Mountain/Ultra/Trail 2002 Annual Report
November 1, 2002
The three disciplines of long distance running that comprise MUT continue to evolve as runners of all ages and gender seek to experience the adventure and challenges of mountain, ultra, and trail running. Likewise, the MUT Running Council continues to evolve as its members work toward gaining greater recognition for this segment of the running population. Towards that end, MUT regularly sends press releases and informational messages to a wide variety of running media outlets. A web site was created to insure easy access to information about MUT, our announcements, and our documents. MUT is working closely with the USATF communications staff to enhance MUT's presence on the USATF web site. MUT's principle focus in 2003 is to further develop its structure as a sport council within the LDR division and to establish goals that meet the needs of its constituency. Additionally, the development of its championship and team programs remains a priority with the council.
Mountain running team selection races were held in Alaska (Wolverine Hill Climb on June 9), New Hampshire (Mt. Washington Hill Climb on June 15), and Colorado (Vail Hill Climb on July 7).
World Mountain Running Championships
The 18th World Mountain Running Trophy was held in Innsbruck, Austria on September 14-15, 2002. This was the first year the US fielded a full team of juniors and seniors. On Saturday, September 14 the junior women finished 14 out of 16 teams with the top US junior Jessica Pitzer in 35th position while the junior men finished 12 out of 16 teams with the top US junior Eduardo Pasko in 22nd overall. The senior women finished a solid 9th out of 21 teams with Anita Ortiz finishing first for the US women in 11th position overall, the best finish ever for a US woman. On Sunday, September 15 the senior men posted a 14th place finish of 26 teams with Paul Low as the top US finisher in 32nd place. On Saturday, September 21 the 2nd WMRA World Masters Mountain Running Championships were held in Innsbruck with five US athletes participating. Kari DiStefano garnered the silver medal in the 40-45 age group while Richard Shelley posted the top US men's finish with ninth place in the 40-45 age group.
The Teva US Mountain Running Team is in the first year of a three-year sponsorship agreement with Teva that provides funds for team travel to the World Mountain Running Trophy event and footwear for the athletes.
Ultrarunning produced a slate of five National Championships. With over $25,000 in combined prize money, the championship events hosted some of the deepest competition assembled. The championships were:
MUT continues to promote the Ultra Distance National Championship calendar by actively soliciting bids from ultra race directors throughout the country. Press releases are regularly distributed to a wide variety of running and ultra media venues in an attempt to educate race directors to the benefits of hosting National Championship races and to encourage the submission of bids. Three ultrarunners were honored as USATF Athlete of the Week as a result of their National Championship wins this year.
The National 100K Team continued to grow under the direction of Kevin Setnes. 2002 saw the athletes abide by a set of criteria, which will be standard for future teams to follow. It was well received by the athletes as it further established a structure and discipline to insure our success at international competitions. A developmental guide has been developed to assist the team members with their preparation and race planning. The 2002 World Cup was held in Torhout, Belgium on June 21st at the annual Night of Flanders run. It is a night run (8:02 PM start), that results in a very festive atmosphere for the local towns. Despite some event management problems, the American women were able to run to a third place team finish and proudly took home the bronze medal. The men were led by a 13th place finish by Howard Nippert of West Virginia in a time of 7:01:02. The women were led by Tania Pacev, of Colorado (8:23:24), Anne Riddle of North Carolina (8:26:56) and Ann Heaslett of Wisconsin (8:42:25).
MUT has solicited bids from race directors to host the first USATF trail running championship under the marathon distance in 2003. Bids will be reviewed and awarded for both trail and mountain running under the marathon distance at the annual convention.
For more information on MUT and its activities, visit www.usatf.org or www.cerritos.edu/lgersitz/MUT/Home.html.
Kevin Setnes and Lorraine Gersitz, Co-Chairs
USATF LDR MUT Running Council
With input from the MUT Council