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Mountain/Ultra/Trail 2005 Annual Meeting Minutes

Friday, December 2 : Noon-1PM
Saturday, December 3 : 9am – Noon & 2pm – 4pm
Hyatt Regency
Jacksonville, FL

Attending Meetings: (Executive Committee*) Marlene Atwood, Derrick Berkompus (PNTF), David Bullock, David Coyne (MN), Chuck DesJardins (Pacific), Dave Dunham* (New England), Fred Finke (FL), Alonzo Fuller (WI), Will Graustein (CT), Carl Grossbard (Long Island), Dave Guyn (Gulf), Mitch Harper (IN), Ann Heaslett* (WI), Nancy Hobbs* (CO), Barrett Hopper, Brian Jones (Lake Erie), Sven Jordan (AK), Nina Kuscik, Kim Kutsch (Inland NW), Glenn Latimer (IL), Anne Lundblad (NC), Ellen Miller (CO – AATRA), Robert Moore (Adirondack), Carolyn Muegge-Vaughan, Howard Nippert* (VA), Ed Parrot (FL), Roy Pirrung* (WI), Mike Polansky (Long Island), Ken Robichaud (New England), Bill Roe (Pacific NW), Mike Scott (New England), Ian Seecof (IN), John TenBroeck (FL), Tony Wayne (NC), Tim Yanacheck (WI)

Friday, December 2: Noon – 1PM
Nancy Hobbs introduced herself as chair of the council, Roy Pirrung as Vice Chair, all in attendance introduced themselves. Hobbs provided an overview of the meetings with race championship bids to be discussed at Saturday’s session. Hobbs explained that to be included on the Mountain Ultra Trail Council an association must host a Mountain, Ultra, or Trail Running championship, or be appointed as a rep by one of the LDR chairs or the chair. Presently there are 23 council members including chair, vice chair, 9 LDR appointments, 4 at-large appointments, and association members. Several additional associations have held a MUT championship in 2005 and will have a seat on the council for 2006. There is also an executive committee of seven that meets to discuss business and make decisions between conventions. Executive committee members Janice Anderson and Anita Ortiz were unable to attend the convention. Hobbs presented with the agenda handout figures amassed by Keith Lively at USATF National Office on the activity on the MUT pages on the USATF website. It is encouraging to see the activity.

Roy Pirrung has candidates for the assistant team manager for the 100km team and will present these at Saturday’s meeting. The IAU 24 Hours Team selection criteria will be posted later this week Online. The IAU 24 Hours will be held in Taipei, Taiwan in February despite the bird-flu threat.

Dave Dunham will review the MUT awards process tomorrow to include discussion on the weighting criteria of votes. Dunham is willing to tabulate and collect votes for the 2006 awards. The MUT awards presently include mountain runner of the year (open men/women; masters men/women), ultrarunner of the year (open men/women; masters men/women), and contributor of the year. Anne Lundblad will be on-hand tomorrow to accept her award as women’s ultrarunner of the year.

Hobbs reported that the MUT budget had been as high as $5000 some years ago and this year’s budget was increased on the administrative side from $2,500 to $3,000, but the teams budget of $2000 from last year was eliminated. This year the team budget went entirely to the 100km team with $1200 charged to the budget for mailing of team uniforms. Hobbs has disputed this charge and it is being revisited by the national office. The additional team funds were spent on a van for the team in Japan and misc supplies for the team. Remainder of the $2000 resulted in $50 per team member for the 100km team. Hobbs, Lundblad, and Howard Nippert will make an appeal to the budget committee at 1:30 p.m. today for the team budget. Hobbs prepared a 12-page report for the budget committee with the help of Nippert, and Lin Gentling, team manager ’05, ‘06 who wrote a passionate plea for support on behalf of the team. The mountain running team has another avenue for fundraising through the All American Trail Running Association (AATRA) who stepped in to insure that the team would retain all of their funding from sponsors such as their title sponsor, Teva, and others in 2005 to include SportHill, 180s and ground™.

Hobbs reported that the MUT programs have not appeared in some of the USATF materials to include an LDR brochure. This became clear on a conference call in early 2005. This needs to change so that potential sponsors learn of our programs, and our programs are marketed to the public.

