"The only way I wanted to race was full on" – Courtney Dauwalter on winning UTMB for third time

US trailer Courtney Dauwalter celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the 20th edition of The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
The Colorado-based runner speaks out on winning the Triple Crown of ultrarunning this summer (Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD / Contributor)

Twelve days after we watched her win the UTMB in Chamonix – and scoop up an unprecedented “Triple Crown” of ultrarunning – Courtney Dauwalter has spoken out about how she got through the final 106 miles of what has been a very busy summer for her trail running shoes.

"From the start, I raced as if it were my only 100 of the summer and was feeling fairly good. Normal amounts of tired. Normal amounts of pushing," writes Dauwalter on Instagram about  going into the legendary trail race after already winning this year's Western States 100 in California and Hardrock 100 in Colorado.

After setting new records in both races, going into a third ultramarathon would seem unthinkable even to most elite athletes, and the Colorado-based runner admits that around mile 60 on her circuit of Mont Blanc, she started to wonder if she would make it.

"It was like the last drops of fuel were used and the legs sputtered to a crawl. I couldn’t get any power out of them any more, no matter how hard I dug in with my chisel. It became a mission of moving. Plain and simple. I kept repeating to myself “Robot. Robot. Robot.” in hopes that I could somehow get my legs to keep swinging forward for another step."

Despite her struggles, Dauwalter managed to maintain a solid hour against the next woman for the majority of the race. Ultimately, she said it was seeing her family and friends at the aid stations along the punishing course that boosted her to the finish line, where thousands had gathered to cheer her success.

"I knew my tank was nearing empty but I also knew the only way I wanted to race was full on. So, that’s what we did," says Dauwalter, who jokes that she's been such a  frequent visitor to the pain cave she feels she should get some kind of loyalty card. 

This year marked Dauwalter's third time winning the iconic race. Advnture reported live from the event, where Jim Walmsley won the men's race and set a new course record, smashing Killian Jornet's record-breaking 2022 time.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.