In finishing second at the 2021 Hardrock 100, Darcy Piceu now has eight Hardrock finishes, in all of which she’s finished in first or second place. In the following interview, Darcy talks about how this was her hardest Hardrock yet, what it’s like having her daughter grow up through the years at Hardrock, and how she wants to be an inspiration to other working mothers.
Read our Hardrock 100 results article for how more on how the race played out.
Darcy Piceu Post-2021 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Darcy Piceu, after the 2021 Hardrock 100. How are you Darcy?
Darcy Piceu: I’m good thank you, how are you?
iRunFar: Boy I think we’re both hanging in there. Yesterday you finished your eighth Hardrock, what is that like?
Piceu: It felt emotional. It was just a sweet finish and it was my hardest Hardrock for sure. Just personally I just had a really tough time from Ouray to the finish, it was really hard. Lots of nausea so kind of just dealing with that for so many hours.
iRunFar: Had you dealt with that before at Hardrock?
Piceu: I’ve dealt with bouts of it but never this longstanding, like every time I would push on the ups, it would just instantly come in and I was just like, oh man. Much slower pace than I’ve ever been used to. You know, got it done. I mean, every finish is precious here. Eight was special. And running in with [my daughter] Sophia was amazing.
iRunFar: I have so many thoughts about Sophia, having been on the outside observing, it’s been amazing to see her grow up here amongst the Hardrock family. What is Sophia’s involvement in this week and your running?
Piceu: You know she just loves it, it means everything to have… Jared and I, Jared Campbell was my pacer and you know Jared is just so rock-solid and help me through some really kind of dark times out there. Just such a positive attitude and then he kept reminding me why we’re doing this and he’s like, the moment you see Sophia and you get to run into that finish line with her, that’s what it’s all about. And it really is true. It’s like seeing her, running in with her, there’s just no better feeling than that.
iRunFar: And it seemed like you had your moment with her and then you and she joined Jared’s family. It wasn’t just the two of you, it was a bigger group.
Piceu: Yeah it really is, we don’t do these things without our community, our people. It takes a village to do this thing, it really does and they were there for the whole time. Sophia, this was the first time she pulled an all nighter. She was real sick.
iRunFar: Big step. Oh really?
Piceu: Yeah she was shaking and probably had a little fever last night and I said, you know what just go to sleep and I think she slept 12 hours and she’s good to go now but it was, it took a lot out of her.
iRunFar: How many years do you think until she’s an option for pacing at least one section?
Piceu: Oh gosh I bet it will come, hopefully if I can get to 10, hopefully she’ll be there for one of them.
iRunFar: Yeah? This was a long break since the last time. Because there was one year that you didn’t get in, you worked up at Kroger’s Canteen, that was 2018. And then two years it was canceled so it was four years since you ran Hardrock last?
Piceu: I had forgotten how hard it was. I kept thinking that, wow this is way harder than I remember.
iRunFar: How have you changed as a person and in those four years? It’s almost half a decade.
Piceu: Yeah, I know, I know. I feel as we get older it’s like time just goes by so quickly and then our kids are here now. I don’t know, for some reason time just goes by so quickly. I think my body’s feeling it. I was bummed to hear Courtney [Dauwalter] dropped and Sabrina [Stanley] had an amazing race it sounds like. But yeah, I don’t remember the question actually right now.
iRunFar: How have you changed as a runner in four years or a person?
Piceu: As a runner… I think I think about it in terms of like ego and I think that kind of starts to just go away and you start to appreciate it in a different way. You really focus on the things that really matter and it’s not always about you can have wins and you can have really great races but…
iRunFar: That’s true but I am going to say, at the finish line you are talking about how there was somebody behind you that you are occasionally thinking about, between Ouray and the finish.
Piceu: Your wife was… Jared and I had been going at a much slower pace for quite a while and a guy passed us, you know going down to the river, we were about two miles from the river at that point.
iRunFar: So Mineral Creek, two miles to go.
