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Courtney Dauwalter and Raul Butaci take the titles in Transgrancanaria Classic

Jonathan Turner
News Director
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Ultrarunning superstar Courtney Dauwalter defended her title as she started the year in winning style with an emphatic victory in the women’s race in the showpiece 126km Classic at The North Face Transgrancanaria in the Canary Islands.

The winner of the men’s race – and overall – was Romania’s Raul Butaci who held off Miguel Heras of Spain for the biggest success of his career so far in what is the third of this year’s World Trail Majors and features 6,804 metres of elevation.

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Men’s race – Butaci wins three-way battle

The highest-ranked runner in ITRA terms was China’s Jiasheng Shen and he was to the fore early on after the midnight start local time from Las Canteras on the north east of the island – as was American Zach Miller, the runner-up at UTMB last year.

But, after negotiating some testing overnight weather, by the time we got to the business end of the race in contrasting heat and sun at the Tunte checkpoint (the ninth out of 10 before the finish) it had boiled down to a front group of three in the battle for the win.

Butaci at that point had a five-minute advantage over Heras, who in turn was three minutes to the good over Ionel Christian Manole (ROM).

There was then 15 minutes back to an elite four-strong pack featuring Shen and Miller, plus two Spaniards in defending champ Andreu Simon and Abel Carretero.

But that was as close as it would get – by the final checkpoint at Ayagaures, Butaci had increased his lead to eight minutes over Heras Hernandez and there was now a further 10 minutes back to Manole in third.

All that remained for Butaci before reaching the finish town of Maspalomas on the southern shore of the island was one more climb and then a welcome 10km or so of downhill.

And he powered to the finish – in contrast to 12 months previously when he had led but was overhauled late on for the final podium place – and crossed the line in 13:22:32.

Heras was almost exactly 10 minutes back in second, with Manole just holding off the fast-finishing Carretero for the last podium place, with less than a minute between them.

Shen was fifth, Simon sixth, Miller seventh and Britain’s Josh Wade eighth.

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Women’s race – Courtney a class apart

Once again it was all about Dauwalter in the women’s race.

And no wonder after an unprecedented treble in 2023 which saw a victory in this race before a remarkable trio of wins at Western States 100, Hardrock 100 and then UTMB.

She moved into an early lead, though she had to battle rain, wind and cold during the night and it was only when the sun rose that she put huge amounts of daylight between herself and the rest.

Germany’s Ida-Sophie Hegemann was one of those battling for a top-three position but she would pull out near the third checkpoint at Teror.

And then Spain’s Azara García de los Salmones, who was looking to add to her Classic titles from 2017 and 2021, exited midway through the race when looking good for a podium place.

That left Claudia Tremps of Spain in a clear second, with Ireland’s Emma Stuart, who enjoyed a superb 2023 and is a farm animal vet, in third and that was how it stayed.

Dauwalter looked stronger and stronger as the race progressed and she put more and more time between herself and Tremps, who finished third in 2023.

When the line came Dauwalter stopped the clock in 15:14:54, slower than last year’s 14:40:39, but in tougher overnight conditions. The course tends to change slightly from year to year so direct comparisons are tricky, though she admitted herself soon after crossing the line that she’d found it far harder than 12 months ago. She was also 13th overall compared to seventh in 2023.

Courtney Dauwalter Transgrancanaria win [Photo credit: The Adventure Bakery / The North Face Transgrancanaria]
[Photo credit: The Adventure Bakery / The North Face Transgrancanaria]

The North Face Transgrancanaria Classic, 126km – Saturday 24th February 2024

RESULTS – MEN

  1. Raul Butaci (ROM) – 13:22:32
  2. Miguel Heras (ESP) – 13:32:48
  3. Ionel Christian Manole (ROM) – 13:49:04

RESULTS – WOMEN

  1. Courtney Dauwalter (USA) – 15:14:54
  2. Claudia Tremps (ESP) – 16:27:03
  3. Emma Stuart (IRL) – 16:50:40
Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  

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