Early Thoughts On North American Ultra Performance Of The Year

AJWs TaproomOkay folks, we’ve had lots of hand wringing here over the last few weeks and I’d like to put things to rest (at least until the year actually ends and the votes really count). :-) Here are my top-three votes for Ultra Performance of the Year for each gender. On the wise suggestion from the great Dave Mackey, we’ll go with ladies first!

[Author’s note: The same rule applies for these thoughts as I applied to the UROY discussion. These are North American runners’ performances at any ultramarathon race/event in the world. For the sole purpose of creating as broad a playing field as possible, I am including race performances, trail/road/track as well as attempts at Fastest Known Times (FKTs), multi-day efforts, and series races (e.g., Grand Slam), as a single ‘performance’. And, in contrast to my earlier columns in which I was predicting how the UltraRunning Magazine voting would play out, these are my votes. So, if you disagree, let me have it (not like I had to invite you to do that :)].

Women’s Ultra Performance of the Year

1. Rory Bosio’s win and course record at UTMB
Rory’s extraordinary seventh place overall, which eclipsed the course record by over two hours, could, by the time she finishes her ultra career, be the one race she tells her grandkids about. Truly, this was a run for the ages.

2. Sabrina Little’s 24-Hour American Record at the 2013 IAU 24-Hour World Championships
Sabrina’s single-minded focus and laser-like execution make this a solid #2 and will likely garner ample votes as #1. Anything over 150 miles is otherworldly and Sabrina’s 152 will likely stand the test of time. And, she did it with grace, dignity, and humility, values we love.

3. Pam Smith’s win at Western States
My WS bias notwithstanding, Pam’s run this past June at the Big Dance was extraordinary, particularly after struggling mightily in 2012. A true testament to fortitude, patience, and smarts, Pam’s race was a perfect fit for the event that is also all about fortitude, patience, and smarts. And, her race report published herein was, in my opinion, hands-down winner of RROY (Race Report of the Year).

Men’s Performance of the Year

1. Jon Olsen’s 100-Mile North American Record at the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Annual Ultra Classic 24 Hour
I’ve known Jon for years, from back in the days when he was resurrected off the cot at Highway 49 to finish Western States in 18th place to my years training with him in the Canyons, I can assure you this guy is tough. Running a 100-mile track event fast is extraordinary. Running 100 miles in under 12 hours is out of this world. Possibly the best American track ultra since Ann Trason.

2. Rob Krar’s Grand Canyon R2R2R FKT
Many have gone after this iconic record on a piece of trail that is carved out of the heart of America. Rob absolutely killed this thing. And, the video recording of him looking at his watch on the North Rim is priceless. True evidence of a guy who just knew he had something special going on and kept rolling with it. That rolling-with-it attitude is something you can’t help but love.

3. Timothy Olson’s Western States 100 Win
Yes, once again, I know I am biased and I know this wasn’t even a course record (Tim set that last year in 72-degree temperatures), but Timothy ran 15:17 on the second-hottest day in the history of the race against extraordinary competition, intense pressure, and the eyes of the ultra world on him. And, he did it with class. With all due respect to the world-class field assembled around him on that day, Timothy delivered.

So there you have it. My podium’s for the top-three UPOYs for North American men and women in 2013. There is still, of course, time left for people to pop off some great results at late-season races and these votes could be significantly altered as a result. (I remember doing just that a few years ago after the epic duel at The North Face 50 between Uli Steidl and Matt Carpenter.) But, for now, these are my thoughts. Next week I’ll be back to more philosophical drivel.

Bottoms up!

 AJW’s Beer of the Week

Troegs Perpetual IPAThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from a Taproom favorite, Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Their Perpetual IPA is a grippy, spicy beer with a hint of honey and a closing kick that reminds me of autumn. Not sure why, it just does.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Let’s talk about the ladies first! What do you think of AJW’s top-three women UPOYs? And, what other top performances from 2013 would you add to this list for consideration?
  • And, onto the men, how about the three performances listed above? Do you agree or disagree with those choices and why? Also, whose performances would you add to this list?
  • Now, let’s extend our scope of consideration to beyond North American runners and their performances. If we look at top men’s and women’s ultrarunning performances, no matter where the runner is from, what of those do you think would equate to or better the top performances listed here?