There was a question regarding fundraising and whether races and individuals could donate to the teams outside of USATF. The Ultrarunners Supporting Ultrarunners (USU) Fund had been established in the 90s to assist with fundraising for the team as a non profit 501 (c ) 3 corporation. This year was the last year for this fund. Those at the meeting were very interested in pursuing fundraising opportunities and either setting up a new account, or piggybacking on another 501 (c ) 3 not for profit corporation. AATRA is set up for fundraising of the mountain team. Some of the race directors in the meeting said they could set something up with their races to raise funds. The Long Island Association and Alaska association reps said they would take back suggestions to their associations for funding. Pirrung suggested that championship races could commit to funding their “showcased” athletes. Hobbs will communicate further with the team management for the 100km and see what funding ideas they have.

Dunham reported that the 2005 mountain team selection process is evolving through the years. For 2005 Mt Washington is a confirmed host with a minimum of the top male and top female to receive an automatic berth for the team. Additional selection race bids will be reviewed during Saturday’s meeting. The junior team which Dunham will manage this year has a selection process completely through resumes. The recruitment is a job in itself as many high school and collegiate coaches are reluctant to release their athletes to compete on this national team due to conflicting schedules with their fall meets. The goal of the program is to develop juniors into open competitors. The Italians have had a very successful program with this in mind.

There will also be the third NACAC Championships in 2006 with Mexico hosting (USA has hosted in 2004 and 2005). This is an unfunded team/event. Dunham asked how the team is named. Hobbs reported that there isn’t a selection process in place, but that the team has included members of past Teva US Mountain Running Teams, or athletes that were in the top finish of the race the prior year. In 2005 there was one US team (both men and women), one Canadian team (men only). We need to organize this team for 2006 and work with the Mexico organizers.

A US team (men) travels to the annual Challenge Stellina Mountain Running event in Italy. The organizers of the event always fund a US team (men) up to 2 or 3 athletes with support for airline travel, as well as food and lodging during their stay for the event. In 2004 the US Men upset the Italians to take Gold. In 2005 the team was not in the medals, but raced very well. Paul Low has been organizing the team the past two years (and has been a member of the team).

Ian Seecof brought up the Shop for Zero program that has been very helpful for associations in raising some additional funds. He says that the GA association has been very successful. He suggests contacting Andy Martin in the National Office for details.

Before closing the meeting Hobbs suggested that those associations that did not yet have a MUT affiliation start at the LDR level and work a MUT program into the association. There are several models that can be used to help your association with this effort. Meeting recessed at approximately 1PM.

Saturday, December 3: 9AM – Noon session
Hobbs started the meeting by letting the attendees know that we would be having guests attend throughout our meetings and would give those individuals the floor (for a brief presentation, or to answer questions from the group) when they arrived and resume business quickly thereafter. There was a sign up sheet for the attendees and everyone was invited to sign up for the random prize drawings, a feature of the MUT meetings.

There was a motion to approve the minutes from the 2004 convention by Ann Heaslett with a second from Roy Pirrung, all in favor.

David Coyne spoke about rule changes to include the masters age going from 40 to 35 for the men (internationally the women have been masters at age 35). The issue has been tabled until next year, but the LDR division has sent a directive to IAAF US reps that they don’t support this change. The residency requirement for competitions (club, team, and individuals) was discussed. The 30 day requirement for changing associations was proposed that sport committees form their own policy. Encouragement of individuals to run within their own club and not switch between clubs. Ed Parrot suggested that MUT might be better served by not being more restrictive. The requests for club changes are sometimes not acted upon. David Coyne will attend more rules meetings and let us know what develops regarding this rule. Hobbs suggested that it is important as we move forward to instead of using the term “Masters” we use the distinction of 40+ and use age groups as opposed to masters age groups, ie: 40-44, 45-49, etc.

Nippert presented 100Km National Team Report describing Lundblad’s silver medal performance as a spectacular effort. The men’s five-member team was led by Nippert’s eight-place finish to a fourth place team finish. Nippert stated that even the rookie team members ran very well and were very professional. Lundblad and Heaslett added that the gold-medal finish for the women’s team was fantastic. (addendum: Nippert reported on the ultra program for men’s LDR, Hobbs reported on the mountain program for men’s LDR. Hobbs and Lundblad attended the women’s LDR session and reported on the ultra and mountain program. Pirrung gave a brief overview of new business at the joint LDR session)

Hobbs reported that at the budget appeal the team line item was restored to $2000 for 2006 and that the team uniform expense would be dealt with by the national office for the future and that the budget line item would not say team, but rather “USA National 100Km Team.”

