Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2019 Pacific Association MUT Grand Prix: good old + some very new stuff = more fun!

Disclaimer: this post is an open letter aimed at the current and potential participants of our Pacific Association MUT Grand Prix. But everyone is welcome to read to understand what this competition is about, although I then recommend reading my 2016 post about the Anatomy of an Ultra Grand Prix, before. Well, if you are dead serious about ultra and trail running...! ;-)

For the background and context of the MUT Grand Prix in general, and the yearly calendar in particular, I'll refer you to my post of last year: PAUSATF MUT Grand Prix 2018 Schedule unveiled: to the next 25 years!

However, I'll add this important preamble to the 2019 calendar: MUT stands for Mountain, Ultra and Trail running, three different sports, so it wasn't meant to be only about ultra running, be it on trails, roads or the track, although this has been the exclusivity of our MUT Grand Prix through its first quarter century. The scoop of this year is that we are introducing a few sub-ultra trail races in our series, counting on this to attract a new audience, which would in turn get exposure to ultra distances, for a win-win!

Now, and the reverse of what I did last year, let's cut to the chase, give you this 2019 schedule, then provide some editorial notes about it afterwards.

Ready, set, go 2019!
  1. One Day in Auburn 6-hour (first scoop, a new 6-hour event, on the track, and PA-exclusive registration; limited field due to the track format but RD open to work something out if capacity is quickly reached out; 6am-12pm on Sunday 1/13);
  2. Jed Smith 50K (the classic season opener to get you legs moving on a safe flat course);
  3. FOURmidable 50K (the 2019 50K Trail Nationals!);
  4. Way Too Cool 50K (the largest 50K trail race in North America and the largest Pacific Association contingent of trail runners in a single ultra race);
  5. American River 50M (another classic mixing road and trail and finishing in the mythical world capital of endurance, Auburn);
  6. Anguish to Angwin Half-marathon (the first sub-ultra trail race, in Napa Valley for a change!);
  7. Miwok 100K (a classic, popular and challenging one, 4 ITRA points, Western States qualifier, and 500-large field);
  8. Quicksilver 100K (another hot classic to tune up your training for the summer ultras, also with ITRA points and Western States qualification status);
  9. SilverState 50M (but not the 50K since we already have so many 50K trail races, including a few in the North East);
  10. Ohlone 50K (30+ years and another great heat training opportunity, guaranteed!);
  11. One more sub-ultra trail in the June-July time frame, date and location to be confirmed by end of November;
  12. Skyline 50K (one of the oldest trail 50K races in North America, if not the oldest, and a safe and fast course for rookies);
  13. Star City Half-marathon (another trail half, this one organized by Excelsior);
  14. Tamalpa Headlands 50K (ex National Championships course and 1/3 of the field was from the Pacific Association in 2017);
  15. Headlands Hundred 100M (making great use of the amazing views and hills of Marin Headlands);
  16. Dick Collins Firetrails 50M (the return of a super classic to honor another local ultra legend and initial role model in our ultra running community);
  17. Ruth Anderson 50M and 100K (but not the 50K as it was too many events for teams to score; our only 50M and 100K Road events; and a season conclusion to see teams competing for the last points of the year!).

Phew, right?! ;-)

Regarding the races which are hard to get in, specifically Quicksilver 100K which is likely to require cyber speed if online registration fills again in minutes, and Miwok 100K which has a competitive lottery (~1 pick for 2 applicants for 2018), here is a new arrangement we've negotiated with the RDs to allow for fairer team competition:
a. Every team who competed in the Pacific Association USATF MUT Grand Prix team competition in 2018 (team points) will be guaranteed enough entry spots for a total of 6 runners, enough to score two teams (Men, Women or Mixed).
b. Team runners should attempt to register for the race when registration opens on 11/8/2018 and, in any case, before the end of the fourth registration day (midnight Pacific time, on November 11, 2018).
c. If team runners are wait listed, then spots in the race will be reserved up to a total of 6 per team, including those who made the first cut off.
d. Since the intent is to allow each team to field a minimum of two scoring teams, as least one of the 6 guaranteed spots needs to be of a different sex than the others.
e. There is no opting out from a team for registered runners (we'll take the club they are affiliated to upon registration).
f. Eligible team runners must have active 2018 AND 2019 USATF membership (any membership started or renewed on or after November 1 counts against 2018 and runs through the end of 2019)
g. In case of team runner added from the waitlist (if less than 6 managed to get in initially), at least one has to be a woman if no woman was already registers before the online cut-off (respectively man if all other team entrants are women).
h. If 6 or more team members made it through the initial registration cut-off and are all of the same sex, the race director will add one more team member from the wait list, of the other sex (if any has registered by the deadline).
i. Picking from the wait list will be by order of online registration (entry submission time).
Let me draw your attention on the rule f: you'll need to be current with USATF by the time the potential extra slots will be drawn from the wait list. The good news is that any renewal after November 1, runs through the whole following year. So get your membership for 2019 now!
Visit: ($30 for 1 year, or $100 for 4 years)

Comments on this calendar:
  1. Yes, it's a lot in one year but...
    1. It's not as much as we used to have a few years ago when we were over 20 races;
    2. You can look at this as two series into one (Ultra running, and sub-ultra Trail running),
    3. 47% of the 75 participants to the survey last year were supportive of more races, versus 38% wanting less,
    4. The Road Grand Prix has 15 events (short and long), we have 17, but we cover much more running variety (distances from half marathon to 100 miles, terrain ranging from trail to road to track, flat or hilly profiles).
  2. More races mean more opportunities to score, both individually and teams;
  3. We are hoping the addition of sub-ultra trails appeals not only to a new audience but also to those who cannot run all the longest distances;
  4. We are also offering a broad geography coverage between South Bay, East Bay, Marin County, Napa Valley, Sacramento, Auburn, and up to Reno;
  5. More options for having fun overall, while pushing the envelope and having a sane emulation among Pacific Association members!
With regard to the rules, we will amend then slightly mainly to:
  1. Include 6 and 12-hour events (only 24-hours were eligible so far)
  2. Simplify the scoring with three categories:
    1. Factor 1.0 for all distances < 75 km (and 6-hour timed events);
    2. Factor 1.5 for distances between 75 km and 125 km (and 12-hour timed events);
    3. Factor 2.0 for all distances > 125 km (and 24-hour timed events).
Updates will be made available before the end of the year (2018).

If you have questions, best forum is the Facebook group "PA Mountain Ultra Trail GP (Pacific Association Grand Prix)". If you are not on Facebook, you can leave a comment on this post.

With that, hoping you have a great 2019 season with our Pacific Association and that you will consider including many of these races in your running plans for next year. Let's also thank all these Race Directors who devote their time and energy to bring us such an amazing series of races in our North California backyard! And a toast to your successful competition in this 27th MUT Grand Prix then!


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

So is Ruth Anderson moving its race to the end of the year?

Kendra Hershey said...

I noticed that too - apparently so!
Ruth Anderson Memorial Endurance Run
October 12, 2019

Steve Jaber said...

Yes. Ruth Anderson is moving to October. We're shooting for Oct. 12, 2019. The weather in October is usually great. The days are slightly shorter, but we'll keep the start time at 6:30 a.m. You might want a headlamp for the first short loop.

Steve Jaber for Rajeev and Anil