Last weekend was the 26th running of the Hardrock 100, a brutal ultramarathon in Southwestern Colorado’s San Juan mountains that has an average elevation of 11,000 feet. The two-day event was filled with drama and excitement—defending co-champion Jason Schalrb was forced to drop at mile nine due to a stomach bug, and women’s race leader Caroline Chaverot took a wrong turn at mile 70. Most notably, though, Kilian Jornet won for the fourth year in a row, despite falling and dislocating his shoulder at mile 14, popping it back into place himself, and running the remaining 86 miles with his left arm in a makeshift sling. This victory came just two months after the 29-year-old Spaniard summited Everest twice in one week. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the race unfolded.
Photo: Kilian, at mile 56, leaving the Ouray aid station.
Spectators lined the streets of Silverton, Colorado, at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 14, for the start of Hardrock. The 100-mile race, which takes runners up a total of 33,050 vertical feet, connects the towns of Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride. This year’s run saw a noticeable increase in spectators.
Kilian Jornet tries to keep his feet dry by crossing the first stream, at mile nine, without his shoes, an inefficient strategy he would later abandon.
French runner Caroline Chaverot raced the first half of Hardrock at a blazing speed, hanging with the top men under course record pace. Late on Friday night, she would take a wrong turn before Telluride, around mile 70, a mistake that took her an hour and a half to correct. Here, she climbs to the summit of 12,592-foot Stony Pass early in the race.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mashed potatoes, and even pumpkin pie was offered to runners at the Ouray aid station (mile 57). The cutoff for Hardrock racers is 48 hours, and many aid station volunteers wait at their post for hours between runners.