Pirrung presented the candidates for assistant 100km team manager. Tim Yanacheck was the 2005 assistant team manager and Heaslett, Lundblad, and Nippert spoke on his behalf. Mike Spinnler (council member and director of the JFK 50 Miler) was a candidate with Nippert speaking on his behalf. The group voted with Yanacheck being named assistant team manager. Lin Gentling was already named as team leader with Lion Caldwell as team doctor. This represents the full team staff. Already named to the 2006 team are Nippert, Lundblad, Nikki Kimball, and Tania Pacev based on their top-ten finish in the World at the 2005 IAU 100km World Cup. Nippert said that the team staff makes the team’s efforts and competition so much smoother and on behalf of the 2005 team presented Yanacheck with an award. Awards will also be presented to Gentling and Caldwell.

Bill Roe was introduced and discussed his support of our MUT programs. He mentioned attending White River 50 Mile champs (every year since it has been a national championship), and the World Mountain Running Trophy in New Zealand this past September which boasted 11,000 spectators. Hobbs mentioned that Roe’s trip to NZ and the World Trophy was at his expense, not something that USATF provided which shows Roe’s commitment to our group. Roe continued that during a meeting in Chicago this past May it was discussed that the AUA would support the 24 Hours team with a partnership with USATF. He mentioned the struggle to get budgeted dollars for our MUT programs. Roe acknowledged Hobbs work on behalf of MUT. Hobbs mentioned that the recent issue (January) of Trail Runner magazine featured an article by MUT

Council Member Garett Graubins on the World Trophy and the Teva US Mountain Running Team (there is also an article in the January issue of Running Times by Roger Robinson on the World Trophy). Hobbs also prepared a notebook which she had on display at the MUT meetings from the 2005 Teva US Mountain Running Team included selection races, championships, and World Trophy.

Nina Kuscik from Law and Legislation has worked with Anderson on the Operating Procedures from MUT. Hobbs distributed copies for review and discussion. Kuscik suggested that the council review and comment on the procedures and that the Executive Committee meet (conference call or through e-mail) to finalize the operating procedures. Hobbs will ask Anderson to continue leading the discussion on the operating procedures.

Pirrung reported on the 2005 24 Hours Team who competed in Austria. A gutsy women’s team performance resulted in a bronze medal, the men ran strong and finished sixth. The top three American women didn’t travel to Austria due to lack of funding. The 2006 event will be in Taipei, Taiwan on February 25-26. The team partnered with the AUA for funding. For 2006 the IAU has provided funding based on performance standards (A-B-C-D) and distance traveled to the event. Currently Stephanie Ehret has achieved the A standard while most of the US athletes are at the B standard. The selection criteria will be posted soon and is based on performance standards of 24 hour mileage.

Discussion followed regarding the IAU delegates. The IAU meets every other year at the 100km World Cup and in 2006 they will meet again. There was discussion on the IAU delegate and Yanacheck volunteered for the position and will attend the meetings in Korea in October (since he will already be going to Korea as the assistant team manager).

Hobbs provided some background on the development of the US Mountain Running program for the men’s and women’s teams with the men piggy-backing off the Challenge Stellina event (which provided some athlete funding to compete in their event and athletes would stay on in Europe for the World Trophy), while the women first sent a team in 1995. Juniors were added to the team in 2002. Hobbs oversees management and sponsorship for the team and thanks Teva for their continued support of the team. Additional sponsors have helped to support the team including SportHill, 180s, and ground™. For the trip to Turkey for the World Trophy it was determined that a larger team staff was required to manage the team (there have been two team staff members in the past). Rich Bolt will serve at Team Leader, Dunham as Junior Manager, and Ellen Miller as Women’s Manager. Hobbs and Bolt have developed a media schedule for the team to include press releases throughout the year highlighting selection process, selection races, championships, and other important races throughout the year that the team members participate in.

