The 2023 Transgrancanaria Classic 128k, the queen race of the Transgrancanaria (TGC) festival of races, started at midnight local time on Saturday, February 25, in Las Canteras on the northeastern coast of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. Over the next 30 hours, more than 600 runners attempted to cover the 79.5 miles (128 kilometers) and 23,160 feet (7,060 meters) of vertical gain before reaching the outskirts of the town of Maspalomas on the island’s southern shore.
The race kicked off the 2023 Spartan Trail World Championships series in the Ultra category alongside the TGC Marathon event in the Trail category.
After a cold and cloudy night, there were some hours of great running conditions before things got hot around Garañon at 90k. After some early front running by Claudia Tremps (Spain) and Jazmine Lowther (Canada), Courtney Dauwalter (U.S.) would go onto yet another dominating win in the women’s race, with Lowther and Tremps running in second and third, respectively, for the final three-quarters of the race.
While the women quickly sorted into their final finishing order for the podium, the men’s race saw many of its early leaders eventually withdraw from the race. That said, Andreu Simon (Spain) was always near the front on the way to his win, while Miguel Arsénio (Portugal) and Tyler Green (U.S.) were patient and took advantage of the attrition in the men’s race to finish second and third, respectively.
Read on for more details on how the women’s and men’s races played out.
2023 Transgrancanaria Classic 128k Women’s Race
While she didn’t lead from the very start, this was yet another dominating performance from the U.S.’s Courtney Dauwalter after winning this year’s Transgrancanaria Classic 128k by nearly two hours over the next woman. Spain’s Claudia Tremps instead set the pace through Tenoya at 11k, while Jazmine Lowther of Canada took over the women’s lead before Arucas at 19k.
However, at both points, Dauwalter was just a minute off the lead, and she took a lead that she’d never relinquish on the climbing-heavy stretch on the way to Teror at 31k. Her three-minute lead at Teror grew to 31 minutes by Artenara at 66k, just a bit over the midway point of the race. By the time she reached the finish in Maspalomas, she had an hour and 46 minute lead on the next woman.
Along the way, Dauwalter unfailingly moved up in the overall standings, going from the mid-20s in the early going to the mid-teens at mid-race to seventh overall at the finish.
Behind Dauwalter, a dynamic race emerged for second, and it was one that would last all the way to the finish line. At Arucas, 19k in, Lowther ran in second less than a minute ahead of Tremps before building a three-minute advantage on Tremps at Teror. Both runners were back together again at Fontanales (43k) and essentially together at El Hornillo (53k). From there, Lowther built margins of two minutes at Artenara (66k) and then 10 minutes at Tejada (78k).
Things would stay dynamic because, after that, Tremps closed that to less than seven minutes at Garañon (90k). Then Lowther started rebuilding that gap to 12 minutes at Tunte (102k) and almost 17 minutes at Ayaguares 114k) … but Tremps more than cut that gap in half in the final 14k to the finish, with Lowther taking second by just under seven minutes and Tremps coming home in third. Phew, talk about some great push and pull between Lowther and Tremps for the women’s podium positions.
Katharina Hartmuth of Germany didn’t go out with the eventual women’s podium. She was already five minutes behind Tremps at the first aid station and 10 to 15 minutes behind her for much of the race, being only 12 minutes behind the Spaniard at Tejada. While Hartmuth kept moving up in the overall field, Tremps kept growing her lead over the German over the race’s final 50k, with Hartmuth finishing fourth woman.
Belgium’s Dominique Van Mechgelen, who lives on Gran Canaria, was with Hartmuth at the first checkpoint 11k in but slowly lost ground to the German, falling as far back as 53 minutes behind her at Garañon, before eventually taking the fifth women’s position, 44 minutes behind Hartmuth.
