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Mountain/Ultra/Trail 2003 Annual Report

December 1, 2003

The three disciplines of long distance running which comprise MUT attract runners of all ages and ability levels who enjoy the adventure and challenge inherent in mountain, ultra, and trail running. Since last year's annual meeting we added six new positions to our council to better represent our three disciplines resulting in a 15-member council. Adding a majority of competing athletes has enhanced communication with our constituency. We have updated our operating procedures with Ed Parrot as our guide, and significant council member input. We have had lengthy and productive discussions through e-groups, phone conversations, and impromptu meetings during our various championship events. We have a recognition program for open and masters athletes representing mountain and ultra disciplines and added a contributor of the year designation to round out our awards program. In summary, we have a solid group dedicated to our sport and look forward to continued growth, awareness, and promotion of our sport in 2004.

Mountain Running

There were several firsts in mountain running in 2003. In July, the 25th annual 7.5-mile Vail HillClimb hosted our inaugural USA Mountain Running Championships. It was a well-attended event with some first time mountain runners as well as seasoned veterans. Peter De La Cerda and Anita Ortiz were our USA Mountain Running Champions and with his win De La Cerda earned a berth on his first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. Ortiz would earn her spot on her second mountain team with a win at our final team selection race in Alaska on August 9.

The Alaska Mountain Runners hosted the 19th World Mountain Running Trophy, the first time the event had been held in the U.S. For the first time a USATF president and LDR chair attended the event, thanks to Bill Roe and Jerry Crockett. Competition at the trophy was heated in spite of abnormally snowy conditions, but we had another first. A U.S. woman Anita Ortiz with a solid eighth place finish cracked the top ten (the U.S. has fielded a women's team at worlds since 1995).

Mountain running "firsts" continue in 2004 when the inaugural NACAC Mountain Running Championships are held in Vail, Colorado on July 4.

World Mountain Running Trophy Results

At the World Mountain Running Trophy (September 20 & 21) Team USA finished eighth in both the senior men's and senior women's division. Junior men finished eleventh and junior women finished in tenth position.

The mountain team is proud to have a title sponsor in Teva, a three-year agreement that continues through 2004 and hopefully beyond. The team also signed SpecialOps Nutrition's FXM -14 Mission Endurance Drink as the official endurance drink this year thanks to the efforts of council member Julie Bryan.

Ultrarunning

National Championships

Ultrarunning had another banner year with over $18,000 in combined prize money for its championship program and some of the deepest fields ever assembled. The 2003 championships were:

  • USA 50 Mile Trail (White River 50) in Crystal Mountain, WA on August 2
  • USA 24 Hour Championships in San Diego on November 8
  • USA 50 km Trail in Sausalito, CA (Golden Gate Headlands) on August 23
  • Olander Park 100 Mile Championship in Sylvania Ohio September 13-14

MUT continues to promote its National Championship calendar by actively soliciting bids from race directors nationwide. Thanks to Janice Anderson for leading the championship program. 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. Thanks to Lorraine Gersitz for creating and maintaining a website for MUT. Lorraine has worked closely with Keith Lively and Linda Honikman in web-based promotion of our sports.

100 km Team

Kevin Setnes, National 100 km Team Director, oversees the development, management, and performance of the U.S. 100 km team. This years team will compete in the World Cup 100 km in Tainan, Taiwan on November 16. Team members include: Ann Heaselett, Nikki Kimball, Connie Gardner, Tania Pacev, Ann Riddle, Laura Nelson, and alternate Jenny Capel. Howard Nippert, Bob Sweeney, Charles Hubbard, Dan Verrington, and Dave Dehart. There will also be a masters element within this year's World Cup.

MUT sets the selection criteria for the U.S. 100 km team and the mountain team and makes sure that the selection criteria and process are widely distributed to athletes. One of the ways mountain running information has been distributed is through a huge network created and maintained by Richard Bolt. Richard has worked closely with many Online websites including www.coolrunning.com and his own New England USATF association to further promote our sport. Brian Metzler, one of the founders of Trail Runner magazine, has provided editorial expertise throughout the year.

Trail Running

Although there were several bids for sub-ultra national trail championships in 2003, none were awarded. We expect to award our first sub-ultra trail championships at this year's convention. On an equally positive note, several associations within USATF have begun MUT championship programs within their associations including New Mexico, Colorado, Pacific, Indiana, and New England (who set the standard having hosted an association mountain championship series for the past eight years).

Other MUT News

Roy Pirrung pulled double duty as both competitor and team manager at the 24-Hour World Challenge in Uden, Netherlands on October 11 and 12. The American team was organized and fully funded by the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA) and the athletes fared well in a very competitive atmosphere with the women's team placing fourth and the men's team finishing sixth. The Netherlands will again host next year's 24-Hour World Challenge in late May at Appledorn.

The U.S. had just one competitor in Suzy West, a four-time member of our national mountain running team, at the WMRA World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Germany on September 27. Suzy finished a solid eighth place in the 40-45 year age group. We plan to field a much larger squad at the masters event August 28, 2004 which will be held one week prior to the World Mountain Running Trophy, both events will be held in Saux d'Oulx, Italy. Scott Creel is taking the lead on this project.

Finally, thanks to our enthusiastic and very active MUT Council for their efforts to bring more visibility to our three running disciplines within USATF. It is a pleasure working with each and every council member.

Submitted on October 30, 2003 by:
Nancy Hobbs, Chair
USATF MUT Running Council
With input from the MUT council

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