Piceu: So the whole day, I knew Meghan [Hicks] was going — if there was one person that was going to be there, it was Meghan — and so we asked a guy who passed us, we said were you with any women back there and he goes, Meghan and I left KT aid station together. And I was like, oh boy. And Jared said it was like instant where I just took off and he couldn’t believe it. So there was a well somewhere in there that just turned on all of a sudden when I heard – it was unknown, some people said a mile, some people said two miles. So we just started racing at that point, which is always kind of fun to have a little something left at the end.
iRunFar: It’s probably a little bit stressful but it’s also fun to know, I’ve got something.
Piceu: I mean for quite a while I kept thinking that she was going to, she would be close. But I never knew that she was as close as she was actually.
iRunFar: Yeah. For a very, very, very long it was about two to 2.4 miles and it’s just accordion based on who was going uphill and who was going downhill, what that distance was. But you two are kind of locked with a bar in between you. You know, what’s incredible with all your finishes here, I mean you have three wins but you started eight times, you’ve finished eight times you might dismiss it to luck or happenstance. But you’ve been top two all of those a times. Do you think there’s a key to consistency?
Piceu: Oh man, I think about that, I think because – not because but I’m a mom, I have a job, I work, I don’t think I overtrain typically. If anything I probably under train. And I’m always just kind of getting in whatever I can and, gosh if I can be inspiration for women out there, you know women who work and have kids. You can do these things. You can train, maybe not as much as some people out there but you can still do it and be successful. Hardrock is the type of course where as long as you’re moving and you’re consistent, you’re going to be okay out there.
iRunFar: It’s not how fast you are.
Piceu: It’s not how fast you are, I can’t tell you how slow I hiked to the uphills. It was real slow. Maybe not for the first, well 60 miles. Maybe not for the first half of the race but the second half, it was slow.
iRunFar: Yeah. And how old is Sophia know?
Piceu: She’s 12.
iRunFar: It’s not like you just had a child last year and managed to make it work for one Hardrock. You’ve made it through almost…
Piceu: Every [Hardrock,] I think.
iRunFar: I don’t know when your first Hardrock was, so.
Piceu: Gosh, I have to go back for that. It’s been a while now. Because there’s been some years missed so it’s hard for me to remember exactly when the first one was, I should know those things. My mugs have gotten, I think I’ve wash them too many times so they’re wearing out.
iRunFar: There’s some where names have disappeared and years.
Piceu: They’re disappearing, I know, I’m like oh no.
iRunFar: I think you can still buy the 2014 mug in the gym. You had a major injury this spring.
Piceu: Well yeah, I guess it’s called an acute arthritic flare-up so it came out of nowhere, my knee just blew up like a balloon and had to drain a bunch of fluid out. Have cortisone injected and it’s, you know knock on wood, it’s held up for the most part. They bother me for sure but I’ve kind of figured out how to manage it. And for some reason today I feel fine.
iRunFar: You worked out the rest a little bit.
Piceu: I mean they’ll be a little swollen and stuff but yeah.
iRunFar: Doesn’t make you even more thankful to make it through?
Piceu: Oh so thankful, yeah. Because you never know. I think as we get older you never know what your body’s going to do. If it’s going to crap out on you, excuse my language.
iRunFar: I think we can use “crap.” I don’t have to ask you if you’ll try to be back here next year, I know the answer to that is yes. Do you have anything else laid out for this year?
Piceu: Yeah, I’m going to do UTMR, Lizzy Hawker’s race.
iRunFar: Ultra Tour Monte Rosa.
Piceu: Ultra Tour Monte Rosa, yes I’m so excited. It’s a Hardrock qualifier, she said they modified the course because I believe Italy has close their borders so it will be held strictly in Switzerland.
iRunFar: So you get to run 100 miler in Switzerland in about two months, right?
Piceu: I know, I can’t wait, it’s going to be a blast.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations on your eighth finish and good luck at Monte Rosa.
Piceu: Thank you.