In a stunning upset at the Hardrock 100 yesterday, Xavier Thevenard of France was disqualified for accepting aid outside of an official aid station, leaving Jeff Browning in first place. Browning went on to win the race in a time of 26:20:22.

In her first Hardrock Hundred, the first female finisher was Sabrina Stanley, in a time of 30:23:38. Nikki Kimball, also racing Hardrock for the first time, finished second, in 32:18:20, and Darla Askew was third, in 32:50:30. 

RELATED: Adam Campbell withdraws from Hardrock 100

Stanley was third female at Western States 100 last year. She decided to forego this year’s race in order to adequately prepare to run her best at Hardrock, living and training in the area for two months in advance of the race. Betsy Kalmeyer finished her 19th Hardrock yesterday, more than any other woman.

In the men’s race, Jeff Rome finished in second place, in 26:34:34. Troy Howard was third, in 27:09:34. Browning was a last-minute entrant, getting a spot just 11 days before the race when Canadian runner Adam Campbell dropped out.

Browning was fifth at Western States three weeks ago, and was looking to better his record of 42:12 for the “double” (WSER and Hardrock), which he set in 2016. (He was close yesterday, but not quite fast enough to break his earlier record.)

RELATED: How Hardrock 100 runners prepare for altitude

Thevenard was DQ’d for accepting ice and water from friends who met him along the route, after passing through the aid station at Ouray (69K into the course). After some deliberation, he was taken out of the race at Cunningham, about 145K along the 160K course.

Facebook erupted in a storm of controversy about the decision. While many people (including Thevenard himself) complained that the decision to DQ was too harsh under the circumstances, suggesting that a time penalty would have been more appropriate, others pointed to the race rules, which state clearly that “runners are not allowed to accept aid between aid stations. Any runner who takes aid where they should not may be disqualified,” a common rule in ultramarathons. 

 

Thévénard was not the only racer to be DQ’d yesterday. Dima Feinhaus, 55, of the U.S., was found to have deviated from the course, and to have returned to the course without retracing his steps. 

In both cases, race director Dale Garland stated that “While the violation was clear and substantive, we do not feel it was made with malicious intent, and invite [Thévénard and Feinhaus] to join the lottery for future Hardrocks.”

 

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