Hardrock 100 preview: will Courtney Dauwalter do it again?

Kilian Jornet kisses the stone at Hardrock 100 in 2022

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run (HR100), known for its high altitude, deep elite field and challenging entry process, begins Friday at 8:00 am ET This year’s event, the first ever to be live-streamed, promises to be a thriller . Runners will encounter over 10,000 meters of elevation gain while facing extreme weather conditions, navigating treacherous terrain and trying to avoid altitude sickness.

Only 140 participants get to line up at Hardrock each year, and this year’s contenders include the remarkable Courtney Dauwalter, fresh off a jaw-dropping performance and course record at the Western States 100, and other well-known elites. The race will be live-streamed on the Run Steep Get High YouTube channel. Here’s what you need to know to follow along.

HR100 both begins and ends in Silverton, Co., and athletes are above 3,300 meters elevation for much of the race. It was founded in 1992 as a tribute to the miners who used to follow “their mules and instincts, prospecting the San Juans for gold, silver, and other metals,” the race website explains. With a finishing cutoff time of 48 hours, athletes know they are in for a long haul. The course switches directions every year, and this year runners are moving counter-clockwise around the looped course.

The women’s race

All eyes are on the phenomenal Dauwalter this year (but when are they not?) after a stunning performance three weeks ago at Western States, where she set a blistering new course record (78 minutes faster than Canadian Ellie Greenwood’s from 2012) and placed fifth overall. Canada’s Stephanie Case, who was second last year, has withdrawn from this year’s event. 60-year-old legendary ultra machine Pam Reed of Jackson Hole, Wyo., will be tackling the third part of her WSER/Badwater 135/HR100 triple this year.

Leadville, Colo.-based Dauwalter holds the course record for HR100 in the clockwise direction (26:44) from 2022; this year runners will move counter-clockwise, and that course record is 27:18 for women, set by Diana Finkel in 2009, and Dauwalter will most certainly be looking to challenge that time. Will her legs be tired? Will she win the whole thing? We can’t wait to find out.

Also from Leadville, 23-year-old trail phenom Annie Hughes won the Run Rabbit Run 100-Miler and High Lonesome 100 Mile in 2022, and the Leadville 100 Mile in 2021. She’s a high-altitude ultrarunning champ, and has also compiled some wins in really long races–she won the Cocodona 250 Mile in 2022 and Moab 240 in 2021.

If you haven’t heard of France’s Claire Bannwarth, it’s time to brush up: she was the first woman in the 432-kilometre 2022 Winter Spine Race (by more than 24 hours), and will be making her North American racing debut at HR100. Bannwarth races prolifically and runs long–she will be jumping into the Tahoe 200 Mile race a week after HR100.

Claire Bannwarth 2023 Montane Spine Race
Claire BannwarthPhoto: Montane Spine Race

Colorado’s darcy Piceu, fresh off the waitlist, is a veteran of HR 100, with the 2023 edition being her 10th running. Piceu boasts three wins and five second-place finishes, and she was fourth in 2022.

The men’s race

With Kilian Jornet, last year’s winner (and course record holder in the clockwise direction) not returning this year, the podium seems up for grabs. None of the other top four men from 2022 will be headed to the San Juans, but a very accomplished group of athletes will be lining up and fans will be eager to see who holds up to the HR100 test.

Ohio’s Arlen Glick is a master of the 100-mile distance, running 12:57 to win the Umstead 100-miler in April and taking a speedy third at October’s Javelina 100. Like Dauwalter, Glick raced at WSER last month. He placed 14th, while he took third in 2022. Glick will be a hot contender and fascinating to watch at HR100.

California-based dylan bowman is a Hardrock veteran, placing second at the 2021 edition. Bowman has had a lower racing profile in the past year while working on Freetrail, a media business and trail running community. He’s been training in the San Juans pre-race and is eager to showcase his ability from him.

French Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz has over 10 years of ultrarunning success, but gained notoriety in 2021 when he took second at UTMB and won Spain’s Transgrancanaria. He missed the 2022 edition of HR100 for the birth of his child and is a favorite in his debut this year.

Oregon-based trail running legend Jeff Browning will be taking on his sixth Hardrock at age 51. Browning won in 2018, and finished fifth the past two years. In October, Browning won the Moab 240 in 57 hours, and more recently, he showcased his fitness by winning the Bighorn 100.

Starting at 8:00 AM ET on Friday, fans can tune in in a variety of ways. Follow your favorite runners by GPS location on this interactive map with all the stats, or watch runners on the livestream, here. If you’re just curious about following splits, check out this site.

BONUS: Watch John Kellyof Barkley Marathons and FKT fame, run the 2022 Hardrock 100:

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