Darcy Piceu Pre-2021 Hardrock 100 Interview

The 2021 Hardrock 100 will be Darcy Piceu’s eighth running of the event, and she brings a Hardrock resume after finishing this race in under 30 hours six times, including three wins. In the following interview, Darcy talks about why she loves the event’s community, landscape, and competition, how she hopes to race Hardrock 10 times and volunteer at it 10 times, and how she’s growing into a leadership role with the race.

Be sure to read our preview to see who else is racing this year’s Hardrock 100 and follow our live Hardrock coverage starting at 6 a.m. MDT on Friday, July 16th.

Darcy Piceu Pre-2021 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Darcy Piceu. It’s a couple of days before the 2021 Hardrock 100, and your eighth Hardrock.

Darcy Piceu: Yes, I’m excited.

iRunFar: I think you just got here. It’s sort of a rainy July morning. Does it feel like Hardrock time?

Piceu: Absolutely. I mean this has been a long time coming, right? We’ve all been waiting for a couple of years for it to happen and now it’s here and it’s classic. You know, the classic Hardrock weather of rain and clouds and I’m excited.

iRunFar: Eight Hardrocks, or rather seven completed Hardrocks. That’s 700 miles at an average altitude of 11,000 feet, roaming through these mountains. That’s a lot. 

Piceu: [laughs] I like the statistics played out. It is. I mean, I feel so fortunate that I get to be here and I do feel so grateful just to be standing here. To be here, to be healthy, and these mountains, it’s like coming home for me and I just, I love it. I’m so happy to be here. 

iRunFar: We interviewed you, I guess it was a month and a half ago or so for our Catching Up With interview series and you had just done one 50 miler and you were getting ready for another. Can you sort of catch us up on the last six weeks of life? I think it’s been a little harried for you. [laughs]

Piceu: [laughs] Yeah I mean I did, I did Jemez 50 miler in Los Alamos and then I did Squaw Peak 50 miler in Utah outside of Ogden, and just as kind of like, get through the cobwebs kind of thing. We hadn’t been racing for so long so I wanted to get out there again, be in a race, weed through, you know, make all the mistakes that you kind of sometimes do when you’re racing, and I did. 

iRunFar: You made the mistakes and you did the races. 

Piceu: I did. I had some mistakes. I had a horrible fall at Squaw Peak. Banged up my body really nicely. And you know, but I’ve healed from that. I felt good afterwards. And then since then I’ve just been doing whatever I can to get up high. I’ve had to kind of stay close to home over the last several weeks because we had our sweet little Maggie dog got sick about two weeks ago and so I’ve been sort of like a vet nurse in my home, over the last 10 days. Bringing you know, kind of helping her recover from that. And then just getting up high, doing intermittent runs in our local Indian Peaks, which to me is just fine. You know, it’s nice to be kind of on my home trails and training there. That’s felt good. I got in a four pass loop early which was really nice. That was just gorgeous as always. And, you know, just some other things here and there. Went up Mt. Elbert and did a couple fourteeners and, you know, just really kind of squeezing things in wherever I can. So. 

iRunFar: Living the ultra marathon life that precedes the ultra marathon race.

Piceu: Yes, exactly, exactly. Sometimes I feel like coming to these races and especially Hardrock, it’s like this is my vacation, like, I’m so excited to just not have any, you know, no phone, no, no work, no nothing and just run through the mountains for a day. I mean, that feels like vacation to me which probably sounds weird to the rest of the world but,

iRunFar: I’m feeling you there. [laughs] 

Piceu: Yeah I think when life is stressful otherwise, it just, I’m like so looking forward to just checking out and being out in this place that I love so much and the wildflowers are incredible right now and just excited to run and be out there. 

iRunFar: I love hearing your excitement for being out in the wild and yeah, with the people in the community here, but you’re also incredibly accomplished when it comes to Hardrock. You bring the fastest returning time to this race. And four years ago, the last time you ran the race, I think you ran about 29 and a half hours or 29:20, something like that.

