Sebastian Chaigneau of Annecy, France, didn’t even know if he’d be in the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run right up until a few days before last weekend’s race.
Chaigneau, 41, was on the waiting list for one of the coveted 140 slots for the 20th Hardrock run. He ended up making the cut and took off from Silverton Friday morning with the other runners. Some 24 hours, 25 minutes (and 100 miles later) he was the first one back to Silverton School to kiss the Hardrock and claim victory.
Darcy Africa, 38, of Boulder, had her second first-place finish for the women in 29 hours, 54 minutes and 55 seconds.
This year’s race, counterclockwise from Silverton to Lake City, to Ouray, Telluride and back to Silverton, was a soggy affair, with scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the 48-hour race period.
“The altitude was a challenge,” Chaigneau said, noting he had been training in France at elevations of 6,000 feet or so.
And he expressed amazement at the rugged endurance run course through San Juans.
“I saw 40 or 45 elk, some moose,” Chaigneau said. “I saw many things. It’s an incredible place.”
Approaching the top of 14,058-foot-tall Handies Peak, Chaigneau said he was worried as storm clouds rolled in.
“The weather was turning stormy,” Chaigneau said. “But at the summit there was nothing, It was just very cold.”
Further down “there was a lot of rain at the foot of the mountain and lightning in the distance. I heard thunder everywhere.”
Chaigneau said the hardest part was coming out of Ouray.
But that’s when he was joined by Scott Jurek of Boulder, 2007 Hardrock winner, who paced him through the remainder of the race.
Chaigneau set a record time for the counter clockwise Hardrock Hundred (the race alternates directions every year).
Karl Meltzer of Utah previously held the counter-clockwise record of 24 hours, 38 minutes. The overall fastest time is 23:23.30, a record set by Kyle Skaggs in 2008.
Race director Dale Garland said 74 percent of the 140 runners completed the 100 miles in the 48-hour limit.
“We didn’t lose anybody, at least for long.”
He said 104 runners earned their diplomas, “their master’s of mileage, their Doctorates of Distance.
Complete Hardrock Hundred results, more photos on Page 8.