Courtney Dauwalter has become one of the biggest names in ultra-running despite only turning professional in 2017.
Having been a successful runner and Nordic skier in her school and university days, the American then worked as a middle and high school teacher in Denver.
She continued to run, and finished her first 100-mile race in 2012, but it was not until 2016 that she really began to show her incredible talent for long-distance events.
That year, she broke the course record by almost an hour in winning the Javelina Jundred 100K in 8:48:25 and won the Run Rabbit Run 100-mile race in 21:23:37, finishing 75 minutes ahead of the second-placed woman.
Since then, Courtney Dauwalter has focused full-time on running to devastating effect, thriving on a self-proclaimed approach of eating and wearing what she wants.
She has won several races outright, including the Moab 240 in 2017, where she finished 10 hours ahead of her nearest challenger.
Her performances have sparked debate over whether women may be better suited physiologically than men to the longest endurance events.
However, in a 2019 interview with Red Bull, she said: “Women are pushing all sorts of limits and raising the bar for each other.
“I feel lucky to be in the sport right now, but I’m not sure ‘better cut out’ is the phrase. Although I do think that as the races get longer, the playing field evens out a bit and the race becomes more about stamina and mental strength.”
Arguably, Courtney Dauwalter’s greatest achievement to date was winning Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) in 2021 in a course record time, retaining the title she won in 2019, and many already regard her as a legend of the sport.
Having dropped out of the Barkley Marathons in 2021, she will surely target the world’s toughest footrace again.
Courtney Dauwalter Record and Results
Courtney Dauwalter’s first significant ultra-marathon victory came at the Ouray 100 in Colorado in 2014. Here, she clocked 26:46:20 to underline her potential, finishing second overall, just 41 minutes behind the winner.
She built on her above-mentioned 2016 double by setting a course record of 57:55:13 in winning the 2017 Moab 240.
Courtney Dauwalter secured an ultra-hat-trick in 2018, with victory in the Western States 100 her highlight. She clocked 17:27:00 – a time which ranks her fifth on the all-time women’s list.
Her other two wins that year were at the Tahoe 200-mile race in 49:54:36, securing second place overall, and at the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji in 23:57:48.
She kicked off 2019 with victory at the Tarawera Ultramarathon in New Zealand, recording 9:28:04 for the 100km distance, but her eyes were firmly set on the UTMB.
A first victory duly followed in 24:34:26, beating Sweden’s Kristin Berglund by around one hour.
In 2020, Courtney Dauwalter won the Big Dog Backyard Ultra, completing 68 laps for 283.3 miles.
She defended her UTMB title in style in 2021, clocking 22:30:54 to head France’s Camille Bruyas by more than 90 minutes and break the course record.
Having failed to finish the Hardrock 100 in 2021, she bounced back the following year to take victory in a course record time of 26:44:36.
Also in 2022, she set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) for the Collegiate Loop Trail in Colorado, completing the 160-mile circuit in 40:14:20.
Courtney Dauwalter is 37 having been born in February 1985
Courtney lives in Golden, Colorado
Courtney married Kevin Schmidt in 2015. When she races he is a key part of her support crew.
Courtney runs in Salomon shoes – for her record-breaking win in the 2022 HardRock 100 she wore S/LAB Ultra 3 trail running shoes.
Courtney says it is just pure comfort that leads to her wearing her ‘trademark’ long shorts.