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Mountain/Ultra/Trail 2007 Annual Report

October 8, 2007

Mountain Ultra Trail Running (MUT) Council Annual Report

The three disciplines of long distance running which comprise MUT – Mountain, Ultra, Trail – attract runners of all ages and abilities who enjoy the adventure and challenge inherent in our sports. There is increased interest in our programs from the running industry who respond to runner needs by developing footwear, apparel, nutrition, and hydration products. The media provides support in terms of promotion and advertising geared to mountain, ultra, and trail aficionados. These avenues, coupled with the interest and enthusiasm of race directors nationwide, has fueled the growth in mountain, ultra, trail pursuits.

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, the IAU 24 Hours, the NACAC Mountain Running Championships, the WMRA World Mountain Running Trophy, and reviewing and responding to missives from the national office staff and LDR leadership. We have a solid group dedicated to our sport and look forward to continued growth, awareness, and promotion of our sport in 2008 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

The fourth mountain national championship event was contested at Mount Cranmore on June 23 which also hosted the first of three Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection races. National Champions were Rickey Gates and Anita Ortiz. Paul Low also earned a berth on the mountain team. We held our fourth trail 10km championships in Steamboat Springs, CO on June 30. National trail champions were Christine Lundy and Rickey Gates. The race also served as a selection race for the mountain team with Simon Gutierrez also earning a spot on the team. The remaining team selection race was held at the Mt. Tam Trophy Race, on July 15 in Marin County, CA with Rachael Cuellar and Shiloh Mielke victorious.

The trail marathon championships were held on October 14 in Hendersonville, NC at the Dupont Forest Trail Marathon with champions to be announced at www.usatf.org.

The U.S. sent both a men’s and women’s team to the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Canada on July 28 and hopes to send a full team for the fifth NACAC Mountain Running Championships which are planned for Jalisco, Mexico in June 2008. In 2007 the U.S. teams were victorious with U.S. overall individual winners in newcomer Nick Schuetze and perennial top mountain performer Christine Lundy. Lisa Goldsmith and Brandy Erholtz rounded out the women’s scoring while James Nielsen and Eric Blake scored for the men’s team.

At the 23rd World Mountain Running Trophy on September 15 in Ovronnaz, Switzerland, the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team had fantastic results. Our senior men’s team finished in ninth place, our senior women were gold medalists (for the second consecutive year), our junior women finished with a silver medal, and our junior men finished in eleventh. We also had our first-ever women’s individual medal with Laura Haefeli finishing in bronze medal position for the senior women. With the races becoming more competitive every year, the results are even more impressive for our U.S. team. For the third year our junior team members created blogs at www.youthrunner.com that followed them from making the team, to the competition in Switzerland, to their return trip to the U.S. Team manager Nancy Hobbs recognizes the dedication and support of this year’s team staff Richard Bolt, Ellen Miller, and Dave Dunham.

The 24th World Trophy will be held on an uphill course in Crans Montana, Switzerland during the weekend of September 14 and 15. The selection races for the 2008 team will be announced at the convention. The 2009 World Trophy will return to the USA (Girdwood, AK hosted in 2003) with Steamboat Springs, Colorado to host the weekend of September 17-19.

The mountain team established a relationship with USATF organization member, American Trail Running Association, (ATRA) in 2005 to seek sponsorships and fundraising to support and to promote the team. ATRA secured financial and product support from title sponsor and official footwear Teva (Teva has been the title sponsor of the team since 2002), SportHill as the official apparel sponsor, 180s as the equipment sponsor to provide gloves, and sunglasses to the team, FuelBelt who signed a two-year agreement in 2006 to provide hydration equipment and accessories. Additional sponsorships for 2007 included Windermere Real Estate of Teton Valley and Fleet Feet Sports Boulder as the official real estate company and specialty running store respectively. Eco Lips and DeFeet were product sponsors and Youth Runner magazine was a sponsor of the junior team. New this year is the website www.usmrt.com introduced in August 2007 to provide historical content, up-to-date news, and information on the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team.

