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Salomon Athletes Courtney Dauwalter and Francois D’Haene Announce 2020 Race Plans

rygr March 17, 2020

World champion ultrarunners will toe the line at the Hardrock 100 and UTMB®


OGDEN, Utah (March 17, 2020) — Salomon ultrarunning athletes Courtney Dauwalter and Francois D’Haene today announced their race plans for the 2020 running season. The star athletes have recently taken the ultrarunning world by storm, each earning Ultrarunner of the Year recognitions and podium finishes across the board. This year, the American and Frenchman will both take on two of the most iconic 100-mile trail races in the world, the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run in Silverton, Colo. and the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®) in Chamonix, France.

 “Hardrock 100 is a beautiful mountain race in Colorado that has a rich history and family-like community feel. I am honored to be able to participate in this race,” says 2019 UTMB® first place winner, Courtney Dauwalter. “UTMB® was a race I experienced for the first time this past year and I absolutely loved it. The terrain is tough but gorgeous, and the festive atmosphere of Chamonix during race week was energizing. I can’t wait to take another lap of Mont Blanc!”

The opportunity for both athletes to finally take on the legendary Hardrock 100 comes a year later than planned, as the 2019 event was cancelled due to snow.

“Having never run Hardrock 100, it was an obvious choice for my 2020 calendar after the race was cancelled in 2019,” says Francois D’Haene. “I am very familiar with the UTMB® course, and it is a magical but grueling race. After winning in 2017, I knew I would need a bit of time to recover mentally and physically to meet my goal of going back in 2020.”

In 2017, D’Haene raced in the 106-mile tour around the Mont Blanc Massif and won what was arguably the most competitive ultra-distance race in the sport’s history, capturing his third UTMB® title. While that race gives him confidence in his return, he says every race is different.

Dauwalter, who has won a host of ultras in recent years ranging from 50- to 240-mile distances, will also race in the Big’s Backyard Ultra, a last-person-standing race in Tennessee. The grueling event takes runners around laps of the same 4.1-mile trail loop during the day and a road loop of similar length during the night. Each loop must be completed in one hour or less, and it continues until only one competitor remains. In 2019, Dauwalter won the women’s race and finished 2nd overall.

“Big’s Backyard is one I couldn’t miss. This format provides the perfect opportunity to really push our own limits and see what we are capable of,” Dauwalter says. “It gives everyone a chance to see what is possible and to test their own limits. I am really looking forward to this race and hope to show up ready to go for 300 plus miles. It is a physical challenge for sure, but an even more interesting mental challenge.”

Recovery will be essential

Both athletes say recovery will be an important part of their season, with Hardrock and UTMB® just six weeks apart.

“It will be especially challenging to recover and manage these two big tests,” D’Haene says. “I will do everything to try to prepare myself accordingly, but it is the challenge and uncertainty that excites and motivates me at the start of the year. “

“I am not exactly sure what those six weeks will look like, but I am looking forward to figuring it out,” says Dauwalter. “How much of the time is recovery? How much training will I be able to fit in? How can I make my body and brain as fresh as possible for the next one? Ultra-running is a puzzle with many pieces and having two big races close together will add a fun twist to the puzzle this summer.”

Product and training

Both D’Haene and Dauwalter will start their respective seasons at the Salomon Running Camp in April, which brings together the brand’s international trail running team in the Canarias Islands, Spain. The camp will consist of product testing and development as well as logging miles before the races begin.

For the 2019 season, Dauwalter raced in the Salomon S/LAB Ultra 2 shoe, a product originally developed for D’Haene’s fastest known time (FKT) on the John Muir Trail in California. In 2020, she will be training and racing in the S/Lab Ultra 3, which launches in Fall 2020, as well as the Sense Ride 3, available now.

Living just two hours from Salomon’s Annecy Design Center in the French Alps affords D’Haene the opportunity to work closely with Salomon’s design team across several product categories. “Whether it’s the shoes, clothes or gear, each year we work with the design team for the various product tests to develop products efficiently and effectively,” he says.

Inspired by one another

Dauwalter and D’Haene say they were both curious what races the other would be running in this season.

“Courtney and I have developed a friendship over the years, both on and off the trails,” D’Haene says. “Her race calendar is fun to watch, as she is able to conquer a variety of distances, terrain and new challenges overall throughout the year. It’s inspiring to see her tackle the 200-mile format, a distance I’m especially interested in racing.”

Dauwalter says that racing the same races alongside D’Haene is motivating for her as well. “Seeing what talented athletes like Francois put together for their schedules is always inspiring,” she says. “It’s also cool because I live in Colorado, where we will both run Hardrock, and Francois lives in France, where we will both do UTMB®. We get to share our home mountains with each other!”

Courtney Dauwalter 2020 Schedule:
APRIL – Salomon Running Camp – Canarias Islands, Spain
JULY – Hardrock 100 – Colorado, USA
AUGUST – Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®) – Chamonix, France
OCTOBER – Big Backyard’s Ultra – Tennessee, USA

Francois D’Haene 2020 Schedule:
APRIL – Salomon Running Camp – Canarias Islands, Spain
APRIL – Penyagolosa – Spain
JULY – Hardrock 100 – Colorado, USA
AUGUST – Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB®) – Chamonix, France

About Salomon: Born in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is committed to pushing the boundaries of mountain sports through the creation of innovative equipment that allows people to play, progress and challenge themselves in their chosen outdoor sports. The company produces and sells premium footwear, winter sports and mountaineering equipment, hiking equipment, and apparel specifically designed for all those disciplines. Products are developed in the company’s Annecy Design Center, where engineers, designers and athletes collaborate to create innovative solutions that continually improve the outdoor experiences of those who see nature as a vast playground.

Contact: Emily Banks
970-924-0704 ext. 103