Controversy rages over Hardrock 2018 results

By Alice Morrison

Jeff Browning, a 46-year-old from the USA, is the winner of this year’s Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run, following the sensational disqualification of France’s Xavier Thévenard who had a lead of around an hour up till his dismissal.

Traditionally, the winner is the first person to kiss the finisher’s rock of the 100 mile route which goes from Silverton to Telluride, Ouray, Lake City and back to Silverton.

Jeff did it in 26:20:22.

His win came after Xavier was disqualified from the race less than ten miles from the finishing line. The Hardrock rules (Executive Rule Summary ) state that there should be: “No stashing of supplies along the course and no accepting aid except within 400 yards of a designated aid station.” However, Xavier got ice and water from a crew car around 2 miles away from the Ouray aid station.

The Hardrock organisers ruled that he had been in violation and deserved disqualification: “We were made aware that runner Xavier Thévenard was given aid outside of an aid station. After careful consideration, investigation of the facts, and conversations with the affected parties, it was confirmed that Xavier was met at a roadside two miles outside of Ouray and given ice and water.

The decision has regrettably been made to disqualify Xavier from this year’s Hardrock. Our rules protect the integrity of Hardrock and the values of fairness and sportsmanship for all participants. While the violation was clear and substantive, we do not feel it was made with malicious intent, and invite Xavier to join the lottery for future Hardrocks.”

Xavier posted this statement to his Facebook page after the race: “The Hardrock 100 adventure, this race which made me dream so much ends for my pacer and friend Bengi Girondel and me at Cunningham after 145 km of race, while we were going to run the loop in less than 24 hours!!!! I don’t contest the facts, but this (organization’s) decision is, according to me, a little bit cruel…”

For Jeff Browning, it was a bitter sweet victory as he said on Twitter @gobroncobilly: “While I wouldn’t have chosen for my Hardrock win to have come through another’s DQ, here I am. So, I’m going to focus on the beauty of the mountains. On Hardrock’s incredible volunteers, and on how good it feels to be 46 and on the other side of my 32nd 100-miler.”

It was clearly a very tough decision to take and is one that has caused polarity in the community…

@Kilianj: “Sad from Xavier, I truly believe he had not bad intentions and I’m sure it was a hard decision to take from @hardrock100 but even for little it is, outside aid it is unfair for the other competitors.”

@glousse: “#hardrock2018 #irun #hr100 XT’ disqualification for that is NOT the trail mindset and spirit! Let’s see how other runners react and if REAL sportsmanship exists in the US?

@douchebagultra: “When it takes a RD hours to make a decision it isn’t clear, obvious or common sense. That indicates deliberation, discretion and options. #hardrock100

@careycuprison: “One of those tough decisions that make me happy I’m not a race director. I’m still a fan of Xavier Thevenard, and I hope he comes back to #hardrock100

@runrunrc: “Wow, this is huge. I feel so bad for Xavier, but you have to know the rules. New leader @gobroncobilly #TeamAltra Go get this win!!! #hardrock100

@awahouflow: “Damn that’s harsh! Ice and water? Seriously? That’s some kind of tough. #hardrock100 #hardrock2018

First woman in was Sabrina Stanley with 30:23:36. A full list of results here.

"I don’t contest the facts, but this (organization’s) decision is, according to me, a little bit cruel"

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