Once again, ultrarunner extraordinaire Courtney Dauwalter demonstrated her exceptional capabilities in the women’s race, kicking off the year with a triumphant performance at The North Face Transgrancanaria in the Canary Islands. Following her extraordinary 2023 accomplishments with wins at Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB, Dauwalter successfully defended her title in the 126km Classic with an impressive display of skill and endurance.

 

Despite contending with challenging weather conditions, including rain, wind, and cold throughout the night, Dauwalter took an early lead and steadily widened the gap as daylight emerged. Key contenders like Germany’s Ida-Sophie Hegemann and Spain’s Azara García de los Salmones vied for podium positions but eventually withdrew. Claudia Tremps of Spain secured second place, with Ireland’s Emma Stuart claiming the third spot.

Dauwalter’s dominance was evident as she consistently increased her lead, crossing the finish line in 15:14:54. Although her time was slightly slower than the previous year, the more arduous conditions warranted acknowledgment, and Dauwalter acknowledged the heightened difficulty compared to her 2023 victory.

Raul Butaci Emerges Victorious in Men’s Three-Way Battle

In the men’s race, Romania’s Raul Butaci emerged triumphant in an exhilarating three-way battle, securing the overall win at The North Face Transgrancanaria. The competition, which featured 6,804 meters of elevation gain, unfolded as the third World Trail Majors event of the year.

 

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Early in the race, China’s Jiasheng Shen and American Zach Miller assumed the lead. However, as the runners navigated challenging overnight weather, the battle for supremacy crystallized at the Tunte checkpoint. Butaci established a significant lead over Miguel Heras of Spain and Ionel Christian Manole (ROM), creating a front group of three leading contenders.

Raul Butaci
Image © transgrancanaria.net

Maintaining his advantage, Butaci increased his lead by the final checkpoint at Ayagaures, ultimately crossing the finish line in 13:22:32. Heras secured second place, with Manole narrowly fending off Abel Carretero for the final podium position.

 

The final standings included Shen in fifth, defending champ Andreu Simon in sixth, Zach Miller in seventh, and Britain’s Josh Wade in eighth, illustrating the intense competition at The North Face Transgrancanaria.