Hobbs surveyed past team members about their thoughts for the selection race program and the majority wanted at least two selection races regionally distributed. This year we received bids from just two events (although we anticipated several more, the race directors opted not to submit a bid) with Mt Washington already designated as a selection race based on their hosting the USA Mountain Running Championships on June 17. Since this is an uphill year for the World Trophy (the Trophy alternates between uphill only races in even-numbered years and up/down courses in odd-numbered years), the bids were from uphill events. Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire submitted a bid and Vail Mountain submitted a bid (Vail, CO). Vail has hosted a selection race since 2000. There are 10 open athletes on the US team with 6 men (4 to score) and 4 women (3 to score). Since there is a built-in alternate, additional alternates will not be named to the team.

Dunham presented the Loon Mountain bid. He, Paul Kirsch (a MUT council member and recently named championships chair) and Rich Bolt (MUT council member) will direct the event. The race has been named the USATF New England Mountain Championships for 2006 and is on the USATF NE Mountain Running Circuit. Athletes competing for a slot on the team will receive home stays for up to one week (between Mt Washington and Loon), and the prize money will be a minimum of $600.

There was discussion about the limited entries for the Mt Washington race. The race director, Bob Teschek, has worked closely with Hobbs, Bolt, and Dunham to insure that those athletes who are hoping for a chance to make the team, as well as top age group competitors would be granted a spot in the race. These athletes must be USATF members in order for consideration of entry. Many of the athletes hoping to make the team are already invited by Teschek to compete.

The Bursa course does not sound too technical based on what we have seen on the website and heard from organizers.

Heaslett attended the selection race in the Midwest last year and stated that it was great to have an event of this caliber in another area of the country.

Dunham and Hobbs met on Thursday to discuss the selection process. Based on athlete’s remarks and as a result of their meeting suggested that we have five slots as automatic qualifiers at Mt Washington this June. The top three USATF (and US citizens) men and top two USATF women to receive an automatic berth on the Teva US Mountain Running Team. Loon Mountain on June 24 to receive one automatic berth for the top USATF male while a race in Vail (either the Teva Vail HillClimb on July 2, or an uphill - single track course in Vail on July 9) to receive one automatic berth for the top USATF male and one automatic berth for the top USATF female. This will leave us with one discretionary pick for both the men's and women's team. This year an athlete hoping to make the team MUST run one of the three selection races.

There was a motion to pass the above selection criteria for the 2006 Teva US Mountain Running Team. It was unanimous.

Mike Ortiz directs the Vail events and would like to have a race mirror the Trophy course as closely as possible. This is the reason he had offered a different course on Vail Mountain. Dunham suggested that the HillClimb would be a suitable selection race. Hobbs spoke at length to Ortiz and a decision on which event would host the selection race will be made soon after the convention.

Jim Estes, USATF LDR Programs Manager (a USATF staff member) was introduced. Estes also attended the 10Km Trail Championships last year…in the snow. He will attend the USA 100 Mile Trail Championships at Rocky Racoon in February.

It is hoped that the NACAC Mountain Running Championships will rotate between USA, Mexico, and Canada. Mexico will host in 2006 near Guadalajara. Ian Seecof has contacts in this area and may be interested in working with the US team.

The Pikes Peak Marathon will host the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in 2006. The date is August 20. This will be the third year of this event. Switzerland hosted in 2004 while France hosted in 2005. The 2007 site will be decided by the WMRA Council in January.

The WMRA World Masters Mountain Running Championships will be held in Saillon, Switzerland on September 23, 2006. This will be the fourth year for the event. In 2002, Austria hosted, in 2003 Germany was the host, in 2004 Italy, in 2005 England. The 2006 event will be the first year that the WMA is involved with the event. Hobbs confirmed that the event entrants would be open to all. This was an arrangement reached per contract by the WMRA and the WMA in 2005.

Championships bids were presented for the Trail 10Km. Dunham presented the bid for the Northfield Mountain Race, Northfield, MA to be held on June 10. Hobbs presented the bid for the Teva Mountain Games 10Km to be held in Vail, CO on June 3.

The Northfield race would be held on a new course (different from the 2005 course). Home stays for athletes would be arranged and a minimum of $700 in prize money. The event site is within two hours of Boston, Manchester, NH, and Portland, ME. Between 100 and 200 athletes typically compete in this event. It is also part of the USATF New England Mountain Running Circuit.

