Home > Trail Running

Western States 100: Courtney Dauwalter obliterates course record

Canadians Priscilla Forgie and Mathieu Blanchard had fantastic top-10 first WSER performances, while Great Britain's Tom Evans sped to fourth-fastest finish ever

Courtney Dauwalter WSER 2023 Photo by: WSER 2023: Livestream

The great Courtney Dauwalter astounded the ultra-trail world yet again on Saturday, at the 50th running of the legendary Western States 100 (the oldest and most storied 100-mile race in North America) in Auburn, Cali. The Leadville, Colo., native not only demolished a course record that had held for more than a decade (previously 16:47:19 set by Canadian Ellie Greenwood in 2012), but beat most of the men in the race, finishing in 15:29:33 and sixth overall. Great Britain’s Tom Evans won the men’s race in 14:40:22–the fourth fastest time in the history of the race.

Dauwalter was returning to WSER after a four-year absence (she ran 17:27:00 in 2018 and took a DNF in 2019), far surpassing her previous time and everyone’s expectations. We knew she was good, but this good? Dauwalter now holds the course record at four of the most prestigious races in the world: UTMB, Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island, Hardrock 100 and WSER.

The women’s race

Dauwalter and 2022 UTMB champ Katie Schide of the U.S. pushed the pace early in the race, leading fans to speculate that they could both, potentially, take down records. By the halfway point, both Schide and Dauwalter were ahead of Greenwood’s 2012 splits, with Dauwalter 25 minutes clear of the record, and she proceeded to increase that gap–coming into the halfway point, Forest Hill, in eleventh overall.

Dauwalter, who opted to run without a pacer, then started moving up through the men’s leaders, leaving race commentators Dylan Bowman and Corrine Malcolm repeatedly without words (as were the some 13,000 fans tuning in to the live stream). Second-place Schide also bested Greenwood’s course record, finishing in 16:43:45, and an unprecedented nine finishers of this year’s event ran under 19:00 hours (the previous best was three).

Canadians Jenny Quilty of Vancouver and Edmonton’s Priscilla Forgie ran within the top 10 for much of the race. Forgie managed her first 100-mile finish in a speedy 17:46:34, edging out veterans of the sport, followed by Quilty in eleventh place in 18:49:13.

A relatively new name to the international scene in ultrarunning, Forgie has been smashing course records across Canada for the past two years and fans will be looking forward to watching her at CCC, UTMB’s 100K event, at the end of the summer. Post-race, Forgie told Canadian Running that the last 30K were an exciting challenge for her: “I dug into a discomfort I’d never raced in, and that was such a high in retrospect because it helped me realize I’ve got even more fight in me than I thought,” she said.  It’s so incredibly exciting to tap into other parts of yourself you never knew existed – and that’s what ultrarunning consistently does for me.”

    1. Courtney Dauwalter 15:29:33
    2. Katie Schide 16:43:45
    3. Eszter Csillag 17:09:20
    4. Katie Asmuth 17:21:06
    5. Emily Hawgood 17:26:22
    6. Taylor Nowlin 17:40:11
    7. Ida Nilsson 17:43:34
    8. Priscilla Forgie 17:46:34
    9. Leah Yingling 17:49:00
    10. Meghan Morgan 18:11:32

The men’s race

With some of the biggest names in the sport not returning to WSER this year (Kilian Jornet, Jim Walmsley) the men’s race seemed to be up for grabs, with an unparalleled roster of accomplished athletes starting. The leaders and chase pack jostled for position in the early race, with Evans (who was third at the 2019 WSER in 14:59) taking the lead alongside fan favourite Dakota Jones (a climate action advocate who biked the nearly 1,100 kilometres to the start of the race from his home in Salt Lake City).

Evans dropped Jones (who had faded to 17th place by the finish) after Forest Hill and ran unchallenged to the finish in the fourth-fastest time in the history of WSER. He was followed by 2022 runner-up Tyler Green of Portland in 15:04:09 and Salt Lake City’s Anthony Costales in 15:09:16. Evans was the first international winner of UTMB since Spain’s Jornet led the race in 2011.

Quebec’s Mathieu Blanchard, fresh off an incredible 2022 UTMB second-place finish, ran his WSER debut in 15:37:02 for sixth place. He was an early leader, and maintained a top-10 status for the entirety of the race, pushing hard for the finish and speeding past American runners Jeff Colt and Ryan Montgomery in the final six miles. Blanchard has had a prolific racing season that included a third-place finish at this year’s Marathon des Sables.

We caught up with Blanchard post-race, who shared that he had a tough day on the trails, never feeling like he was running smoothly. “I pushed through, I fought hard, my body was super painful like never before,” he said. While he wasn’t sure why the day was so challenging, he shared that he was full of pride after achieving the “mythic buckle” that finishers of WSER take home.

  1. Tom Evans 14:40:22
  2. Tyler Green 15:04:09
  3. Anthony Costales 15:09:16
  4. Jia-Sheng Shen 15:19:42
  5. Daniel Jones 15:22:15
  6. Mathieu Blanchard 15:37:02
  7. Ryan Montgomery 15:38:35
  8. Jeff Colt 15:42:09
  9. Cole Watson 15:54:36
  10. Janosch Kowalczyk 16:09:19

For complete results, head here.

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Running gear deals for the long weekend

The holiday weekend might be long, but these hot deals are only on for a short time