2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k Results: Courtney Dauwalter Repeats and Raul Butaci Wins

Results from the 2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k won by Courtney Dauwalter and Raul Butaci.

By on February 24, 2024 | Comments

At the stroke of midnight, on Saturday, February 24, more than 750 runners set out for the 2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k, the main event of the Transgrancanaria festival of races on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria off of the coast of Morocco.

Traveling 78.3 miles (126 kilometers) of mountainous terrain from Las Palmas on the northern tip of the island to the southern end in Maspalomas, the race route offers up more than 22,300 feet (6,800 meters) of elevation gain and is an early season classic that always draws big names in the trail running world. This year, the event was the third race in the World Trail Majors series.

All eyes were on last year’s returning women’s champion, Courtney Dauwalter (U.S.), who was coming back to racing after a big break following her massive 2023 race campaign. Also looking to vie for the top spot was Claudia Tremps (Spain), who finished third in 2023 and 2022 and second in 2021. Azara García (Spain) was also aiming to make a mark.

On the men’s side, 2023 winner Andreu Simon (Spain) was back, as was Miguel Arsénio (Portugal), who was looking to improve on his 2023 second place. Raul Butaci (Romania, lives in Spain), who finished fourth in 2023, was also on the start line. Zach Miller (U.S.) arrived hoping for a strong showing in his Transgrancanaria debut.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k - Courtney Dauwalter - womens winner

Courtney Dauwalter made it through a night of challenging weather to enjoy blue sky running on her way to her second Transgrancanaria win. Photo: Transgrancanaria/Ian Corless

The midnight start is a fairly unique feature for this race, and while runners started in dry conditions, it didn’t take long for the weather to unleash. Strong winds, fog, cold temperatures, and ample precipitation continued in the dark before easing off to cloudy skies at daybreak. Good running weather conditions prevailed for the second half of the race as runners made their way across the southern reaches of the island.

While Dauwalter led the women from start to end in dominating fashion, finishing in 15:14:54, the men’s race saw many lead changes and shakeups amongst the top five throughout the race. In the end, it would be Butaci with a strong mid-race move to come out on top in 13:22:32 ahead of Miguel Heras (Spain) and Ionel Manole (Romania, lives in Spain) in second and third places, respectively.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k Women’s Race

It’s hard to bet against Courtney Dauwalter (U.S.) when it comes to race like Transgrancanaria. While last year, it took Dauwalter a little bit to work her way into the lead, this year she went straight to the front and opened up nearly a two-minute gap to the next woman within the first hour of the race. Donning a jacket as the weather deteriorated but still smiling through the wind, rain, and fog of the night, she moved efficiently through the check points and ran with the stride of a rested and happy runner enjoying a night out in the mountains.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k - Courtney Dauwalter - womens winner

Courtney Dauwalter took the lead of the women’s race early and never gave it up. Photo: Transgrancanaria/The Adventure Bakery

By Fontanales, 42 kilometers in, Dauwalter’s lead was nearly 15 minutes over Azara García (Spain) and 21 minutes over Claudia Tremps (Spain). Emma Stuart (Ireland) ran in fourth just under half an hour back, and Maria Mercedes Pila (Ecuador, living in Spain) rounded out the top five. Positions in the top five stayed the same through Artenara at 65 kilometers with the coming of the day, with the gaps continuing to open with now a full hour between Dauwalter in the lead and Pila in fifth.

Things started to shake up for the women as they headed toward the course highpoint. At the Garañon checkpoint at 89 kilometers, Dauwalter led Tremps by 39 minutes after García dropped from the race. Tremps and García had left Tejeda (77k) together, but García returned to the aid station with dizziness. Stuart moved into third, an hour back from the leader, and Dominika Stelmach (Poland) ran in fourth, an hour and a half back from the charging Dauwalter. Anouk Baars (The Netherlands) rounded out the top five.

Over the high point and now under sunny skies, the gaps between the top women only increased as each settled into their paces on the long descent toward the finish. Courtney Dauwalter would finish in a time of 15:14 ahead of Claudia Tremps who came across the line in 16:27. Emma Stuart continued to run a strong and consistent race to round out the podium in 16:50 about an hour ahead of Dominika Stelmach, who took fourth in 17:49.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic - Claudia Tremps

Claudia Tremps on her way to finishing second at the 2024 Transgrancanaria Classic. Photo: Transgrancanaria/Ian Corless

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k Women’s Results

  1. Courtney Dauwalter (U.S.) – 15:14:54
  2. Claudia Tremps (Spain) – 16:27:03
  3. Emma Stuart (Ireland) – 16:50:40
  4. Dominika Stelmach (Poland) – 17:49:19
  5. Anouk Baars (The Netherlands) – 19:03:16
  6. Yuri Yoshizumi (Japan) – 19:06:32
  7. Fátima Buchas (Portugal) – 19:35:19
  8. Ildikó Wermesher (Hungary) – 19:58:20
  9. Gitana Akmanaviciute (Lithuania) – 20:05:46
  10. Dominique Van Mechgelen (Belgium) – 20:16:35

Full results.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 125k Men’s Race

Leaving the start line in Las Palmas under a cloudy skies, it wasn’t long before the favorites set a fast pace at the pointy end of the race. Going over several climbs on their way to the Fontanales checkpoint at kilometer 42, it was Zach Miller (U.S.), Miguel Heras (Spain), and Miguel Arsénio (Portugal) running within a minute of each other just over four hours into the race.

