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Courtney Dauwalter - The woman taking the ultra trail world by storm

April 1, 2019

My husband Tim and I first met Courtney in 2017. We were intrigued by the concept of ultra running and a fellow videographer introduced us to Courtney and her husband Kevin. 


I called Courtney up, told her we were intrigued by the 24 hour running she was competing in and asked if we could pop out to Golden, Colorado for the weekend to film with her and her husband. Only after I hung up and Googled her name did I find out she had just set the American women's record in 24 hour running, a fact she conveniently left out! First lesson learned. Courtney is remarkably humble.


Since that first weekend working with Courtney and Kevin we've come to see them as friends rather than film subjects and have watched, in admiration as Courtney has dominated her sport and spread inspiration everywhere she goes. While our new documentary film, The Source, takes a deep dive into where Courtney's source of will comes from, we wanted to put together a little write-up to help our viewers get a sense of Courtney's development as an ultra runner. 



Courtney has been running her whole life. She started cross country in 7th grade. When we were working on editing The Source, her dad sent over some old cross country pics, including this one. Needless to say, it's been part of her life for a long time. 


While she was always a runner, she picked up cross country skiing in high school and quickly began dominating in that arena as well, going on to ski for the University of Denver's Nordic Ski Team. 


After college she started dabbling in marathons and then, things really took a turn when she tried her first trail 50k in 2011. 

"I tried a 50k ... and from there I was just hooked. Everything about it was so awesome. It was my favorite way to spend weekends," said Courtney.


Later that year she ran her first 50 mile and a year after that, made her first 100 mile attempt, which unfortunately, did not go as planned. "I was treating it sort of like a 50 mile race. I felt like I could just hold on for the second 50 miles of it, which is a long ways to hold on," Courtney said laughing. "So I went faster than my body was read for, I didn’t know what I was doing with nutrition or anything and I had also never ran during the night time and darkness came really quickly and suddenly it was like this new beast of a journey I wasn’t ready for. I was like laying on the side of the trail just kind of whimpering and then decided to drop out of it which wasn’t pretty. I made it maybe 55 or 60 miles."


Quitting didn't sit well with Courtney, who self identifies as extremely competitive and it didn't take long for her to complete her first 100 mile race.



In 2013 Courtney completed her first 100 mile, the Superior Falls 100 Mile race. A few years later in 2016 she started making waves by winning the Run Rabbit Run 100 mile race in Steamboat Springs, CO. Her husband Kevin laughs and says he quickly got used to people commenting on her shorts and being shocked when she stepped up on top of the podium. 


From there, it's been an incredible progression. Here are just a couple of notable races.


- Set the American women's 24 hour running record

- Went pro that summer, left her teaching job

- Won the Moab 240 outright, beating all the men and women by 10 hours

Joe Rogan did a great podcast with Courtney shortly after that run. Click here to watch the interview on YouTube.



- Won Sean O'Brien 100k, qualifying for the Western States 100 Endurance Run

- Won Western States 100 Endurance Run, setting the second fastest female time

- Tahoe 200, which you'll have to watch The Source to find more about. 

For a complete history of Courtney's races click here.




One of the things so many of Courtney's fans have connected with about her is her laid back approach to life and her sport. Her husband Kevin says, "She’s so carefree about the way she approaches everything. She’s incredibly detail-oriented and she’ll do everything as best as she possibly can but she’s so relaxed about it at the same time. She’s not super picky about what she eats and drinks. She does what’s natural for her."


When we asked Courtney if she has a detailed training plan she said, "I do not have a coach. I don't log my miles. I don't record my notes. I don’t know if I have an approach to training, it's more, how do I feel today and then go take advantage of whatever that feeling is."



Since we first met Courtney and Kevin in 2017, Courtney has talked about the concept of your mind being the true boundary, not your body. We've watched her dominate her sport, pushing herself further and further and we've heard the ultra running community asking the same question, "Where does her source of will come from?" So out of a desire to shine more light on Courtney and the good human that she is and to answer the question we've heard everyone asking, we filmed The Source. We hope you enjoy it and most of all we hope it inspires you to look at your goals and where your drive comes from? 






Courtney's Instagram

Courtney's Facebook


Another great article to check out is the write-up the New York Times did on her. Click her for the article. 


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