In a shocking development, the Hardrock 100 Race Committee today announced that they will be adding an "elites only" component to their event this year. Citing increased interest in their event from elite runners, the race committee has decided to offer 10 spots to male elite athletes and 5 spots to elite female athletes for their July 7th event.
"It is clear that the elites want to come to Silverton, " said Gale Darland, RD, "we feel that by creating an elites only event we can expose the best runners in the world to our beautiful area." The elites only event will have a few additional components that are interesting to note:
1. Runners are invited to apply for the event and will be notified on July 4th whether or not they will be granted entry.
2. The Elite entry fee will be $1000 as the Race Committee acknowledges that most elite ultramarathon runners are fully sponsored athletes and therefore entry fees would be covered by sponsors.
3. The Elite Start will be at 5am, exactly one hour before the traditional 6am civilian start. In addition, elite runners will need to run the first 24 miles of the race without outside aid. "We believe that the elites can easily handle 24 miles without aid and it will add to the intrigue of the event," said Hardrock Board Chair Wake Blood.
4. In order to maintain the competitive nature of the "elites only" event the race will be cut-off after 24 hours for the men and 28 hours for the women. Several elite runners who were contacted in regard to this announcement acknowledge that a sub-20 hour finish is quite likely given the nature of the course and none of them have any doubt about completing the race under 24 hours.
5. In the event that one of the "civilian" runners passes one of the elite runners after Ouray the passed elite runner must drop out of the race. (AKA; the not-so-elite rule)
6. Any male elite runner who is passed by one of the female elite runners after Ouray must drop out of the race. (AKA the "getting chicked" rule)
7. All elites entered in the race must wear minimalist shoes. Any shoes weighing more than 6oz (size 9) are not allowed.
8. It goes without saying, but no pacers are allowed for the elite runners and crews can only access their runners at the Start and the Finish.
9. All elite runners will be required to run with GPS devices attached to their ankles and will be equipped with video cameras strapped to their heads to document the historic event.
10. The race will be televised on the Outdoor Life Network and the entire event will be streamed live to the gym in Silverton. All elites will participate in a press conference at 4am on race morning.
Obviously, this is a very exciting development for the sport of ultrarunning and provides yet another indicator of the remarkable growth of our sport!