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French woman becomes first to win Tahoe 200 overall

Claire Bannwarth's historic victory came on the heels of her top-five finish in the women's category at Hardrock 100 just one week before

French runner Clair Bannwarth Photo by: Katarinka K/Flickr

France’s Claire Bannwarth ran her way into the record books this past weekend by becoming the first woman to win the Tahoe 200 Mile Endurance Run outright. The 34-year-old ultrarunner finished the mountain ultra—billed as the United States’ only 200-mile single-loop mountain race—in 62 hours, 24 minutes and 42 seconds. Firmly in the lead for much of the race, Bannwarth crossed the finish line nearly two hours ahead of top men’s finisher Wes Ritner of Green Mountain Falls, Colo., who ran 64:15:30 to place second overall. Rounding out the top three was Troy Croxdale of Napa, Calif., who finished his 200-mile debut in 67:38:14.

Claiming third spot on the men’s podium was Damon Chavez  of Cedar City, Utah (70:51:23). Joining Bannwarth on the women’s podium were Elsa Jawoski of Salt Lake City (72:11:31) and Sally McRae of Huntington Beach, Calif. (74:08:25).

Bannwarth’s win at the Tahoe 200, which kicked off Friday, comes just one week after her fifth-place finish in the women’s category at Hardrock 100 (34:51:48) and in 23rd place overall. Making her Tahoe 200 victory all the more remarkable is the fact she ran without any crew or pacers.

Adding an extra dash of drama, Bannwarth made a wrong turn about a third of the way into the race, which saw her run an extra 10 miles to get back on track and slip into fourth place. She steadily climbed her way back to the front of the pack, holding on to the lead for the last 40 miles.

Following the Tahoe Rim Trail around Lake Tahoe—North America’s largest alpine lake, which straddles Nevada and California—the Tahoe 200 course features more than 11,200 metres of elevation and descent.

Although Bannwarth is the first woman in the race’s history to win the event overall, the women’s course record belongs to Courtney Dauwalter. The 38-year-old trail-running sensation, who has had a legendary year with back-to-back record-breaking wins at Western States and Hardrock, ran the Tahoe 200 in 49:54:36 in 2018, finishing second overall to Kyle Curtin of Durango, Colo.

 

 

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