Sunday, March 3, 2013

And the ultra award goes to...

Last week it was all about the movie business with the famous night of the Oscars. I was stunned to learn that an estimated 1 billion people were watching when it appears to really be about an American tradition and almost exclusively a celebration of the American movie business, apart for one award attributed to a foreign movie. Not that foreigners are excluded from the competition (e.g. Jean Dujardin in 2012), but working at or with Hollywood and speaking English seems a big plus...

Anyway, that was last week. This week, I received my copy of the March issue of Ultra Running magazine which includes "The Year In Review"compilation of the top performances in our sport in North America.
It's not a scoop as it was announced a few weeks ago already, the magazine ultra runners of the year for 2012 were easy to pick this time: Mike Morton and Ellie Greenwood who both made the cover of this issue. Like for the Oscars with so many great movies to pick from, it was a year so rich in outstanding performances that it wasn't the best year to get the top awards. Besides, as the article notices, there has been 20% more ultra finishers in 2012 than the previous year, which is a huge increase for a sport. With many young and talented runners joining the ranks, it's just getting harder for the older guys and gals to compete as this isn't just a mental game anymore.

Last year I managed to have 6 listing in the 2011 year in review. As I wrote a year ago, I didn't expect to have my name in the 4-or-more-wins section this year, I even said "just enjoy the moment..." Well, not counting my 14:54:58 top performance at the low key Run d'Amore 100-mile, I still had 4 wins again this year (Ohlone 50K, Quicksilver 50K, Ruth Anderson 50-mile and Stevens Creek 50K). Unfortunately, an despite a time which was the 6th fastest 50-mile in 2012, there were only 18 finishers for that distance at Rajeev's Ruth Anderson, so that didn't make the cut (20 or more finishers). Oh well... My Run d'Amore 100-mile wasn't listed either for the same reason (would have been good for #17 top 100-mile performance); nor my Miwok time (3 minutes shy of the 75 top performances cut-off). My 3:19:10 at Jed Smith was good for #19 (behind Victor with #15), and the Ohlone win was #45 in the ranking by field size (219 participants).

Again, given the competition and presence of so many way more talented and faster runners, I should be happy with 3 spots. Make sure to get your own copy for more data and statistics (yes, it's time to subscribe if you are not yet! ;-), here are a few, just as a teaser:
  1. There were 2,890 finishers of ultras in North America in 1980, 9,300 in 1990, 46,280 20 years later and 63,520 in 2012!
  2. 54% were 50K, 8.4% 100-milers
  3. 71% guys and 29% gals.
A big thank to the data crunchers behind all these statistics especially: Mark Gilligan and Bill Carr of and Gary Wang at And here is to a new season, good luck all!

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