Analyzing the 2022 UltraRunner of the Year and Trail Runner of the Year Awards

A look at who took the top spots in both the 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year awards.

By on February 3, 2023 | Comments

AJW's TaproomFor the past 42 years, “UltraRunning Magazine” has produced the (North American) UltraRunner of the Year rankings as part of their year-in-review issue. UROY, as it’s come to be commonly known, is determined by a panel of about 40 individuals with a broad range of knowledge and experience in the sport. Made up of race directors, runners, members of the media, and other experts — the UROY panel represents a cross-section of the sport.

Since “UltraRunning Magazine” is a North American publication, each year, the voters are asked to limit their selections to individuals from North America. North Americans living outside North America are included. The vote focuses on performances at ultramarathon distances in organized events, so shorter races, such as marathons and below, as well as fastest known time attempts, are not included. Any ultra distance can be included, whether it be on the track, the roads, or on the trails. The procedures for determining UROY can be found on the “UltraRunning Magazine” website in the frequently asked questions section.

For the past 16 years, I have been a member of the voting panel, and I have previously written on iRunFar about my method of voting.

2022 Hardrock 100 - Courtney Dauwalter - finish

Courtney Dauwalter winning and setting a course record at the 2022 Hardrock 100 — just one of the results that earned her the 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year awards. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

At the end of 2022, the relatively new North American-based trail running website Freetrail announced that it was creating a year-end ranking of its own, called Trail Runner of the Year, or what we’ll refer to as TROY in this article. For TROY, Freetrail created a database of 163 athletes from around the world and opened up voting to the general public. Voters were asked to select their top 10 men and top 10 women from the nominees. The criteria can be found on the Freetrail website.

In contrast to UROY, TROY — in addition to being open to a global group of 163 runners — was also open to runners at any distance, not only ultras, as long as the events were run on trails. For TROY, road and track results were not considered. In the end, over 1,000 ballots were cast from people in 62 countries.

2022 UTMB champion - Kilian Jornet v2

Kilian Jornet was the 2022 UTMB champion. He was named the 2022 Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

[Author’s Note: As a long-time UROY voter, I considered submitting a ballot for TROY. However, given my lack of knowledge of sub-ultra distances, and the lack of time to do the necessary research, I elected not to submit a ballot as I did not feel I could do justice to all of the results equally.]

 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year Results

Below we list the final tallies for both UROY and TROY.

*Denotes North American athletes whose names appear on both lists.

2022 UROY Women

  1. Courtney Dauwalter*
  2. Camille Herron
  3. Marianne Hogan* (Canada)
  4. Annie Hughes*
  5. Katie Schide* (USA, lives in France)
  6. Devon Yanko
  7. Abby Hall*
  8. Clare Gallagher
  9. Leah Yingling
  10. Riley Brady (non-binary athlete who races in the female division)

2022 TROY Women

  1. Courtney Dauwalter*
  2. Katie Schide*
  3. Allie McLaughlin
  4. Nienke Brinkman (The Netherlands, lives in Switzerland)
  5. Ruth Croft (New Zealand)
  6. Marianne Hogan* (Canada)
  7. Blandine L’Hirondel (France)
  8. Abby Hall*
  9. Annie Hughes*
  10. Camille Bruyas (France)
Camille Herron - 100 Mile Record - Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival - Nevada-2

Camille Herron running in the 2022 Jackpot Ultrarunning Festival. Herron took the second spot in the 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year awards. Photo: Kevin Youngblood

2022 UROY Men

  1. Adam Peterman*
  2. Jim Walmsley* (USA, lives in France)
  3. Dakota Jones*
  4. Arlen Glick
  5. David Sinclair
  6. Hayden Hawks
  7. Tyler Green
  8. Harvey Lewis
  9. Jeff Browning
  10. Rich Lockwood

2022 TROY Men

  1. Kilian Jornet (Spain, lives in Norway)
  2. Adam Peterman*
  3. Jim Walmsley* (USA, lives in France)
  4. Mathieu Blanchard (France)
  5. Dakota Jones*
  6. Remi Bonnet (Switzerland)
  7. Petter Engdahl (Sweden, lives in Norway)
  8. Jonathan Albon (U.K., lives in Norway)
  9. François D’Haene (France)
  10. Tom Evans (U.K.)
2022 Western States 100 - Adam Peterman - Robinson Flat

Adam Peterman on his way to winning the 2022 Western States 100. Peterman was named the 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and took second place, but first North American, in the Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year awards. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year Analysis

Note that for the purpose of this analysis, I will refer to the UROY voting panel as the “Panel” and the TROY voters as the “People.”

