One of the world's top ultra runners, Courtney Dauwalter, has been hospitalised after an attempt to achieve the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Colorado Trail. The trail starts in the small town of Durango in southwestern Colorado, near the border with Mexico. It runs 486 miles to Denver, Colorado's capital.
Unfortunately, after over 250 miles of running through dry, dusty desert conditions, Dauwalter started wheezing and on Monday her husband, Kevin Schmidt, took to Instagram to inform her fans that she had been taken to hospital in Leadville.
His Instagram message said, "This definitely wasn't in the plan. Court was wheezing pretty badly in the RV this morning, so we made the call to take her to the ER in Leadville. Her pulse ox was 70 so the doctors here ran a full range of tests for HAPE, blood clots, and other severe conditions. Thankfully those were all ruled out and they determined she has acute bronchitis. It could have been allergy induced, or from all the dust/dry heat, plus an impaired immune system from her run. She's on oxygen until her levels come back up, but she should be perfectly healthy in a few days. We’re crushed it had to end this way, but ever grateful she’s on the mend. We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who followed along during Court’s CT attempt. Your cheers and kind words mean the world to us! Be well everyone. Kevin"
Before starting the FKT attempt, Courtney took to Instagram to announce her intentions. She wrote, "Finally going to take a crack at 500 miles! Heading out on the Colorado Trail next week to test myself on a new distance. What does it feel like to run that far? I’m excited to find out! Pain Cave, here we come."
The current record for running the 490 miles with 90,000ft of climbing is 8 days, 30 minutes set by Bryan Williams in 2017. Williams was seen cheering on Dauwalter during her attempt and told Denver local news, "What I know of Courtney, she’s got it. She’s one of the toughest female ultra runners out there right now.”
Dauwalter is a prolific ultra runner and was named Ultra Runner of the Year in 2018 by Ultrarunning Magazine after winning 9 of the 12 races that she entered, including two where she finished first overall. Despite her unfortunate hospitalisation during this attempt, no doubt she will be back fighting fit in no time and ready to take another crack at the record. We're all rooting for you Courtney!