Maggie Guterl adds strength and toughness to the 2022 Hardrock 100 women’s field. In the following interview, Maggie talks about why she’s attracted to events that are particularly long and difficult, how living locally has allowed her to get to know the Hardrock course and its surrounding San Juan Mountains, and how she’s trying to embrace the process rather than the outcome of her experience.
To see who else is racing, read our in-depth 2022 Hardrock 100 preview.
Maggie Guterl Pre-2022 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Maggie Guterl, it’s a couple of days before the 2022 Hardrock 100. Hey, Maggie.
Maggie Guterl: Hi Meghan. How you doing?
iRunFar: Good. This is iRunFar’s first on-camera interview with you and it’s kind of a privilege for me because we’re friends, we train together, we hang out, but now I get to interview you.
Guterl: You get to pretend you don’t know the answers to any of these questions.
iRunFar: The Hardrock 100 starts in a couple of days. What is it that has drawn you to this race, to apply for it, to train for it, to put all your eggs in the Hardrock basket?
Guterl: Well, it’s known as one of the hardest races in the U.S. so, obviously that’s intriguing. I think just the fact that it’s so hard to get into is also … Also makes people want to try and run it. The San Juans are beautiful. And three years ago, I moved here so it’s basically like a neighborhood race.
iRunFar: It’s like your local lap around the mountains?
Guterl: Yeah, yeah, except I’m being timed. Yeah, and you get to run it with 150 of your friends.
iRunFar: I want to back up to a slightly more existential question for a minute. We know a little bit of your back story in running, you got into it as a young adult to grow a more healthy lifestyle. But it seems like you seek out the longest, the hardest, the most difficult things. Last year, you won Cocodona 250 Mile, a couple of years before that you were the last human standing at the Big Dog’s Backyard, you ran like, what was it, 260 miles?
Guterl: 250, yep.
iRunFar: 250. Why hard things?
Guterl: When I ran my first marathon, I think what I was looking forward to most is that wall people talk about, at like mile 17 or whatever. I wanted to see what that was like and then you go through that and you’re like, well okay. And then you run 100 miles. Most of the distances are 100 miles so you are like, what’s beyond that? And lately, there’s been more things popping up that are more popular. The backyard format and the 200 milers.
iRunFar: 250 some-odd miles.
Guterl: A race that just doesn’t end, you have no idea, whenever, if you’re the last one or someone else. So I like that kind of unknown, and Hardrock’s only 100 miles but it’s also super high. So it’s like, what is that like? To try to … You know, we’ve done things that are four days up high that are fast packing adventures but we go slow and we sleep and have snacks. What is it like to try to push yourself for … To find the right level, and do that for 30-something, 40-something hours, however long this is going to take.
iRunFar: We have 48. They let us have 48.
Guterl: Easy. Two miles an hour.
iRunFar: Easy. Maybe don’t say that within the week of Hardrock. It’s easy to finish it within 48 hours.
Guterl: Don’t remind me of that at Cunningham when you’ve showered and slept and I’m just finishing.
iRunFar: Okay, so before we talk about this race a little bit specifically, I’d love to know or share with iRunFar’s followers a little bit about who you are outside of running. You have a full-time job, you do some stuff when you aren’t running. What’s your world like? You work for Tailwind?
Guterl: Yeah, I’m the athlete and events manager for Tailwind Nutrition, which is located in Durango, so that’s why I moved out here a few years ago. Yeah, it’s a small company, it’s a fun job but as you know, it’s a lot of work and there’s some travel involved in June. It’s challenging but you know, it’s rewarding too. And then I have a really needy boyfriend and a needy dog. I don’t know how people have kids and train for races and have jobs. And they are also going to be crewing me during the race. The last time they crewed me was the Barkley Marathons, in 2018, so we will see.
iRunFar: This race, you were chosen in the lottery and as you said, you live locally and you have lived locally for a couple of years. I think you said on social media a couple of weeks ago, you’ve now seen the entire course, true?
