Some 140 runners are lining up to trot a cumulative 14,000 miles (100 miles each) over some of the most extreme terrain in the United States starting on Friday, July 8.
And as usual, they will be starting and finishing in Silverton in the 28th running of the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run.
The grueling ordeal begins at Kendall Mountain Recreation Area at 6 a.m. Friday.
“We encourage everyone to come out and cheer and stop in (at race headquarters at Kendall Mountain) to see how the race is progressing,” said race director Garland said.
Last year’s winner, Jared Campbell of Salt Lake City, and women’s winner Diana Finkel of South Fork will return to defend their titles.
Former champions returning include Karl Meltzer of Sandy, Utah, Kirk Apr of Fruita, Blake Wood of Los Alamos, N.M., Betsy Nye of Truckee. Calif., and Betsy Kalmeyer of Leadville.
Hoping to reach the lofty height of 10 Hardrock finishes, requiring more than 1,000 miles at an average elevation of more than two miles above sea level, are Kris Kern of Los Alamos and Rickie Redland or Salida.
Even more impressive is the attempt of John Dewalt of Sarver, Pa., who, at age 75, will attempt to finish his 15th Hardrock.
This is a trail run, with runners going over 12,000 feet above seal level 13 times, an additional seven times over 13,000 feet, and running over the summit of Handies Peak, one of Colorado’s famed “Fourteeners,” at 14, 048 feet.
The Hardrock Hundred’s traditional Silverton home is at the school gym, but that is going through a major overhaul this summer.
Garland expressed gratitude that the town allowed use of the Kendall Mountain facility.
“Silverton is our home. It’s our base and we really appreciate the community support and the enthusiasm they share with us,” Garland said Wednesday.
And he said Kendall Mountain makes a great starting point.
“We’re going to give them 10 or 20 feet of flat land before we start them up the hill,” Garland said, noting the runners embarking Friday morning will head up the Lackwanna Trail on their way to Cunningham Gulch.
The biggest course change this year — the exit from Telluride, where runners will ascend into Bridal Veil Basin rather than Bear Creek due to property use issues.
Garland said the race through the high country involves a lot of logistics, with some 250 volunteers involved.
And Garland said the race has become something of a worldwide event among the “community of crazies” comprised of extreme-distance runners.
“The vertical climb, the high elevation make it entirely an event unto itself,” Garland said.
He estimated the run brings in some $300,000 to the area’s economy.
The Hardrock Hundred Endurance Race is scheduled to use the following routes in its July 8-10 run based at Kendall Mountain:
Friday, July 8:
6-9 a.m. — Arastra Gulch to Dives-Little Giant Pass, to Cunningham Gulch.
8a.m.-noon — Cunningham Gulch Road to Green Mountain Trail to Stony Pass and Maggie Gulch.
9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Pole Creek Pass-West fork of Pole Creek to Cataract-Pole Pass to Cottonwood Creek Trail.
11 a.m.-11 p.m. — South side of Cinnamon Pass Road to Grizzly Gulch Trail-Handies Peak-American Basin to Grouse Gulch Trail.
Friday and Saturday, July 8-9
3 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday — South side Engineer Pass to Oh Point Road to Bear Creek Trail (Ouray).
6 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday — Camp Bird Road to Virginia Pass to Mendota Ride Trail to Joe Wiebe Trail.
10 p.m. Friday to 9 p.m. Saturday — Bridal Veil Basin (Telluride) to Wasatch Trail in Oscars Pass to Ophir Pass Road.
Saturday and Sunday, July 9-10.
12 a.m. Saturday to 12 a.m. Sunday — Swamp Canyon Jeep Road to Grant-swamp Pass to Ice Lake Trail.
4 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday — Porcupine Gulch Trail to Cataract Basin Trail to Putnam Basin Trail.
6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday — Putnam Creek Trail to Bear Creek Trail (Silverton).