"A hundred times harder" – Dauwalter battles rain and wind to defend Transgrancanaria title

US trailer Courtney Dauwalter celebrates as she crosses the finish line to win the 20th edition of The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
The queen of trail running heads into 2024 with another victory despite challenging conditions (Image credit: JEFF PACHOUD / Contributor)

Courtney Dauwalter is back on the ultra running throne this morning after chalking up another resounding win at the Transgrancanaria trail race over the weekend. As the reigning queen of trail running, her win in the 126 km race may not be surprising, but she admits she still had to battle for it due to challenging conditions.

Dauwalter and her competitors set off from Las Canteras beach in northeast Gran Canaria at midnight on Friday in a bid to run across the island and be the first to reach Maspalomas at the southern tip, a punishing route that requires over 22,000 feet in elevation gain.

"Been awhile since I did some work in the Pain Cave. Looking forward to a nice lonnnng visit," wrote Dauwalter on her Instagram account before setting off. This was Dauwalter's second time running the race, which she won last year in addition to her Triple Crown victory of winning the UTMB, Western States 100 and Hardrock 100.

True to her typical form, she quickly took the lead in the women's race and maintained her advantage for the duration, however overnight she faced high winds, rain and lower than normal temperatures which may have resulted in her finishing time being over half an hour slower than in 2023.

“I don’t know why it felt so much harder – there could be many factors but it just felt very difficult," she says.

Her pace picked up as the race went on and once the sun rose, she managed to put plenty of distance between herself and the other favorites, winning decisively in 15:14:54 which placed the Colorado runner 13th overall. Germany's Ida-Sophie Hegemann and Spain's Azara García de los Salmones both exited the race early leaving Claudia Tremps of Spain to come in second over an hour later. 

Over in the men's race, Romanian runner Raul Butaci took the win with a finish time of 13:22:32, just 10 minutes ahead of the next runner.

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.