There are 110 comments

  1. Fejes

    No major disagreement here with your picks although I would give Sabrina's American Record a slight nod for #1. I would also susbstitite either my 3 Last Annual Vol State course record or my Across the Years 329 miles in lieu of Rob's FKT since the FKT was not a race. Admittedly I'm biased though. Lol

  2. steve

    This is a great list. So many great runs excluded, but when you're only picking 3 you have to be choosy. If only there were honorable mentions!

    Thanks AJW..

    (Fejes, I'd figure out a way to work in your CRs at either vol-state or ATY, but that's just me..)

  3. Charlie M.

    OK, this was not a race, but one morning this past Summer I had a run for the ages in my local town. It went like this:

    (1) I put on two different shoes, a HOKA for the left foot and a VivoBarefoot on the right foot.

    (2) I brought the dog, the running stroller with the baby, and an older child on their training wheels bike.

    (3) I also brought a large ceramic dog dish (for water), books for the kids (in case they got bored), and I balanced the kids' aquarium on my head.

    (4) Total elevation gain was 42 feet, +/- 3.7 feet. I could definitely feel the hills, my quads were blown and I lost all my fingernails (probably clutching the stroller too hard).

    (5) I broke all my PR splits along the way, to the first tree near the park, to the pee-stained fire hydrant near the bike path, to the alpaca farm, to McDonalds, and to the jungle gym near the old Mill.

    (6) No one else was officially racing me, but whenever I passed someone I shouted, "Doin' great, lookin' good, keep going…"

    (7) I looked in vain for course markers, all I could see were street signs. Damn vandalism.

    (8) I brought 2 beers, beef jerky, and some twizzlers for nutrition.

    (9) I passed 2 miles in 17 minutes flat, 10 miles in 3 hours, 25 miles in 8:01, and 50 miles in 37:28:19. I forgot to jot down my 100 mile split. But I never felt bonky.

    (10) Got home and washed the dishes, folded the laundry, and did the taxes.

      1. Charlie M.

        Do you mean I should be on Prozac?

        Or the other definition? (Dull and uninteresting)

        Either way, I will take it as a complement…

  4. Bazza

    There is no doubt that Rory's UTMB was out of this world, I truely stand out performance and worthy of the title.

    Rob Krar, R2R2R was again an amazing run as was Tim's western States.

    Wow so many greatv performances this year and hopefully some great sdtandards set for future event.

    good luck picking a winner this year, I don't envy your task.

  5. Vern L

    Come on… choose the top 10 or 20, and don't even rank them, just include a helluva lot more superhuman efforts in the list. To cut it down to just one male and one female is really ridiculous IMHO.

  6. Brett

    JoeF – I thought your ATY/48h/72h records were categorized under last year's performances? I'm getting old, so probably just forgetful. But if they qualify under 2013, then they should be on the list. I wouldn't kick the other 3 off though, just add to.

    I agree with AJW about TimO – I think this year's time/result was even more impressive than 2012.

    The best part of RobK's R2R2R was his F bombs when he looked at his watch to see his split (~3h flat) on the North Rim. Classic.

    Also, don't forget Ras Vaughan's R2R2R2R2R2R2R – Grand Canyon triple crossing. :)

    1. Steve

      That's a good question. UROTY comes out in early January, right? Only a few days after ATY. Does the vote even happen after the race?

      1. AJW

        Steve, several folks on the panel asked John Medinger about ATY and he stated that the finishing time of the event, rather than the start time is what the year is based on. So, with ATY finishing in 2013 it is considered an event that took place this year. The only exception to this, of course, would be the early starters at the ATY 24 and 48 hour runs.

