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Mountain/Ultra/Trail 1999 Annual Meeting Minutes

December 2, 1999
Los Angeles, California

Called to order 3:40PM

Attendance: Ruth Anderson, Barb Averson, Marja Baker, Dan Brannen, John Boyle, John Cosgrove, Tom Cotner, Jerry Crockett, Dave Dunham, Jim Garcia, Lorraine Gersitz, Dan Hart, Nancy Hobbs, Jay Hodde, Tom Johnson, Nina Kusick, Carol McLatchie, Kathy Nary, Dana Parrot, Ed Parrot, Roy Pirrung, Ken Robichaud, Kevin Setnes, Joy Smith, Ken Turner, Steve Viatones, Mark Winitz (27 attending)

Minutes 98: Minutes from the 98 MUT subcommittee meeting were available for review. Gersitz motioned to approve minutes, Setnes second, all in favor.

Financial report from 99

ADMIN: Hobbs reported that MUT received $250 from each LDR chair for 99 administrative expenses. Phone calls topped the list at just over $350, Dues in WMRA $173, US flags $94, postage $65, airfare for Setnes to Running USA meeting on behalf of MUT (March 99) $200. LDR chairs agreed to support MUT with the additional administrative expenses over the $750 (approximately $300) granted as there is some money remaining in LDR budgets for 99.

TEAMS: Hobbs reported that $5000 was allocated for USA team travel to the World 100K and the World Mountain Trophy in 99. This translated to $185.19/team member. Setnes reported that the budgeted amount in the 2000 budget is $2500. Gersitz had requested $25,000 for full travel support of the two teams. Perhaps the reason for non-funding of the team is that both are not IAFF World Championship designated events. However, Brannen pointed out that some non-IAAF World Champ teams from the US have received full travel support. Crockett will research last years final session minutes regarding funding. He further reported that prior to 99, the budget committee was comprised of sport committees and now the reps are with economic/accounting backgrounds. McLatchie agreed to follow up with budget and finance to see if there was a way to at least get MUT to level of 99 funding. The USATF budget for 2000 is $12.6 million. Boyle asked if the $2500 we are allotted could be used in other ways instead of athlete assistance such as advertising in magazines for sponsors of the teams. Boyle also asked if MUT could seek other sponsors that are not USATF approved.

Report on World Championships 99 and team selection

100K World Challenge: Gersitz reported on event that was held in France in May. There were 29 teams competing with stiffer competition. The men were 9th, the women 6th. The top US womens finisher was 6th overall. Three women were under 9 hours. The top 5 men were within 15 minutes of each other, depth is improving. Setnes has instituted a team in training in hopes to propel team to the medal stand (he presently has about 22 men and about 10 women so far). The 2000 event will be in Winscotten, Netherlands in September. In 99 there was no selection race for the 100K, runners were chosen based on times run in the 100K. The hope for 2000 is to have a national 100K champion from a 100K championship. In the past, other distances were used to select the team, not just the 100K. Top three finishers in the 100K nationals receive automatic berths to the team, the remaining three are chosen from a two- year selection window. Team members must meet a qualifying standard.

Mountain Running World Trophy: Hobbs and Dunham reported that the teams fared well this year in an up/down year in Sabah, Malaysia with the women taking 10th and the men 9th. Both Hobbs and Dunham attended the WMRA Congress and copies of the minutes were available for review. Hobbs also distributed a scrapbook from Malaysia trip that MUT attendees could enjoy. There was one selection race in 99 in Stratton, VT where two men and one woman were selected. In 2000, there will be two selection races, one at Mount Washington in June and the other in Vail in July. Additional team members will be selected based on past performances, present performances and international experience.

