A bright media spotlight was focused on the front of the pack at the 27th edition of the Hardrock 100 – and for good reason. On the men’s side, defending champion Francois D’Haene squared off against four-time champion Kilian Jornet, while the women’s side featured the dominant Courtney Dauwalter’s pursuit for redemption following a DNF in 2021.
The top of the ticket lived up to the hype, with Jornet, of Spain, and D’Haene, of France, weathering a fearless performance by Dakota Jones before tracking him down in the late miles. Ultimately, Jornet pulled away on the final climb and raced to his fifth victory in five tries while also setting new clockwise and overall course records with his winning time of 21:36:24. d’Haene followed 15 minutes later in 21:51:19 and Jones placed third in 23:06:17. Meanwhile, Dauwalter placed sixth overall and dominated the women’s field, winning with new clockwise and overall course records in 26:44:36. Her closest competitor, Canada’s Stephanie Case, followed in 33:52:40.
Beyond the spotlight of the front-runners, a half-dozen current or former New England residents also took their places among the 145 starters of the legendary race through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, starting and finishing in Silverton and passing through the mountain towns of Telluride, Ouray and Lake City along the way, all while amassing more than 33,000 feet of vertical gain on the 102.5-mile course.
Runners had 48 hours to complete the journey, and some needed nearly every last minute to finish.
Former Massachusetts resident David Huss, now living in Seattle, Wash., made his second Hardrock appearance a success thanks to early patience and a whole lot of grit. He took his time during the early climbs, weathered a heavy midday thunderstorm on Saturday and then spent the rest of the race gradually picking off other runners as he climbed to a 46th place finish in 38:38:40. The two-time Hardrock finisher (2017 was his first) used his race to raise funds to treat and cure childhood diseases. His fundraiser page is still accepting donations at this link.
Another former Massachusetts resident, Jeff List, now of Anacortes, Wash., entered the 2022 Hardrock 100 with nine finishes in nine tries to his credit. His 10th attempt was another success as he applied the wisdom and experience gained in prior years and used it to his advantage. List was in 95th place 11 miles into the race; he took his time on the early climbs in preparation for the long race ahead. The big climbs and heavy rain that followed were nothing he hadn’t experienced during his previous runs through the San Juans. List consistently climbed the rankings throughout the race, passing dozens of other runners as he made his way back toward Silverton. List became a 10-time Hardrock finisher, placing 64th overall in 41:03:53.
Less than an hour after List finished, Scott Slater of Guilford, Conn., became a first-time Hardrock finisher. Just like List, Slater raced conservatively early, which allowed him to run and hike strong during the late miles. He passed more than 40 runners on his way to a 70th-place finish in 42:00:45.
Former Massachusetts resident Bogie Dumitrescu, now of Boulder, Colo., became a three-time Hardrock finisher. Unlike in 2015 when he turned in the most dramatic finish in the history of the race when he kissed the rock with one second to spare, Dumitrescu had a comfortable cushion of a few hours with his 90th-place finish in 44:50:24.
The final finisher from New England was Dima Feinhaus of Waban, Mass. A three-time starter and two-time finisher (2013 and 2021) entering the race, Feinhaus had endured the challenges presented by the terrain, altitude and weather during his prior Hardrock appearances, and those experiences benefitted him when times got tough this year. Late in the race, course markings on the way into the Cunningham Gulch aid station (mile 93.2) were missing, and aid station volunteers climbed up and down the trail to help shepherd runners in the right direction. The lack of markings caused runners like Feinhaus to either pause and wait for volunteers or try to figure out the now unmarked route themselves, costing them precious time as the race grew late.
The delay meant the odds were stacked against Feinhaus as he neared the final push, but he persevered. He departed Cunningham Gulch with an 85-minute cushion on the cutoff, but one final climb remained. Feinhaus made the 2,600-foot march up Dives Little Giant Pass to 13,000 feet above sea level, then made the long final descent into Silverton where he kissed the rock to finish with 18 minutes to spare in 47:41:55.
Shortly after Feinhaus finished, the final three finishers completed the race. The last runner in was Peter Lawson of Claremont, Calif., who kissed the rock with less than three minutes to spare in 47:57:15.
Debbie Livingston of Bolton, Conn., started this year’s race but did not finish. She dropped after 57.9 miles. A Hardrock finisher in 2017, Livingston won all four previous ultras she started this year, including the grueling HURT 100 in Hawaii in January.