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Hardrock 100 - 17th Jul 2020


Location: Silverton, Colorado

Cost: $295

Time/Distance: 100 miles


The Hardrock 100 is an ultra-marathon of 100 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descend - a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet (3,400 m).  The extreme altitude changes take runners through several climate zones, where night-time temperatures can drop to sub-zero Fahrenheit on the high elevations and severe thunderstorms can roll in fast, bringing rain, hail, high winds or lightning at a drop of a hat. 

The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads and dirt trails, and passes through some of the most beautiful and rugged mountains in the world.

The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado, and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing 13 major passes in the 12,000’’ to 13,000’’ range. The race is held in early July of each year, and each year's race is run in the opposite direction to the previous year's event (2020 will be run counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a traditional finishing line, runners are required to "kiss the Hardrock", a picture of a ram's head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.

This course offers a post-graduate level challenge for endurance runners. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance. The run is a salute to the toughness and perseverance of the hardrock miners who lived and worked in the area. There are 13 aid stations, mostly located in the towns, as runners are expected to be largely self-supporting between the stations, carrying additional layers of clothing in backpacks, as well as enough food and fluids to go up to 8 hours without aid, making this a true test between the ‘runner and the mountains’. The course, Keep Fit Junkies, will be adequately but minimally marked so the emphasis is on staying alert and using the map and course instructions provided to you before the race to stay on route.

The cut-off time for finishing the race is 48 hours. Current fast performances are 23hrs : 23mins, set in 2008, and 27hrs : 18mins, set in 2009. The average time required to finish this race is just over 41hrs, which is longer than the cut-off times of most 100m (160 km) races. This is mostly due to the high elevations, which can bring on altitude sickness in some runners. It is also not uncommon for participants to go two nights in a row without sleep to finish the course, using flashlights or headlamps to make their way through the darkness. 

The Hardrock 100 is the centrepiece of the "Rocky Mountain Slam", which a runner completes if she/he finishes Hardrock 100 plus three of the four other races held in the Rocky Mountains (see website for a detailed list).

Each year the running field is limited to 152, with qualifying candidates selected in early February by the race's Run Committee, using a weighted lottery for all candidates except the previous year’s male and female winners. Prospective entrants are required to demonstrate an acceptable level of mountaineering experience either by having competed in the race previously, or running one of the following mountainous 100mile (160 km) ultra-marathons in the previous 3 years:

Barkley 100, Bear 100, Tour de Mont Blanc (163m), Ultrail Ehunmilak, Northburn Station 100, Tor de Geants and Ultra Trail Mount Fuji. 

This is not the complete list. Please visit the website for a complete list and for more information on these events.

To find out more/book your place go to:

Training plans/workouts: 

This is definitely a post-graduate run, and not just a harder or higher version of some other trail hundred-milers. It is up to you to devise a training programme that will get you to Silverton, Colorado, in the best possible condition. The organisers do suggest participants do a pre-run on one of the sections to get more exposure of the course.  This will allow you to calibrate your ability to handle heights against the actual conditions that can/may occur. Please contact organisers to arrange a pre-run and to get more advice on preparing for this event. 

Warning: Sunburn, blisters, sprains, abrasions, fatigue depletion in sugar and dehydration are conditions/injuries that competitors have incurred during endurance events like this one, so it is important you train hard, are prepared for the dangers and take the necessary precautions to stay safe when choosing to participate in events like this one.

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From the iron pushers to the aerobic warriors, the hard-core cyclists, the extreme sports lovers, the solo runners, the 6 am swimmers to the multi-sport heroes, who train like they have no finish line, anyone with this kind of mindset is welcome. Keep Fit Junkie was built to keep you informed, educated and inspired!