An ultramarathon in Colorado this weekend made one thing clear: Never bet against Courtney Dauwalter.
The already historic marathoner not only won the Hardrock 100 for women, but she also set several new records that underscore her position as one of running’s all-time greats.
For starters, Dauwalter set a counterclockwise course record for the Hardrock 100 with a time of 26:14:08. That’s a little over 26 hours to run 102.5 miles of the San Juan Mountains, with 33,000 feet of elevation gain along the way. The previous record was set in 2009 by Diana Finkel, a Coloradan widely regarded as among the best runners for fast, efficient movement in high mountain environments.
But, that’s not all.
Just a few weeks ago, Dauwalter also set a new course record at the 2023 Western States 100. She smashed an 11-year-old record set by top ultrarunner Ellie Greenwood. It’s a record hundreds of women have since tried to match.
So now, Dauwalter holds a double record in the Western States 100 and Hardrock 100, with a combined time of 41:43:42. To restate that another way: That’s two record-setting wins of two 100-mile races in just 3 weeks.
“What makes these performances most interesting is how different these courses are,” said Meghan Hicks, editor-in-chief of iRunFar.com, who had a first-hand glimpse into Dauwalter’s incredible performances.
“The Western States 100 is a course on which you have to maintain pretty speedy running for 100 miles — the terrain offers little room to walk. And the Hardrock 100 is the polar opposite: with its 33,000 feet of climbing, one must be able to power hike hard uphill at high altitude and then let it rip on steep and technical downhills.”
Hicks explained most people who compete in these races train for months for the races’ specificity and train for their specific conditions. She said that a person can be capable of these performances so close together in time and so different in their conditions is fascinating.
“It was touch and go the entire run of how I could get to the finish,” Dauwalter said in an interview with iRunFar after her win this weekend. “So when I finally got above town and knew that we were here and all I had to do was roll downhill and kiss a rock, it was a sweet, sweet relief.”
To read the full story on Dauwalter’s historic records, check out our Hardrock 100 coverage on iRunFar.