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November 26, 2006

2006 MUT Awards Winners: Runners of the Year and Contributor of the Year


Colorado Springs ---The Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Council of long distance running has chosen the 2006 USATF Mountain Runners of the Year, Ultrarunners of the Year, and Contributor of the Year. The following will receive their awards at the annual USATF National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana on Saturday, December 2 at an awards breakfast. 


Simon Gutierrez, 40, Alamosa, CO received the nod for both open and masters mountain runner of the year. On minimal running due to an early spring injury, Gutierrez placed fourth overall and first master in the USA National Mountain Running Championships at Mount Washington. He followed that up with wins at the Teva Vail HillClimb, the Vail Mountain Trophy Race (where he qualified for his fifth straight Teva U.S. Mountain Running Tea), La Luz Hill Climb, and Pikes Peak Ascent. The following week he placed third at the Challenge Stellina mountain race in Italy and then led the U.S. men in Turkey at the World Trophy race where he placed tenth. After the Trophy Race he returned to Europe and won the World Masters Mountain Running Championships and placed third in the international Course des 2 Bains WMRA Grand Prix Race the following day. He works at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center as an outpatient manual /orthopedic physical therapist and works closely with the Adams State men's and women's cross country and track teams.


Nicole Hunt, 36, Deer Lodge, MT, mountain runner of the year, burst onto the mountain running scene this year after a successful road running career where she represented the U.S. in several international competitions. She competed on the USA National Ekiden Teams in 2002 in Beijing and in 2002 in Seoul, South Korea. She was the top American Woman, second overall, at the USA National Mountain Running Championships and led the women’s team to a gold-medal performance in Turkey with her ninth place finish. Hunt has a 5000m track time of 15:52, a 10000m track time of 33:24. At the 2006 Bloomsday Road Race she placed tenth among the women and second American. She was sixth overall and second American at the 2006 Houston Half Marathon, and was 18th at the 2004 Olympic Trials timed in 2:40:39. Hunt has her own business where she coaches runners and does personal training primarily Online. She is also an RN but currently not employed as one.


Lisa Goldsmith, 41, Nederland, CO is a repeat winner in the masters mountain runner of the year category having won the award last year. Goldsmith performed consistently in the qualifying races for the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team as well as at the World Trophy race. She placed 30th overall as a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the World Trophy Race. She was the USA National Mountain Running Champion and won the Vail Trophy race to secure her spot on the U.S. team. Other top finishes were a first overall in the Front Range Frenzy trail series, Lookout Mountain hill climb, Indian Peaks 10k, Arthur’s Rock(&roll) 10m, and Pikes Peak Ascent. Goldsmith is a massage therapist.


Karl Meltzer, 37, Sandy, UT, ultrarunner of the year, won the HURT 100 miler breaking the course record by 2hr36min running 22:16. He placed 17th at American River 50 Mile, second at Massannutten 100 Miler, second at Squaw Peak 50 Mile, winner at Hardrock 100 missing the course record (his) by only 28 minutes, running 27:07 and winning by more than three hours. He was eighth at Leadville 100 to complete the Rocky Mountain Slam and set that record in the process. He won the Wasatch 100 running 20:18 (35 minutes off his record) It was his 6th Wasatch 100 win. First at the Bear 100 on September 22 running the "snow course" in 20:35. 1st at San Diego 100 October 21 breaking the previous course record (his) by 1hr 36min running 15:48. First at the Javelina 100 November 4th running 15:25 also breaking that course record by 23 minutes. Won six 100 mile races in 2006 smashing 3 course record and is now the all-time leader with the most 100 mile wins in a calendar year. In the process he broke Leland Barker's Rocky Mountain Slam record by 6+ hours running 88:53.


