Courtney Dauwalter Pre-2021 Hardrock 100 Interview

Courtney Dauwalter is one of the women’s favorites at the 2021 Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Courtney talks about what has drawn her to this event, what her training in the Colorado Rockies has been like leading up to the race, and how she plans to balance both enjoying the experience of running Hardrock and finding the best version of herself on race day.

Be sure to read our preview to see who else is racing this year’s Hardrock 100 and follow our live Hardrock coverage starting at 6 a.m. MDT on Friday, July 16th.

Courtney Dauwalter Pre-2021 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, I’m with Courtney Dauwalter, it’s a couple days before the 2021 Hardrock 100. This is our fifth take. Hi.

Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah, we’re nailing it.

iRunFar: Your first Hardrock 100.

Dauwalter: Yes. I’m so excited.

iRunFar: You were chosen in the lottery for the first time this year to make a high-altitude lap through the San Juan Mountains, what have you been thinking about in the long time that we’ve been waiting for this year’s race?

Dauwalter: Yeah, so this is the same start list as 2019 basically. So since then I’ve been so pumped to do it and then also holding back the excitement a little, thinking, what’s the thing that’s going to cancel it this year? So I’m just thrilled to be on the start line here, in town, and to make the lap back to the rock. 

iRunFar: Over the years you seem to be trending towards the Colorado Rockies.

Dauwalter: I love Colorado. Well last year was convenient to just play in the Colorado Rockies quite a bit because I didn’t have to travel very much and there’s such a big playground out here. So that made it a simple choice, and then Hardrock has always been on my wish list. I remember reading about it when I first got into the sport so probably seven or eight years ago. And just being in awe, that these people could do this loop. It looked insane to me and I couldn’t fathom how it happened. So to get the chance to maybe test that for myself is cool.

iRunFar: Seven years later or so, can you fathom it for yourself now?

Dauwalter: I don’t know. We’ll find out.

iRunFar: We just did the Trail Sisters, Women of Hardrock chat and you identified as a Leadville resident, you’re living at high-altitude.

Dauwalter: We live in Leadville, yes, it’s awesome.

iRunFar: That’s a big thing for an event like this, to live at just about the average altitude of the race.

Dauwalter: Yeah, and I mean it’s just a fortunate coincidence right now. We fell in love with Leadville because of the town in the community and the big playground that was out there. So we’ve moved their full-time this past winter and it just happens to be at quite a high-altitude.

iRunFar: It’s mid-July now, I mean you lived in Leadville where the snow melted last week or maybe a month ago. No really, what does training look like when you live in a place like Leadville for a race like Hardrock?

Dauwalter: For me it was just adventuring, getting outside. There is a true winter there, which is a change from the Denver area. So there is snow you can count on and groomed cross-country ski trails. So I got to do a ton of that this winter and then, yeah, tons of dirt roads and not worrying about it. Whatever gets me outside and playing, I think is good training for Hardrock.

iRunFar: I think the Minnesotans probably want to know, how does a Minnesotan winter compared to a Leadville winter?

Dauwalter: Oh geez.

iRunFar: It’s time to start.

Dauwalter: Yeah. I mean Minnesota winters go straight to your bones. I think we had a, this past winter in Leadville was pretty mild, I would say, if you talk to people who live there. So it was a lucky introduction probably. But I’m looking forward to the day I get snowed into my house, that’s like my dream to open the door and have snow piled up past where you can…

iRunFar: How high doesn’t need to be?

Dauwalter: Ideally the whole door.

iRunFar: You want the whole door covered?

Dauwalter: Yeah, and then just trapped inside eating candy for a few days.

iRunFar: That sounds awesome. I’m just wondering who’s going to supervise you, trapped inside for a few days with candy?

Dauwalter: Who needs supervision? From what?

iRunFar: Yourself. The walls. The stairs, I don’t know.

Dauwalter: Would that not be fun?

iRunFar: Yes, yeah. Snow day. Are you here to… I mean you’re so incredibly talented at these mountain ultras, you have an incredible precedent and resume that you bring to this race but this race is unique in that the competitive aspect is just kind of a prong a bit, like where’s your head space had when it comes to competition, experience, rolling it all together, how to separate it, if at all?

Dauwalter: Yeah, I think I’ll go about it like any race where I want to enjoy it and have a blast out there, taking the views and joke with my pacers and volunteers and stuff. But I also want to make sure when I hopefully make it back to the rock that I’ve put everything I had possible into every step I could. So leave it all out there but also enjoy the ride.

iRunFar: I feel like we should talk about who’s pacing you and who’s going to be telling the jokes, receiving the jokes. Who’s on your team?

Dauwalter: I have an amazing team of friends that I just love spending time with. My husband Kevin is here, he’ll be crewing with the Stanley’s and then Kevin will also pace a leg. And then I’ve got my buddy Paul and my friend Maggie pacing some.

iRunFar: It’s going to be a ride.

Dauwalter: Yeah, yeah. They just crack me up, so it’s perfect to spend some hours with them.

iRunFar: So best of luck to you.

Dauwalter: Thank you. You too.

iRunFar: Thanks. It’s going to be so fun being a couple hours behind you.

Dauwalter: I’m excited to share this with you.

iRunFar: All right, best of luck to you on Friday and Saturday.

Dauwalter: Thank you.

B-ROLL

Dauwalter: Courtney Dauwalter with iRunFar here, and this is Meghan Hicks before the 2021 Hardrock 100. Meghan, how are you doing?

iRunFar: Good Courtney, how are you doing?

Dauwalter: Good, now this is your third year back at the Hardrock 100, why are you here again?

iRunFar: I don’t know, they picked me in this damn lottery and I figured I better do it. Why are you here Courtney?

Dauwalter: I’m so excited to be here. Is this real now?

C-ROLL

iRunFar: Did you want to start for real? Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. Meghan Hicks of iRunFar.

Meghan Hicks

is the Managing Editor of iRunFar and the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running.' The converted road runner finished her first trail ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places.