“You are fine…everything is fine…Keep moving!” These are Courtney Dauwalter’s mantras as she navigates all the challenges of long mountain races. She is so refreshing, simple and almost naive! She also says it works great, and I don’t think she was joking! Here’s a familiar photo which shows her undaunted enthusiasm!
Beer and Tailwind …a winning combination? Via runninginsight.com
I have to make sure every reader of this newsletter knows about Courntey, if you don’t already. She is such a positive development in the long distance running community. She’s unaffected by all her success and this encourages me to get back in shape to “go long” once more. I’m basing much of this article written by Brian Meltzer, who I too often mistake for Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer. Brian is the founding editor of Trail Runner Magazine and “invented” the Speedgoat HOKA trail running shoe, which was named after him. He’s also known foe his amazing string of winning 100-mile races; he’s won at least one a year for over 20 years, and for your information, wearing my own Speedgoat HOKAs does not make me 100-mile material!
Courtney smiling as she runs the 240 mile Moab race via gearjunkie.com
Back to Courtney: what first caught my eye was her winning Western States 100 (going 77 minutes faster than the record, she ran a 15:29:34) and Hardrock 100 (setting a new record there as well) three weeks apart from each other. After that, she signed up for the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc on September 2-3. And that she won, setting a women’s course record as well. At 38 years old, she’s broken just about everyone’s records wherever she goes. I can’t help but be impressed with her Western States 100 record; her time would have beaten all the overall winners (meaning men) going back 20 years.
Courtney thanking the crowd at the UTMB via scmp.com
So, how does she do this – a question asked by mane others as well? She has no coach and just does what she “feels like” every morning she wakes up. I love that. Heck, that’s exactly what I do too (okay, I’ll stop trying to compare myself with her). She’s been living in Leadville, CO near where I spent 20 years running up 14-ers. Living above 10,000 feet can’t hurt it seems. She almost brags about her diet, eating stuff I thrive on too (ooops, stop it David): pastries, pizza, beer, jelly beans, Mike ‘n Ike’s, Snickers, gummy bears, nachos, pancakes. And along came Tailwind, the drink Megan DeHaan championed for the Ridge Run. I tried drinking it, and it just tasted awful. But Courtney swears by it. Maybe I’ll try it again.
The best part about Courtney is her simple lifestyle and simple joy shown in all interviews. She keeps saying that she just loves running, and keeps figuring out ways to make it happen. When she crosses a finish line, she’s thinking “Wow, I really finished this” “boy that was fun” and goes around thanking all the support crews. I mean, that’s exactly what I do whenever I finish a race.
What Courtney drinks at aid stations! via pinterest.com
A list of Courtney’s accomplishments, via Wikipedia.
Yes, Courtney uses poles in the tricky parts of the UTMB! Via runandtravel.pl
I can’t help but include our own Nikki Kimball’s accomplishments as she won three Western States 100 (2004, 2006, 2007) and won the UTMB in 2007 as well. She was undefeated in seven years of competition. And she held the BRR record for many years, constantly encouraging Kristina Trygstad-Saari to beat her record (which did eventually happen!).
And speaking of former BRR winners, there’s Jim Walmsley who won BRR several years ago, had some foot soreness and wore a pair of HOKA’s at the last minute. Then his UTMB attempt; he came in fourth last year, and true to his dedication to winning, he moved to Arêche-Beaufort, France, near the start of the UTMB in Chamonix, so he could train to his heart’s content. I did read he ran into some problems with his Visa – you can’t stay longer than 90 days without being asked to leave. I believe he had to solve some issues so he could continue training this year! Anyway, he did win this year, and established a new record (19:37:43) – way to go Jim 🙂
I can’t stop this article without mentioning that there is a new USA mile record by Yared Nuguse, who ran a 3:43:97 to erase Alan Webb’s 3:46:91 set in 2007. That record stood for 16 years! The new record happened at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field, Oregon. The current world record is still held by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco (3:43:13). So Americans are now only 0.84 seconds away from mile glory.
Nuguse is on the left, winner Ingebrigtsen (Norway) is on the right and won in 3:43:73. Via runnersworld.com/news/a45172962/yared-nuguse-breaks-mile-american-record