In a surprise announcement this morning, UTMB organizer Catherine Poletti announced a new initiative in which the organization will pay athletes cash in exchange for the forfeiture of their UTMB points. In essence, this will allow runners to cash in on their results, trade them with the organization, and sign up for other races they’ll actually be chosen for. The specific details of the programme are still being worked out, but UTMB race director Catherine Poletti hailed the decision.
“We’ve realized over the past few years that we have too many runners who have too many points. So, this new scheme will help us to reduce both. Now, with this cash-for-points program, we can reduce the number of people entering our lotteries who will inevitably feel peril and despair upon not being chosen… again. All we wanted to do was have a race, but instead we created depressed runners with unused UTMB points. Since our bank accounts are already overfilled, we thought this might cheer everyone up.”
Topher Gaylord, Western States 100 Board Member and multiple-time UTMB finisher, also applauded the decision, saying, “Look, this is great. I’ve been patiently accumulating my points, and entering the UTMB lottery without success. Now I can take the cash and run. Who wouldn’t want that?”
In just the few hours since the announcement, the UTMB website has been inundated with requests for cash redemptions as athletes who’ve accumulated UTMB points over the years seek the opportunity reinvest their funds in other race entries.
Other long-time ultramarathon supporters were a bit more skeptical of the announcement. Gary Towle, aka G-Money, who has served as the Western States 100 treasurer for over 35 years, suggested that, “This decision by UTMB could backfire. While I certainly understand how challenging it can be for a race to deal with an excess of runners who never get into their dream race, there may be more thoughtful and sustainable ways to relieve themselves of that burden than paying runners.”
When pressed for examples, Towle referred us to long-time Western States Board Member Tim Twietmeyer, who said, “If we were in a similar situation of being the creators and destroyers of so many runners’ dreams per year—and I’m not saying we are—we sure as heck wouldn’t pay them off. That’s just the kind of race we are!”
In spite of these criticisms, UTMB remains steadfast. Catherine Poletti was adamant in her follow-up comments after the announcement, “Our focus has always been ‘for runners and by runners.’ And to be frank, we’ve never fully understood our points system either. If a runner wants money instead of the points they never get to use because they never get chosen in our lottery, c’est la vie!”
Former Hardrock 100 Board President and long-time skeptic of, well, many things, Blake Wood, was unavailable for comment, saying something about “important business underground at The Lab.”
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Foot Powder Brewing Company in Detroit, Michigan. Foot Powder has recently broken onto the scene with an impressive collection of creative brews designed to take brewing artistry in an entirely new direction. Their flagship beer, Tube Sock Sour, is a Ukrainian-inspired sour with a hint of sweetness. Made from completely organic ingredients, including raw water, Tube Sock Sour is crafted from a blend of hops, poison-oak leaves, and durian skins. The resulting beer is bursting with the sweet and savory flavors for which it’s named!
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Will you trade your UTMB points for cash?
- And with your cash back, what races will you instead enter?