The Best Ultramarathon Runners of Our Time

The Best Ultramarathon Runners of Our Time


Ultrarunners are truly inspirational – and there are a lot of them! Here, we've carefully chosen some of the best ultramarathon runners of our time. And it was tough a call. To name a few, Cameron Hanes, Killian Jornet, and of course, Courtney Dauwalter all get a mention. In this article, we explore some of the best ultramarathon runner's successes and dig into some of their most notable achievements. If you're looking for a bit of ultramarathon inspiration, read on and awe at their awesome work.

Cameron Hanes

Cameron Hanes, born October 2nd 1967, in Eugene, Oregon. Hanes is a multi-talented super athlete. As well as being an author, ultrarunner, entrepreneur, and podcast host, he is a backcountry bowhunter. His timetable contains no days off. His workouts have changed over the years, but his dedication to physical health has remained constant. Hanes runs a marathon at least two times a week and covers about 22 miles each day on average. On days when he doesn't run a marathon, he makes up for that by lifting weights for an hour.

Notable achievement: Cameron Hanes has run nonstop for durations up to 100 miles and has been in the top three of several ultramarathons.

Ann Trason

Born in Auburn, California in August 1960, Ann Trason's ultrarunning skills know no bounds. Trason has not only won the Western States 100 an astonishing 14 times, but she has also broken 20 world records while doing so. Trason has also qualified an impressive 3 times in the US Olympic trials. What an achievement! It's also worth noting that Trason was one of the first female ultrarunners to gain fame from the sport. Although Trason retired in 2004, she learnt that she had suffered an injury which was undiagnosed and had run on it painfully for 10 years.

Notable achievement: In 2020 Ann Trason was added to the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame.

Courtney Dauwalter

Courtney Dauwalter, an American ultramarathon runner, was born on February 13th, 1985. Dauwalter is known for her tremendous achievements in the ultrarunning world. She finished first in a vast variety of marathons, recently including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (2019 and 2021), Tahoe 200 California (2018), and the Run Rabbit Run Colorado (2016).

Notable achievement: Courtney Dauwalter completed the Moab 240 race, 2017, in 2 days, 9 hours, and 59 minutes, coming in first place, more than 10 hours ahead of the second-place finisher.

Ellie Greenwood

Born in Dundee, Scotland, 14th March 1979, Ellie Greenwood started her career in 2008 and has seen great success ever since. Greenwood was the first British woman to come first place in the 90km Comrades Marathon, South Africa, in 2014. Her success has led her to write for the Ultrarunning magazine, covering trail etiquette, memories of marathons, and training advice.

Notable achievement: Ellie Greenwood is a 2-time winner of the 100m World Champion from 2010 and 2014.

Joseph Gray

American World Champion runner, Joseph Gray, was born January 20th, 1984. Notorious for his exceptional mountain, snowshoe, and trail races. After winning the Xterra World Trail Running Championship 3 years in a row from 2016 to 2018, Gray became the 4-time champion.

Notable achievement: In a poll conducted by the World Mountain Running Association, Joseph Gray was chosen as the greatest male mountain runner of all time.

Francois D'Haene

Francois D'Haene is a renowned ultrarunner and mountain runner, from Lille. D'Haene was born on 24th December 1985. In his successful ultrarunning career, D'Haene holds many impressive records. We can't not mention one of the biggest! D'Haene won the Hardrock 100 mile ultramarathon in 2021 in 21:45:51, breaking both the counter-clockwise and total records set by Kilian Jornet.

Notable achievement: Francois D'Haene has impressively won the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc 4 times. His winning years so far have been 2012, 2014, 2017 and most recently, 2021.

Jim Walmsley

The American ultramarathon specialist, Jim Walmsley. He was born in 1990 on January 17th in Phoenix, Arizona. Due to Walmsley's success in the ultrarunning field, he has secured sponsorship by Hoka One One. Recent accomplishments include first place wins in the US Olympic Marathon Trials, Atlanta (2020), the Western States 100, California Ultra-trail Cape Town, South Africa ( 2021).

Notable achievement: Walmsley was named UtraRunner of the Year for 4 years in a row.

Kilian Jornet

A trail runner, ultrarunner, and ski mountaineer, Kilian Jornet has pushed the limits and pushed himself to immense success. Kilian Jornet was born in Spain on October 27th, 1987. Jornet has finished in first place in an incredible amount of mountain running and sky running races. Including the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (2009), North Face 100, Blue Mountains, Australia Course Record (2011), Vertical Kilometer race, Skyrunner World Championship, France (2014), and more recently, the Finale Annapurna Trail Marathon, Nepal (2019). In 2019, a documentary about Jornet was released. It explores the background of Jornet's astonishing capabilities and his exceptional pursuits.

Notable achievement: Kilian Jornet set a new world record for running a vertical kilometre with 1000 metres of elevation increase on November 23, 2021.

Camille Herron

American ultramarathon runner, Camille Herron, was born on December 25th in 1981. Herron is a 3-time Olympic Marathon Trial qualifier, and she holds the World Record for the fastest person to complete a marathon while wearing a superhero costume. She also holds 6 Open World Records and 14 American Records. As well as all these accolades, Herron is a 4-time IAU International Ultra Runner of the Year. The achievements listed here are just the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more!

Notable achievement: Camille Herron established the 50-mile World/American Road Best of 5:38:41 at the Fall 50 in October 2015, topping Ann Trason's 1991 run of 5:40:18.

Kenenisa Bekele

Born near Bejoki, Ethiopia on 13th June 1982, Kenenisa Bekelehas mastered the art of track, long-distance and ultrarunning. Bekele recently completed the Berlin Marathon in 3rd place. He finished the marathon in an impressive 2:06:47. In 2020, Bekele improved on Mo Farah's course record at London's half marathon. Farah's course record was 1:18 in 2019, Bekele's new record is now 60:22. Back in 2009, Bekele suffered a knee injury, he returned to the track but not without a few testing laps. In the 2011 World Championships, he decided to drop out of 10,000m race with 10 laps remaining. It just goes to show, you've got to listen to your body.

Notable achievement: Kenenisa Bekele was named the Ethiopian Person of the Year for 2007/08.

Ultramarathon Clothing

Ultramarathons take a lot of dedication, stamina, and endurance. The ultramarathon runners listed here have all gone above and beyond in our eyes. Are you a keen athlete and looking for the right gear to match? Check out the Artilect men's performance clothing and women's performance clothing for the perfect fit for your next run.