MUT Championships: Gersitz reported that there were four national champs in 99 (50 mile trail; 50K road; 24Hour; 50 mile road) with reports from each included in the LDR championship report compiled by Joy Smith and available for distribution at the MUT meeting. Gersitz reported that many race directors were unfamiliar with the bid process until 99 when committee members worked hard to get the word out. For 2000, Gersitz fielded 30 calls for bid information and sent out 30 bid packets. We received 6 bids. The group agreed that we didnt want to award a championship just to have one. We want to have quality guidelines for the events and we want to assure competitors of a high caliber event. All distances are available from 50K to 100 miles road, track and trail, open and masters. We will also accept bids for 2001. Setnes attended all championships in 99.

A question was posed whether USATF cards should be required for ultras. 50 of 500 at Ice Age were USATF members. A good percentage of runners at Helen Klein were USATF members. Membership in USATF would be good and we could support it if the benefits were better. USATF has some benefits in place for 2000. Dunham reported that 50% of the field at the New England Champs were USATF members and if membership was required to receive prizes. It was pointed out that program like NE Champs would not happen without USATF association support. Anderson reported on a grand prix in CA that brings in lots of participation to support the system. Johnson pointed out two issues: 1) it is often difficult to make the economics (of hosting a national championship) work for a race director, 2) doesnt want to dilute the competition by having 7-8 championships per year. He agreed that a circuit was different. It was suggested that we eliminate the 50 mile road and 50 mile trail championship designation and limit the number of championship races annually.

Hobbs suggested that we investigate mountain championships and offer one to two per year perhaps modeling after the world trophy or further, having a European up-type course championship and a British up/down-type course championship each year. Dunham suggested that we should not offer mountain road, mountain trail, or various other combinations but stick to one style. Brannen suggested that we maximize our options. He is involved with Olander Park which may have greater sponsorship in future years and they may even offer a different distance, ie) 48 hour run, 100 miler. Garcia wanted to be sure we left our options open, choosing what would work best. Anderson stated that the Road Running Information Center only ranks the 50 mile road presently. Gersitz stated that the circuit idea is good, maybe we should offer a trail 50K circuit. Johnson stated that we should not necessarily preclude distances but limit to maybe 4 national championships per year. We need to build the sport and send strong US teams to competitions. Pirrung said that we should evaluate the bids, not just give out a championship as the championship must have positive meaning.

Smith reported that there is presently no rights fee to USATF for an ultra national championship. Boyle wants to urge us to get the info out on championships sooner. Sometimes the event only has 2-3 months to plan for the champoinship event. He suggest limiting the bids for 2000 to a manageable number that can provide a quality slate. He felt that we should also look to accept 2001 bids and announce those earlier. Johnson again addressed two areas of concern: 1) Quality of field 2) prepration for the event. Averson questioned how the distances are standardized. She represents the Masters Communication Center distributing bios and post race publicity. She suggested that we need more print publicity and that photos are a great asset for publicity. She offered support of her group to MUT.

Bids for 2000 Presented: Marja Baker presented the Chancellor Challenge 100K October 7, 2000 bid (may be interested for additional years). Event has been held once, in 99 with 70 entrants. A 10 loop course, pretty flat. Entry fees paid to charities so essentially, no entry fee (must raise $25 for charity). Prizes of $25,000, $20,000 to athletes, $5000 for relay teams. New England has a good history of hosting national championships. Brannen represented the event as the elite athlete coordinator. Concern was timing of event; too close to 2000 Worlds. Prize money is not just designated for US, may include foreign. Setnes distributed copies of the GNC 100K March 25 bid. Total of $10,000 in prize money, also lodging support. The timing of the event good as selection race for 100K team.

MUT group decided to review all six bids, place on timetable and see what we had to offer in the calendar year. The following timeline:

  • GNC 100K March 25
  • American River 50 April 1
  • Elk Beaver 100K May 6
  • Ice Age 50 Miler May 13
  • Western States 100 Miler June 24
  • World 100K, Netherlands September 9
  • Olander Park 24 hour September 16
  • Chancellor Challenge October 7

