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My most popular ultra running stories so far this year

Courtney Dauwalter's victory at Western States was part of several of the stories on this list.

By Henry Howard

Somehow the year 2023 is a bit more than halfway complete. Doesn’t seem possible.

I paused to reflect back a bit at all the amazing achievements thus far in the year by trail and ultra runners. Heading that list is the jaw-dropping Western States-Hardrock double by Courtney Dauwalter (our interview from a few years ago here). She obliterated the Western States women’s record, then topped the Hardrock course record and — for good measure — now has the fastest total finishing time for the races, which are just three weeks apart.

Certainly, her achievements are the top story of the year, so far, in the sport. I was curious to see which of the stories for my RunSpirited website had garnered the most attention to date. Here are the top 10, starting with one that was actually published last year but was apparently timely for the early part of 2023 as well.

The top 10 most popular ultra running stories

1. How cold is too cold to run outside. A look at how bitterly cold temperatures can affect runners.

2. 12 women ultra runners who inspire. During Women’s History Month in March, I highlighted a dozen women who inspire others.

3. AJW previews the 2023 Western States. I chatted with Andy Jones-Wilkins about his expectations for the race a few weeks before it took place.

Arlen Glick's story about how the one-time hobby jogger found running is quite popular.

4. Arlen Glick: From ‘hobby jogger’ to elite 100-miler. I enjoyed my interview with Glick, who was among those running the Western States-Hardrock double this year.

5. Top 20 Most Inspirational Ultra Runners for 2022. No surprise here. My annual list, even though it was published in mid-December, is among the most popular.

6. The why and how of strength training for runners. To start off 2023, I launched a special four-part series on strength training for runners. This is the first instalment.

7. From a potato farmer to the final Western States 100 Golden Hour finisher. Published only a week ago (so not even technically in the first half of 2023), this interview with Jennifer St. Amand is resonating with my readers.

8. A relentless drive powers Leah Yingling to overcome challenges. Published in 2022, this profile of elite runner Leah Yingling continues to be a popular story.

Who better to offer strength advice for masters athletes than Michael Wardian?

9. Michael Wardian’s strength training recipe for masters athletes. Who better to offer strength advice for masters athletes than Michael Wardian? He shares his wisdom and tips in the second part of my series from earlier this year.

10. 10 takeaways from the 2023 Western States. This post-race analysis barely made the time frame cutoff but is still highly popular.

If the start of this year is any indication, there will be many more memorable stories about ultra running throughout 2023. Which ones will end up being the most popular on my website?

Stay tuned.


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