2023 Transgrancanaria Classic 128k Women’s Results
- Courtney Dauwalter (U.S.) – 14:40:39
- Jazmine Lowther (Canada) – 16:26:41
- Claudia Tremps (Spain) – 16:33:34
- Katharina Hartmuth (Germany) – 17:13:47
- Dominique Van Mechgelen (Belgium) – 17:57:16
- Martina Klancnik Potrc (Slovenia) – 18:29:55
- Claire Bannwarth (France) – 18:46:22
- Therese Arvik (Norway) – 18:54:45
- Rachel Nolan (Ireland) – 18:59:05
- Myvanwy Hanna (U.K.) – 19:08:29
2023 Transgrancanaria Classic 128k Men’s Race
While most of the women in the top 10 at the race’s first checkpoint at 11k ended up in the top 10, that was NOT the case in the men’s race. Wow. Of the 14 men to be within about two minutes of the lead at 11k, six would go on to drop out, including the top three at that point: Abel Carretero (Spain), Jia-Sheng Shen (China), and Fotios Zisimopoulus (Greece).
Now, the guy in fourth at that very early interval – Spain’s Andreu Simon – well, you’ll continue hearing about him. He, countryman and past Transgrancanaria champ Pau Capell, and Romania’s Raul Butaci were all within a minute of the lead, with France’s Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon, Switzerland’s Jonas Russi, the U.S.’s Tyler Green, and Romania’s Ionel Manole rounding out the top 10 in the early going.
By 30k at Teror, Zisimopoulus, Carretero, Simon, Butaci, and Shen were all still within roughly a minute of the lead, with Capell, Mario Olmedo (Spain), Miguel Arsénio (Portugal), Green, and Russi all between three and five minutes off the front. Things were much the same at Fontanales (43k), with the same top five all within just over a minute and, really, all together except Butaci a bit over a minute back, and that next group of Arsénio, Green, Capell, and Olmedo having condensed at just over five minutes off the lead.
Just 10k later at El Hornillo, Butaci shot into the lead, with Carretero, Shen, and Simon chasing 30 seconds back and Zisimopoulus being dropped three minutes off the front. The chase group of Olmedo, Arsénio, Green, and Capell were now eight to nine minutes back. Butaci continued to push the pace to Artenara, putting an 80-second gap on Simon, 3.5 minutes on Carretero, and 5.5 minutes on Shen, while Zisimopoulus was about to get caught by the chase group led by Green and Capell around 11 minutes off the lead.
And then, not long after the sun came up, the race blew up. Simon took the lead on the way to Tejeda (78k) and put 2.5 minutes on Butaci before the aid station with Carretero just 3.5 minutes back, but Carretero would withdraw from the race there. Ten minutes off the lead, Arsénio was clear in fourth, with Green, Shen, Manole, and Capell in fifth through eighth at 12 to 14 minutes back, with Zisimopoulus and Olmedo 19 and 23 minutes back. However, both Shen and Olmedo would also drop in Tejeda.
Moving to Tunte at 102k, the men’s race would continue to see more post-dawn carnage, with Manole (who was fifth upon arrival at Tunte) and Olmedo both withdrawing there. With those drops, Simon lead the race by 4.5 minutes over Arsénio. Butaci and Green sat 13.5 and 16.5 minutes off the lead in third and fourth. And Capell had just over a minute lead on Joaquin Lopez of Ecuador for fifth.
A full 114k into the race at Ayaguares, Simon had a nearly five-minute lead on Arsénio. Andreu Simon would go on to win with that same five-minute lead over Miguel Arsénio. While those two guys were flying, Raul Butaci was pulling his parachute. Tyler Green flew past him on the way to Ayaguares before taking third some 20 minutes out of second, but nine minutes clear of Butaci in fourth. Meanwhile, Pau Capell and Joaquin Lopez came into Ayaguares neck-and-neck, but Capell’s experience paid off, with him edging out the Ecuadorian by eight minutes over the final 14k to take fifth.
2023 Transgrancanaria Classic 128k Men’s Results
- Andreu Simon (Spain) – 13:39:33
- Miguel Arsénio (Portugal) – 13:44:37
- Tyler Green (U.S.) – 14:06:46
- Raul Butaci (Romania) – 14:15:40
- Pau Capell (Spain) – 14:22:15
- Joaquin Lopez (Ecuador) – 14:30:10
- Arthur Joyeux-Bouillon (France) – 14:53:38
- Jonas Russi (Switzerland) – 14:59:36
- Estanislao Rivero (Spain) – 15:10:43
- Ricardo Luis Trujillo (Spain) – 15:12:34