  7. Morgan Williams

    I witnessed Rory's run at UTMB whilst covering the race for iRF.

    Over the last 30 years I have spectated at dozens of ultras.

    I have never seen anyone, woman or man, run 100 miles with such apparent ease and with such obvious enjoyment.

    If I have to select one performance which I will forever be glad I witnessed first hand it was Rory's win at UTMB 2013.

    I'll be telling my grandkids I was there to see it….:-)

  8. TonguenCheek

    Surely it was my own FKT from my doorstep to the climbing gym, up the V3 and down (in my running shoes no less), out the door, two and a half laps of Queen Anne and back to my door. 2:34! Beat that.

  9. Speedgoatkarl

    FKT's don't count…Olsen and Rory….Next…

    Although hard to tell cuz' the race is in it's infancy, but Schlarb's Run Rabbit Run was impressive too. Doesn't compare to Olsen, no way, but just another fast run on the list.

    How many comments on this thread? Let's have a contest. Bryon?

  10. Tahoe Pete

    I kind of think that Seb's run at Hardrock should top that of Timmy's. Seb wasn't really ever pushed and still put up one incredible time. Think it was a record for that direction as well? I would replace that with Timmys run at westerns. Then again maybe Timmys run is more impressive because Krar was coming after him hard. These are hard to call.

  11. Capster

    No doubt Fejes deserves more love than he's getting here. And just wait til he rocks the six day in AK next year.

    Agree with your top two picks. And yes, you do need to overcome your WS bias, I have great admiration for both Pam and Tim's performances, but I think there were better runs this year, particularly on the Distaff side. Regular doses of Perpetual will help sort you out there…

  12. Scott M

    Anyone have a link of the Krar video mentioned? The videos posted in his irunfar report are listed as private and won't play for me.

    1. Jamie

      I have no problem with FKT's being included, but I do agree that Sharman has to be up there if Grand Slam counts as a performance (and the Author's Note indicates that it does).

      1. Meghan Hicks

        CDG and Jamie,

        Tropical John, the former UltraRunning Magazine publisher, commented below with some 'procedural notes', indicating that the Grand Slam is not treated as a singular performance. Rather, each of the four runs within the Grand Slam are treated separately for the purposes of UltraRunning Magazines's UPOY award.

        So, given that knowledge, what are your thoughts on Ian Sharman's individual four races? Do any of them, as individual performances, compare with AJW's picks or some of the others discussed here in the comments? Your thoughts?

        1. AJW

          Just for the record, as I noted, I did include Ian Sharman's GS in my thinking. And, when I did my forced ranking I had it 4th. Sage's Sonoma was 5th and DJs Solstice was 6th.

        2. CDG

          Hmm, what I admired most about Ian Sharman's (and Nick Clark's) Grand Slam effort is the high level of excellence of the course of the four races. The Leadville win is impressive, but even had he come in second, I'd still give the GS as a whole the CDGPOY.

          Taking that out, I'd probably go with Jon Olsen, Krar, Sage, Dakota, Tim Olson in that order. I like Tim's WS100 run, but Sage and Dakota's margins of victory were much more demonstrative.

          By the way, by "ridiculous" earlier, I meant incredible, FWIW.

  13. Rob Krar

    Video links fixed. An absolute honor to be included in this discussion with so many amazing and equally deserving individuals!

  14. Mic

    Sabrina for the Women's.

    Timothy for the Men's.

    **

    **

    **

    That was so difficult to decide; especially for the Women's.

    Think about Sabrina and how when interviewed she reveals humbly that she, on any given day, will run a 40 mile training run.

    That would take me some 9 or 10 hours – her about 4.5.

      1. Meghan Hicks

        Tahoe Pete,

        AJW and others here in the comments are ruminating on UltraRunning Magazine's UPOY award, which is given annually to a North American male and female who had the best performance anywhere in the world, in a particular calendar year. So, as examples, Seb Chaigneau's Hardrock performance would not be eligible for consideration because he's French, but Rory Bosio's performance at UTMB will be considered because she's American.

