The 2023 Hardrock 100 set off at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 14 in Silverton, Colorado, the small mountain town sitting in the early morning shadow of the mighty San Juan Mountains.
Faced with 102.5 miles and more than 33,000 feet of elevation gain, runners set out to traverse the massive and rugged counterclockwise loop — the event changes direction each year — around one of Colorado’s most impressive mountain ranges, heading first toward Lake City, then on to Ouray and Telluride, before returning to Silverton for the finish.
In the end, it was Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (pre-race and post-race interviews) of France to make it back to Silverton to kiss the rock first with a time of 23:00:07. He took the race lead from the start and never looked back.
For the women, it was another dominant performance from Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race and post-race interviews), where she not only set a counterclockwise course record with a time of 26:14:08, but also an overall women’s record and a Western States 100-Hardrock 100 double record with a combined time of 41:43:42 — but more on all that in a bit.
But this edition of the Hardrock 100 wasn’t easy for anyone. After a big winter in the San Juan Mountains, there was snow. And a lot of it. Large snowfields flanked Virginius Pass/Kroger’s Canteen and Grant-Swamp Pass, and snowmelt made much of the course muckier than normal.
It wasn’t just the snow that would provide environmental challenges beyond the normal obstacles found in the San Juans. The heat that was also unusual. With barely a cloud in the sky for the entire race and no chance of rain, temperatures soared in the 80s Fahrenheit at the course’s lower elevations and caused many runners a significant amount of distress.
Pre-race, the men’s race seemed to be wide open with none of the top-four men of 2022 returning. Instead, a handful of men, some with Hardrock experience and even more without it, lined up to vie for the win. It’s probably fair to say that several men had ambitions for the win, and few were willing to pick a clear frontrunner.
On the other hand, it seemed like very few were willing to bet against Dauwalter for the win. Fresh off of her course record at the 2023 Western States 100 just three weeks prior, the 2022 Hardrock 100 champion and record holder showed up to Silverton appearing recovered and ready. Still, running two 100-mile races in a three-week span provides a lot of miles for something to go wrong, and there were a handful of women ready to take advantage of a potentially tired Dauwalter.
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Thanks also to LEKI for its support of our Hardrock coverage.
2023 Hardrock 100 Men’s Race
Without any clear race favorite this year, the men’s race was wide open, and France’s Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (pre-race and post-race interviews) made the most of the opportunity to go to the front immediately, leading the race line-to-line. Even before the first mile was up, Dunand-Pallaz had opened up a gap on the rest of the field and never looked back, running steady and strong through the heat of the day and the dark of the night.
Behind Dunand-Pallaz, the race between the rest of the field never let up, but the gap to the leader continued to grow steadily as the hours passed. Silverton local Avery Collins (pre-race interview) led the early chase, along with Dylan Bowman (pre-race interview), who had finished second here in 2021. While Dunand-Pallaz was running his first Hardrock 100, Bowman had course experience on his side, and Collins had the course in his backyard to train on.
Behind the two Americans, another Frenchman, Beñat Marmissolle (pre-race and post-race interviews), was biding his time in third. Brian Culmo, Spaniard Javi Dominguez (post-race interview), Arlen Glick, former Hardrock 100 champion Jeff Browning, Paul Terranova, and Jesse Haynes rounded out the top 10 in the early miles of the race.
Coming through the Maggie aid station at mile 15.5, it seemed like Dunand-Pallaz was going to give the men’s record a run for its money, coming in about 10 minutes under course-record pace. By this time, he was also 10 minutes up on Collins, who was running in second. While Dunand-Pallaz’s gap on the course record had disappeared by the time he dropped into the Sherman aid station at mile 30, his gap on the rest of the field had grown to 13 minutes, now with Marmissolle running in second with Bowman and Collins just a couple of minutes back. The rest of the top 10 remained unchanged.
And aside from a few shuffles within the field, not a whole lot changed in the top 10 until the witching hours, after the heat of the day turned to the dark of night and legs started to get heavy. Then things started to change, and quickly. While the two Frenchmen continued their relentless march forward, both Collins and Bowman faltered, and it was Dominguez who left the Chapman aid station at mile 84 in third. Glick was fourth, Terranova fifth, and Browning sixth. Both Collins and Bowman took extended stops at Chapman to regroup, losing their positions but eventually headed back out on the trail to finish.
While others struggled behind him, Dunand-Pallaz crested the last climb well clear of the field. Marmissolle followed 40 minutes back. And from there, it was almost all downhill for the two Frenchmen. Dunand-Pallaz ran back into Silverton to kiss the rock and win his first Hardrock 100 in 23:00:07, the eighth-fastest time in history.
Marmissolle finished second and was followed by Dominguez who ran a steady and smart race from start to end finished third in 26:12:01. Glick finished fourth with a time of 26:43:05, and Browning would round out the top five with a time of 27:17:02.
