Irish Ultra Runner Emma Stuart Claims Transgrancanaria 2024 Podium

February 29, 2024

Irish ultra runner Emma Stuart claimed a huge podium position at Transgrancanaria 2024 this past weekend. The Sligo native was the third female across the line in a time of 16hrs 50m behind Claudia Tremps in second with 16hrs 27m. The eventual winner Courtney Dauwalter finished in 15hrs 14m.

Emma's result on the 130km course with 7000m of elevation was even more impressive considering that she only took up running back in 2018 having only ever "run for a bus" before that.

Her lead-up to Transgrancanaria was less than ideal with a grumbling Achilles injury flaring up again following the Tor des Geants race which she won in 2023. She also claimed victories at the Arc of Attrition and Ultra-Trail Snowdonia by UTMB among other events to round off an impressive year.

A pre-Christmas recce on the Transgrancanaria course wasn't what her Achilles had in mind so a switch in training approach to flatter ground coupled with gym sessions was put in place. An added shoulder injury from an incident with a cow on her day job as a vet in the U.K. left thoughts of being unable to use poles on the start line but luckily both her shoulder and Achilles held up.

Speaking to RunRepublic, Emma spoke about how the race unfolded;

"I really enjoyed the race but I felt like I never let up. The start was very fast and I was concerned that I might have messed my pacing up. Having covered the first 20km in 1hr 45m I consciously slowed down after that as I wanted to preserve my legs for the long descents at the end where I could lose a lot of time if they were shot".

"I was comfortable in 4th and felt very good so it was a real surprise to hear Azara had pulled out, shooting me into 3rd. I knew I probably didn't have the legs to close the gap on Claudia but my goal was to try and stop the distance between us from increasing which I mostly achieved."

"I'm really happy with my performance as I felt in control and wasn't pushed out of my comfort zone so overall it was an immensely enjoyable race. I loved the Irish weather that graced us overnight with some torrential rain, wind, and icy temperatures". 

The rest of 2024 is a busy year for Emma and she is hoping to keep injuries at bay. Her next race will be back in Ireland at the Maurice Mullins 50k in March followed by a couple of 75-100k races in the UK before hopefully tackling UTMB.

Emma has also not ruled out competing on the International scene.

"I would love to wear the Irish vest at the European Off-Road Championships but we'll have to wait and see"

It's sure to be an exciting year and we will be watching Emma's progress closely.

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