AJW’s Taproom 2021 in Ultrarunning Awards

Who had the most outstanding, fastest, and most surprising races of the year? Here are AJW’s picks for 2021.

By on December 24, 2021 | Comments

AJW's TaproomFor the past nine years,  I have posted some year-end ultrarunning awards. I would like to introduce the 10th-annual AJW’s Taproom Year in Ultrarunning Awards for 2021.

(You can check out my awards from the end of 2011end of 2012end of 2013end of 2014end of 2015end of 2016end of 2017, end of 2018, and end of 2019. I didn’t do awards in 2020 due to the COVID-19-pandemic-induced hiatus from racing.)

These are not scientific in any way, and the criteria are made up entirely by me. They represent a selection of North American athletes competing in events in the United States and abroad.

My rankings, in no way, represent an exhaustive study nor do they pretend to be fully representative of all that occurred in 2021, so take them or leave them. Here goes!

Female Ultrarunner of the Year

  1. Courtney Dauwalter
  2. Camille Herron
  3. Brittany Peterson
  4. Sabrina Stanley
Courtney Dauwalter - 2021 Ultra-Trail Cape Town champion 3

Courtney Dauwalter on her way to winning the 2021 Ultra-Trail Cape Town. Photo: Neville Sharwood

Male Ultrarunner of the Year

  1. Jim Walmsley
  2. Nick Coury
  3. Tyler Green
  4. Hayden Hawks
Jim Walmsley first place finish

Jim Walmsley wins the 2021 Western States 100. Photo: iRunFar/Alex Potter

Female Performance of the Year

  1. Courtney Dauwalter’s win at UTMB (interview)
  2. Camille Herron’s women’s 100-mile track American record at Desert Solstice
  3. Brittany Peterson’s course record at Black Canyon 100k

Male Performance of the Year

  1. Nick Coury’s men’s 24-hour American record at Desert Solstice (interview)
  2. Jim Walmsley’s men’s 100-kilometer American record at the Hoka Project Carbon X 2
  3. Dylan Bowman’s second place at the Hardrock 100 (interview)

Female Rookie of the Year

[Author’s Note: For the purposes of my Rookie of the Year award, I consider a runner to be a rookie if 2021 was their first season racing at a highly competitive level. In most cases, the candidates considered for this award have completed a few races in prior years, but 2021 marked the first time they made an impact on the national or international scene beyond a race or two. For me, my “rookie” litmus-test example is Anton Krupicka in 2006 when he came out of nowhere and won the Leadville 100 Mile.]

  • Annie Hughes

Male Rookie of the Year

  • Adam Peterman

Female Surprise of the Year

  • Abby Hall’s second place at the CCC

Male Surprise of the Year

  • Tyler Green’s second place at the Western States 100 (interview)

Female Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Year

  • Addie Bracy and Corey Conner’s women’s unsupported Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim FKT

Male FKT of the Year

  • Joe McConaughy aka Stringbean’s men’s supported Arizona Trail FKT (interview)

Best Trail Running Film of the Year

  • Inaugural Year: A Story About the First Ever Cocodona 250 by Aravaipa Running

Most Inspirational Person of the Year

  • Tommy Rivers Puzey — Puzey has been battling a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. He finished the New York City Marathon this November.

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Sultan of stoke ipa - ajw taproomThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from Steamworks Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado. Hopping on the juicy IPA bandwagon, the good folks at Steamworks have created a deliciously creamy juicy IPA called Sultan of Stoke. Balanced, slightly sweet, and 100% juicy, this beer is so juicy it would go great with your morning eggs and pancakes!

Call for Comments

  • What are your picks for the 2021 performances listed in this article?
  • Anyone you think will have a breakout year in 2022?
Tyler Green - 2021 Western States 100 - Rucky Chucky

Tyler Green cooling off in the American River at mile 78, on his way to taking second at the 2021 Western States 100. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.