Discussion centered on distances and dates. Johnson made a motion that Ice Age (Jay Hodde), Olander Park and GNC 100K (Dan Brannen) be awarded for 2000, Gersitz second, unanimous. Gersitz and Johnson will present the slate of events to the LDR chairs for final approval. It was suggested that someone from MUT talk with unsuccessful bidders. Gersitz agreed to take on that role. In addition, all bidders will be notified that we are accepting bids for 2001. The criteria for hosting a national championship was addressed and discussed. The main points for consideration are prize money, lodging support, and history of the race. Each championship event must have a liaison (for the above races, liaisons are in parentheses). Gersitz will supply a national championship checklist to the liaisons. In looking ahead for awarding championships, we will have better promotinal opportunities. We will work toward having the championships designated at least one year out. Thus, we will accept 2001 and 2002 bids at next years convention.

Mountain and Ultra runners of the year: This is the first year we award the mountain runners of the year at the annual awards breakfast. Hobbs wondered about the nomination and voting process. She suggested putting request for nomination and voting on the internet at mountain/trail running websites. Brannen felt that a bigger voting pool could be risky as it becomes more of a popularity contest. He felt that the members of the subcommittee should do the voting only. Johnson stated that the ultra and mountain communities are pretty small and, in general, somebodys performance is head and shoulders above the rest. Dunham suggested that we expand the nomination but keep a smaller voting pool making sure that deadlines are promoted and adhered to. Nominations should begin following the last world event (either the World Trophy or 100K, whichever comes later). It was suggested that the men and women in ultra work together on the voting of ultra runners of the year. Hobbs wondered about having a contributor of the year award like womens LDR for mountain running and perhaps for ultra too or maybe combine both. Discussion about whether we now had a pool of qualified recipients. We decided to keep mountain contributor and ultra contributor as separate awards, have nominations and perhaps not make the award mandatory each year depending on the nominees received. We will work on this for 2000.

Issues facing our subcommittee

A. Hobbs reported the positive addition of Trail Runner magazine that every delegate received in their registration packet this year. AATRA (All American Trail Running Association) has a relationship with TR that each AATRA member receives 6 issues of TR (represents one year of magazines in 2000).

B. Brannen presented an issue facing ultra running on the international level. He distributed a paper which detailed the present situation within the IAU, the designated governing body of ultra running by the IAAF and an organization which AUA is the US representative member. IAU has sent a letter to Masback inviting the USATF to become the member organization in the IAU to represent the US. This membership would supplant the AUA membership (has been the designated member in the IAU by the USATF for the past four years). There are presently 9 member organizations in the IAU. Brannen suggested that the USATF turn down the invitation to join and contact the IAAF for clarification of what is happening with the IAU. Johnson commented that it is incumbent upon the general council members of the IAU to sort out policy and governance issues and to ask IAAF to sort out problems within the IAU is the wrong approach. Two action items arose from lengthy discussion: 1) letter would be drafted to LDR chairs from MUT requesting that Masback turn down the invitation and further request that USATF send a letter to the IAAF to see what is going on with the IAU. 2) letter would be drafted on behalf of MUT that states that AUA is the group we want representing the USATF in ultra running with the IAU. Following adjournment of the MUT subcommittee, voting members will meet to draft the aforementioned letters. Brannen thanked MUT for their support in this matter.

C. Setnes stated that the individual roles within the subcommittee regarding the championships need to be clarified so that efforts are not duplicated. There is a medals issue that needs to be addressed. One person should handle all awards for a championship, not split between mens/womens/masters. There should be an individual rep from MUT to each national championship (see above for 2000 assignments).

D. Pirrung brought up restructuring issue from mens LDR discussion regarding membership in the MUT subcommittee and that a single chair is elected by the subcommittee in the restructuring plan currently on the table. This is an issue MUT agreed to concentrate on and tackle in the coming year. E. Gersitz will send thank you letters to those who assisted in funds for the 99 US ultra team to include ultrarunners supporting ultrarunners and AUA.

Next Meeting: Albuquerque convention. We will request at least a 3 hour slot for MUT meeting. Hobbs will compose and distribute minutes from this meeting to all who signed the register with their name and email address.

Adjournment at 7:07PM

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