2022 UROY and TROY Men

Beginning with the men’s results, there are three North American men who were included in both the UROY results and the TROY results. And the three appeared in the same order in each. Adam Peterman was first in UROY and second in TROY. Jim Walmsley was second in UROY and third in TROY. Dakota Jones was third in UROY and fifth in TROY.

In short, it appears that the Panel and the People agreed on the top North American men for 2022.

Jim Walmsley - 2022 Grand Trail des Templiers winner

Jim Walmsley, the 2022 Grand Trail des Templiers winner. Walmsley made the top three men and was second American man in both the “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year and Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year awards. Photo: Cyrille Quintard

2022 UROY and TROY Women

On the women’s side, however, things got interesting. Out of the top 10 North American women in UROY, five of them also made the top 10 in TROY. A sixth North American, Allie McLaughlin, also made the top 10 TROY, but with the exception of her fine performance at the OCC, she competed exclusively in sub-ultra distances.

In contrast to the men, there were some distinct differences in the rankings. At the top of both lists was Courtney Dauwalter — there was no variation between the Panel and the People in her selection.

However, in second position in TROY, the People selected Katie Schide, while the Panel placed her fifth. I suspect Schide’s lower ranking with the Panel was a result of her competing in just two races longer than 45 kilometers in 2022 — and even though those performances at UTMB and Val D’Aran by UTMB 105k were outstanding, they didn’t represent a strong enough body of work to rank her higher. Additionally, in looking at both tallies, it appeared to me that the People gave greater weight to performances at the UTMB series of races than did the Panel.

Looking a bit further down the women’s list, there was disparity with Coloradan Annie Hughes, who placed fourth in UROY and ninth in TROY (fifth North American). Hughes, whose 2022 results included wins and course records at the Cocodona 250 Mile and High Lonesome 100 Mile, as well as wins at the Coldwater Rumble 100 Mile and Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile, had a slight blemish at the Javelina 100 Mile in October, where she finished seventh. Perhaps the fact that Hughes only raced in the United States explains her lower position with the People, or possibly the Panel places greater weight on wins and course records than the People.

Annie Hughes - 2022 Cocodona 250 Mile champion

Annie Hughes crossing the line as 2022 Cocodona 250 Mile champion. Hughes was ranked fourth woman in the 2022 “UltraRunning Magazine” (North American) UltraRunner of the Year awards and ninth woman (fifth American woman) in the Freetrail Trail Runner of the Year awards. Photo: Alex Potter

Finally, it was curious that Arizonan Abby Hall placed lower in UROY (eighth) than she did in TROY (seventh, fourth North American). Hall — who competed in Europe four times in 2022, including wins at Transvulcania and the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival 61k, and third at the CCC — may have benefited from the international leaning of the People, particularly their weighting of the UTMB races. Or perhaps Hall lost a bit of favor with the Panel as a result of not racing beyond 126k.


While these results once again prove to me that these end-of-year rankings are both an art and a science, it is clear that as the sport has evolved, the challenge of analyzing performances across the sport has become more complex and nuanced. Additionally, I will be eager to see how both the Panel and the People evolve over the next few years as the sport continues to professionalize and the impact of these rankings becomes increasingly significant.

Bottoms up!

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Call for Comments

  • Do you agree with the rankings for these awards?
  • Was there anyone omitted who you felt should be in the awards?
  • Do you feel that the awards process for either of these rankings, as well as the couple of other regional and national awards occurring around the world, could be improved to make them more objective?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.