Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run
The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultramarathon 100.5 miles (161.7 km) in length, with 33,000 feet (10,000 m) of climb at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet (3,400 m). The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado's San Juan Range, USA. The race is dedicated to the memory of the miners who settled in the area and who built the mining trails on which much of the race is run.
The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000' to 13,000' range. Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048' summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year's race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year's event (2008 was run in the clockwise direction, 2009 will be counter-clockwise). In order to complete the event, instead of crossing a finish line, runners are required to "kiss the Hardrock", a picture of a ram's head painted on a large block of stone mining debris.
The cut-off time for finishing the race is 48 hours. Current fast performances are held by Kyle Skaggs (23:23), set in 2008  and Krissy Moehl (29:24), set in 2007 . The average time required to finish this race is 41:10:15 , which is longer than the cutoff times of most 100-mile (160 km) races. This is due largely to the high elevations, which can cause altitude sickness or edema in some runners. In addition, the course covers extremely rugged terrain including steep scree climbs and descents, snow packs, river crossings, and boulder fields. The race starts at 6am, so runners who finish in over 40 hours see the sun set twice before finishing. Runners continue at night using flashlights or headlamps. Portions of the trail are adjacent to steep dropoffs and are described in the course description with the word "exposure".
The extreme altitude changes bring runners through several climate zones. Much of the course is above the tree line, which in Colorado is around 11,000 feet (3,400 m), and it is not uncommon for participants to go two nights in a row without sleep to finish the course.
While Hardrock is nominally a running event, many entrants use equipment typically used for hiking or mountain climbing, such as trekking poles or crampons. Weather can be very extreme in the San Juan mountains, where nighttime temperatures can drop to subzero Fahrenheit in the high elevations . Severe thunder storms can also roll in quickly, bringing rain, hail, high winds, or lightning with little warning. Thus most runners must be prepared for any type of weather. Most carry additional layers clothing in backpacks, as well as enough food and fluids to go up to 8 hours without aid.
The Hardrock 100 is the centerpiece of the "Rocky Mountain Slam," which a runner completes if s/he finishes Hardrock plus three of four other races in the Rocky Mountains: Leadville Trail 100, the Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Bighorn 100, or the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run . The award is presented at and hosted by the Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run, as this is the final run in the series.
Each year the running field is limited to 140 qualifying candidates selected in early February by the race's Run Committee. Prospective entrants are required to demonstrate adequate mountaineering experience either by having competed in the race previously, or running one of the following mountainous100-mile (160 km) ultramarathons in the previous 3 years: Wasatch, Eagle, the Bear, Angeles Crest, Massanutten Mountain Trails, Western States, Cascade Crest Classic, Plain, HURT, Bighorn or Leadville; or else have demonstrated equivalent mountaineering experience.