What do ultrarunning legends François D’Haene and Courtney Dauwalter have in common? For starters, they both wear the same style of long shorts — which also happens to be the title of Salomon’s latest documentary following part of D’Haene and Dauwalter’s 2021 racing season.
As to what’s up with those long shorts, Dauwalter notes in the film: “We don’t need to be aerodynamic for 100 miles. So choosing the clothing and the gear that makes you feel confident when you’re standing on the starting line and makes you feel comfortable when you’re running for 24 hours is the most important.”
These two ultrarunners have a bit more in common than just long shorts. In 2021, both D’Haene and Dauwalter set out to complete both the Hardrock 100 and UTMB, two incredibly difficult ultramarathons — with only six weeks of recovery in between.
Dauwalter, who lives and trains at 10,000 feet altitude in Leadville, Colorado, is familiar with the terrain and elevation change of the Hardrock course. D’Haene, who calls Beaufort, France, home, trains on the landscape around Mount Blanc and the famed UTMB circuit, ostensibly in his own backyard. Both runners have a list of phenomenal wins to their names, but this double would test their physical and mental limits.
D’Haene and Dauwalter have had their eyes on the feat since 2019, when both declared their intentions to attempt the 100-mile double. But in 2019, extreme avalanche danger nixed the Hardrock 100. And in 2020, COVID-19 shut down the international race scene. So 2021 was the year when both runners made the attempt.
Salomon’s documentary follows them through their training build-up, race days, and recovery. It does so against some fittingly epic shots of Hardrock and UTMB’s stunning circuits. Throughout the film, you get the idea that the two have different approaches to their running. D’Haene takes a tactical, methodical beat. Dauwalter seems to train by the French idiom c’est la vie, paired with a hefty dose of enthusiasm and nearly ever-present smile.
Even though D’Haene drinks wine and Dauwalter prefers beer (you can watch our post-UTMB interview with her to see that preference), at the end of the day, they still have a lot in common. As D’Haene points out, that includes an indomitable desire to finish a race, regardless of the outcome.
Oh, and those long shorts.