In an effort to avoid a race cancellation for a second consecutive year, the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run will wait a bit longer to make a decision on its 2020 event as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
This year, the famed ultramarathon that runs through the heart of the southern San Juan Mountains with a start and finish in Silverton is scheduled to be run July 17. With a field made up of runners from North America as well as all across Europe, Asia and Australia, it is still unknown if many athletes will be able to travel to Southwest Colorado for the event or if state mandates will permit large gatherings.
“While Hardrock remains committed to doing everything in its power to put on the 2020 Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, we realize that even though great steps have been taken to combat COVID-19, considerable uncertainty remains not only within our community but the world in general,” run director Dale Garland said. “In moving forward with any decision regarding this year’s run, our first and foremost commitment is to ensure the health, safety and well being of the entire Hardrock community and our society at large.”
Hardrock is a relatively small event in terms of athlete participation with a cap of 145 runners. Still, the event drew 2,487 applicants for the 2019 race, which was canceled because of avalanche debris and high-water conditions on the course following a 2018-19 winter of above average snowfall.
The same field of 145 runners selected in the lottery in December 2018 have waited more than a year for their chance at the 26th edition of the run. Garland knows a decision needs to be made in enough time for international travelers to make appropriate plans.
Last year’s cancellation was only the third in the event’s history dating back to 1992. The first was in 1995 because of too much snow, and it was canceled again in 2002 before of fire danger.
Earlier this year, the Western States 100 in California announced the cancellation of its June event. Thursday, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, a bike race event in Durango and Silverton, announced it would cancel instead of pursuing alternative schedule dates for September.
Hardrock requires permits from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service to conduct the event. Currently, San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad has closed Silverton and its surrounding forest areas to all non-Silverton residents. Having Silverton reopen would be the first of several steps requires for the Hardrock to be held along with the easing for safer-at-home orders in place by Gov. Jared Polis.
Silverton currently has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Part of the IHBC decision to cancel was in an effort to keep that number at zero and not introduce travelers to the area.
“As part of its decision making process, Hardrock will continue to remain in contact with key officials within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), local public health agencies and local communities,” Garland said. “We continue to appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during these extraordinary and unsettling times. We encourage all members of our community to remain safe, heed the advice of your local health professionals and practice social distancing to ensure we continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.”