        That said, we asked readers in the 'Call for Comments' section to share your thoughts on which international runners' performances should be considered for UPOY if this was an international award. So, ruminate on Seb all you want. He had a heck of a run! :)

        1. CJ

          Well said Meghan…I would love to see an overall international award with a diverse panel of folks from several countries voting. I could see it coming soon

        2. Tahoe Pete

          Thanks for the explanation Meghan much appreciated. Every award needs standards and I am guessing there is probably an international award for this. All though in that case Sebs run would probably get over shadowed by young Xavier's run at utmb or of killian's fkt on Matterhorn

  15. Tropical John

    Nice list AJW!

    Couple of procedural comments. Generally speaking, FKTs are allowed in the UR voting. They are not races, but they are still "performances". But since they are not races, a lot of the voters feel the same way Speedgoat Karl does and don't vote for them.

    Ian Sharman's Grand Slam, OTOH, is actually four performances, not one. So, voters can vote for, say, his Vermont performance, but not the total Grand Slam time.

    Your list excludes anything short of 100 miles and there were some amazing performances at those distances. Matt Flaherty and Cassion Scallon's CRs at Tussey, just last weekend for instance. Or Sage Canaday's 6:14:55 at Lake Sonoma 50. (where he beat you by, ahem, 2+ hours)

    1. AJW

      Ouch! And, you're right, I do tend to vote for the long stuff.

      There is history on the FKT issue as Jennifer Pharr Davis was recognized as Performance of the Year for her AT record hike a couple years ago.

      No matter how you slice it, a hard list to winnow down to three on either side.

    2. Nick Clark

      John – pretty sure if there was an Ultra Field of the Year (UFoY), then Lake Sonoma would be it for 2013. Can't think of any other race on U.S. soil, especially in the boys' division, that came close. Does that put you in the running for R(ace)P(romoter)OTY?

      Sage's run there trumps all three mentioned above, IM – humble – O. Two (plus) hours over AJW, huh? That's quite a spanking!

      1. AJW

        Oh great, now Clarky's chiming in! Well, Timothy beat me by four and half hours at WS. So, does that make his run there better than Sage's?:)

        I am depressed to think of a POY standard based on how badly I get spanked. But, come to think of it, it is an objective measure.

        1. Meghan Hicks

          Tropical John, Nick Clark, and Bryon Powell,

          Thanks for your comments and for reading today's post. But could you all, um, criticize AJW constructively if you'd like to criticize him?*

          *This is a joke. I think. Maybe. I'm also pretty sure y'all should keep dishing. But please don't ever actually spank each other. Ever.

          1. AJW

            I think this kind of harsh flaming has no place on a forum like irunfar. I thought Bryon and Meghan were moderating the comments:)

    3. Steve

      I think it's good that you allow FKT's, and the only reason is that there's a lot of places, such as the Grand Canyon, where races will never happen because permits won't be issued. There are also routes, such as the entire AT, where a formal race would be impossible due to logistical reasons. These places and routes hold such wide appeal that it would be a shame to exclude them simply because races can't be held there. And the idea that there's no competition is nonsense. The previous FKT is your competition, and I would think that beating an FKT is mentally harder than having a person there to run against.

  16. art

    I don't understand what those against FKT's have against them,

    (as long as there is adequate verification).

    Could you please explain.

    I think its "Ultra Performance of the Year"

    not "Ultra Official Racing Performance of the Year"

  17. CJ

    Jon & Rory no doubt about it but I would have to add Dakota's San Juan Solstice to the mix, especially since he crushed a Matt Carpenter record. Does anyone know if a 50 mile race has ever garnered performance of the year?

    1. Jeremy

      Dakota's SJS is tops. I also have a substantial bias for hundos.

      Next is Sharman's Leadville. In mid-August I could still barely walk a straight line after the heat-beating that Western gave out. Sharman was out there running away with it- in a really great time. I don't think anyone else in the history of our sport (maybe G Roes in prime) could pull off that kind of feat. Can't get my mind around it. Amazing.

