Monday, December 3, 2012

USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council announces 2012 runners of the year

The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2012 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Runners of the Year, Trail Championship Series winners, and Contributor of the Year.

The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF Annual Meetings in Daytona Beach on December 1.

Mountain men open: Sage Canaday, Boulder, CO, is the recipient of the Lyndon Ellefson Memorial Award as the Runner of the Year in this category. Canaday won the 2012 USA Mountain Running Championship by winning the Mt. Washington Road Race, clocking the fastest time ever by an American. He finished in 5th place at the Jungfrau Mountain Marathon, leading the USA mountain team to a second-place finish in the Long-Distance World Mountain Running Challenge. And in his debut 50-mile trail race, Canaday won the White River 50, breaking the course record by nine minutes.

Sage Canaday, Mountain Runner of the Year 2012 - Photo credit: Nancy Hobbs

Mountain men master: Dave Dunham, Bradford, MA,dominated his 45-49 years age group in mountain running and cross country in the Northeast in 2012, as demonstrated by his winning his age group in the USATF New England Mountain Running series and taking first place in his age group in USATF New England Mountain Running Championships. Dunham also excelled in running on trails, roads, and track.

Mountain women open: Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID,achieved her Runner of the Year award by winning - with but one exception - every race she entered in 2012. The exception was a stellar achievement in itself: the individual bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Championships; Arritoa led the USA women to the team gold medal.

Mountain women master: Laura Haefeli, Del Norte, CO, led the master’s field at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Mt. Washington, where she was the 4th place woman overall and set the age 44 course record. She was the top female master as well at Loon Mountain, finishing 7th overall and qualifying for the USA world mountain team.

Ultra men open: Mike Morton, Lithia, FL, has won the Ted Corbitt Memorial Award for his selection as the USATF Men’s Ultra Runner of the Year. “Ultra” does not begin to describe Morton’s impressive season in 2012. He won the World 24-Hours Championships, breaking the American record with a distance of over 172 miles. Morton also won the notorious Badwater ultramarathon, a race of 135 miles in Death Valley, California. In addition, Morton had multiple sub-14-hours finishes in other 100-mile races, breaking course records along the way.

Ultra men master: Roy Pirrung, Kohler, WI, competing in the 60-64 years age group, once again won multiple USA titles to become Runner of the Year in this category. Pirrung won the national championship in the USATF 50km Championships at Caumsett Park, Long Island, NY, then came back to win another national title in the Burning River 100-mile USATF trail championships near Cleveland, OH.

Ultra women open: Connie Gardner, Medina, OH, had another blockbuster season in 2012, to win the USATF Ruth Anderson Award as Runner of the Year in this category. Gardner won the USATF women’s 50-mile national championship in both the open and masters classes. She won both the open and masters first-place prizes at the USATF women’s100-mile trail championships. And Gardner led the USA women to the team gold medal in the IAU World 24-Hours Championships, taking home the individual silver medal for second place; in doing so, Gardner set a new American women’s record of 149.3 miles.

Ultra women master: Connie Gardner doubles this year as Runner of the Year in this category, to go with her award as Runner of the Year in the Ultra women open class.

Trail men open: Max King, Bend, OR, for the second consecutive year, is the trail men’s open award recipient. King repeated his victories from 2011 in this year’s USA Half Marathon Trail Championships and USA 50km Trail Championships. He was the winner of the XTERRA National Trail Running Championships, the Siskiyou Out Back 50km Trail Race, the Ultra Race of Champions 100K, and the Transrockies 3-day event, among other fine race performances.

Trail men master: Tim Van Orden, Bennington, VT, is a repeat winner in this Runner of the Year category. Van Orden finished as the first masters competitor in the USA Marathon Trail Championships, the USA Half-Marathon Trail Championships, and the USA 50km Trail Championships. In addition to his running, Van Orden competed at the highest levels cross country skiing and snowshoe racing.

Trail women open: Co-winners in this Runner of the Year category are Stevie Kremer, Crested Butte, CO and Megan Kimmel, Silverton, CO. Kremer won the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland, the 2012 world championship race, and placed 7th in the World Mountain Running Association Championships. Kimmel won the USA 10km trail championship in course-record time, and finished a close second in the USA Half-Marathon Trail Championships.

Trail women master: Julie Thomas, Canby, OR, was selected as Runner of the Year in this class with a pair of outstanding age-group performances. She was the gold medallist for women in the 40-49 group at the USA Trail Marathon Championships (9th place overall), and the silver medallist for women in the 45-49 group at the USA 50km Trail Championships (8th place overall).

USA Trail Championships Series Winners: Megan Kimmel, Silverton, CO and Jason Bryant, Elkin, NC are the USATF Trail Series Champions for 2012. These individual series winners are the athletes who garnered the most points in the 2012 annual USA Trail Championships (sub-ultra) series of events. The events include the 10km, half marathon, and marathon trail championships.

Contributor of the Year – Tom Raffio, President of Northeast Delta Dental, Concord, NH

Northeast Delta Dental and Tom Raffio, the firm’s president and chief executive officer, have been avid and generous supporters of the USA mountain running. Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the USA Mountain Running Championships for the past three years and has committed again to be title sponsor for 2013.

For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit www.usatf.org.