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Courtney Dauwalter wins Transgrancanaria 126K ultra

Colorado-based Dauwalter won the women's race for the second year in a row, while Romania's Raul Butaci won the overall event

Courtney Dauwalter Transgrancanaria 2024 Photo by: The Adventure Bakery

Ultrarunning icon Courtney Dauwalter showcased her unparalleled prowess as she kicked off the year with a triumphant defense of her title in the Transgrancanaria 126K Classic in the Canary Islands. The race kicked off at midnight on Friday (local time), on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Runners traversed 126 km and 7,060 metres of vertical gain as they made their way to the town of Maspalomas, on the island’s southern shore.

The Transgrancanaria 126K event was the third race in the nine-race World Trail Majors Series, following the Hong Kong 100 and Black Canyon Ultra in Arizona.

Women’s race

All eyes were on Dauwalter after last year’s spectacular season, when the Colorado-based athlete became the first person to win Western States 100, UTMB and Hardrock 100 in the same year. Dauwalter delivered, winning in 15 hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds, and 13th place overall; while she was more than half an hour slower than her time last year (when she took seventh place overall), she was still more than an hour ahead of the second woman.

Courtney Dauwalter: Ian Corless
Photo: Ian Corless

Runners faced significant challenges with the weather throughout the race, running in rain, wind and cold. Dauwalter said that this year’s race presented a heightened level of difficulty, describing it post-race as “a hundred times harder.”

Spanish runner Claudia Tremps crossed the finish line in 16:27:03, and Ireland’s Emma Stuart completed the women’s podium; renowned Polish runner Dominika Stelmach finished fourth.

Courtney Dauwalter Transgrancanaria 2024
Photo: The Adventure Bakery

Men’s race

Romania’s Raul Butaci emerged victorious in 13 hours, 22 minutes and 32 seconds to clinch the overall title in a much closer race than on the women’s side. Butaci faced formidable competition, fending off Spain’s Miguel Heras, to mark the most significant success of his career. 48-year-old Heras notably won the race in 2010.

Raul Butaci. The Adventure Bakery
Photo: The Adventure Bakery

While China’s Jiasheng Shen and American favourite Zach Miller sped to the front of the pack near the start of the race, after running through the tough nighttime conditions, three runners emerged in the morning in a race for first place. Butaci hung on to a lead over Heras, who was also a few minutes ahead of Romania’s Ionel Christian Manole. Miller, who would finish seventh, was 15 minutes behind in a pack that included Shen and Spanish runners Andreu Simon (the defending champion) and Abel Carretero.

Heras took second in 13:32:48, only 10 minutes behind Butaci, and after a battle with Carretero, Manole secured third place in  13:49:04, just 36 seconds ahead of the Spanish runner.

For full results of the Transgrancanaria 126K as well as the other events during the festival, head here.

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