Ultrarunning

National Championships
Ultrarunning had another banner year with some new events hosting championships. The 2007 championships were:

• USA 50km Road - Caumsett Park, NY – March 4 – Champions Greg Crowther and Anna Fyodorova
• USA 100km Road – Madison, WI, April 7 – Champions Greg Crowther and Julie Udchachon
• USA 100 Mile Trail, Lake Tahoe, NV, July 21 – Champions Jasper Halekas and Molly Zurn
• USA 50 Mile Trail (White River 50), Crystal Mountain, WA, July 28 – Champions Nikki Kimball and Mike Wolfe
• 100km Masters Trail Champs, Wilamette Pass, OR, August 18 – www.usatf.org - list of champs
• USA 50km Trail (Headlands 50km), Sausalito, CA, August 26 – Champions Brian Drayton and Beverly Anderson-Abbs
• USA 50M Road (Tussey Mountain 50M) in State College, PA, September 22 – Champions Anne Lundblad and Mark Lundblad

We had nine new championship bids awarded for 2007 and most of these race directors have expressed interest in bidding for a 2008 championship event (and some for two-year bids). Many of our championships saw an increase in participation over last year. Some highlights include both Tussey MountainBack and Cranmore Hill Climb realizing a nearly 100% increase in champs participants over the year before. MUT continues to promote its National Championship calendar by actively soliciting bids from race directors nationwide and Championships Chair Paul Kirsch continues to follow up with race directors to make sure we have bids for review for the 2007 USATF convention.

100Km Team
The 2007 100km IAU World Cup was held on Saturday, September 8, in Winschoten, The Netherlands. It also served as the European 100km Championships and the World Masters Association (WMA) Championships. Those on the U.S. 100km team who qualified as masters were also entered in the WMA competition. Additionally the U.S. also had individual runners, Roy Pirrung and Kevin Setnes, entered in the WMA 100km event.

The day was overcast, windy, and cool. Runners actually commented on the weather as being favorable although on occasion the winds were quite stiff. The American contingent performed extremely well on a very flat and fast 10 x 10km looped course and, without exception, all U.S. runners were very excited and proud of the results. Six of the nine American team members ran personal records. Howard Nippert led the American contingent with his fourth top-ten performance finishing in eighth place with a time of 6:49:31. On the distaff side, Kami Semick led the American women placing ninth in a personal record time of 7:51:54.

The U.S. Men's team took podium honors earning the bronze medal with Japan and Russia taking first and second respectively. The American women placed fourth behind Japan, France, and Germany.

Congratulations to the entire 2007 US 100K Team: Howard Nippert, Greg Crowther, Chad Ricklefs, Bob Sweeney, Kami Semick, Devon Helms-Crosby, Julie Udchachon, Connie Gardner, Carolyn Smith. Special thanks to team physician, Lion Caldwell, and team manager, Mike Spinnler. The site of the 2008 IAU 100K World Cup has not yet been announced. From IAU president Dirk Strumane, “For the first time in the 100km World Cup history the IAAF television department sent a crew to cover the race. The result will be broadcasted world wide via their TV magazine “athletiά” and will also be posted on the IAAF website toward the end of October. We can only hope that the growing media interest will give our sport more exposure and will facilitate future negotiations with potential sponsors.” Submitted by Lin Gentling, 2007 100K Team Leader

To be considered for the 2008 USATF 100km 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 set up in 2007. 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
The Ultracentric 24-Hour Run U.S. National Championship was staged November 16-17, 2007 in Grapevine, Texas for the second consecutive year and was used as the basis for selecting this year’s national team. Roy Pirrung pulled double duty as both competitor and team manager at the sixth annual IAU 24-Hour World Challenge in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada July 28-29. American Phil McCarthy, a journeyman ultrarunner of only a few years, finished fourth. Alex Swenson, retired just prior to the 20 hour mark. Scott Eppelman, after a much more cautious start, gradually made his way from 60th place to 17th. The American men finished in fourth position. The men's individual race was won by Ryoichi Sekiya of Japan. The Japanese and French Men's teams finished first and second. Russian Lyudmilla Kalinina took the women's world title and led the Russian women to a team rout over Japan and France. The American women, led by national champ Carolyn Smith, placed fifth in the team competition. Rebecca Johnson and Deb Horn completed the American scoring. The U.S. team is sponsored by the American Ultra Association (AUA), the Ultracentric National 24-Hour Run Championships, plus apparel manufacturers Injinji and Sport Science. Presently a 2008 IAU 24 Hours Run has not been scheduled.

Pau Kirsch is working with some mountain race directors in Montana to begin a USATF Mountain Circuit similar to the New England regional mountain circuit and Richard Bolt is doing the same in Oregon. The New England Mountain Circuit saw a 100% increase in attendance at almost all of its six races- another example that the sport is healthy and growing.

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 8, 2007
Nancy Hobbs, Chair
USATF MUT Running Council
With input from the MUT Council

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