The run starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado and travels through the towns of Telluride, Ouray, and the ghost town of Sherman, crossing thirteen major passes in the 12,000' to 13,000' range. Entrants must travel above 12,000 feet (3,700 m) of elevation a total of 13 times, with the highest point on the course being the 14,048' summit of Handies Peak. The race has been held in early July of each year beginning in 1992, except for 1995 (too much snow) and 2002 (nearby forest fires). Each year's race is run in the opposite direction of the previous year's event (2015 was run in the counter-clockwise direction, 2016 will be clockwise). 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.
Silverton is known as the heart of the high country.
The race is dedicated to the memory of the miners who settled in the area and who built the mining trails on which much of the race is run.
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