Piceu: I can’t remember. It’s funny, either direction, I feel like my times are so close and so similar. Everyone’s like, “Which direction do you like?” And it doesn’t really matter. I like both directions. I feel like my time is pretty comparable in both directions for some weird reason. I don’t, I can’t explain it. It just is what it is, I guess. But yeah, I mean I don’t, I don’t think I’ve ever run over 30 hours, you know. I’d love to, I’d love to try and stay consistent but you know,

iRunFar: The end of the 30 hour barrier. 

Piceu: Yeah, that would be awesome. You know I, but I’m just, again, I’m just so grateful to be here and we’ve been we’ve all been through a lot over the last couple years. And yeah, I’m just going to try and soak it all in and enjoy it. 

iRunFar: I think sort of the idea of like coming to a place and being with people and being in a space that is meaningful to you but at the same time like trying to accomplish a goal, like that’s kind of a complicated space. There’s a little bit of pushing and pulling and dynamicity there. Yeah, where’s your head go when you’re like, you know, point the car West and you’re heading to Hardrock for the weekend?

Piceu: I mean of course there’s, there’s nerves involved like any, any race that you enter and you go into and I always want, you know I don’t, I don’t toe the line without that hope of being competitive. We’ve got amazing talent this year, which is really exciting. You included. I feel like if I can share some miles with some of the women out there that’d be awesome. But I’m also really, I think why I’ve had success and why I’ve been able to be so consistent is because I do my own thing. I run my race. I try not to get too caught up in what’s going on, and hope to get to Telluride and feel good, and still be eating and drinking and doing all the things I need to be doing to take care of myself. And if I have fight left in me after Telluride then I did my job. And that’s kind of my, I guess my strategy if I have a strategy, but you know, I mean we, everything is I feel like dictated so much by the weather, by the terrain, by right, by all these external factors.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Piceu: And so we just have to, like, manage and take care of ourselves and bring raincoats. 

iRunFar: [laughs]

Piceu: And bring gloves and be prepared and yeah. 

iRunFar: Put your head down and maybe hide under a rock for 10 minutes or so. 

Piceu: No, don’t do that. 

iRunFar: Don’t do that. Keep moving. 

Piceu: Keep moving. 

iRunFar: Okay. You have been involved in Hardrock in a number of ways. You’re now a member of the board. You’re in a leadership position, as well as being a participant in the race, like, yeah, I mean, what’s sort of like the sense of ownership or participation or the yeah. Can you talk about that for a minute?

Piceu: Yeah, I mean I don’t think I’ve ever really had interest in, in another race that way that I, I don’t have a connection with anything, any other race the way that I have with Hardrock, and I feel like here, I felt like it was important to start giving back and start being, being active, more active member in the community in maybe a different way. So I’m getting to see all the kind of behind the scenes components to this race and this amazing thing that happens here in Silverton every July. And it’s really eye opening, and I feel more connected in so many different ways now to the race and I’m invested in it and you know I was, I was just saying that I have, I feel like I’m kind of adopting Roch Horton’s philosophy of trying to run it 10 years and then give back for 10 years. So I hope I can do that, yeah. 

iRunFar: Yeah. I think that’s an awesome goal. One last question for you: as we were walking to do this interview, you said the race is going to be 101.2 miles this year? 

Piceu: Well so, there was a, there’s, okay I don’t know all the fine details, but Dale [Garland, Hardrock 100 Director] will obviously go over this, but there’s a section in Pole Creek where it’s in the Rio Grande Forest, I believe, and there’s a little reroute near Pole Creek. I think it’s about .7 mile so we’re doing like, a little additional .7 mile on Friday which you know, whatever. It’s Hardrock. You have to deal with it. 

iRunFar: That’s also one of the best sections of the course, so we get to stay there a little longer. 

Piceu: Yes exactly. Exactly.

iRunFar: Well best of luck to you on Friday and Saturday and we sure expect to see you in the finish somewhere, yeah, under 30 hours, right? Roll in consistently like usual.

Piceu: Yeah, yeah. Thanks Meghan. I’m excited to see what you do as well. 

iRunFar: It’ll be fun.

Piceu: Yeah, awesome.

Meghan Hicks

is the Managing Editor of iRunFar 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.

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