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8 Of The Best Ultramarathon Runners In The World Today

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Ultrarunners are the epitome of mental and physical grit and performance. They embody an indomitable spirit, relentless determination, and physical prowess that most of us runners can only ever aspire to attain.

However, any distance runners aspiring to improve their endurance or even take on their first ultra can certainly gain inspiration from the training and racing of the fastest and best ultramarathon runners in the world.

From Jasmin Paris’s historic feat at the Barkley Marathons to Kilian Jornet’s unparalleled decade-long dominance in the mountains, each athlete’s journey offers a glimpse into the extraordinary world of ultrarunning.

Join us as we explore the lives and achievements of these remarkable athletes who redefine the meaning of grit, determination, and perseverance in the pursuit of their passion.

So, who are the best ultramarathon runners in the world?

An ultramarathoner jumping.

#8: Jasmin Paris

In an astonishing display of grit and determination, Jasmin Paris, a 40-year-old mother of two hailing from Great Britain, etched her name in the annals of ultrarunning history by achieving a monumental feat at the Barkley Marathons.

In March 2024, Paris became the first woman ever to conquer all five loops of the Barkley course within the stringent 60-hour time limit, a remarkable accomplishment that left the running world in awe.

Navigating the treacherous terrain of Frozen Head State Park, Paris crossed the finish line with mere moments to spare, completing the arduous race in 59 hours, 58 minutes, and 21 seconds.

With just over a minute and a half remaining on the clock, she joined the elite ranks of Barkley Marathon finishers, cementing her status as a trailblazer in the sport.

She’s been a staple ultrarunning name in the UK for a long time, especially since her 2016 Skyrunner World Series win.

In 2019, Paris captured headlines worldwide by securing an outright victory in the grueling 268-mile Montane Spine Race, obliterating the course record by an astonishing 12 hours.

What made her achievement even more extraordinary was the fact that she had welcomed her first child just 14 months earlier.

A women wins a race and rests on a gate.
Photo Credit: Howie Stern

#7: Katie Schide

Currently residing in Isola, nestled within the breathtaking backdrop of the Alps in France, Katie Schide emerged as a formidable force in the 2023 ultrarunning season.

After winning the 2022 UTMB, Katie Schide hit the 2023 season running with an iconic Western States Endurance Run, where she secured a spectacular second-place finish.

Schide not only claimed the runner-up position but also surpassed Ellie Greenwood’s 11-year course record.

Beyond her triumph at Western States, Schide’s season was punctuated by a series of resounding victories, with four ultramarathon wins, including Eco-Trail of Paris Île-de-France and Trail Des Balcons d’Azur.

Among her crowning achievements was her triumph at the esteemed Diagonale des Fous 170k on Reunion Island. This prestigious race is renowned for its challenging terrain and unforgiving conditions, and with over 10,000m+ of elevation, you can understand why.

A female runner at the end of a long race.
Photo Credit: Instagram Katie Schide (@katieschide)

#6: Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz emerged as a formidable force in the ultrarunning realm last year.

Notably, Dunand-Pallaz made an indelible mark by winning his inaugural attempt at the grueling Hardrock 100 in July, crossing the finish line in a remarkable 23:00:30.

But he didn’t stop there, further demonstrating his mettle by claiming victory at the La Diagonale Des Fous 170k race in October, a testament to his consistency throughout the year.

Beyond these remarkable achievements, Dunand-Pallaz showcased his versatility by securing podium finishes in three shorter ultramarathons over the course of the season.

Hailing from the picturesque Alps, Dunand-Pallaz’s journey into the world of ultrarunning is rooted in his upbringing as a passionate football player and avid skier.

A runner with a headtorch on.
Photo Credit: Instagram Aurelien Dunand-pallaz (@aurelien_dunand_pallaz)

#5: Tom Evans

Tom Evans is a former British Army Captain turned British superstar ultramarathon runner. In 2022, Evans finished third in an epic head-to-head race at Ultra-Trail Mont Blanc, establishing himself as one of the best ultra runners in the world today.

In 2023, Tom Evans embarked on a season filled with remarkable triumphs and a notable setback, leaving him poised to carry unfinished business into 2024.

After being offered a golden ticket to the prestigious Western States 100-mile (WSER) race, Evans made it the focal point of his season following his impressive third-place finish at UTMB in 2022.

To kickstart his preparation for WSER, Evans journeyed stateside to tackle the Black Canyon 100km, ultimately securing a commendable second-place finish, marking the second-fastest time ever recorded on the course.

Returning to the UK, Evans continued his rigorous training regimen and made his mark at the Ultra-Trail Snowdonia 50km, setting a new course record along the way.

No stranger to the grueling WSER course, Evans had previously clinched third in his debut 100-mile at the event back in 2019.

On WSER race day, Evans found himself locked in an electrifying contest with fellow competitor Dakota Jones, crossing the finish line in a time of 14:40—a personal best by twenty minutes and the fourth-fastest time in race history.

Feeling great, he decided to tackle UTMB at the end of the year. Unfortunately, he ended up with a DNF.

Tom Evans at the finish line.
Photo Credit: Instagram Tom Evans (@tomevansultra)

#4: Camille Herron

Camille Herron has been a long-distance icon for years at this point, and she has had an incredible career so far.

Now 42, Herron’s 2024 trail running endeavors are already off to a flying start. She set a staggering 13 American and World Records between 48 hours and 6 days at the Lululemon FURTHER 6-Day race in March 2024.

