HardRock Race Column
- This year's Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run weekend was a special one,
indeed. On July 13-15, 110 runners from 25 states and 4 foreign countries
gathered in Silverton to experience what is arguably one of the most
beautiful and difficult 100-mile runs in the world. Handies Peak, Bear
Creek, Engineer Mountain and Oscar's Pass are just a handful of the locales
that runners can set their sights upon during the contest.
After all of the streams and rivers had been crosed, the peaks had been
scaled and the knees had been scraped on the wicked, steep descents, Karl
Metlzer of Utah and Betsy Kalmeyer of Colorado claimed victories.
But this event is not just about the fastest runners. It is about 65-year
old John DeWalt and his fifth HardRock finish. It is about the hundreds of
volunteers, families and friends, medical personnel, radio and
communications technicians who all share a love for the mountains and the
Race entrant Dr. Tyler Curiel, from Dallas, Texas brought his family and
stayed in Silverton for several days before the race just enjoying the
hospitality of the area. Scott Eppleman brought fiance Kelly to share the
experience and to make sure that she knows what she is getting involved
with. Ultrarunners are quite the eccentrics. Former Motorola Marathon Race
Director Joe Prusaitis visited local runner and former Austin running club
peer, Sheena Carswell, while in Durango for the HardRock.
Finishing within the 48-hour time limit is a nice touch for any participant
but, this is not what the event is about either. It is about the joy of
training, giving one's best effort and breaking down the barriers and fears
that prevent each one of us from achieving our goals whether they be
athletic ones or otherwise.
With an average finishing time of around 40 hours, each run participant saw
at least two sunrises and one sunset against the backdrop of some of the
area's most spectacular scenery.
Besides being a great forum for ultra-distane runners worldwide to test
their mettle, this contest is also a shot in the arm for the town of
Silverton which so heavily relies upon tourism for its survival. Part of the
proceeds are put into a fund for scholarships for Silverton High School
students who wish to attend college.
In this, my second atempt at HardRock, I was one of the lucky ones. With six
cans of Ensure, four turkey and cheese sandwiches, three peanut butter and
jelly ones, a dozen oreo cookies, a few banannas, a couple of gallons of
water and physical therapist, pacer and close friend John McAward by my side
for some 30 hours and 50 miles, I was able to complete this year's adventure
in 45 hours and 15 minutes.
When contemplating this story during the run, I initially believed that I
would write an extensive thank-you note with a laundry list of the people
who made this event happen and gave me the inspiration to complete it. That,
I decided would be well-beyond the scope of 450 words. Simply put,
How do I as a participant and a writer convey the excitement of this
wonderful contest between man and mountains to you, the reader? How does a
sighted person describe color to a blind individual? Both tasks are nearly
impossible. Perhaps a lover in love comes the closest in understanding the
beauty of the run and the beauty of color.
The only difference between imagination and achievement is desire.
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