2021 USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Runners of the Year Announced

On November 29, USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Council named the four runners receiving USATF MUT Runners of the Year honors for 2021.

By on December 1, 2021 | Leave a reply

On November 29, USA Track & Field’s (USATF) Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council named four athletes receiving its Runners of the Year honors for 2021. The council received nominations for 37 candidates spanning 20 states.

Due to many event cancellations, especially at the world championships level, the 2021 Runner of the Year selection process was abbreviated, and the council gave recognition to top honorees in just four categories — Open Male, Open Female, Masters Male, and Masters Female. The council has recognized as many as 21 honorees in separate Mountain, Sub-Ultra, Ultra, and Contributor of the Year categories in previous years.

USATF MUT Council chairperson Nancy Hobbs said, “There were many outstanding mountain, ultra, and trail performances this year to recognize in the USATF MUT Runners of the Year. Congratulations to all the nominees and to the winners in all four categories.”

Open Male: Joseph Gray

Joseph Gray, who lives and trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has won 11 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year awards, almost every year since 2008. In 2021, he won both the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships and U.S. Mountain Running Championships.

Among his other accomplishments this year, Gray claimed victory at the 2021 Broken Arrow Skyrace 26k, which held the distinction of being the only World Mountain Running Association World Cup race held in the U.S. in 2021.

Joe Gray - 2019 US Mountain Running Championships

Joe Gray on his way to winning the 2019 U.S. Mountain Running Championships in New Hampshire. Photo: USATF/Mike Scott

Open Female: Grayson Murphy

Hailing from Bozeman, Montana, Grayson Murphy was also named the 2019 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year after doubling to win both the World Mountain Running Championships and U.S. Mountain Running Championships that year.

This year, she won the U.S. Mountain Running Championships in Oregon and traveled internationally to compete in several World Mountain Running Association World Cup races, where she won and set a course record at Spain’s 2021 Canfranc-Canfranc and won Italy’s 2021 Trofeo Nasego 21k.

Grayson Murphy - 2019 US Mountain Running Championships

Grayson Murphy on her way to winning the 2019 U.S. Mountain Running Championships in New Hampshire. Photo: USATF/Mike Scott

Masters Male: Max King

Since making his debut on the mountain and trail running scene in 2008, Max King of Bend, Oregon, has been a consistent front runner. After stepping into the masters category in 2020, King finished second at the 2021 U.S. Mountain Running Championships.

He was second overall and the first master at the 2021 USATF Trail Marathon Championships in Utah. King also was the runner-up at the 2021 Canyons Endurance Runs 100k, which earned him a golden ticket to the 2021 Western States 100.

Max King - 2018 Broken Arrow Skyrace 26k champion

Max King, 2018 Broken Arrow Skyrace 26k champion. Photo: Broken Arrow Skyrace

Masters Female: Kasie Enman

Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont, made the transition from road marathons to mountain running and trail running in 2009, when she earned a spot on her first U.S. Mountain Running Team. In 2011, she became the first U.S. woman to win the prestigious World Mountain Running Championships.

In 2021, Kasie was the first master and fourth woman at the USATF 50k Trail Championships.

Kasie Enman winning the 2018 Ragged 50k, which served at the 2018 USATF 50k Trail Championships. Photo: USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council

Visit the American Trail Running Association website to learn more about all the 2021 nominees and award recipients.

Kristen Arendt
is a freelance writer and editor specializing in the outdoors. Based in Niwot, Colorado, she ran competitively for over a decade on the track and roads before finding her love for trails.