AJW’s Taproom 2023 in Ultrarunning Awards

AJW’s picks for various 2023 end-of-year awards for ultrarunners.

By on December 22, 2023 | Comments

AJW's TaproomFor the past 11 years, I have posted some year-end ultrarunning awards. I would like to introduce the 12th annual AJW’s Taproom Year in Ultrarunning Awards for 2023. You can check out my awards from the end of 2011201220132014201520162017201820192021 and 2022. I did something a little different in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are not scientific in any way, and the scoring system is made up entirely by me, but I borrowed some of the criteria from the “Ultrarunning Magazine” awards, which state: “This is a North American award. To be eligible for consideration, an athlete must be a full-time North American resident (regardless of their citizenship), or be a U.S., Canadian or Mexican citizen (regardless of where they live.)”

My rankings in no way represent an exhaustive study, nor do they pretend to be fully representative of all that occurred in 2023 — so take them or leave them. Here goes!

Women’s Ultrarunner of the Year

  1. Courtney Dauwalter
  2. Katie Schide (U.S., lives in France)
  3. Emily Hawgood (Zimbabwe, lives in the U.S.)
  4. Tara Dower
Courtney Dauwalter- 2023 Hardrock 100 - Maggie Gulch

Courtney Dauwalter climbs amongst the 2023 Hardrock 100 wildflowers. Photo: iRunFar/Eszter Horanyi

Men’s Ultrarunner of the Year

  1. Jim Walmsley (U.S., lives part time in France)
  2. Zach Miller
  3. Tyler Green
  4. Mathieu Blanchard (Canada, lives in France)

Women’s Performance of the Year

  1. Courtney Dauwalter’s course record at the Western States 100 (interview)
  2. Katie Schide’s second place and under the prior course record at the Western States 100 (interview)
  3. Camille Herron’s course record at the Spartathlon

Men’s Performance of the Year

  1. Charlie Lawrence’s 50-mile world record at the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile (interview)
  2. Jim Walmsley’s course record at UTMB (interview)
  3. Jonathan Rea’s course record at the Javelina 100 Mile
Jim Walmsley - 2023 UTMB - first man at finish

On his fifth attempt, Jim Walmsley put together all the pieces of UTMB for a win and new course record. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Women’s 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 2023 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 2023 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.]

  • Priscilla Forgie

Men’s Rookie of the Year

  • Blake Slattengren

Women’s Surprise of the Year

  • The margin by which Courtney Dauwalter set a course record at the Western States 100

Men’s Surprise of the Year

  • Charlie Lawrence’s 50-mile world record at the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile
Charlie Lawrence - 50 mile world record - 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile - photo 2

A quick moment of aid for Charlie Lawrence en route to a new 50-mile world record at the 2023 Tunnel Hill 50 Mile. Photo: Zack Lever/@TrailLive

Women’s FKT of the Year

  • Nina Bridges’s women’s supported FKT on the Colorado Trail in the east to west direction, using the Collegiate East variant

Men’s FKT of the Year

Best Trail Running Film of the Year

Most Inspirational Person of the Year

  • Pam Reed

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week

This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Stone Brewing in San Diego, California. Their Stone Smoked Porter is a deep, dark, smoky porter with a creamy head and a delicious finish. With a hint of the typical chocolate and coffee flavors of most porters, Stone Smoked is unique and familiar all at once.

Call for Comments

Who would you pick for these awards?

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.