    1. Jeff

      It may stand longer, but I don't think that makes it more impressive. Rob had excellent conditions on the day he ran the R2R. It may be a while before another runner of Rob's caliber gets those conditions, whereas Olsen's record can be targeted (hypothetically) at any time and any location.

      I actually think Rob's UROC or Leona Divide wins are more impressive than the FKT.

      1. John M

        Jeff, great running conditions are not hard to come by in Northern Arizona. Basically late March to late May and post Monsoon season all the way through mid-November are days full of sunshine with very moderate high temps. Given an early start, a fast runner could be out of the Canyon well before mid-day temps get out of hand. That's a pretty big window for high-caliber runners to try and schedule into.

        Tony K had great conditions in April this year and fell short of the record. Rob actually went for it pretty late in the spring and had rather hot temps.

  18. Jeff

    Anyone who can run 50 miles with one foot in a Vivo and one foot in a Hoka has my hypothetical vote!

    Did you also go with one compression sock and one Drymax Maximum Protection?

  19. Tom W

    Few thoughts:

    1)It seems like Sage gets punished for not running 100's and Lake Sonoma being early in season. He beat the most competitive field assembled in an American ultra by 11 minutes and set the course record. POY for me.

    2) John Olsen's American record is very impressive but "soft". It is 30 minutes off the world record and I believe it will be bettered in the next 6 months. John set the record without being pushed and in less than ideal temperatures. Put John in a race with Ian and/or Mike Morton under the right conditions and one of them will cut 10-15 minutes off the record.

    3) Joe Fejes and Allen Abbs both deserve more recognition for their runs at Vol State.

    4) Heather Anderson's PCT record is amazing and should be top 3.

    5) I don't think we fully appreciate how fast Rob Krar was at UROC because Dakota ran great and it was a new race course.

    6) Pam Smith's performance at Western was great, but I think Michele Yates race at Run Rabbit Run was better.

    7) Meghan Hicks Marathon des Sables win was mighty impressive.

    8) Mike Morton running a 13:14 at Iron Horse 100 one week after winning Rocky Raccoon 100.

    9) Still 2+ months of running to go in 2013. Good chance we will see many other candidates join the competition.

    1. Brett

      Great list and comments. I forgot about that crazy crap where MikeM won two 100s in back to back weekends, with the second victory coming in the low 13h range. That is hilariously asinine.

      My only respectful disagreement would be in your caveat of a sub 12h and American Record in a 100 being 'soft', because it is 30 minutes off the world record. Remember the American Record in 24h (MikeM) lead to Ultra Runner of the Year before, even though that was 15 miles off the world record (probably 2 hours behind!) But when you compare records to folks like Kouros…well, you just can't.

      1. Tom W

        When I say "soft" I am referring to how well the record will hold up to further attempts. I believe John running scared in 20-30 degree cooler temps could lower his own record 10-15 minutes. I also think that Ian has the wheels to go lower as well.

        Going to take an incredible effort, but I think it will happen soon, just need right ingredients. Competition, great runner having very good day, ideal course and good weather. Will be fun to watch.

        1. Anonymous

          Gotta believe a guy like Krar could come out and crush 100 miles on the track. With his 3:44 1500m speed, roadie background, and obvious range at the WS100 and UROC trail races there's no reason to believe that 7:00/min pace on the track wouldn't be a jog in the park for him…

          1. Anonymous

            That's because a lot of these trail ultra runners with speed that are crushing it at Western States or Lake Sonoma or JKF or Tussey don't (and may never) do a 100-miler on the track. How many people even attempt a record like that?! It's like the treadmill marathon World Record..

            1. Bryon Powell

              Hey Anonymous,
              You may not focus on 100 milers on the track, but that doesn't mean there aren't some strong runners who aren't running fast there, so please try to be a bit more respectful.

