Leadville woman achieves improbable double with Hardrock 100 record-setting run
Leadville trail runner's win came three weeks after shattering Western States 100 record
The Western States Endurance Run might be the most famous 100-mile race in North America, and the Hardrock 100 is probably the most brutal. After last weekend, Courtney Dauwalter officially became the queen of both.
The 38-year-old Leadville trail runner won her second-straight Hardrock 100 on Saturday, crossing the finish line in Silverton, Colorado, in 26 hours, 14 minutes and 12 seconds to break Diana Finkel’s counter-clockwise (the course alternates it’s circular course each year) record by an hour and four minutes. The victory comes just three weeks after Dauwalter obliterated the Western States Record by 78 minutes.
“I mean, it was touch and go the entire run, of how I could get to the finish,” she told iRunFar after becoming the first athlete to set records at both races in the same season. “And so, when I finally got above town, I knew that we were here, and all I had to do is roll downhill and kiss a rock, it was sweet, sweet relief, for sure.”
While the point-to-point Western States ascends 18,000 feet and descends 23,000, the Hardrock 100 sits at an average elevation of 11,000 (topping out at 14,000) and ascends and descends 33,197 feet. Dauwalter said her exhausted body struggled to get in the flow state coming off of her June 24 effort in Auburn, California.
“Nothing was working together, and it stayed that way pretty much the entire race,” she said. “Just one of those runs where you have to work for every mile. None of them came for free. None of them flew by quickly. It was full effort the whole time.”
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Dauwalter now holds both Hardrock’s clockwise (26:44:36) and counter-clockwise (26:14:12) records. Saturday’s effort could have been faster for the Salomon-sponsored athlete, who was also a Minnesota state champion Nordic skier in high school. She didn’t pass Anne-Lise rousset Seguret of France until around mile 64 and ended up taking a wrong turn around mile 87.
“We already sort of knew each other, but we actually got to spend some miles together yesterday, and it was cool,” Dauwalter continued to iRunFar. “It was fun to just have people around in general.” The pair went back and forth along the course, with Dauwalter making gains on the uphills but losing time on the downs. Ultimately, Seguret (27:29:55) placed second, while Dauwalter first and the third overall athlete to kiss the rock at the finish line. Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz of France won the men’s race in 23:00:07.
“I love it here. I love this course. I think the toughness of it is intriguing,” Dauwalter stated. “And you know, figuring out how to bring your best self to those days out in the mountains is pretty cool. So, I am not done here. But we’ll see.”
For now, her late-summer and fall plans are still up in the air.
“In the last, I think, like, 4 miles yesterday, Kevin was pacing me and I just said to him, ‘We are not talking about August or September yet. Let’s get to this rock, and then give ourselves a week or so. And then maybe assess the systems,'” she said.
“Because yesterday I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’ll ever run another step.’ It was so hard.”