, as well as cool conditions and some rain and thunder but no hellacious hail or lightning. In the alpine tundra, women and men commented on the fields of wildflowers, blooming just at the right time to provide runners with a nice vista to ease the inevitable physical pain that comes with running 100-plus miles.

A special thanks to Kailas for making our coverage of this year’s Hardrock 100 possible!

Thanks to Squirrel’s Nut Butter for their support of our Hardrock coverage.

A view from the top of Engineer Pass, near mile 48.7 of Hardrock 100

A view from the top of Engineer Pass, near mile 48.7. Photo: @garrettcreamer

2021 Hardrock 100 Men’s RaceSquirrel's Nut Butter - logo

From the start, François D’haene pushed the pace. Until after Burrows aid station, about one-third of the way through the race, eventual second- and third-place finishers Dylan Bowman and Ryan Smith hung on tight, staying within five minutes of D’haene. But once the French athlete picked up his first pacer, the speedy Jim Walmsley, he began to put distance between himself and the rest of the field: a distance that only lengthened as the race progressed.

Early on in the race, the fourth- through 10-place men ran within one hour of each other with that group including 2018 champion Jeff Browning and Frenchman Julien Chorier, but that distance lengthened as night fell. By the time runners arrived at the Telluride aid station at mile 72.8, Chorier was in fourth with a comfortable 34-minute lead on Browning.

By KT aid station at mile 89.1, Troy Howard and Nick Pedatella were running neck and neck for sixth and seventh places, with Trevor Fuchs close behind, and only two miles ahead, Browning pulled cemented himself into fifth position.

François D'haene and Ryan Smith at the Cunningham creek crossing.

François D’haene and Ryan Smith cross the creek at Cunningham near mile 9. Photo: iRunFar/Olivia Rissland

While men in places four through 10 were vying for position, D’haene, Bowman, and Smith entered Silverton and kissed the rock, all of them faster Kilian Jornet’s counterclockwise record of 23:28:00. D’haene not only bested the counterclockwise record, but Jornet’s overall record of 22:41:33  set in 2014. All three entered the chute resolutely, happy to have completed the race, but obviously grateful for the challenging day in the San Juans.

Watch videos of the top-three men–François D’haene, Dylan Bowman, and Ryan Smith–finishing the 2021 Hardrock 100.

Dylan Bowman on the climb up to Krogers Canteen

Dylan Bowman on the climb up to Kroger’s Canteen. Photo: iRunFar/Joe Grant

2021 Hardrock 100 Men’s Results

  • 1. François D’haene (Salomon) – 21:45:50 –New counterclockwise course record (Previous: Kilian Jornet, 23:28:00, 2015) and overall course record (Previous: Jornet, 22:41:33, 2014) (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  • 2. Dylan Bowman (The North Face) – 22:45:50 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  • 3. Ryan Smith (La Sportiva) – 23:24:29 (post-race interview)
  • 4. Julien Chorier (Hoka One One) – 25:56:57
  • 5. Jeff Browning (Altra) – 26:58:16 (pre-race interview)
  • 6. Nick Pedatella – 28:27:47
  • 7. Troy Howard – 28:33:51
  • 8. Trevor Fuchs – 29:19:42
  • T-9. Kevin Shilling – 30:33:20
  • T- 9. Mick Jurynec – 30:33:20

Full results.

2021 Hardrock 100 Women’s Race

In signature style, Sabrina Stanley went out in front — she made it clear in her pre-race interview that she was here not only to win, but to break the women’s course record (previously set by Diana Finkel in 2009, 27:18:24). First-time Hardrocker Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race interview) moved up steadily, and by the Maggie Gulch aid station at mile 15.4, she and Stanley were running neck and neck. Past the 50k mark at the Burrows aid station, Dauwalter had put a 32-minute lead on Stanley and kept that distance through Ouray. Unfortunately, Dauwalter experienced stomach issues even earlier and was unable to keep any food or fluids down. She looked in good spirits heading out of Ouray, but dropped at mile 62 along Camp Bird Road after that, unable to continue.

