Friday Inspiration: Hardrock

The legendary Hardrock 100, one of the toughest mountain races in the world, is underway. You can see the live coverage on irunfar twitter feed and read their extensive coverage of the race here.

This course is built for Kilian Jornet, and even though he’s barely run this year, he’s still the favorite. I’d also love to see Adam Campbell, a fellow lawyer, do well and Anna Frost break the women’s course record. But however it goes, it will be interesting. Here a great video on Darcy Piceu, last year’s winner, and Anna Frost’s main competition:

Someday I’d love to run this race, but today I’ll be satisfied with watching it from my cube.

 

 

Kilian Jornet At Hardrock

This weekend, Kilian Jornet destroyed the course record at the legendary HardRock 100.  He ran the famously  “wild and tough” 100 mile race in a previously unheard of 22:41:33.  In doing so, he cemented his reputation, at least in my mind, as the best mountain runner ever.*

Kilian in the midst of crushing the Hardrock course record.

If you don’t follow the sport of ultrarunning, it is hard to express how impressive it is to run this course that fast. The previous record of 23:23:20 set by Kyle Skaggs in 2008 was considered one of the most impressive, and least likely to be bettered, course records in the sport. Yet Jornet didn’t just beat the record, he bettered it by forty minutes without really trying. He ran the first half of the course easy, waited for another runner at one point so he could have someone to talk to, and routinely spent more than ten minutes in aid stations chatting with volunteers.  When he finished, he showed the race director pictures he’d taken on the course:

Its  just an incredible performance.  And Jornet is such a fascinating character.  A professional runner and skier, he makes his living doing what he loves.  He is head and shoulder above his competition in mountain running and ski mountaineering yet he seems genuinely humble and kind. Everyone in the sport has only kind things to say about him.  Still, at the front of the ultra field, it must be strange to compete against a man who is clearly so much better than his rivals. And it must be equally strange to be so much better than everyone else at these pursuits so few people care about.

A couple of years ago, the New York Times profiled Jornet claiming he was the best the most dominate endurance athelete of his generation. There is no doubt that is true. With his completion of Hardrock, he has hinted that he might leave ultra running and concentrate on speed assents of the world’s summits.  He’s documenting that incredible undertaking in a film series called Summits Of My Life.

Cause, you know, why not?

Its truly exciting to live in a time with such an incredible athlete. I cannot wait to see what he does next.

Want more?

Here’s a couple of interviews with Jornet after the race:

 

* he is also, arguably the best ski mountaineer ever, and one of the best speed climbers ever having set a new FKT on Denali just weeks before Hardrock. That adds to the records he already holds on Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This is just insane, you get that, right?

Hardrock

The Hardrock 100 is widely considered one of, if not the, hardest 100 mile race in the United States. It is surely the most beautiful and also wonderfully eccentric.  Organized by a bunch of rocket scientists (seriously) and mountain weirdos, entry is determined through a complex lottery that rewards those who have finished the race numerous time, or haven’t finished it at all.  The only people guaranteed an entry are the man and woman who won it the previous year.  Everyone else, no matter how fast or famous they are, has to try their luck

With 66000 (yes, sixty six thousand) feet of elevation change, all of which happens way way high in the San Juan mountains, Hardrock is a challenge for even the best mountain runner to finish. It is, as the motto proclaims “Wild and Tough”.  Only a select few people in the world can possibly compete for the win.  This year, for perhaps the only time in a decades, many of the best ultra runners in the world happened to have gotten in to Hardrock turning it into one of the most competitive races of the year.  Also, there are flash flood warnings.  And it snowed yesterday.  And its just fucking crazy and beautiful and totally captivating.  If you want to see the best performances in ultra-running this year, you need to have your eyes trained on Hardrock over the next 24 hours.

Irunfar is doing comprehensive coverage of the race.  It is definitely the best place to follow what’s happening.  You can follow their live coverage with comments  from ultra running obsessives here, or their more manageable twitter feed here.

For some background into this special race, its worth reading this article and perhaps watching some of the dozens and dozens of videos available on youtube about Hardrock.

Here’s a pretty awesome one about last year’s female winner Darcy Piceu (formerly Africa):