Guterl: Yes, except for in and out of Ouray, so the town part.
iRunFar: You could get lost in there.
Guterl: I could. I’m so worried about that, I know you hopped out on the perimeter trail and I’ve actually run that before, last year, Courtney [Dauwalter] and Kevin [Schmidt] dropped me off and I ran up over Hayden Mountain and I came back into Ouray, that same exact way. Inadvertently. I was like, I’ll just take this trail. But Whiley [Hall], my pacer ran it, I think she ran it with Melissa [Beaury] the other day maybe.
iRunFar: Melissa’s just over there.
Guterl: There’s another human over here, that I was looking to for affirmation. She’ll know it. I just have to get to Ouray correctly and once I hit the park, she knows how to get out.
iRunFar: So, if you get lost in Ouray it will be because you haven’t recced that one part.
Guterl: I should not apply to Barkley again, that’s just shameful.
iRunFar: What parts of the course are you like really stoked on? Where you think you’re going to find some energy in and where are you thinking about, here’s where I’m going to really have to focus myself to stay on track?
Guterl: I mean I’m looking forward to getting to Kroger’s, because Joe Grant’s my neighbor and I heard about the aid station yesterday from him. I’m really excited, I won’t give it away in the pre-race interview. It will be something cool for everyone to participate in up there. I don’t know, just looks cool. And then I really like being above tree line. We’ll see how I feel at Pole Creek in the middle of the night, hopefully, it will be the middle of the night.
iRunFar: Pole Creek is like the last third of the race. In the last third, eh?
Guterl: I guess it’s all above 12,000 feet or at least for a long time. Yeah, I’m not trying to look forward to any one part, like the last climb or the finish or anything, just going to enjoy it.
iRunFar: Do you have any funny or interesting stories from training on all parts of the course so far this year? Anything that’s super memorable that’s going to be triggered when you’re up there?
Guterl: No. My training partner’s pretty boring and we definitely didn’t do anything stupid. Just kidding. I mean I will miss not going to Baked in Telluride during the race. Because Meghan and I did like a 40-mile run that was 14,000 feet that took, I don’t know, way too long. Finished by headlamp. We did stop for pizza at a little grocery shop, like chips and coke. That’s fun. I don’t know, there’s a lot of good memories. I remember how horrible I felt at Pole Creek on our training run. That was early in the season so hopefully, I feel better there.
iRunFar: Less altitude acclimated, then?
Guterl: Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully. Hopefully we get to share some miles together.
iRunFar: We’ll see.
Guterl: Meghan’s like, I’m going to leave you in the dust.
iRunFar: Maggie’s like, I’m going to leave you in the dust.
Guterl: Yeah, I mean the whole course is amazing. I’m glad I get to see it and take pictures and stuff so I can resist the urge to get up to a pass and take any pictures, I will take no pictures during. I don’t think I will.
iRunFar: What are you thinking about? It’s hard to talk about the finish of the race when you are just trying to look forward to starting it now, it’s been quite a buildup for you; this has been a focus of yours for a while. What are you looking forward to when this is done?
Guterl: Hopefully Titus gets to run in the finish with me.
iRunFar: Ah, your dog. Hopefully, you are not sprint finishing it with another participant.
Guterl: Yeah. Ryan [Schannauer] will have to make a judgment call there.
iRunFar: Whether to toss Titus in or not.
Guterl: He can’t run that fast or that long so I don’t want to drag him down, he’s also pretty heavy. But I’m looking forward to, I don’t know, honestly, I’m trying not to think about the finish too much and just enjoy, I think I will. But you know, it would be cool no matter what happens next year to just be involved in the race each year no matter what, in some capacity. Volunteer somewhere, actually do the trail work weekend next year.
iRunFar: I see you as a pretty solid aid station captain one day.
Guterl: Captain, I don’t know. Maybe Joe will let me work Kroger’s or something.
iRunFar: Well best of luck to you as you make this lap around the San Juans and it’s going to be fun to follow your progress.
Guterl: Thanks, you too, Meghan.
iRunFar: Thank you.