Stephanie Case Post-2022 Hardrock 100 Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Stephanie Case after her second-place finish at the 2022 Hardrock 100.

By on July 18, 2022 | Leave a reply

It seems like Canada’s Stephanie Case might have surprised herself in taking second at the 2022 Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Stephanie talks about racing in a competitive women’s field, managing a finicky stomach throughout much of the event, and how the Hardrock experience compares with some of the other big events she’s been a part of.

To see how the whole race unfolded, check out our 2022 Hardrock 100 results article.

Stephanie Case Post-2022 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Stephanie Case. It’s the day after the 2022 Hardrock 100. You finished second. Congratulations, Stephanie.

Stephanie Case: Thanks so much and congrats to you.

iRunFar: We made it around the loop.

Case: We did.

iRunFar: How are you feeling?

Case: I’m feeling great, actually. My muscles are pretty good. Normally I break out like a prepubescent teenager after a 100 miler.

iRunFar: Your skin is looking fabulous.

Case: But like, I’m glowing. [laughs] I’m really good. I’m just, I don’t know. I’m a little, I’m just a little bit confused. I don’t [laughs], I don’t know what happened. So, yeah.

iRunFar: Well, let’s go back to the beginning. Early in the race, I think you fell in sort of in like the third- to fourth-place type range for maybe at least the race’s first half-ish?

Case: Yeah, I was like kind of fifth and fourth, jockeying back and forth with Hannah [Green]. Usually, she would take a bit longer at the aid stations; she had no crew, she just would rock in like a rock star. You know, I had my pit crew with me. And then she would catch me on either the climb or the descent or both. So, we were jockeying back and forth. And then between Ouray and Animas, I moved out from fifth to second. So that’s kind of where, where it all happened, where the magic happened.

iRunFar: But you were not without challenges, kind of like early on. I think according to the iRunFar team, altitude was getting to you. It was hard to eat?

Case: Yeah, I mean, I sometimes have stomach issues anyway. But I think altitude was definitely the key factor because I didn’t feel like I was super-pushing it. I felt like I was going at a comfortable pace, but the altitude definitely hit me. So yeah, I think it was in Telluride or Ouray, one of the two, where I started getting a little bit nauseous. And then Bear Creek Trail, the really beautiful one, that I started dry heaving. Yeah. And at Engineer, that’s where I ran into Maggie [Guterl] and she wasn’t doing so well. And I sat down beside her and immediately threw up everywhere. [laughs]

iRunFar: The two of you just having stomach issues together.

Case: As you know, I’m quite used to puking and rallying. Like, it’s just, I don’t know, I’m used to everything going wrong. So that for me isn’t a deal breaker. You just kind of keep going. Yeah.

iRunFar: iRunFar’s Bryon [Powell] wanted me to ask you if that was like, he said you did a lot of pizza-eating at the aid stations. And then there’d be reports out on the trail that then you had just puked it up immediately. Intentional strategy?

Case: Well, you know, when I was eating the pizza, I was quite happy with myself. But he said to me, “Well, that’s a bold move.” And I was like, “Is it?” And then I started doubting my whole strategy.

iRunFar: But I like pizza!

Case: I like pizza. I’m used to eating real food. I’m used to eating, you know, in races like Tor des Géants or Tor des Glaciers, you can’t have gels or candies. You need to eat real food. So that’s just what I’m used to. I think I would have puked no matter what I ate. So, you know, might as well get … maybe some of those heavy calories can stay in. You never know.

iRunFar: Not everything comes up maybe.

Case: Yeah, the popsicles did, and I apologize to the aid station crew who made them because they were very good. But they didn’t say in.

iRunFar: Darn it. It tasted good.

Case: Yeah, it was great. In and out.

iRunFar: So, you said you moved into second position around the Engineer or Animas aid stations.

Case: Yeah.

iRunFar: Was there a point where it became a race for you? Or was it just like managing yourself the rest of the way and things will pan out how they pan out?

