Tuesday, December 28, 2021

PAUSATF 2022 MUT Grand Prix schedule: finally!

I wasn't born to ultra running back in 1991 when this Grand Prix started, and even less so living in the Bay Area, but I am a collector so have a few records to retrace some history. Yet, I can't tell for sure, Hollis, Stan or Dave will have to weigh in, I'm afraid this has been the latest the schedule has been published for the next season. With 3 days left in the year, you could think this isn't such an embarrassment but, with some races opening registration as early as October the year before, we are under pressure to release the schedule as early as... early September!

To get the record straight, and this won't come as a surprise, this hasn't been a normal year. It's safe to say that, in its 30 years, the Grand Prix hadn't encountered such a pandemic. If 2020 was disruptive and we were hoping to turn the page just a year ago, 2021 has had its load of surprises. On the weather side, specialists didn't have enough alphabet letters to name all the tornadoes. On the COVID side, Delta was a big hit and we are only experiencing a pernicious Omicron which is reactivating the early stage health protection measures for races and events. Talking about turning a page...

To make the best use of the second half of the year, we took Quad Dipsea back on the scheduled for 2021, making our Grand Prix close at the every end of November, which has not helped getting an early focus on 2022. The the rest of the standard excuses, work, family, life...

No more time for excuses, there you are! Before screaming or throwing rotten tomatoes, let's start with some commentaries and observations to give some perspective about that schedule and, hopefully, address some concerns or anticipate some questions:

  1. 6 events are PA Club-organized, no brainers to include; a few other long-time classics as well; and three new events, not counting Stevens Creek Striders' half we had last year for the first time (ahem, with only 2 PA runners in, let's do much much better in 2022)
  2. Maximizing the coverage of the PA area (from Monterey to Reno, see the map)
  3. 4 events in the North East area (Sacramento to Reno), 1 mid way (Mt Diablo), 8 in the Bay Area, 1 South West
  4. Mix of Mountain (1), (sub ultra) Trail (4) and Ultra formats (3 Road, 6 Trail); indeed MUT stands for 3 distinct sports (not just Ultra which has been the primary focus for 25 years)
  5. Range of distances from 10K to 100 miles, to appeal to a broad spectrum of runners, hopefully.
  6. 14 scoring opportunities for individuals, 14 for teams, lot to compose a season from!
  7. Leaving room for people to run other 100-mile races (e.g. Western States, TRT) in June-July
  8. Leaves room for participating in Road Grand Prix (but always quite some overlap with XC) in March, April, mid October to December
  9. Closing early October to allow for early 2023 planning; we’ll take Quad Dipsea as 2023 season opener (that scoop was pre-announced in our Meta/Facebook group)
  10. Special note for Quicksilver: a few years ago we were scoring both the 50K and 50-mile (before the 50-mile switched to 100K to remain a Western States qualifier). To increase the competitiveness, we went to one score only, with the 100K. Because of the late calendar, as well as roll-overs from the COVID years, the 100K has filled over a few days. Apart from Pamakids which secured 14 spots right away, the other clubs weren't as disciplined to take advantage of the few days left to register. A few years ago we had negotiated a PA-specific quota but not this year. To give more PA members an opportunity to score, the Quicksilver club was gracious enough to allow us to include the 50K and the 100K on the Grand Prix this year. As of today, 83 spots are still available, providing ample room to sign up for a great heat training opportunity, with points! But because of the limited space on the 100K, we are dropping team scoring for both distances at that event.
  11. Two of the 6 PA Club events, Tamalpa 50K and Excelsior's Star City Half, definitely intend to run, but dates to be defined by RDs.

With that long preamble and without further ado, you can continue planning your 2022 year by including these events:

  1. January 29 - Mt Diablo 10K Mountain

  2. February 5 - Jed Smith 50K Road

  3. March 26 - No’to’mom 100K Road

  4. April 30 - ITR Folsom Lake Half Trail

  5. May 14 - Quicksilver 50K & 100K Trail (individuals only)

  6. May 21 - Silver State 50M Trail

  7. June 4 - Trail Marathon (Santa Cruz-Monterey area, event TBC early January)

  8. August 7 - Skyline 50K

  9. ? Star City Half marathon Trail (date TBD by RD)

  10. August 20-21 - Headlands Hundred 100M Trail

  11. ? August 27? - Tamalpa 50K Trail (date TBD by RD)

  12. September 10 - Stevens Creek Striders Reservoir Half marathon Trail

  13. September 24 - Dick Collins Firetrails 50M Trail

  14. October 8 - Ruth Anderson 50K & 50M Road - 35th edition and Grand Prix finals

For more information about our Grand Prix:
  1. Pacific Association MUT page
  2. MUT rules (e.g. how the distance factor works, the balance between longer and shorted distance, the minimum of 3 scores to be eligible to the age group benefits and champion title)
  3. How to join or renew (don't wait for the last minute, you need to be registered prior to an event to be eligible for points)
  4. The list of available clubs
  5. And you can ask questions on our Facebook page for instance.
We hope to see many of you at several of these events in 2022. COVID permitting... And all these RDs who support our Grand Prix by welcoming our association and sanctioning their respective event(s).

PS: the official schedule page will be updated in the coming days. At least, that posts gets the cat out of the bag, plus some commentaries. Final 2021 scores have also been published on the official standings page, at last!

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