Sabrina Stanley at Maggie Gulch mile 15.4

Sabrina Stanley leads the women’s race at Maggie Gulch. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Stanley pushed on through the last section of the course through darkness, and it looked for a time she may have the course record in hand, running nine minutes under the old record by the last climb at mile 93. She pushed hard and ran strong to finish in 27:21:49, the second fastest women’s time ever.

With Dauwalter out of the race after Ouray, it was a race for the final two spots on the podium. Hardrock legend Darcy Piceu (pre-race interview) looked smooth and happy throughout the race, met by her daughter at multiple aid stations, sitting for a few minutes and gulping down ramen and ginger ale. At Ouray, Piceu had an almost two-hour lead on Meghan Hicks of iRunFar (in fourth prior to Dauwalter’s drop), but Hicks threw the hammer down and flew down descents according to her pacers, and shortened that lead to 46 minutes at the final aid station, Putnam Basin at mile 94.7.

Runner up Darcy Piceu running through a field of wildflowers.

Runner up Darcy Piceu running through a field of wildflowers. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Thunderstorms moved in as the women went across the final water crossing, but eventually crossed the finish to sunshine and cheers from the crowd. Piceu’s runner-up finish means in all eight of her Hardrock starts, she’s finished first or second place, and incredible accomplishment with her remarking after the race that was the hardest one yet! Hicks rounded out the women’s podium, greatly improving on her previous two Hardrock’s (2015 as seventh woman in 39:02:58, and 2016 as fifth woman in 34:25:25) by finishing third in 33:05:02.

Watch videos of the top-three women–Sabrina Stanley, Darcy Piceu, and Meghan Hicks–finishing the 2021 Hardrock 100.

Meghan Hicks at mile 93

Meghan Hicks (and pacer) at mile 93 with the end in sight. Photo: iRunFar/Charles Johnston

2021 Hardrock 100 Women’s Results

  1. Sabrina Stanley (adidas Terrex) – 27:21:49 – Only 3 minutes 31 seconds off the previous course record (pre-race and post-race interviews)
  2. Darcy Piceu (Hoka One One) – 32:08:26 (pre-race  and post-race interviews)
  3. Meghan Hicks – 33:05:02 (post-race interview)
  4. Olga Nevtrinos – 36:35:26
  5. Heather Brooks (La Sportiva) – 38:09:00
  6. Betsy Nye – 39:36:00
  7. Pam Reed — 41:56:00
  8. Barbara Olmer — 43:22:00
  9. Marta Fisher — 45:21:47
  10. Betsy Kalmeyer — 45:47:17

Full results.

Coverage Thanks

Thank you so much to the team who helped make our race coverage happen day(s) and night(s), all over the course, in all kinds of weather, as well as in front of computer screens around the world. We are so grateful to Alex Potter, Marissa Harris, Ellie Greenwood, Olivia Rissland, Adam Gerard, Kim Wrinkle, Ashley Saloga, Bill Schum, Charles Johnston, Eric Senseman, Joe Grant, Mason Osgood, and Corrine Malcolm.

Alex Potter

is an Editor at iRunFar. Following a nearly decade-long hiatus from running after college, she has found a new love in trail running. As a photojournalist, Alex has reported throughout the Middle East and East Africa for publications like 'National Geographic,' 'The New York Times,' and 'The Washington Post.' She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her partner Pete and her two cats.

There are 24 comments

  1. Rich Myers

    Here’s a line for us all, just substitute “your name”! See my example, lol. What a great article.

    “But once the Rich picked up his first pacer, the speedy Jim Walmsley, he began to put distance between himself and the rest of the field: a distance that only lengthened as the race progressed.

  2. Dean G

    Though perhaps not as versatile as someone like Kilian, I think this has to establish François D’haene as the best 100-mile mountain runner in history. Flame away…

    1. Kris

      I’ve thought that ever since 2017 when he won UTMB 2017, arguably the most stacked MUT100 ever.

      The long man in the long shorts does well at the long races with the long climbs.

  3. Andy

    I heard this year’s course was .7 miles longer, meaning that Sabrina deserves consideration for at least an asterisk, if not a share of the course record. If it’s is correct, I think her name ought to be added to the course record.

