Courtney Dauwalter Pre-2021 UTMB Interview

Defending champion Courtney Dauwalter of the USA is back at the 2021 UTMB. In the following interview, Courtney talks about her last six weeks of training since dropping from the Hardrock 100 in July due to stomach issues, how she’s been working on those nutrition issues, and what flavors of gelato she’s been enjoying since arriving in the Alps a few days ago.

Check out our women’s and men’s previews before following our UTMB live coverage starting on Friday.

Courtney Dauwalter Pre-2021 UTMB Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Courtney Dauwalter. It’s a couple of days before the 2021 UTMB. Here we are again! [laughs]

Courtney Dauwalter: Here we are! [laughs]

iRunFar: I feel like our color coordination is really good today.

Dauwalter: Yeah. No it looks great.

iRunFar: The viewers at home cannot see your shorts, but we’re like, [laughs] colored shorts on right now.

Dauwalter: [laughs]

iRunFar: Wait, this is an interview. You’re the defending champion.

Dauwalter: I got to try and derail it as many times as possible. [laughs]

iRunFar: Challenging me and my job. No, you’re back to UTMB again after winning in 2019. How does it feel to be back here?

Dauwalter: Awesome. I’m so excited to be back. I mean to see all of our friends that are over here who we haven’t seen since 2019, and then to get to play on these trails will be really fun. I’m excited.

iRunFar: I kind of feel like it’s like the first day of summer break. They just let us out of like lock out and we’re all like out spazzing around in Europe. Does it feel like that to you at all?

Dauwalter: Yes, with croissants and gelato. [laughs]

iRunFar: Instead of like macaroni and cheese and what else did you eat when you were on summer break?

Dauwalter: Lunchables.

iRunFar: With your perm and your bangs which we were just talking about off camera. Anyway, we last saw you about six weeks ago at Hardrock. How has your recovery and transition back to, yeah, training and prepping for this race gone?

Dauwalter: Better than expected. I was supposed to run 100 miles and didn’t. So my legs and body bounced back really fast and then it’s just been getting in a lot of training and trying to like tinker with some new nutrition ideas to solve the stomach problems.

iRunFar: Yeah, so it was stomach problems that took you out at Hardrock and I think you had said you’d had stomach problems like at something prior to that, too. You’ve been working on that puzzle?

Dauwalter: Yeah, just recently. So it came up in a 50 mile race in June. But 50 miles was short enough where it didn’t matter. And then it came up again in Hardrock, and unfortunately couldn’t fake my way through 100 miles so it’s been great though to like kind of force my hand to re-figure it out and start again with this puzzle piece that I thought I had dialed in. It’s cool.

iRunFar: It’s um, I just interviewed Xavier [Thévenard] awhile and just asked him the same question, but it’s a fun one. The last race you did was Hardrock which is like maybe the antithesis of UTMB. It’s quiet, it’s remote. And Chamonix is like busy and bustling and just buzzing. What’s it like to go from there to here?

Dauwalter: I love both sides of the sport so I thought being at Hardrock at the really mellow aid stations and rolling through Silverton was awesome. And we just got to town so I haven’t gotten like the full energy punch but I’m excited to be in a town that’s just buzzing with ultrarunning this week so.

iRunFar: Well, you’re going to be walking around downtown in just a little while doing selfies and signing autographs and kissing babies. Maybe not kissing babies. It’s a pandemic.

Dauwalter: No baby kissing. Baby high fives. [laughs]

iRunFar: [laughs] Baby fist bumps.

Dauwalter: Yeah.

iRunFar: No, but you, you’ve been over in Europe for a little while.

Dauwalter: A couple of days.

iRunFar: Yeah. What have you been up to?

Dauwalter: We spent some time over in Italy in a little mountain town that was off the UTMB course and my husband I just relaxed. We ate a lot of pizza and got some jogs in. It was a nice way to ease our way into Europe and get over the jetlag.

iRunFar: But a more important question. Did you additionally eat gelato? Hello.

Dauwalter: We absolutely ate gelato.

iRunFar: Excuse me. What flavors now? [laughs]

Dauwalter: Chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut.

iRunFar: We’re on the same page.

Dauwalter: Yeah. [laughs]

iRunFar: Yeah. You’ve done you to be UTMB once before. You kind of know what to expect. What are some things that you’re really looking forward to on Friday and Saturday?

Dauwalter: I think just moving through this course. And I was trying to remember all the parts the other day and there’s so many blank spots. I’m like, I have no idea what that climb looks like. I don’t remember this aid station. So I think there will be a good mix of like surprises that you know are kind of flashbacks and then actual parts I remember. It’ll be cool.

iRunFar: Well, best of luck to you on your loop around Mont Blanc and best of luck filling in those blank spaces in the memory map.

Dauwalter: Thank you. We’ll see you out there.

iRunFar: See you out there.

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.