Hardrock. The name speaks volumes about this race. Tough, rugged, and remote, this race is a defining moment in the career of any ultra runner. Held annually in early July in the mountain town of Silverton, CO, world class athletes from around the globe and their crew can easily double the small town population of roughly 600 residents. The town starts shaping into an ultra runner Mecca sometime in mid June as competitors arrive to scout the course and get acclimated for 14er Handies Peak, as well as the massive, exposed high country that averages 11,000′ for the entirety of the course.
Hardrock began in 1992 and had 18 finishers. David Horton and Nancy Hamilton were the first finishers of the race with times of 32:34 and 45:47, respectively. Twenty two years later, Hardrock boasts iconic performances, as well as stories of perseverance, grit, and resilience. Kilian Jornet and Diana Finkel now hold the course records of 22:41:43 and 27:18:24.
Despite a history of unpredictable weather, the race gets faster and faster each year and has become one of the most sought after proving grounds in ultrarunning. As finsher times come down, the degree of craziness in finisher stories goes up. Last year, Adam Campbell was approaching the top of Handies Peak when a lightning storm was moving in. A short distance from the summit, Campbell soon found himself laying on the ground after lightning struck the ground in front of him, transferring its charge from the ground to Campbell. Luckily, the occurrence only resulted in a fried headlamp. Campbell and his pacer made their way to the next aid station through torrential downpour, and Campbell finished the race in 3rd place.
Who to watch:
The defending record holder returns for another round of Hardrock. This past year he has been breaking FKT’s, winning the Rut 50k, and can be found on top of seemingly every mountain in Europe. A successful season of ski mountaineering adds to his stacked race resume, and places him second in the world in the sport of ski mountaineering.
Darcy comes back to Hardrock after finishing on top of the podium last year. She has added a first place finish at the Bighorn 52M, a podium finish at Quicksilver 100k and a first place finish at Moab Red Hot 33k. Being from Boulder, CO, she has the benefit of trails and high altitude mountains all around her for unlimited training possibilities.
Anna has a long history of 1st place finishes at 50 mile races, Podiums at Run 50k and Speedgoat, and a win at the Bear 100M. She has been in Colorado’s high country training for Hardrock for the past month with others from the Salomon team. Her first place prediction puts her just minutes ahead of Darcy; though we all know anything can happen during 100 miles. Prepare for a fierce race between these two leaders.
Nine time Hardrock finisher and Barkley Marathons finisher, Jared Campbell is a mountain climbing machine. Campbell also holds and creates many FKT’s, including Wasatch Front, Trans-Zion, and Idaho 12ers. Tough as nails, Campbell will surely be putting his best foot forward on this 10th attempt at Hardrock.
Also known as the “Speedgoat”, Meltzer has 112 finishes on Ultrasignup- and you’d be hard pressed to find anything where he didn’t place on the podium. He has completed the Hardrock 100 seven times in the past. Earlier this year he set the course record at Georgia’s Crown Jewel, a race with 66,000 ft of change in just over 24 hours- basically Hardrock without the high altitude.
Betsy Kalmeyer has 15 finishes at Hardrock, and Betsy Nye has 13. They are predicted to finish about 5 minutes apart from each other. Apparently, neither of these two have any quit in them, judging by their extensive histories in ultrarunning.
Ultimate Direction will be proudly heading to Hardrock to support athletes and hang out with the ultra community. If you are around, keep an eye out for our tent and the team and stop by to say hi. We wish the best of luck to runners, crews, pacers, and all the hardy spectators that find themselves on this breathtaking- literally- course.
The UD Team