Dan Verrington, 44, Bradford, MA, masters ultrarunner of the year, was masters champion at the USATF 50K road championships (Caumsett Park) placing second overall, placed second master and fifth overall at the USATF trail 50K championships, won the masters division and fourth overall at the USATF trail marathon championships (DuPont forest), was the masters USATF NE mountain running champion (Mt Cranmore) finishing third overall. First master at the USATF NE trail running championships (Northfield Mtn) setting a course record to finish fourth overall. He placed sixth in the masters division at the USA National Mountain Running Championships and was on the winning masters team. At the Montrail Northeast trail series he finished first in the masters category and was the overall series winner. Verrington was a scoring member of the CMS (Central Mass. Striders) team which became the first team to win gold medals at USATF National championships in the three MUT disciplines (Mountain/Ultra/Trail). Verrington is a Cemetery supervisor in Andover, MA.


Nikki Kimball, 35, Bozeman, MT, ultrarunner of the year, won Western States 100 Mile in 2006 and is a four-time winner and course record holder at the White River 50 Mile Trail Run, which she won this year. She finished second to Kami Semick at the Headlands 50K – the USA National 50K Trail Championships. She set a PR this year at the IAU 100Km World Cup where she finished as the third scorer for the U.S. women’s team. She was a nationally ranked skier and biathlete at Williams College and post collegiate. Kimball is a physical therapist in Bozeman


Anne Riddle-Lundblad, 40, Asheville, NC, masters ultrarunner of the year, was the top U.S. finisher at the IAU World Cup 100Km finishing in sixth place with a time of 7:47:15. Lundblad started running at age 14, basically because “I wasn’t good enough to make the high school soccer team. My parents told me about cross-country, which sounded like fun. I liked the idea of running through fields, up and down hills, and over streams.” She is the course record holder at Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Run and JFK 50 Miler both set in 2005. Others wins in 2005 include the Promise Land 50K, the Virginia Creeper Marathon, the Bel Monte 50K (course record), and the Great Eastern 50k (course record). She was named 2005 USATF Ultra runner of the Year and earlier this year won the USA 50Km Road Championships. Lundblad is a counselor and personal coach in Asheville where she lives with husband Mark and daughter Emma.

La Sportiva /Go-Lite was named the Contributor of the Year for MUT. Not only have they heartily supported a Mountain Running Team with runners from the west coast, east coast, and the middle too, but they were title sponsors for a series of events the past two seasons for a total of nine events in Colorado (5 in '06) with prize money and excellent and generous prizes for the age-group award winners. There were several mountain and trail races that they gave prizes and support too such as the Barr Trail Mountain Race. They were partial sponsors and put up the prize money for the team competition at this year's National Mountain Running Champs at Mt. Washington. They also were a supporting sponsor of the USATF New England Mountain running circuit and title sponsor of the USATF New England trail running championships at Northfield Mountain (MA).


In order to be considered for the USATF Mountain and Ultrarunning awards an athlete must show top results in US mountain/trail competitions for 2006 (November 1, 2005 through October 31, 2006) - this will include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail races of varying lengths below the ultra distance. USATF ultra runners of the year results on trail and ultra road courses above the marathon distance in both national and international competition. The nominee must be an ambassador for the sport - athlete promotes and supports mountain running. For the Mountain Category: Results from Teva US Mountain Running Team Selection races to be considered - in 2006 these included Mt Washington (also served as the USA Mountain Champs), Cranmore, Vail Mountain Trophy Race. Nominee must be a USATF member for 2006 - athlete MUST have a current USATF membership and to be considered for the masters category, athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.


Other nominees in the Contributor of the Year category included Bob Teschek, race director of the Mount Washington Race, a long time supporter of the mountain running program having hosted the USA National Mountain Running Championships and numerous team selection races; FuelBelt, Inc., for their support and sponsorship of the mountain and ultra teams; Vail Recreation District, for hosting team selection races for the past six years and their involvement with the USA National 10Km Trail Championships for the past three years. Past winners in this category include the American Ultra Running Association, Teva, and North Texas Trail Runners.

To see the MUT award criteria and the lists of past recipients, click here.




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