34-year-old American ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter was the first female racer across the line this weekend at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc, a gruelling 106-mile Alpine course through France, Italy and Switzerland.
Dauwalter completed the race in just 24 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds – an impressive time compared to the average competitor, who’ll take 32 to 46 hours to reach the finish line. This year, of the 2,543 starters, only 1,556 finished.
As well as being the first woman to finish, Dauwalter was the second American to place, despite some tough competition from the men’s field. Swedish runner Kristin Berglund was the second woman across the line with a time of 25:34:12, with Maite Maiora Elizondo of Spain taking the third-place spot (25:41:30).
Dauwalter’s UTMB success may come as unsurprising to some considering she outright won the 2017 Moab 240 Endurance Run with more than 10 hours’ distance between herself and the second-place finisher. She also won the women’s races in the 2018 Western States and the 2017 Run Rabbit Run and set a new course record at the 2016 Javelina Jundred.
More recently Dauwalter won the Tarawera 100K in New Zealand, but was forced to drop out of this year’s Western States following a hip injury. The UTMB win marks her powerful return to ultrarunning after making huge recovery progress.