Sunday, January 26, 2020

Join us for the USATF Pacific Association Oscars this Saturday night, live!

You have until noon Pacific this Tuesday to get your tickets for our 2019 Awards Banquet which, this year, will not only cover LDR (Long Distance Running, that is Cross-Country, Road and Mountain, Ultra, Trail) but also Youth divisions, think winners at the Junior Olympics!
(Picture from

While our 2019 MUT Grand Prix Age Group Champs have been already known since the Ruth Anderson event held mid October last year, the mystery will be unveiled with regard to the coveted MUT Runners and Volunteer of the Year awards.
For the sake of transparency, let me share the key parameters we are looking at when reviewing the whole season.

First and foremost, candidates have to be paid members of our Pacific Association. This seems obvious for the Runners of the Year, but it's also one for Volunteer of the Year, which certainly limits the field as many runners tend to volunteer and give back even more once they have turned the page of competition. By the way, the same is true for our function of Officials: it's not enough to put the time and money in training, certifying and paying for our uniforms, we also have to be current with USATF.

After that easy black and white requirement, let me first give credit and thanks to Hollis Lenderking who handled this sensitive selection task with so much sensitivity and thoroughness, for more than 20 years. He still provides precious inputs, especially on the Ultra side (2019 was the first year we added sub-ultra Trail races, and 2020 will see our first Mountain races).

Being an engineer and hyper analytical at times, I put a framework together to help being more objective and systematic, especially for the years we have plethora of candidates. Like this year...

Here you are, 6 categories for each runner, with a 0 to 5 scale for each. I've participated in the National USATF MUT award selection this year, but not in the Ultra Running Magazine one (which, in my opinion and those of many others, challenged to fully encompass the non trail ultra running disciplines, i.e. Road and Track, albeit trying harder), it's really challenging to compare so many various fruits over an entire season. Some have incredible performances but fewer races, some cover multiple disciplines, you even wonder if we should take into account the DNFs too.

The 6 categories with indications to rate each:

  1. Body of Work (MUT): 0-No race result; 3-significant MUT achievements; 5-5 or more significant MUT achievements
  2. International / National: 0-No result in international or national competitions; 3-Significant results at international or national level(*); 5-Podium at international competition
  3. Pacific Association MUT GP focus: 0-0 PA race/result; 3: 4 or more PA GP results; 5-7 or more PA GP results
  4. Performance range: 0-Single distance / format; 3-Significant results in two distinct formats / distance ranges; 5-Significant results across sub-ultra trail, and 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 ultras
  5. Historical performance (CR, AGCR, ITRA>800): 0-No CR setting; 3-Some CR setting, or CR-worth/close performances, A few notable ITRA scores (>800 for Men, >700 for Women); 5-Consistent setting of CR / AGCR across body of work, Several high ITRA scores (>850 for Men, >750 for Women)
  6. Age graded performance: 0-Too young for age being a factor (20-35); 3-Rocking the Masters division; 5-Still killing it enough to make the podium or top 10

(*) Significant results is still a subjective criteria but would include podiums, top 5% of competitive races, high ITRA score, top performance (time or distance)

Per the above note, we look at UltraSignup results, ITRA results and scores, the DUV (Deutsch Ultra Marathon) database, our own MUT PA Grand Prix results, as well as crossing with the PA Membership. Quite some work if you ever wondered, and would like to handle one of these coming years... ;-) Your are welcomed!

MUT Runner of the Year - Women Division

For 2019, here are the considerations:
  1. Beverly Anderson-Abbs
  2. Meghan Laws
  3. YiOu Wang
  4. Magdalena Boulet
  5. Devon Yanko
  6. Diana Fitzpatrick
  7. Simone Winkler

MUT Runner of the Year - Men Division

On the Men side:
  1. Bob Hearn
  2. Chris DeNucci
  3. Drew Holmen
  4. Jon Olsen
  5. Tim Tollefson
  6. Chikara Omine
  7. Cliff Lentz
  8. Jean Pommier (oops, sorry, yet again... ;-) )
  9. Lance Doherty
  10. Chris Concannon
  11. Scott Trummer
  12. Karl Schnaitter
  13. Rich Hanna
  14. Gaspar Mora Porta
  15. Thomas Reiss
  16. Cole Watson
2 additional special considerations:
  1. Gordon Ainsleigh (potential lifetime achievement)
  2. Mark Richtman (postmortem, for his January sub-ultra Track M60-64 American records)

As for the MUT Volunteer of the Year...

you'll have to attend to see what's coming out of the envelope on Saturday night! Hopefully without any hiccup since we don't have a major consulting company involved... ;-) (although, who knows what can happen at the end of a long day since Saturday is also our first Grand Prix race, with Jed Smith 50K in the morning...).

Hoping to see many of you, MUT fans, on Saturday evening (again, register here). Please help us represent and show how vibrant and strong our local community is!