2023 Hardrock 100 Men’s Results
- Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz (Compressport) – 23:00:07 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Beñat Marmissolle (La Sportiva) – 23:50:06 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- Javi Dominguez (Vibram) – 26:12:01 (post-race interview)
- Arlen Glick (Craft) – 26:43:05
- Jeff Browning (Altra) – 27:17:02
- Paul Terranova – 27:54:50
- Brian Culmo – 28:57:09
- Mark Hammond (Altra) – 29:54:16
- Dylan Bowman (Goldwin) – 30:25:40 (pre-race interview)
- Chris Price – 30:46:11
2023 Hardrock 100 Women’s Race
If it wasn’t for Courtney Dauwalter (pre-race and post-race interviews) running the Western States 100 just three weeks prior, crushing the women’s record there, and potentially being a bit worn out at the start line of the Hardrock 100, it would have been hard to find someone to bet against her winning the race this year. But if she were to falter, there were several women who were ready to jump at the opportunity.
For the first part of the race, it seemed like France’s Anne-Lise Rousset Séguret (post-race interview) was going to do just that. While Dauwalter led in the very early miles of the course, Rousset opened up a sizable gap coming through Maggie Gulch at mile 15.5 and was moving with enthusiasm toward Pole Creek, the next aid station. She came into Sherman at mile 30 in seventh overall in 6:29, looking strong. Dauwalter was just six minutes behind, and Annie Hughes (pre-race and post-race interview) came in next, 52 minutes off the lead. With still many miles to run, it was still anyone’s race. Frenchwoman Claire Bannwarth (pre-race interview) came through just seven minutes later and was followed by Japan’s Kimino Miyazaki (pre-race interview), who was 1:22 off the lead but looking spry and happy.
The top-two women came back together through Grizzly Gulch at mile 36 with Hughes trailing them at just under an hour back. When Rousset led Dauwalter into Grouse Gulch, mile 43.5, by nearly 10 minutes after traversing Handies Peak, the course high point, it seemed like maybe the Western States 100-Hardrock 100 double was going to be too much for Dauwalter to handle.
But it’s never a good idea to bet against the most dominant female trail ultrarunner of this generation. By mile 50, she’d closed the gap to four minutes, and in Ouray at mile 58.5, it was down to two minutes. When it came to the climb out of Ouray, Dauwalter made her move, and the elastic to Rousset finally snapped over the top of Virginius Pass. Dauwalter never looked back.
Meanwhile, Hughes stayed steady in third place while dealing with stomach issues and the rest of the women’s pack, including Miyazaki, Bannwarth, Christina Bauer, Whitney Mickelsen, Darla Askew, Becky Bates, and last-minute waitlist entrant Emily Halnon, who only got into the race the morning before, continued to chase — all within close proximity to each other.
Dauwalter ran into Telluride at mile 74.5, her pace still hovering just a few minutes over course-record pace, but now 23 minutes ahead of second-place Rousset, and executed the fasted crew stop of the Telluride aid station, getting in and out in under three minutes. She was on a mission.
Just 10 miles later, she was well below course-record pace, crushing the Bear Creek Trail climb out of Telluride and moving herself into third overall as some of the lead men began to falter. Rousset also continued her relentless march, and while she was 48 minutes back on Dauwalter at mile 84, she was only three minutes up on course-record pace.
In the end, there was no catching Dauwalter as she ran back to Silverton to kiss the rock with a new women’s counterclockwise course record of 26:14:08, besting the one set by the legendary Diana Finkel in 2009, and finishing fourth overall. She also set a new overall women’s record, beating her old time of 26:44:36, which she set last year.
Not only that, she set a new overall record for the Western States 100-Hardrock 100 double with a combined time of 41:43:42, beating Jeff Browning’s old record of 42:12:43 that he set in 2016.
Rousset would finish second after a gutsy run with a time of 27:29:55, which registers as the fifth-fastest time in event history, and Hughes would hold onto third with a time of 32:13:03 after spending nearly 100 miles battling stomach and breathing issues.
With large gaps between the first, second, and third women, all eyes turned to the competition between fourth and 10th where the time gaps were tight and the women were often in the aid stations together in the back half of the race. Miyazaki and Bannwarth ran in close proximity to each other battling for fourth and fifth, while Mickelsen, Halnon, Bates, Askew, and Bauer seemed to maintain the same overall pace as the miles ticked by.
2023 Hardrock 100 Women’s Results
- Courtney Dauwalter (Salomon) – 26:14:08 (pre-race and post-race interviews)
- New course record (old overall course record – Courtney Dauwalter, 26:44:36, 2022) (old counterclockwise course record – Diana Finkel, 27:18:24, 2009)
- Anne-Lise Rousset Séguret (Scott) – 27:29:55 (post-race interview)
- Annie Hughes (Hoka) – 32:13:03 (pre-race and post-race interview)
- Kimino Miyazaki (Hoka) – 34:17:16 (pre-race interview)
- Claire Bannwarth – 34:51:48 (pre-race interview)
- Whitney Mickelsen – 35:13:10
- Becky Bates – 36:15:58
- Christina Bauer – 36:17:55
- Emily Halnon – 36:47:44
- Darla Askew – 36:54:45
Thanks so much to the following individuals who helped iRunFar cover this race: Alex Angstadt, Mark Conkright, Alli Hartz, Kaska Gdela, Salynda Heinl, Andy Jones-Wilkins, Joe Grant, Brian Dickert, Maya Ramsay, Eszter Horanyi, John Reese, Lance Hartzler, Marissa Harris, Olivia Rissland, Ashley Saloga, Ellie Greenwood, and Casey Wyatt. Our race production is a community production!