Is Courtney Dauwalter even human?
Actually, yes. At last weekend’s Desert Solstice 24-Hour, the 33-year-old Dauwalter was looking to break her own American record of 159.32 miles (254.91K), and maybe even the world record (260K). But after 60 miles (100K) she was forced to pull out of the race, which was eventually won by Camille Herron, who broke both the American 100-mile record and the world 24-hour record, and won the race outright.
Six weeks ago, Dauwalter, a full-time science teacher, ran 446.67K at Big’s Backyard Ultra before conceding to Johan Steene. Earlier this year she won the Western States Endurance Run, and until this weekend she held the American 24-hour record of 155.39 miles (248.62K), set at the Riverbank One Day Classic in February 2017. (Later last year she outright won the Moab 240 race in 58 hours, 10 hours ahead of the male second-place finisher.) This weekend she may simply have been suffering from too little recovery time.
Dauwalter burst on the scene in 2016 when she won the Run Rabbit Run 100-miler in Steamboat Springs, Colo., less than a minute off the course record. She’s known for her long basketball-style shorts and her easygoing humility, keeping her many ultra awards in a storage bin rather than displaying them in her home.
Obviously Herron, like Dauwalter, is also a powerhouse of endurance running. But she’s had to deal with injuries on and off throughout her running career, and she’s been off for most of 2018, unable to defend her Comrades title or race Western States this year. The iRunFar site speculates that the cancellation of The North Face 50-mile championships last month might have given her that much extra recovery time before her accomplishments of this weekend.
Here’s what Dauwalter has lined up for 2019:
February: Tarawera Ultra (160K)
June: Western States Endurance Run (100 miles)
July: Hardrock 100
August: UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc)
October: IAU 24-hour world championships