Saturday, December 31, 2016

10th PAUSATF MUT Grand Prix in the bag!

Way Too Cool 2016 was my first ultra race but it was only later that year that I heard about the Pacific Association USA Track & Field Mountain Ultra Trail Grand Prix, only participating for the last 2 races that year. In 2007, I was excited to participate for the full year and ran 9 of the races, winning my first Grand Prix in the competitive M40-49 age group. As I was moving the M40-49 scale, I was expecting more competition but several fast runners didn't focus as much as I did on the Grand Prix and I ended up winning... 10 consecutive ones!

After a record breaking score last year, this year didn't have the same brio from a Grand Prix perspective with 3 DNFs (Miwok, Tahoe Rim Trail, Quad Dipsea) but it could have been much worse would I have had to stop competing after my TIA incident in March...

Here is a synopsis of the past 11 years:

Year Points Scored events(*) 50-mile+ events Rank Age group
2006 95.0 2 1 10/40 M40-49
2007 413.0 9 4 1/55 -
2008 427.6 10 5 1/31 -
2009 390.8 11 5 1/52 -
2010 442.0 11 6 1/55 -
2011 383.2 10 5 1/67 -
2012 330.4 8 3 1/70 -
2013 470.0 10 4 1/66 -
2014 554.0 11 6 1/41 M50-59
2015 570.0 10 3 1/47 -
2016 408.0 7 3 1/45 -
(*) Exclude DNFs - And only the best 7 count

All results and other age group champions are available here. Congratulations to Stephen Wassather (M20-29, San Francisco Running Company), Karl Schnaitter (M30-39, Excelsior), Brian Purcell (M40-49, Excelsior), Joe Swenson (M60-69, Quicksilver), Hans Schmid (M70-79, Tamalpa), our very own Bill Dodson (M80-89!, Stevens Creek Striders), Kristyn Kadal (W20-29, Unattached), Megan Chen (W30-39, Pamakids), Kelly Haston (W40-49, Pamakids), Angie Pozzi (W50-59, RC Rebels), Caroline Nelson (W60-69, Lake Merritt Joggers and Striders)!

Nowadays, there are so many events that the key strategy to place well in this Grand Prix is to run most of the 17 or so events (for more details, see my post Anatomy of a Grand Prix). Recently, our MUT committee has been discussing a potential change of the schedule to bring the number of races down in order to be more selective and competitive like the other Grand Prix are (cross-country, long distance road). In the meantime, the 2017 calendar looks similar to previous years, with a few exceptions and questions marks:
  1. Western States 100 and Tahoe Rim Trail 100 aren't GP competitions anymore (a good thing given the challenge to get through the lotteries, especially WSER's one)
  2. Dick Collins Firetrails 50-mile isn't confirmed yet
  3. The 2nd Riverbank One Day adds a 24-hour format in February
  4. All other events are still on the calendar for a total of 14, or 15 with Firetrails
The whole schedule is available on line; special kudos to our MUT committee co-chair, Bill Dodson, who has handled quite a few epic situations due to both expected and unexpected changes, building on the legacy of Hollis Lenderking, the other co-chair for more than 2 decades.

By the way, our Quicksilver Ultra Running team, led by our Captain, Loren Lewis, got a few honor places: we took 3rd in Men behind the dominating Excelsior, and Pamakids; 2nd in Women behind Pamakids; 3rd in Mixed behind Excelsior and Pamakids again; and 3rd overall to Pamakids and Excelsior, out of 10 teams (all score on the PAUSATF site).

With this milestone checked, I still plan on being engaged in this great competition but probably not with the same focus as previous years in order to leave room to explore other races and events, within or outside the US, in 2017. Our North California ultra scene is one of the most vibrant in the US, if not in the World, so it would be a shame not to leverage it when you have the privilege to live around!

See many of you again on the trails in 2017 then!

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