              Also, back in the day, a much greater percentage of highly talented ultrarunners were going after things like the 100 mile track (or overall) record. Yes, the attention of the sport and many of its top runners have shifted after from absolute time or distance records. It's quite likely that this shift helped the record stick, but there was a lot more competition for that record when it was set.

    2. Alan

      Tom W- Thanks for the mention. Maybe not UPOY caliber, but U(DumpsterDiving)POY worthy. Whatever it takes to get to the finish.

      Alan

  20. markdorion

    My three pennies: Jon Olsen and Sabrina Little for POY.

    I have been doing my own personal ultra stats and rankings going back to the 1970s. I am wondering how many other respondents have been involved in ultras for that long? (I do not think I am biased– as some west coast trail specialists have accused me of being– as I have run many ultras on road, track and trail– have even managed to win a race in California, home of Western States, UR magazine, and so many famous trail events). I also direct many races– most on Rocky Mountain trails here in NM.

    1. scottrunsalot

      Hmmm, not sure how to respond to this without saying John & Sabrina can't place top 10 (scratch that, top 5 for sure but probably top 10) in Western, Sonoma or TNFChampionship. But, they are very great at there niche of running off trail.
      *I am being honest and respectful in my opinion.

  21. Alex from New Haven

    I'm so torn between Sabrina and Rory. They both put up performances in events that have been tested by very serious athletes. To be fair, there have been more high level women who have made fast runs at 24 hours and so I think we know what Sabrina's time "means" from a historical stand point. UTMB isn't that old and a high level woman hasn't completely nailed it on a year with perfect weather… in 15 years we might know what Rory's UTMB time means.

    I think given who votes for UR mag it will certainly go to Rory.

    I also think that road 100k and 24hr are in a Renaissance in the US and we may see both men's and women's 100m and 24hr times fall multiples times in the next decade…

    good problems to have!

    Alex

  22. Lstomsl

    I think that when somebody breaks one of Matt Carpenters CRs by 30 seconds a mile, that performance has to be in the conversation. Maybe it's overlooked because nobody was pushing Dakota at SJS but that shouldn't take away from the absolute destruction of a CR that has had some serious runners taking a stab at it over the years. I also think The UROC race needs to be in the conversation. Might be overlooked because of the lack of history on that course but there was a stout field, with a lot on the line for a lot of runners but Krar and Dakota were pushing each other hard at the end and that rarely happens. They were clearly a level above anybody else in the race.

    1. Speedgoatkarl

      The problem with UROC, and Run RAbbit Run, is that we really don't know yet how fast the time was. Yes, they were both very fast, but both these races in their infancy….we just don't know.

      1. Lstomsl

        Agreed, and UROC will always have that trouble. But in the end it's the competition that makes a race hard and UROC had, arguably, the most competitive field we've seen. I just think what Dakota and Rob have done this year hasn't got the credit it deserves. If Rob Krar hadn't decided to run ultras this year the storyline would be that Dakota broke his own CR at Moab Red Hot, then blew away Matt's CR at San Juan, and then dropped Killian and Sage at UROC. It seems that somehow Dakota's year hasn't got the credit it deserves because Krar has beat him and then somehow Krar's year hasn't got the credit it deserves because nobody is recognizing Dakotas year. But seeing those two dropping everyone else and battling head to head for the last 20 miles at UROC, even changing leads a few times, was something special.

        Ultra-running is a strange sport. We don't often see head to head battles like that. Is Kyle Skaggs HR record more or less impressive because it was 6 hours faster than second place? Is this years UROC more or less impressive because two guys at the top of their games were pushing each other so hard and ended up with less then 6 minutes separating 1st and 2nd?

  23. Geoff

    I agree with what some others have said. Krar's UROC should be very high or at the top of list. Sonoma had a stout field for sure but UROC had the top two finishers from Sonoma PLUS Killian, Dakota, and Krar. In my mind Krar's run there was the best trail ultra in N America this year and it just comes down to whether you lean toward what Olson did on the track or what Krar did in the mountains for overall 1&2, with WS and SJS neck and neck for 3rd and 4th.