All seemed to be coping with the deteriorating weather well as rain and wind pelted the field and the fog closed in. All within six minutes of the lead, Ionel Manole (Romania, lives in Spain), Andreu Simon (Spain), Jia-Sheng Shen (China), and Raul Butaci (Romania, lives in Spain) stayed within close distance of the lead trio.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k - Zach Miller - in the fog

Zach Miller started fast at his debut Transgrancanaria and finished seventh. Photo: Transgrancanaria/The Adventure Bakery

Reaching the middle of the course at Artenara at 65 kilometers and the start of the day high in the mountains of the island, little had changed in overall standings. Arsénio now led with a two-and-a-half minute lead over Miller and Heras while Butaci, showing his experience with on course, started to close the gap to third, now just 45 seconds off of a podium spot, while Manole and Simon stayed in close pursuit.

With daybreak came better weather for the field. Cloudy morning skies greeted racers as they started in on the southern half of the island traverse. Over the second highest point of the course and into the Tejeda checkpoint, Butaci made his move on the field. Now eight hours into the race, the Romanian put in a major surge to run himself into the lead alongside Arsénio, who would drop with a hamstring injury at 77 kilometers in Tejeda. Heras trailed under two minutes back while Miller seemed to be paying for his fast start, now nearly six minutes off of the lead.

Over Garañon, nearly at the high point of the race 89 kilometers in, Arsénio had dropped from the race and Butaci increased his lead over Heras to more than two minutes. Manole slotted into third position. Miller continued to fall back while a chasing trio of Simon, Shen, and Abel Carretero (Spain) all ran together to round out the top seven.

Starting the major descent out of the mountains, the men bombed down to Tunte at kilometer 101 with Butaci increasing his lead to more than five minutes over second. Nearly home at Ayagaures with only one smaller climb until the finish, the gap between first and second was nearly eight minutes. While Heras and Manole continued to hold onto second and third, Carretero made a huge move to work himself into fourth place and within striking distance of the podium if only he had more time. In the end, he would fall just 36 seconds short of a podium spot.

In the end, Raul Butaci took the win with a time of 13:22, Miguel Heras finished second in 13:32, and Ionel Manole took the final podium spot in 13:49. Abel Carretero finished in 13:49 and Jia-Sheng Shen rounded out the top five in 14:04:40. Former champion Andreu Simon held onto sixth position in 14:07, and Zach Miller finished seventh in 14:10.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k - mens podium - Raul Butaci - Miguel Heras - Ionel Manole

The men’s 2024 Transgrancanaria podium (l-to-r): 2. Miguel Heras, 1. Raul Butaci, and 3. Ionel Manole. Photo: Transgrancanaria/Miguel Travieso

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k Men’s Results

  1. Raul Butaci (Romania, lives in Spain) – 13:22:32
  2. Miguel Heras (Spain) – 13:32:48
  3. Ionel Manole (Romania, lives in Spain) – 13:49:04
  4. Abel Carretero (Spain) – 13:49:40
  5. Jia-Sheng Shen (China) – 14:04:40
  6. Andreu Simon (Spain) – 14:07:50
  7. Zach Miller (U.S.) – 14:10:45
  8. Josh Wade (U.K.) – 14:19:08
  9. Dylan Dame (Belgium) – 14:37:06
  10. Santos Rueda (Argentina) – 14:56:01

Full results.

2024 Transgrancanaria Classic 126k - Miguel Heras - mens second place

Miguel Heras ran to a strong second place after staying near the front the entire race. Photo: Transgrancanaria/Ian Corless

Eszter Horanyi

Eszter Horanyi identifies as a Runner Under Duress, in that she’ll run if it gets her deep into the mountains or canyons faster than walking would, but she’ll most likely complain about it. A retired long-distance bike racer, she gave ultra foot racing a go and finished the Ouray 100 in 2017, but ultimately decided that she prefers a slower pace of life of taking photos during long days in the mountains and smelling the flowers while being outside for as many hours of the day as possible. Eszter will take any opportunity to go adventuring in the mountains or desert by foot, bike, or boat, and has lived the digital nomad lifestyle throughout the west for the past seven years.