Steamboat Hardrock 100 winner focuses on 100-miler abroad following cancellation
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cancellation of the prestigious Hardrock 100 endurance run likely changes up the calendar for many of the most elite ultra runners.
The race was officially cancelled on June 10, citing historic snowfall, avalanches and avalanche debris on more than 40% of the course.
Steamboat Springs’ own Sabrina Stanley won the race last year, meaning she had an automatic entry into this year’s race. She will maintain that entry and so will the recipients of the lottery selection for 2020. This means the list of entries is set for the next year.
“I’ve been living here since April, so I was 75% sure they were going to cancel it,” Stanley said. “I was super bummed, and I didn’t really have a plan B.”
Stanley plans on racing at the Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island off the coast of Madagascar in October. It will be the most competitive international ultramarathon she’s entered yet. The race would’ve been just 13 weeks after the Hardrock 100, which is not ideal for Stanley’s schedule. She likes to keep her 100-milers six months to one year apart.
“Hardrock was an exception, because it’s so prestigious,” Stanley said. “In a way, it was a blessing. I can go into my October race not recovering one from a summer 100-miler.”
The Hardrock 100 is one of the most widely known ultra races in the U.S., and because of that, Stanley usually knows her competition. Going into her race in Madagascar, the field could be stacked with some of the best of the world, but she isn’t quite familiar with their names or strategies as she would be at an American race.
In lieu of doing the Hardrock 100, Stanley signed up for the Never Summer 100K, which is 64.2 miles long with 13,000 feet of vertical gain and descent in Colorado. The minimum elevation is at 8,450 feet above sea level.
“There’s a lot of climbing in it, average elevation is above 10,000 feet for the entire race, and it’s got a field of at least 400 people or more,” Stanley said. “The time frame, climbing, altitude and field size were ideal. There weren’t a lot of 100-milers I felt were worth my time that I wanted to risk burning myself out.”
Stanley will run the Never Summer 100K on July 27 before she tests her talents abroad at Reunion Island.
“I did a race in Italy, but I wouldn’t consider it competitive,” Stanley said. “A lot of the top runners should be there (Reunion Island), and it will draw a competitive field.”
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I have been skiing about 15 years now, learning to Nordic ski in gym class in elementary school and grew up Alpine skiing at Okemo Mountain in my home state of Vermont. I’m by no means a daredevil but I am comfortable on Alpine skis and my ability to get around in them.