Case: Yeah, I mean, look, the top five women are all incredible. And I think all local. So, you know. I had no goal to actually stay in second. Because I knew there was Maggie and Hannah and Darcy [Piceu]. And these are phenomenal women. And the only way I was going to get in second is if all of them had an off day, which is what happened. So.

iRunFar: Or maybe, alternately you had an on day?

Case: Well, you know, I was just excited, you know, even if it was going to be for one segment to be like, “I was in second at Hardrock.” And I just I was trying to hold on until the morning for when my mom woke up, because I wanted her to wake up and see that I was in second.

iRunFar: Aww. That’s adorable.

Case: And then after that, after about I, you know … Like I was saying before the interview, I think you know all of the other runners are stronger runners than I am. Hannah is a much stronger runner than I am. I could see it, I could feel it on the trail. She just moves with ease, you know, up the mountain and down. She’s like, just it’s incredible to watch. She has no fear. She’s like a fell runner. I mean, she’s, after Kroger’s. We did, you know, a shot of tequila, and I’m like picking my way down the side and she just, she was gone. And you know, I think to finish ahead of her doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yeah.

iRunFar: But there’s running, and then there’s the rest of the race. You know, there’s keeping your body moving, and then there’s keeping all your shit together for 100 miles. Not that Hannah didn’t keep her shit together. She did. She took third. But maybe you kept your shit together a wee bit more.

Case: I don’t know, I think yeah, I think I’m just because I’m used to everything going wrong. [laughs] I was just so happy to be, to be out there. And to have the chance to run this race and to run it with so many other incredible women. And you know, knowing that Courtney [Dauwalter] was beating the course record and the men’s race was incredible as well. It was just, it was a really fun day and a half. And also, when you compare it to my last race, which was like six and a half days, this was …

iRunFar: Kind of quick?

Case: It was quick. I mean, not to take away from it, but it was, it felt fast to me. It felt like a really fast race. So yeah, it started to become a little bit more of a race, I guess after Maggie’s. And then coming into Cunningham when I heard that Hannah was only a mile back, and that’s like not a lot of lead time and so I just kind of wanted to stop.

iRunFar: Doesn’t feel like a lot of space.

Case: Doesn’t feel like a lot. So you know, at that point, I was like, okay, you know, I’ll just stop. She can go, because I didn’t …

iRunFar: I’ll just stop. Fine! Take it!

Case: I didn’t want to be in a situation where I would have to be pushing it for the last section. I just wanted to enjoy it, but my pacers didn’t really let me have that option. So, they were really pushing me, and then I think people started lying to me saying that, you know, she was just minutes behind, and it was, thank you to iRunFar. They were the only ones that told me like, wink, wink, “You’re fine.”

iRunFar: Somebody was honest.

Case: Yeah. At least one person was. Yeah.

iRunFar: [laughs] Last question for you because we have an awards breakfast to go and enjoy right now. You’ve done a lot of cool things in your life. Participated in a lot of races. This is your first Hardrock. What do you think? How does this compare to stuff like Tor des Géants?

Case: Yeah, I think it has the same kind of community feel that I love about Tor that you just really don’t find in a lot of other races, big or small. I love the fact that it was small and it didn’t, it really didn’t feel like I was competing, you know. And I felt so much support. Just even in the air, from the other women and I hope I was giving it back. And that’s what I’ll really take away from this race was just how much I felt that we were pushing each other in a supportive way. Other than me puking right by Maggie. Sorry.

iRunFar: She probably doesn’t remember.

Case: Oh, I’m sure she does. [laughs] Yeah, I mean, I would love to come back someday but I would also love to see, you know, more women get the chance to run it.

iRunFar: Congratulations to you, second place.

Case: You, too.

iRunFar: Hardrock. You did it.

Case: Thank you so much.

Meghan Hicks
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.