The Teva Mountain Games race would offer $5000 in prize money and additional $100 for each of the USA champions (open man and open woman) at a minimum. There would be home stays for athletes. This event has hosted the 2004 and 2005 10Km Trail Championships. There is a huge advertising and publicity campaign surrounding the Mountain Games. There was a question as to whether the USATF Championship designation was promoted in all of the literature. It is included on the website and Hobbs would work closely with the organizers to insure that the designation would be reflected in all of the press and advertising materials. In 2005 all of the competitors had to be USATF members and this will again be the case for 2006. This requirement is dictated by the permitees of the event. In 2005 the additional memberships resulted in $800 going to the Teva US Mountain Running Team through the USATF Colorado Association.

Pirrung spoke to the value of the publicity, TV value, and exposure inherent in the Teva Mountain Games. A decision on the 10Km bid will be part of the afternoon session.

Hobbs listed the other championship bids for 2006 to include: Long Island 50Km Road – March 5 – Long Island, New York Headlands 50Km Trail – August 26 – Sausalito, CA Tussey Mountain 50 Mile Trail – October 7 – Boalsburg, PA Dupont Forest Trail Marathon – October 15 – Asheville, NC

For 2007: Long Island 50Km Road – March 4 – New York Headlands 50Km Trail – August 25 – Sausalito, CA Tussey Mountain 50 Mile Trail – October 20 – Boalsburg, PA Dupont Forest Trail Marathon – October 14 – Asheville, NC Lean Horse 100Mile Trail – August 25-26 – Deadwood, SD

Pirrung spoke about Headlands as a great event with good weather, good prize money, good prizes. Lundblad echoed Pirrung’s comments.

The Tussey Mountain event is on the same weekend as the 100Km World Cup which was a big concern. It is not a fast course although it is deemed a road course and is certified. The surface is mostly hard packed gravel. Lundlad had a suggestion to call these hybrid courses and to state that the event is a “50K championships” or a 100 Mile Championships rather than making the road/trail determination since some are so closely related. Some concern was expressed that if Tussey was selected and called the “50 Mile Championship” this wouldn’t be fair to White River, which has already been designated the “50 Mile Trail Championship” event. Nippert added that he would like to see standards set for championship events to include terrain and surface descriptions, aid station set ups, etc. There should be a check list of standards for race directors. Hobbs said that AATRA had a set of sanctioning criteria that could be used as a template with additional standards included to encompass all of the MUT events.

The meeting went to recess prior to the afternoon session.

Saturday, December 3: 2-4PM
Chuck DesJardins presented a report on the WMA 100K event to be held December 10-11 in Argentina. Katy Cotton will serve as the team manager. Pirrung is one of the team members to compete in this masters championships that was originally slated to be held concurrently with the IAU 100km World Cup in Japan and then changed to another venue in Europe. Neither event happened in 2005 and this event came up to host. Brian Keaveney (Canada) is the newly elected chairman of the WMA Nonstadia Committee. The WMA masters are aged 35 and up for both men and women. The WMA Mountain Running Championships will be held every year and the WMA 100Km will be held in odd-numbered years.

Dunham brought up an issue with the selection process for the mountain team. He would like to have it advertised that the automatic qualifying slot does not move down in place if the automatic selectee declines the spot. If an automatic selectee declines his or her spot or if the automatic selectee is duplicated at an event (for example if an athlete won Mt. Washington and the Vail event the second finisher at Vail would not be an automatic selectee). The result is that we would have an additional discretionary pick.

Nippert made a motion to decline the bid from Tussey Mountain 50 Mile Road event because of the conflict with the IAU 100Km World Cup race date. We would consider the 2007 bid when we know what the calendar date would be for the 2007 IAU 100Km World Cup. Motion seconded and unanimous approval.

The bid was reviewed from Dupont Forest for the Trail Marathon Championships. Lundblad spoke about the event. She is a past winner and course record holder. The event has some prize money, will offer some home stays for athletes (and will cover lodging for past US winners). Lundblad pointed out that the course was mostly on fire trails and only about 6 miles on single track. She says the course is beautiful and the organization is great. There was some concern about the accuracy of the distance of the course. Pirrung made a motion to accept the bid for 2006 and 2007 pending the course being accurately measured to be at least 26.2 miles. Dunham second. Unanimous approval.