She’s the only athlete to conquer all categories of the IAU Ultra Road World Championships—50km, 100km, and 24 hours—and the first to win both the Comrades Marathon and Spartathlon.

In 2023, she shattered records by becoming the first woman to break 24 hours at the grueling 153-mile Spartathlon, clocking in at an astonishing 22:35:31.

As if that wasn’t enough, in the same year, she surpassed a men’s American Record, setting a new standard with her remarkable performance in the 48Hr World Record, covering an astounding distance of 270.505 miles (435.336km).

If you wanted to know the answer to the following question: What are the current world records for ultramarathon distances? You’d have an easier time just reading off a list of Herron’s achievements.

We love Herron’s indomitable spirit, class, and grit. A true inspiration for your next training run.

Camille Herron sits next to a women's record sign.
Photo Credit: Instagram Camille Herron (@runcamille)

#3: Jim Walmsley

Jim Walmsley, who hails from Flagstaff, Arizona, USA, is certainly one of the best ultramarathon trail runners in the world today. 

At only 34 years old, Walmsley is in his prime but has been dominating the ultra-running scene for several years. 

In January 2021, Walmsley set an American record for 100k of 6:09:26 and Project Carbon X. His time was only 12 seconds off the world record. He also won the prestigious Western States Endurance Run for the third year in a row, finishing the 102-mile course in 14:46:01.

His level of consistency is unparalleled.

Before the 2023 UTMB, people asked, “Will he be the first American male to win the historic race?”

As of 2023 Walmsley claimed the course record at UTMB with a mind-boggling time of 19:37:43.

He is super fast and has been a consistent top ultramarathoner for quite a number of years.

A runner at the finish line of UTMB.
Photo Credit: Instagram Jim Walmsley (@walmsleyruns)

#2: Kilian Jornet

Who is the best male ultramarathon runner?

No list of the best ultramarathon runners in the world today can be complete without Kilian Jornet, a Spanish ultramarathoner who has dominated 100-mile races over his impressive career.

A former Salomon athlete, it seemed like Jornet announced his retirement from the sport at the end of 2021, but those plans must have been thwarted because he took the win at the 2022 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. 

Not only did Jornet decisively win the race, but he ran a record-setting 19:49:30. This was his fourth victory on the esteemed course. He beat out Mathieu Blanchard from France (FRA), Tom Evans from Great Britain, and Jim Walmsley from the US in an epic race.

Although his 2023 was lacking in races due to a problematic sacrum injury, Killian set his sights on other endeavors such as “Rediscovering The Pyreneese,” summiting an impressive 177 peaks over 3000 meters in just eight days.

Beginning at the base of the Frondella and concluding at the peak of Pica d’Estats, he covered over 301 miles (485 kilometers) and ascended a total of more than 131,233 feet (43,000 meters).

Jornet is also the six-time champion of the Skyrunner World Series and has many other prestigious ultra wins under his belt, including Grand Raid, the Western States Endurance Run, and the Hardrock 100.

More than just an ultramarathon runner, Jornet is a climber and mountaineer, holding the fastest known time speed record for the ascent and descent of the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc.

Although his racing acumen last year was lacking, his dominance the year before still sits him near the top spot today.

A close up of Kilian Jornet.
Photo Credit: Instagram Kilian Jornet (@kilianjornet)

#1: Courtney Dauwalter

Who is the best ultramarathon woman?

Any reasonable ranking of the top ultra runners in the world will certainly include phenom Courtney Dauwalter. 

Courtney Dauwalter has been a stand-out in women’s ultramarathon running for years at this point, and most of the time, she beats most of the top male ultra runners as well!

From winning the grueling Moab 240, Javelina 100-miler and many more, she has been at the top of her game for a long time.

In 2021 alone, this Leadville, Colorado star won an incredible six races, and in two of them, she was the overall winner, ahead of even the fastest men. 

Her 2023 journey began with a resounding victory at the iconic Western States 100, where she shattered the women’s course record previously held by Ellie Greenwood since 2012. Crossing the finish line in a remarkable time of 15 hours, 29 minutes, and 34 seconds.

In September 2023, she returned to the famous trails of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, a race she had conquered before.

However, this time, her victory carried even greater significance as she became the first person in history to achieve the coveted triple crown of ultrarunning – triumphing at Western States, Hardrock, and UTMB in a single calendar year.

Unsurprisingly, she won unanimously. In fact, in 2023, she outdid herself, winning every race she entered.

Her 2024 season has already got off to a flying start, with a dominant performance in Europe’s Transgrancanaria.

This 39-year-old is showing zero signs of slowing down and seems to be continually getting stronger, faster, tougher, and smile-ier!

She is a true ultramarathon legend. 

A photo of a runner at the finish line.
Photo Credit: Instagram Courtney Dauwalter (@courtneydauwalter)

Who was your ultrarunner of the year? There were so many top ultramarathon runners to choose from that this is only a brief list of some of the best right now.

For some more in-depth info on some of our top runners, take a look at our bios on Courtney and Kilian!

Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

1 thought on “8 Of The Best Ultramarathon Runners In The World Today”

  1. This is North American runners/racers only while the article name contains “In The World”.
    Greatest ultramarathon runner in the world in history AND today is Lithuanian Aleksandr Sorokin. Sorokin set 5 new world records in 2022. 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours, 100K and 100 miles.

    Reply

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