Karl Meltzer, Hardrock Hundred defending champion, owner of the four fastest times on the Hardrock course and 2006 Road Runners Club of America and Ultrarunning Magazine Male Runner of the Year, vs. Scott Jurek, seven-time champion of the famed Western States 100 Mile run, course record holder for the Western States 100 mile run, 2006 winner of the Badwater Ultramarathon, and who has attempted Hardrock one time and not finished. This should be an interesting match up.
But those are only two of the competitors who will toe the line in Silverton on July 13 for the 14th running of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, widely regarded as one of the most difficult events in long distance running. Joining Meltzer and Jurek on the men’s side are former Hardrock champions Paul Sweeney (Calif.), Mark Hartell (Eng.) and Kirk Apt (Colo.), 2006 Hardrock third place finisher Ty Draney (Wyo.), Bighorn (Wyo.) 100 mile champion Jeff Browning (Ore.), and Kevin Shilling (Ut.), who finished in third place at the 2006 Wasatch Front (Ut.) 100 miler and in third place in the 2004 Hardrock Hundred.
For the women, Betsy Kalmeyer, five time Hardrock somen’s champion and a member of the Colorado Sportswomen Hall of Fame, will face competition from former Hardrock champion and 2006 Wasatch Front 100 champion Betsy Nye (Calif), 2006 HURT (Hi.) 100 mile champion Krissy Moehl (Wash.), 2005 Western States (Calif.) 100 mile champion Annette Bednosky (N.C.), 2006 Bighorn 100 champion Diane Van Deren (Colo.), and 2006 Massanutten (Va.) 100 mile runner up Diane Widdowson (Penn.).
Among the human interest stories to watch are John DeWalt (Penn.), who, at 71, will be attempting to finish his 12th Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run. At the other end of the spectrum, Jimmy Wrublick (Ariz./Colo.) will be attempting to become the youngest finisher ever at 18 years of age.
Runner Hans-Dieter Weisshaar (Ger.), who holds the record for most 100 mile run finishes in a single year (20 at the age of 60) also will be at the starting line in Silverton, as will Dennis Herr (Va.), who last year suffered a life threatening bicycle accident. Herr is one of the original 18 Hardrock finishers. All in all, this year’s field includes runners from California to Maine, Washington to Florida, as well as from Australia, Germany, Italy, Scotland, England, and Finland.
What makes the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run one of the world’s most challenging events? Consider these facts: to complete the Hardrock Hundred demands that an athlete run elevation gains comparable to running from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest and back at an average elevation of more than two miles above sea level. This running includes going over 12,000 feet above sea level 13 times, above 13,000 feet an additional seven times, and summitting one of Colorado’s famed “14ers,” Handies Peak, at 14,048 feet above sea level.
The Hardrock Hundred racecourse links the history rich towns of Telluride, Ouray, Lake City, and Silverton. These picturesque mountain towns stand as testaments to the spirit of men and women who chose to carve their lives out of the rocks and lofty crags, seeking fame and fortune from the minerals hidden in these mountains and valleys. It is in the spirit of their perseverance and dedication that the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run is held every year.
The 2007 Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run will be held July 13-July 15. For more information, contact Dale Garland, run director, at email@example.com or 970/259-3693, or visit www.hardrock100.com.