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Mountain/Ultra/Trail 2006 Annual Report

October 23, 2006

Mountain Ultra Trail Running (MUT) Council Annual Report

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 and racing. Our 23-member (and growing) council has been busy coordinating championships, team selection, and travel to our world events including the IAU 100km World Cup and the WMRA World Mountain Running Trophy, and reviewing and responding to missives from the national office staff and LDR leadership. We have productive discussions through e-groups, phone conversations, and impromptu meetings during our various championship events. MUT has a recognition program for open and masters athletes representing mountain and ultra disciplines as well as a contributor of the year designation to round out our awards program. We have a solid group dedicated to our sport and look forward to continued growth, awareness, and promotion of our sport in 2007 and beyond. Associations are encouraged to add MUT disciplines to their LDR program and to consider hosting a trail, mountain, or ultra championship event. Contact the MUT chair or a member of the MUT Council for suggestions and support with starting a program in your association.

Trail and Mountain Running

We held our third trail 10Km championships at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO on June 3. National trail champions were Laura Haefeli and Clint Wells. The trail marathon championships were held on October 15 in Brevard, NC at the Dupont Forest Trail Marathon with champions Ben Nephew and Ellen Miller. A mountain national championship was contested at Mount Washington (the third time hosting the Mountain Champs) which also hosted a Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team Selection Race. National Champions were Eric Blake and Nicole Hunt. The remaining team selection races were held at the Loon Mountain Race, on June 24 in Lincoln, NH and the Vail Mountain Trophy Race in Vail, CO on July 9.

The U.S. did not send a team to the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Mexico, but hope to do so for the fourth NACAC Mountain Running Championships which are planned for Cranmore, Canada in July or August 2007.

At the 22nd World Mountain Running Trophy on September 10 in Bursa, Turkey the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team had its best-ever showing. Our senior men’s team finished in fifth place, our senior women were gold medalists, and our junior men finished in eighth. With the races becoming more competitive every year, the results are even more impressive for our U.S. team. For the second year our junior team members created blogs at www.youthrunner.com that followed them from making the team, to the competition in Bursa, to their return trip to the U.S. The 23rd World Trophy will be held on an uphill/downhill course in Saillon, Switzerland during the weekend of September 15 and 16. The selection races for the 2007 team will be announced at the convention. The team staff for the 2007 event includes Rich Bolt as team leader, Ellen Miller as women’s manager, and Dave Dunham as junior manager.

The mountain team established a relationship with USATF organization member ATRA (American Trail Running Association) in 2005 to seek sponsorships and fundraising to support and to promote the team. ATRA has secured financial and product support from title sponsor and official footwear Teva (a three-year agreement through 2007), SportHill as the official apparel sponsor, 180s as the equipment sponsor to provide gloves, and sunglasses to the team, and FuelBelt who signed a two year agreement in 2006 to provide hydration equipment and accessories. Additional sponsorships will be sought for 2007.

Ultrarunning

National Championships
Ultrarunning had another banner year with some new events hosting championships. The 2006 championships were:

• USA 100 Mile Trail (Rocky Raccoon 100) in Huntsville, TX on February 4 – Champions Connie Gardner and Andy Jones-Wilkins
• USA 50KM Road (Camusett Park 50Km) in Long Island, NY on March 5 – Champions Anne Lundblad and Jason Saitta
• USA 50 Mile Trail (White River 50) in Crystal Mountain, WA on July 29 – Champions Nikki Kimball and Mike Wolfe • USA 50Km Trail (Headlands 50Km) in Sausalito, CA on August 26 – Champions Kami Semick and Bryan Dayton

MUT continues to promote its National Championship calendar by actively soliciting bids from race directors nationwide. Already in 2007 we have ultra championships at the 50Km distances for both Trail (Headlands 50Km) and Road (Camusett Park 50Km). Thanks to Paul Kirsch who begins his second year as chair of the program.

100Km Team
The USA Track & Field 100Km national team traveled to Seoul, South Korea to compete in this year’s World Cup on Sunday, October 8. This year’s U.S. team was composed of accomplished ultra athletes, and several rookies in World Cup competition. Team USA boasted four personal bests for women’s top finisher Anne Lundblad (sixth place), Kami Semick (11th place), Nikki Kimball (14th place), and Julie Udchachon (16th place). Highlighting the event was Howard Nippert’s fifth place finish which qualifies him for a spot on the 2007 team. Lundblad also qualified for the 2007 team, but announced her retirement from the 100Km competition after her finish this year.

The 2007 IAU 100K World Cup, under the Patronage of the IAAF, will be held in Winschoten, The Netherlands on September 8. To be considered for the USATF 100K team, runners must be current USATF members and meet qualifying standards. The selection criteria are published on the MUT website at: www.usatf.org/groups/MountainUltraTrail/. The criteria will be reviewed by the Ultra Task Force and any and all updates will appear at this link.

There is a not for profit fundraising arm for the 100Km team that was set up this year in Wisconsin. The Fund for National Ultraunning Teams, Inc., is accepting funds and the teams appreciate any and all support. The address is: PO Box 1807, Madison, WI 53701-1807.

Other MUT News

Roy Pirrung pulled double duty as both competitor and team manager at the fourth annual 24-Hour World Challenge in Taipei, Taiwan, in February. Held in a park within the heart of the city, spectators were abundant — as were low flying aircraft — on the all-concrete one Kilometer loop. The three scoring members of the men’s team, John Geesler, NY, Alex Swenson, WA, and Roy Pirrung, WI, averaged over 135 miles each to take home a fifth place team trophy. The women placed sixth with a 116-mile average for the top three, with Sandy Powell, VA, Pam Reed, AZ and Sue Olsen, MN scoring. All six members of the men’s team and four members of the women's team had international experience and pushed through the heat of the day to move up in the team rankings. The Japanese men and Russian women were the team winners. The U.S. team is sponsored by the American Ultra Association (AUA).

Selection for the 24-hour IAU World Challenge, to be held in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada, will take place on November 18 in Dallas, TX at the Ultracentric 24--hour, serving as the national championship.

The IAU appointed a trails task force in 2005 to consider an international ultra trail championship event. The inaugural running of the IAU World Ultra Trail Championships will be held as part of the Sunmart 50 Mile Trail Race in Huntsville, TX on December 9. The IAU will meet concurrently with the WMRA in Monte Carlo, Monaco in January at the IAAF headquarters to discuss their respective disciplines.

Special appreciation is extended to our enthusiastic and very active MUT Council for their efforts to bring more visibility to our three running disciplines within USATF.

Submitted on October 23, 2006
Nancy Hobbs, Chair
USATF MUT Running Council
With input from the MUT Council

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