    1. Bryon Powell

      This year’s course was something like 0.7 miles longer than recent years. I’m guessing Diana’s record was on more or less what’s been the standard course in recent years, but there’ve been at least a couple of years in the past dozen runnings when the course was also long due to re-routes. Also, it’s quite possible that this course change will become permanent, as it’s a switch from non-system trails to system trails at the request of the Forest Service. (Just sharing info.)

  4. Brian Curtin

    I noticed a seemingly higher than usual amount of runners wearing gaiters, at least compared to other races, not sure about compared to other years at Hardrock.

    Did people who tend to like gaiters just happen to be in the race this year, or are gaiters highly recommended for Hardrock? I don’t know the course super well, so maybe I’m underestimating the rock fields.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I would guess that there’s a higher rate of gaiter usage at Hardrock that your average 100 miler in the U.S. I think it’s most likely for the couple sections of super steep scree fields or remnants of scree fields. Without gaiters, you will fill your shoes with small rocks in these sections. Hardrock also takes more time for a given individual that at most U.S. 100 milers, so it could be a trend toward self-preservation given that there’ll be more time on feet that at other races.

      (I don’t wear gaiters at Hardrock, as I would much rather keep my feet as dry…. or let them stay less wet as possible, and that means not adding an extra layer of fabric atop my shoes.)

    2. Vlad Henzl

      I have never ran with gaiters, but this year Hardrock was the first time I was truly regretting it. I had to stop like seven or eight times and empty my shoes. It was not only the scree fields (those were of course the worst from that perspective) but simply going from wet surface to dry one after crossing even the smallest creek (hundreds of those) immediately lifted many little pebbles and rocks … some ending inadvertently in your shoes.

  5. Paul A Chapman

    Super coverage iRunFar! Huge efforts from all participants (and pacers)! Top 3 men under the record! Megan moved up all race!

  6. Kristopher

    For those at the awards ceremony on Sunday, what was with the guy who took the microphone from the RD and told everyone to wish his kid a happy birthday?? His actions seemed rather selfish as not a single other person (besides the male and female winners) were given the chance to say speak. If you’re going to do something so blatantly rude and out of line, why not thank the people who spend countless hours volunteering so YOU can have a great race experience? Every other person accepted their finisher award with humility and went back to the crowd. What makes this guy so special? Am I missing something?

    1. KenZ

      Ahhh, I thought it was kinda cute. Think about reframing it in your mind as a Hardrock family thing. Not saying I’m right, but that was our perspective.

      As for thanking all the volunteers, they definitely deserve it. Hardrock is over the top. So wonderful. Here is one example from my run:

      Time: 0200
      Place: Kroger’s Canteen at 13,000 ft.
      Joe Grant: Do you want a cheese quesadilla?
      Me: Sounds great, but I’m vegan.
      Joe: I have vegan cheese.
      Me: Really? Do it!
      Joe: Do you also want it gluten free?
      Me: Are you shitting me???

  7. Marleen Gruneich

    Has there been any mention about
    72 year old,Eric (Rick) Hodges who finished the race? Kudos to all who finished.

    1. Bryon Powell

      I was wondering who’d been the oldest to finish, but hadn’t yet checked. I knew that at least a 70 yo and a 74 yo had started, and that the 70 yo (Scotty Mills) had finished. Many congrats to Rick Hodges for his finish. I’d have to guess that makes him the second oldest finisher at Hardrock with John DeWalt having a finish at age 73.

  8. Frederic

    I find it fascinating that in the last 10 years, only 3 us runners won HR100.
    While I don’t have the exact stats about what the proportion of european runners make in the 149+- slots that HR100 allows, I would think that european runners are pretty much a minority, yet they took the majority of the wins.
    Anyone cares to attempt to explain that ?

    2011 Julien Chorier (FRA)
    2012 Hal Koerner (USA)
    2013 Sebastien Chaigneau (FRA)
    2014 Kilian Jornet (SPA)
    2015 Kilian Jornet (SPA)
    2016 Kilian Jornet (SPA) & Jason Schlarb (USA)
    2017 Kilian Jornet (SPA)
    2018 Jeff Browning ** (Xavier was on his way to win if he hadn’t drunk 10oz water and 3 icecubes outside of an AS)
    2021 Francois D’Haene (FRA)

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