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Trail Performance of The Year: 2023

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Headshot of Corrine Malcolm, Editor-in-Chief at Freetrail

By: Corrine Malcolm

Freetrail Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Trail Society Podcast.

After last year’s inaugural Trail Runner of The Year (TROY) we wanted to continue to improve our year-end celebration for the best in trail. As we iterate forward we wanted to add a recognition for the performances that rocked our socks off. While most of these performances come in the midst of oustanding seasons, this also allows us to celebrate athlete’s big wins that shine on their own. Trail Performance of The Year, like TROY, is distance agnostic and tries to recognize incredible race performances from VK to ultra-ultra-distance endeavors. This year did not disappoint!

Women’s Trail Performances of The Year

Courtney Dauwalter comes across the line of UTMB in September - completing her Triple. C/O: UTMB Media
Courtney Dauwalter comes across the line of UTMB in September – completing her Triple. C/O: UTMB Media
  • Courtney Dauwalter – Western States 100 
    A season for the record books kicked off with a win and course record in a time of 15:29:33.
  • Courtney Dauwalter – Hardrock 100 
    Doubling back, and cementing her name in the history books with another course record and win in 26:14:12.
  • Courtney Dauwalter – Dacia UTMB® Mont Blanc – UTMB 
    The gift that just keeps giving, while not a record on it’s own it capped off a triple done in a way we’ve never witnessed – winning in 26:14:12.
  • Katie Schide – Western States 100 
    Best ever debut at WSER? While it wasn’t a cougar, Katie’s second place dipped under the previous course record in a time of 16:43:45.
  • Courtney Dauwalter – Transgrancanaria – Classic 
    Sometimes forgtotten due to falling in the first quarter of the year, the first woman across the island in undering 15 hours, winning in 14:40:39.

Men’s Trail Performance of The Year

Jim Walmsley finals gets his win around the Mont-Blanc. C/O: UTMB Media
Jim Walmsley finals gets his win around the Mont-Blanc. C/O: UTMB Media
  • Jim Walmsley – Dacia UTMB® Mont Blanc – UTMB 
    Winning and setting a course record in 19:37:43, the first American male to win the race and the end to a multi-year mission around the Mont-Blanc for Jim.
  • Rémi Bonnet – Pikes Peak Ascent 
    Winning and breaking Matt Carpenter’s untouchable course record from 30-years ago in 2 hours and 20 seconds.
  • Harvey Lewis – Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra 
    Winning and running the most loops we’ve ever seen in a Backyard Ultra – 108 ‘yards’ or roughly 450 miles – stunned doesn’t begin to describe it.
  • Tom Evans – Western States 100 
    WSER always impresses and Tom’s fourth fastest time and win in 14:40:22 sealed the deal – now how does one get a Cougar Trophy back to the UK?
  • Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz – Hardrock 100 
    Winning in commanding fashion, further establishing a French legacy at the Colorado mountain race with a time of 23:00:30. We applaud you!

This top-five list isn’t exhaustive, and there are definitely many performances that had our jaws on the ground that didn’t make the cut. What we do know – the trail world continues to show up in ways we never imagined possible. From running next level feats of strength and speed to supporting competitors and friends alike. 2024 – we’re ready for you!

Trail Runner of The Year 2023 is brought to you with support from our friends over at Ketone IQ

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