There may not be a 2019 running of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run through the San Juan Mountains, but there will be plenty of trail running events that will provide ultra-running enthusiasts a chance to interact with some of the world’s best athletes.
A week of activities will kick off Sunday in Durango, as running stars Anna Frost, François D’haene, Dakota Jones and Hardrock 100 director Dale Garland will gather at the Durango Outdoor Exchange for a public meet and greet and run.
“I think everyone loves talking about Hardrock and running,” said Frost, a two-time Hardrock 100 champion originally from New Zealand who now also calls Durango home. “It’s a great opportunity for us to have these world-class athletes right here in Durango as well as having the race director of Hardrock here.”
The event will begin at 4:30 p.m. for a meet and greet. From 5 to 6 p.m., there will be a group run and hike of Animas Mountain. At 6 p.m., the group will return to Durango Outdoor Exchange for beer, snacks and a question and answer session.
D’haene was one the favorites to win this year’s Hardrock 100 but will have to wait until next year to run for his first chance to kiss the rock, as this year’s run was canceled after a winter of heavy snow that resulted in avalanche debris making many sections of the 100.5-mile loop from Silverton to Telluride, Ouray and Lake City and back to Silverton impassable. There was also big concern about high water with a late runoff from the melting snow.
France’s D’haene, a four-time Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc champion and UTMB course record holder, had planned to spend time running in the San Juan Mountains to prepare for this year’s Hardrock, and he still traveled to Southwest Colorado despite the race cancellation that was announced June 10.
“François D’haene, in my mind, is probably the best runner on the planet in terms of consistency and skill at ultra-running,” Frost said. “He has so much experience. He had a baby boy and was coming for Hardrock and decided to still come anyway. He’s pretty dedicated to his commitment to coming for Hardrock.”
Garland has yet to meet D’haene in person and is eager for him to join the Hardrock community this weekend.
“It does mean a lot when somebody of his stature and with his prestige in the ultra-running community says, you know what, it’s worth it for me to not blow this thing off and rearrange my schedule, I’m still going to enjoy the San Juan Mountains and still gonna be part of the Hardrock community,” Garland said.
Durango’s Jones also will be in attendance along with representatives from Salomon running. Frost said there will be several gear giveaways as well as a donation box to benefit the Silverton community and help mitigate the economic impact of there not being a race this year.
“I know Salomon is doing a special work day on Monday, so they are giving back and being part of the community, which I think is really cool,” Garland said.
Camp HardrockThe week of activities will shift Monday to Silverton with a focus around building the Hardrock community and providing events for the runners who are in town.
Part of the week is trail work, as teams will meet in front of the Silverton School at 7:30 a.m. each day with the goal of returning to town at 4 p.m. Course director James Varner is working to determine which areas crews can reach and what work needs to be done. Trail bosses will be assigned to instruct volunteers.
“Doing trail maintenance and that kind of stuff and see if we can undo some of the stuff that Mother Nature did this winter,” Garland said. “Also, do some things for the BLM and forest service that we know they aren’t going to get to that will mutually benefit us. For example, avalanche debris in Cunningham Gulch that we know they’re not going to have time to do.”
On top of the volunteer work, there will still be the “Trails in Motion” film tour stop Wednesday night. Dr. Timothy Durkin will also hold a high-altitude medical symposium Thursday.
There will be community events within Silverton, field days for travel to the various towns involved in Hardrock and a chance for runners to get out to places within the San Juan Mountains that they don’t usually travel to during a Hardrock week.
“It’s a chance for people to come together every day, every night,” Garland said. “Community gatherings, a community meal Saturday night (July 20) to wrap it up. We’re going to try to bring people together because they are there and want to be part of it.”
Those interested in participating in trail work can contact Garland at firstname.lastname@example.org.