  24. Paul in Ireland

    As a non-American, looking at this from across the pond, I think what Rory did at UTMB was incredible. She went to Europe and nailed it…..not many of the US guys have done that.

    The men are hard to separate. How do you chose between Clark, Sharman, Tim Olsen and Sage? Rob Krar and Dakota also deserve mention + Mike Morton for flying the flag for us older guys!

    1. AJW

      Dear Anonymous,

      I did not ignore Sage. I certainly considered several of his races in thinking about my top-3. In the end, however, I thought the performances of Jon, Rob, and Timothy were better. That's just one guys opinion. But, to suggest he was ignored is a bit extreme.

      And, you'll note I did mention his Lake Sonoma performance in one of my comments above.

      Just curious, Anonymous, who would you bump out of my top-3? And, which of Sage's several outstanding performances would you put in his place?

      1. Lstomsl

        I wasn't anonymous and all due respect to Olson's WS but I'd bump him from the top 3 in favor of several others including Sages run at Speedgoat. I don't know what the exact criteria for performance of the year are but It seems to me that exceeding expectations must be part of it. Or is it just raw speed?

        If its just raw speed then Timmy's WS was off the mark. If we include external factors such as the heat then to me, even Rob Krars 2nd at WS was more impressive then Olson's 1st. Krar had no experience at the distance or the course and signed up on a whim after qualifying through MUC from my understanding. And he dealt with the same heat and was gaining ground in the finale. I wouldn't really expect a second place finish to get performance of the year on the basis of subjective criteria. And for the same reason, in a year when so many stout CRs were broken I see no reason to put a non-CR run ahead of them.

        1. Adam

          I'm sure they don't judge this way, but I think that Krar is more impressive than just about anybody when one considers that this was his first season of racing ultras, let alone his amazing performance at his first 100 miler. And the guy's 35, a bit old to be starting on ultras (albeit with and very fast short distance career behind him). In addition to raw talent, he seems to have a great deal of intelligence and maturity, balancing a regular job with training and racing, and racing relatively infrequently, and only when he's ready to give the race everything he's got. Between Leona Divide (where his overall pace was barely over 7:00), his R2R2R, WS, and UROC, he should certainly get male UROY, even if (arguably) no one performance stands out. It's terrifying to think of what he might be able to do next season. Just watch Dakota Jones's second place interview after UROC…he can hardly believe what he just saw.

  25. Flandria

    I noticed in the women that Stevie Kremer was not in the list in the original article.

    I agree that definitely Rory had an amazing UTMB performance. I am not familiar with the other women's field and I just started following ultra racing but I thought Stevie Kremer's performance was worth mentioning this year. She really kicked some butt this and was a big break through in her career!

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Flandria,

      To my knowledge, Stevie Kremer hasn’t really raced ultramarathons (yet?). She’s run a couple events in Europe this year that were just a couple miles over the marathon distance, a 45k as part of the Kilian’s Classik events (she won by several minutes) and a very small 47k event in Italy (she was the only woman who finished the race).

      She’s a true specialist of marathon-and-shorter-distance mountain running (though I have no doubt she’d excel if and when she ever moves up in distances) and the award that AJW is pondering here is UltraRunning Magazine's Ultrarunning Performance of the Year, which is awarded to the North American male and female who, according to voters, had the greatest ultramarathon performance in a calendar year.

      In 2012 (I believe), Trail Runner Magazine started doing Trail Runner of the Year awards which considers/awards sub-ultra-distance and ultra-distance trail specialists. I have no doubt that Stevie will be in the running for this award because, like you said, she’s had an off-the-charts year.

  26. Tom W

    Anyone willing to drink water left behind by construction workers and dumpster dive to fuel their race deserves mention and my admiration :)

    Would certainly recommend Joe Fejes, John Fegyveresi and Alan's race recap and interviews from Vol State this year. Certainly makes me want to wander the back roads of Tennessee with fellow racers sometime soon.

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