The Hardrock 100 is a bucket list race for many ultramarathoners. A spot on the starting line is a coveted prize since only 145 runners get the privilege of lining up on race day, and the lottery receives around 2,000 entries each year.
As most trail runners know, the Hardrock 100 is an infamous endurance race in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Range with 66,100 feet in elevation change. The average elevation is 11,186 feet, which often causes problems on race day for runners who aren’t acclimated to running in the thin mountain air. Finishers must cross thirteen major mountain passes, scree fields, snowpack, river crossings and 13 climbs above 12,000 feet. They have 48 hours to get it done.
This year 126 runners finished the race and kissed the rock, a Hardrock 100 tradition. The final finisher, Robert Andrulis completed the race in 47 hours, 49 minutes, 20 seconds, with just under 11 minutes to spare. Andrulis ran his first Hardrock 100 in 2007, and according to Ultra Signup, this was his tenth year running the race.
In my book, an honorable DFL goes to Adam Campbell, who actually finished 31st with a time of 33:17:57. Campbell is an elite runner who is sponsored by Arc’teryx. In 2014, he finished Hardrock 100 in third place, despite being struck by lightning at Handies Peak, the highest point on the course. Less than a year ago, Campbell fell 200+ feet at Rogers Pass, near Glacier National Park, and broke his pelvis and spine T8-T11. He also suffered a broken ankle, several foot fractures, as well as soft tissue injuries including torn ligaments and tendons.
After surgery, Campbell had to re-learn how to walk, but less than a year later, he was back on the starting line at Hardrock 100. Campbell told Trail Runner Magazine that for the last 30 miles, “It appeared like the finish kept moving farther and farther away from me. I was stuck in some horrible ultrarunning nightmare, where you chase a never-approaching finish line.” I think many back-of-the-pack runners can relate to that feeling.
In the same article, Campbell spoke from personal experience when he shared, “Success comes easy when you’re feeling good, but truly great performances come to those who have to figure out how to overcome adversity.”
In the spirit of celebrating the stubborn, Campbell definitely earned a honorable DFL. So did Jornet, come to think of it. Congratulations to Robert Andrulis, Kilian Jornet, Adam Campbell, and everyone else who kissed the finishers’ rock at the Hardrock 100 this year!