So many races, so little time. No sooner am I back from three weeks travelling around the Canaries, Spain, Italy and France covering races and I am back in France for Ice Trail Tarentaise and then the Skyrunning European Championships in Canazei, the Dolomites. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love what I do. But it can be difficult to keep up… of course Western States occurred while I was travelling, I did manage to preview that and now as I am sitting in Italy to head to Val D’Isère, Hardrock 100 is due to start. So, here is a preview.
Just a week ago the race looked as though it may have problems due to wildfires. However, the fires subsided and the race is on. In comparison to previous years, the route appears to have less snow, so a faster time may well be a possibility. Although the race has a quality field, it ultimately looks like a two horse race in both the men’s and ladies races.
Joe Grant is returning after second place last year and sacrificed participation in Ronda dels Cims to make sure he is in the best possible shape to win. He had an awful run at Transvulcania in May after picking up a bug that would appear to have leaped around many of the elite runners staying at the same hotel. A bug that took Anton Krupicka out of the race. Joe dedicated late 2012 and early 2013 to the Iditarod Trail Invitational, a super long race in freezing temperatures pulling a sled. He should be well recovered now and I am sure the benefits of that race will come to the fore at Hardrock 100.
Last minute entrant, Sebastian Chaigneau has wanted to run this race for some time and he finally gets his chance. Always a tough competitor, this long, hard and gnarly course will work to his strengths and I think you will see Joe and Seb battle at the front of the race. Joe has two advantages; he has done the race before and he will also be more adapted to the altitude. It will be a compelling race to watch.
Speedgoat is returning, like Joe he knows this course like the back of his hand. He had a few problems early this year with a niggling calf but despite all logic, he turned up at Western States just a few weeks ago and still pulled off tenth place. Possibly the most experienced 100 miler on the planet, you can never rule Karl Meltzer out!
Jared Campbell needs no introduction; he loves races that are tough gnarly and a challenge. He recently raced the super tough 177km Ronda dels Cims and finished 7th. When I interviewed him the day after the race he looked fresh and trouble free. Ronda took him nearly 34 hours and that has to leave some fatigue in the body, however, I think we will see him improve on his 13th overall at Hardrock 100 in 2012.
Scott Jamie is an experienced Hardrocker (does that term exist). Anyway, he has finished in the top ten five times with a best overall placing of second. He appears to be in good shape with a recent win at Antelope Island Buffalo run.
Other male contenders:
- Ted Mahon
- Troy Howard
- Chris Price
- Nick Coury
- Jamil Coury
Diana Finkel was out front last year and dominating the race. Karl Meltzer sums it up when he says, ‘Diana is the best in the business on these long tough courses, and she can hike really quick’. However, she dropped at just over 80 miles last year due to ongoing health issues that she needs to monitor. It was very much a safety precaution and the correct call. Diana will be gunning for the top of the podium and if her health remains positive, I think we will see her in the no1 slot in the ladies race… don’t rule her out for the ‘overall’ too!
Last years winner, Darcy Africa returns and will be looking for a repeat performance. When Diana dropped in 2012 she was 1 hour behind, so, Darcy will need to up her game a little if she wants to remain in contention in 2013. It’s going to be an exciting battle.
Other female contenders:
- Sarah McCloskey
- Darla Askew
- Betsy Kalmeyer
- Betsy Nye
RACE WEBSITE HERE