Courtney Dauwalter got around the Hardrock 100 course and a whole lot more in her course record-setting run at the 2022 Hardrock. In the following interview, Courtney talks about how she felt nauseous for most of the race, how she problem-solved better than last year, and what her favorite experience was from the race.
To see how the whole race unfolded, check out our 2022 Hardrock 100 results article.
Courtney Dauwalter, 2022 Hardrock 100 Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Courtney Dauwalter after her course record-setting win at the 2022 Hardrock 100. How are you, Courtney?
Courtney Dauwalter: Good morning. I’m good. How are you?
iRunFar: Doing all right.
iRunFar: Surviving Hardrock weekend, we are.
Dauwalter: Yeah, it’s an amazing morning here. A great place to wake up.
iRunFar: Indeed, indeed. And you’re waking up having run a pretty darn good race this past weekend. How do you feel about it?
Dauwalter: Yeah, I mean, I was so pumped to get another shot at this course. And so, to finish the loop felt really good. To kiss that rock and give it a good old bear hug was my main goal. And we made it.
iRunFar: You made it. Along the way, ran pretty well, too.
iRunFar: So it’s one of those races, I mean you set a course record, a really long-standing course record. But it wasn’t a perfect day out there. Where were some challenges? What were the challenges along the way?
Dauwalter: Yeah, it definitely wasn’t perfect, which I’ve come to expect for any 100-mile race. But I guess it was going pretty smoothly until around halfway, mile 50. The climb out of Ouray, my stomach turned kind of unexpectedly. Calories had been going in great all day. And then suddenly, they weren’t. And so my pacer and I, my buddy Mike [Ambrose] just kind of eased off the gas pedal for a really long time trying to problem solve and figure out what could stay in. When we got to aid stations with my crew, we were working through it together. And eventually the secret sauce was broth. Yeah, I don’t. It’s very simple, but it took us forever to finally try some. And then for the last probably 20 miles or so it was mostly just soup broth coming in.
iRunFar: And you’re not carrying too much of that down the course, or were you?
Dauwalter: No, no.
iRunFar: Water bottles full.
Dauwalter: I should have, I could have been fun, but it was just at aid stations. Chug a cup, keep on.
iRunFar: So pretty light on the food.
Dauwalter: Pretty light.
iRunFar: Calories at least.
iRunFar: But you, so, it’s kind of interesting, because before the race you were talking about how last year you didn’t, a very similar situation. You have nausea, like it’s a problem, but you reacted differently.
Dauwalter: Yeah, yeah, we learned our lesson, which is fun. I don’t know. I guess I need some tips. Because who can keep their stomach during this race?
Dauwalter: It’s so high. There’s so much climbing. It’s just relentless. I don’t know. I don’t know how you keep it all packaged.
iRunFar: What is the damage control?
iRunFar: Knowing that it’s going to be, your stomach’s going to go at some point.
Dauwalter: Right. And maybe that’s all you do is you just know it’s going to happen and then start working through a list of plan B, C, D, E.
iRunFar: Yeah. And now you have a new letter on that option list.
Dauwalter: Yum. Very delicious. Thank you, volunteers.
iRunFar: Your stomach was a challenge there during that last half of the race. Did you have any other problems or did you feel pretty strong otherwise?
Dauwalter: I guess mostly the stomach was just a limiting factor. So we couldn’t push super hard. We were taking all the climbs really chill and trying to keep my lunch in as much as possible.
iRunFar: Yeah. And that didn’t always happen.
Dauwalter: No, it definitely didn’t always happen. Left some piles out there.
iRunFar: That happens. Did you have any favorite moments out there?
Dauwalter: Oh, gosh, man. The views are incredible. There were fields of wildflowers that were insane. I’ve never seen them so thick. Like it was just dense with wildflowers of every color. So cool.
iRunFar: That was Wasatch Basin, between Oscar’s and Telluride?
Dauwalter: So cool. Well one, you’re descending, so it feels really good.
iRunFar: Always nice.
Dauwalter: Extra good when you’re going downhill. And yeah, that was one of the places where I was just hooting and hollering by myself because it was so beautiful. I felt like I was in a painting.
iRunFar: It’s an amazing spot.
iRunFar: Speaking of you being alone, and you did have a pacer for a long time, but the race kind of played out differently than a lot of them and didn’t seem to be a lot of switching around. Were you running with any other racers at all out there?
Dauwalter: Not really. I could see a few people at some points, but yeah, mostly it was a solo vision quest.
iRunFar: And then when did you pick up Mike Ambrose, your pacer?
Dauwalter: I picked Mike up in Ouray and he took me all the way to Cunningham. So, he did the Hardrock 50 mile. [laughs] And then my husband Kevin [Schmidt] got to pace me from Cunningham to the finish, which was really special. We hadn’t, I don’t think I’ve done a race where I could have pacers in a really long time. And so, he hasn’t run with me in a race forever. So that was cool to you know, scoop him up. We had nine miles left. A terribly steep climb that I didn’t think would end ever and then rolled downhill to the finish line.
iRunFar: So, it’s probably a nice treat to know your husband Kevin is like the ace crew member. Like you have it so dialed. Like it’s not, you don’t speed through it unnecessarily, but you just boom, boom, boom. So, when I say his crew duties were done you could just have him to come in and join you.
Dauwalter: Yeah, yeah. He could tell me about the day, all the crewing stories that had happened overnight, how they were doing. It was really cool.
iRunFar: Were there any fun stories from that?
Dauwalter: They kept it pretty like, everything went pretty smoothly. So luckily no disasters.
iRunFar: Yeah. What was it like running into town? I mean, running into Chamonix, winning UTMB there’s all the crowds. Here, it’s a different feel. What was it like coming in after your challenges last year? Just running to Silverton.
Dauwalter: So special. Yeah. I mean, this town and this place are so cool. To finish the loop and to have gotten the full adventure out of it was, yeah, I mean, it was amazing. And to celebrate then with friends and hang out in town has been awesome.
iRunFar: Nice. Do you think you might come and hang out in town again next July?
Dauwalter: Yeah, for sure. I’m super interested. Now that I have completed it, what is it like going in the other direction?
Dauwalter: Some of those downhills, like, I can’t imagine going up them. So that would be fun to try.
iRunFar: One way to find out. [laughs]
Dauwalter: Yeah. [laughs]
iRunFar: Nice. That’s good to hear that. This year, do you have any other plans before we wrap things up?
Dauwalter: I’m just going to chill out for a bit now. And then in October, I’ll race Diagonale des Fous.
iRunFar: That will be your first time there, right?
Dauwalter: Yeah. One hundred miles, tons of climbing, should be really cool.
iRunFar: Awesome. Well, congratulations on a great run.
Dauwalter: Thank you.
iRunFar: And have a good rest of your season.
Dauwalter: Thank you.