Hard Times in the San Juans
Koerner surprises, Africa shakes runner-up status with Hardrock wins
Photo courtesy of iRunFar.com
Hal Koerner can finally add the Hardrock Endurance Run to his extensive list of ultramarathon wins. The Ashland, Oregon, resident was not deterred by the race’s high altitude and unrelenting steepness, finishing the 100-mile course through the San Juan Mountains outside Silverton, Colorado, Saturday in 24:50:13 - the third-fastest time in course history.
“There are things you know you are capable of, but sometimes it takes special people, places and circumstances for that to happen,” Koerner says. “This year’s Hardrock 100 encompassed all that.”
Koerner, who won the Western States 100 in 2007 and 2009, had only attempted Hardrock once before—in 2005, when he placed third. He had recently notched wins at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile (February) and the Javelina “Jundred” 100 Mile (last November), but had posted disappointing results at the Chuckanut 50K in March (placing 16th), The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile—San Francisco in December (placing 22nd) and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in August (placing 372nd).
“I would like to say I surprised myself, but I was also out to surprise others as well,” he says. “I thought I built off some lessons I learned from 2005 and made all the difference. Going in well-rested, making concessions for the altitude, staying patient and making myself stay focused for 100 miles made the day come to me.”