Hardcore inov-8 athlete Joe Grant is ready to push his body to the extreme in one of the world’s toughest 100-mile mountain races tomorrow (Friday July 12). The rugged Hardrock 100 ultra-marathon course has a mind-boggling total ascent of 10,361m, plus a similar amount of descent.
By way of comparison, that far exceeds the 8,848m of ascent that would need to be tackled if summiting Mount Everest from sea level. Runners have 48 hours to complete the extreme challenge, which starts and finishes in Silverton, Colorado, US. The highest point on the course is at an oxygen-stealing 4,281m.
Joe, who will wear inov-8’s newly-updated X-Talon 212 shoe, finished second in last year’s race in a time of 25 hours and six minutes, having placed sixth in 2011.
Colorado-based Joe, who was born in the UK and raised in France and Spain, said:
“I’m feeling really good about this year’s race. I’m well prepared, know the course well and am ready to bring it. With the altitude and tough terrain, Hardrock is a game of patience, and I’m ready for it.”
Summing up just how tough the course is, the official Hardrock 100 website delivers this message:
“The course is designed to provide extreme challenges in altitude, steepness, and remoteness. Mountaineering, wilderness survival and wilderness navigation skills are as important in this event as your endurance. This is a test of runners against the mountains.
“It’s on trails as much as possible and there are 13 aid stations; major aid stations will be located in the towns with less well-equipped aid stations in between. Runners are expected to be largely self-supporting between the towns.
“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.”
After finishing joint-second in the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational epic across the Alaskan wilderness in March, Joe battled a flu virus to bravely complete the 51-mile Transvulcania skyrunning race two months ago.
Since then he has trained hard at altitude, with a focus on winning the Hardrock 100. In his preview of the race, Bryon Powell, writing on the popular ultra running website iRunFar, said:
“A fresh Joe Grant might just have the best chance of winning the race this year. Joe is this year’s top returning runner after taking second place in 2012, 16 minutes behind Hal Koerner.
“Joe’s run at the Iditarod Trail Invitational this winter can only have made him that much tougher. Aside from a disastrous go at Transvulcania, Joe’s been laying low the past few months.”
Joe is excited at the prospect of racing in inov-8’s updated model of their classic X-Talon 212 shoe, saying:
“The Hardrock course has lots of loose terrain and the weather forecast is predicting storms, so I’ll be wanting the extra grip the X-Talon 212s provide. The updated model (new for autumn/winter 2013) has a new injected EVA midsole which will make for a plush and comfortable ride – perfect for a rugged 100 miles.”