UROY and Other Year-End Award Favorites

AJWs TaproomWhen Bryon and I first dreamt up this column we thought it would be fun to provide a forum for ultramarathon running that was the equivalent of those three-hour pre-game shows we see on TV during football season. We thought it would be fun to give something to the folks out there who really like to geek out on ultrarunning and love to over analyze even the most miniscule details about running, others, and life. Kind of a Bob Costas, George Sheehan, Mike Wallace forum all rolled into one trail running bundle.

Thus, AJW’s Taproom was born!

I also would like to think that the columns here in the Taproom contain a reasonable amount of somewhat intelligent discourse to entertain even the casual reader and I hope that the topics we cover are at least as stimulating as a trip to the local pub.

Therefore, in that context, I endeavor to dream that the readers of this column might take hold of the topics contained herein and bring them along to their local brewpub (or out to the trails) with a few friends for further rumination and dissection. In the best of times, these ideas might inspire. In the worst of times, well, at least they are ideas. And, in the middle? Well, we’re all in the middle, so there.

With all of this as a backdrop I thought it would be a good time to look at the Year in Ultrarunning and simply, without judgement or analysis, throw out some nominees and see where the chips might fall. [Of course, I am making up the categories as I go along and none of this is the opinion of the staff at iRunFar. :-)]

Female Ultrarunner of the Year

  • Meghan Arbogast
  • Ellie Greenwood
  • Kami Semick
  • Joelle Vaught

Male Ultrarunner of the Year

  • Nick Clark
  • Dave Mackey
  • Mike Wardian
  • Mike Wolfe

Female Race of the Year

  • Meghan Arbogast – IAU 100K World Championships
  • Diana Finkel – Hardrock 100
  • Ellie Greenwood – Western States 100

Male Race of the Year

  • Dave Mackey – Miwok 100k
  • David Riddle – JFK 50 Mile
  • Geoff Roes – Chuckanut 50k
  • Ian Sharman – Rocky Raccoon 100
  • Michael Wardian – IAU 100k

Female Surprise of the Year

  • Rory Bosio
  • Regan Petrie

Male Surprise of the Year

  • Hal Koerner
  • Anton Krupicka

Female Rookie of the Year

  • Sandi Nypaver

Male Rookie of the Year

  • Tim Olson
Masters Runners of the Year
  • Meghan Arbogast
  • Dave Mackey
Comeback Runners of the Year
  • Nikki Kimball
  • Mike Morton
“Coaches Award” (Best Attitude)
  • Hal Koerner
  • Krissy Moehl
Most Improved Award
  • Dakota Jones
  • Joelle Vaught

Fathers of the Year (Added 12/12)

  • Nick Clark
  • Dave Mackey
  • Michael Wardian

Mothers of the Year (Added 12/12)

  • Darcy Africa
  • Meghan Arbogast
  • Betsy Nye

Until next week, bottoms up!


AJW Taproom’s Beer of the Week
Silverton Ice Pick AleAJW’s beer of the week comes from Silverton Brewery. Their Ice Pick Ale is simply extraordinary. Simple, harsh, complex, and unpredictable it is, indeed, like the mountains that surround the brewery. Not available outside of the immediate area, this is a beer that is worth the trip.

Call for Comments (from Bryon)
I trust all of you can figure out what to talk about regarding this taproom! Share your thoughts in one or more of the categories.

There are 91 comments

  1. Dan Brannen

    Joe, thanks for the clarification. That's more than enough to convince me that Sharman ran a legit 100 miles. In evaluating the top men's performances, here's an interesting exercise. JFK has enough of a history that we can statistically cull out a fair conversion factor to a flat road 50 mile. It has generally been thought to be about 25 minutes at 6 hours–although at Riddle's record pace it's probably more like 20 minutes. But, give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it is worth 5:15 for a flat road 50 miler. That's a performance factor of 84% of the world record. Phil McCarthy's new 48 Hour American Record of 257+ miles is at 87% of the world record. Wardian's World 100k run is at 92% of the world record. Sharman's Rocky Raccoon 100 is at 90% of the world record–but that gives him no extra credit for any slowing factor caused by the non-road terrain. I don't know the RR course and I'm sure even one who knows it well could only guesstimate a slowing factor. But it sure seems, at the very least, that of those performances mentioned, the intrinsic qualities of Sharman's and Wardian's are the best, and are almost impossible to separate. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to put the Miwok and Chuckanut courses into a similar perspective.

  2. james varner

    i've been following this thread and love the debate and i love that it allows me to get caught up on all the amazing performances that have happened this year while i was busy doing other things. one thought keeps coming to mind, especially in the most recent posts, are we trying to compare "apples to oranges" with such an inclusive award, ultrarunner of the year? would it not be better to have two main categories, trail and road?

    trail ultras would be a race that is at least half or maybe even 2/3 trail. perhaps it should be further defined but for now i think the definition would suffice for our conversation. road ultras would those that were at least mostly on pavement, dirt roads and tracks. The difference between the two categories is pretty obvious and most races i think would easily fit one category or another. there are of course races like AR 50m, UROC 100k, JFK 50m, etc. that are a pretty even mix of both categories and therefore judges could take those races into consideration for either category. i think most runners would by default self select which category they'd be considered for since most likely the majority of their races would fall clearly into one category or another. although there's no reason a runner couldn't be considered for both categories but my guess is since the two types of races are so different and the training necessary performing at an elite level for the two types would probably mean a very few runners would rank very high in both categories in the same year.

    AJW and others what are your thoughts on this split? is the sport of ultrarunning finally big enough to support two kings and queens?

  3. William

    First of all, let me say that I love the idea for this column! Keep it up AJW!

    My comment is pretty simple, why wouldn't Kilian Jornet be the Ultrarunner of the Year (almost hands down, in my opinion)?

    He won Western States and UTMB – arguably the two most prestigious competitions in North America and Europe, against an A-list crowd at each. He seems unbeatable.

    (If this was addressed elsewhere, forgive me. I just skimmed through the responses).

  4. Andy Mason

    I think David Riddle deserves some consideration for not only Performance of the Year (at JFK), but also Ultrarunner of the Year.

    He won seven of his nine ultras in 2011, setting course records in all seven victories, including JFK.

    One of his two "losses" was a second-place, sub-7 at the Mad City 100K.

    You can read about his year here:

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