Salomon trail running athlete Courtney Dauwalter beat the field and oppressive heat to win the Western States 100 in California this weekend. A science teacher from Minnesota, Dauwalter added the Western States title to a list of victories that includes Moab 240-miler in Utah last year, which she won outright, and the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji this year. This time, she used a controlled pace early to gauge how she was feeling and then picked up the pace in the middle stages. In the final stages she held off a competitive field that also included fellow Salomon athlete Lucy Bartholomew of Australia. Bartholomew was running her first ultra-distance race and finished an impressive third.
On the men’s side, UTMB champion Francois D’haene finished second to Jim Walmsley, who set a new record at the Western States. D’haene stepped out of his comfort zone in Lake Tahoe on a course that requires less climbing than the races he normally takes on, and a lot more heat. Still, he finished in an impressive 15 hours, 54 minutes and 52 seconds. D’haene used his full Salomon S/LAB kit, prototype Salomon footwear and his customary Salomon S/LAB Speed Bob bucket hat to protect him from the sun. Like D'haene, Douwalter and Bartholomew also used prototype footwear as they test products to develop the Salomon range for future seasons.
For Colorado-based Dauwalter, who was wearing full Salomon apparel and prototype Salomon footwear, the win came in come-from-behind fashion. She recorded the second-fastest female time in the race’s history, finishing in 17 hours, 27 minutes and two seconds.
“I tried to put it in cruise control for those first 30 miles, and then see where that landed me,” Bartholomew told irunfar.com after the race. “I’d never raced with these women, so I didn’t really know where my cruise control is in comparison to theirs. I tried not to worry about it and to remember it’s a long day. Then, once I ran through 30 miles, it was like, ‘Well, what can we do through these canyons? How are you feeling?’ It was about staying cool and being as efficient as possible over those last 40 miles.”