The 50Km Road bid was presented by Carl Grossbard. This event has been an association championship for several years and attracts between 40-60 runners. The course is on a park paved trail and is a 2.3 mile measured flat loop. The volunteers count laps for the runners. There will be prize money $150/$75/$25 for open men and women and same for top three masters. Pirrung made a motion that the event be granted championships for ‘06 and ‘07 pending course certification. Nippert second. Unanimous approval. Grossbard says that the certification will be completed very soon by their association certifier.

The 100Mile Trail id was considered. There is prize money and support for athletes. The organization is very top-notch. The event course is somewhat of a hybrid and in fact Jerry Dunn, the race director, considered bidding for the 100Mile Road championships, but decided to go with the trail designation since the course is not currently certified and it is on a trail-type surface. Lundblad stated that we don’t know what the 2007 calendar internationally will look like so we should wait on accepting this bid and revisit in 2006, or when we know the calendar dates for 2007. Heaslett motioned to table the bid, Pirrung second. Unanimous. The reason that some bids will be considered now for 2007 is that they may not conflict as closely with the 100km World Cup. For instance the 50Km distance may not attract the 100Km runners in the same way a 50 Mile event might. The 50 Miler is a distance we look at in the selection process for our 100km athletes. We should work to avoid schedule conflict between the World 100Km and our National 50 Mile Championships.

Pirrung motioned that the Headlands 50Km Trail be awarded the 2006 and 2007 championships, Hobbs second. Unanimous.

The 10Km Trail Championships bids were revisited. Dunham requested a closed vote. Yanacheck and Lundblad were named to count the ballots. There were eight individuals in the room eligible to vote including Dunham, Grossbard, Robichaud, Hobbs, Nippert, Heaslett, Pirrung, Miller. The vote was 6-2 with the Teva Mountain Games 10Km getting the nod. There was a request to destroy the ballots, they were destroyed.

Dunham led the discussion on the awards and voting process for our runners of the year. He stated that the weighting of votes may not be the best process since in some cases this year an athlete may have received more second place votes than another who received more first place votes, but because you are adding votes for first, second, and third place and voters could either vote for top three, and in some cases just wanted to vote for one person and not three, the voting may not have been a true reflection of what the end result was in all of the categories. After thoughtful discussion Pirrung motioned that the voting would be for just one individual per category (by the voting member) and a run-off would be held only in the case of a tie. Miller seconded the motion. Unanimous. Dunham agreed to coordinate the nomination and voting process for 2006. It was agreed that even if an athlete is nominated in a category and that person is eligible to vote as a member of the MUT council he or she does not need to recuse himself, or herself from the voting.

Fred Finke, LDR Division Chair, was introduced. Finke commended Hobbs for her communication during the year and her work with the council. He reported that a breakthrough has occurred with ultrarunning and that he invested quite a bit of time in ultrarunning issues this year. He is glad to see the council working together.

Dunham asked about team scoring in championships. He suggested looking at the various distances of events and the number of men and women for team scoring and whether it should be cumulative time, or cross country scoring. He suggests clarifying and advertising the team component for all of our championships. Dunham and Robichaud will work on this issue and report back to council.

Hobbs suggested making the designation of prize money awards to ages, not to use the term masters. For instance prize money for 40 and over, etc. This is in response to the masters age ruling.

Mitch Harper had been looking over the operating procedures document and had some suggestions for Section 7 to include: Once a bid is awarded for a championship the race director should be notified within 30 days of the award with a contract from National Office to review and sign. He also asked that a list of athletes for consideration in the championship event be provided to the race director within 60 days and that the race liaison from the USATF would be named within 60 days. Hobbs will provide these suggestions to Anderson who has been working on the operating procedures.

Pirrung thanked Norm Green and the masters LDR committee for helping secure USATF National team singlets for the 100Km Masters athletes competing in the WMA 100Km next week in Argentina as well as covering the entry fee and banquet expense for the athletes competing in the event.

Adjourned at approximately 4:10PM.

Submitted by Mountain Ultra Trail Council Secretary Ellen Miller and Council Chair Nancy Hobbs

 

 

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