Hundreds of runners toed the line at the 2023 Bandera 100k on Saturday, January 7, all vying for four total Golden Tickets to the 2023 Western States 100.
The top two men and women in the Texas race qualified for the seminal Western States 100 run. When the dust settled in Bandera today, Jeff Colt and JP Giblin eked out a one-two on the men’s side and Courtney Dauwalter ran away with the women’s race, setting a new course record.
Early rain turned the Bandera course into sludge, then afternoon sunshine cooked it into a hard, hoof-printed jigsaw puzzle. The Bandera course is famously punishing: “Everything cuts, stings, or bites,” as race organizers say, and technical rock gardens proliferate. Joe “Stringbean” McConaughy unfortunately landed in the DNF bucket due to a rumored Achilles injury sustained in that rock.
2023 Bandera 100k Women’s Race
Courtney Dauwalter not only dismantled the rest of the women’s field, but also ran the fastest Bandera 100k in women’s history. Stephanie Howe set the previous record in 2017 at 9:08; Dauwalter shattered it with an 8:59 finish. The Leadville, Colorado, legend didn’t falter down the stretch, running a strong final lap to seal the win and the record.
In the finish corral, the famously candid Dauwalter asked Aravaipa Running livestream’s interviewer, “How are you?” Then she asked for a chair and a beer.
An overjoyed Nicole Bitter followed in second and eagerly claimed her Golden Ticket. Dauwalter also claimed her spot on the start line of the Western States 100.
Careth Arnold rounded out the women’s podium in 10:13. Amanda Basham produced a sprint finish to hold onto fourth place in 10:20, 43 seconds clear of Katherine Short in fifth.
2023 Bandera 100k Women’s Results
- Courtney Dauwalter – 8:59
- Nicole Bitter – 10:04
- Careth Arnold – 10:13
- Amanda Basham – 10:20
- Katherine Short – 10:21
2023 Bandera 100k Men’s Race
For Jeff Colt, the win in 8:23 was especially welcome. He’d taken third in two previous Bandera 100k’s but never topped the podium before Saturday. Colt also earned his way back to the Western States 100 after a disappointing outcome in 2022 — he took 11th at that race — but at the time of writing, he was still undecided about whether or not to accept the Golden Ticket.
JP Giblin followed, a strong second in 8:29, and accepted his Golden Ticket with no indecision. Twenty-nine-year-old Canyon Woodward crossed the line in third. Woodward didn’t start the 2023 Bandera 100k as a favorite by any means, but led a substantial amount of the race and hung with the overall leaders throughout.
Elsewhere, 26-year-old Chris Myers took fourth in his first-ever official 100k. Myers sat poised for a podium late in the game, but Woodward gained precious seconds on him with just several miles to go, and didn’t give them up. Ryan Atkins of obstacle course racing fame has put his stamp on American ultrarunning with his fifth place.
2023 Bandera 100k Men’s Results
- Jeff Colt – 8:23
- JP Giblin – 8:29
- Canyon Woodward – 8:35
- Chris Myers – 8:37
- Ryan Atkins – 8:55
Two U.S. Golden Ticket races remain on the calendar before the Western States 100 — Arizona’s Black Canyon 100k runs on February 18, and the Canyons by UTMB 100k in Auburn, California, on April 28. But before both of those, the Tarawera by UTMB 100k will run in New Zealand on February 11.