Some Early Thoughts on North American Female Ultrarunner of the Year

AJWs TaproomFollowing up on my column two weeks ago on the male Ultrarunner of the Year, now it’s time for the ladies. From my perspective, I think women’s Ultrarunner of the Year* could go to as many as six different women. And, in contrast to the men, I think the final result could ultimately come down to late-season races.

Here, in no particular order, are my top six:

Rory Bosio

Her win, course record, and top-10 finish overall in UTMB is the runaway performance of the year, in my opinion. Adding to that her fifth place at Western States, fourth place at Lake Sonoma, and second place at Way Too Cool clearly makes Rory a solid contender.

The Big “But”: She lost head-to-head to other contenders in Western States, Lake Sonoma, and Way Too Cool.

Odds to win: 7-1

Amy Sproston

Amy’s early season win at Ray Miller and third at Lake Sonoma gave her a solid advantage going into the summer. Then, a tie with Meghan Arbogast at the Shibamata 100k road race in Japan and a third-place finish at Western States made her into a strong contender.

The Big “But”: She DNFed at UTMB.

Odds to win: 8-1

Michele Yates

Michele had an amazing under-the-radar start to her season with wins at Bandera, Nueces, and the Indiana Trail 100. Then, she turned more than a few heads with wins at Run Rabbit Run and a third place at the UROC two weeks apart.

The Big “But”: She has a race resume that lacks some of the competitive chops of the others.

Odds to Win: 7-1

Pam Smith

Her dominating win at Western States is probably the second-best performance of the year and her win at American River combined with her third place at Nueces solidifies Pam as a true contender. What could really tip her over the edge would be another dominating performance at Desert Solstice in Arizona in December.

The Big “But”: She has a rather thin resume compared to the other contenders.

Odds to win: 7-1

Nikki Kimball

Nikki came back with a vengeance in 2013 with three solid second-place finishes at highly competitive races. Her performances at Western States and Run Rabbit Run, in particular, make her a solid contender. (The third was at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile- New York.) If she jumps into any late season races and runs well, she could slide up the standings.

The Big “But”: Fewer races than the other contenders and some head-to-head “losses”.

Odds to win: 10-1

Meghan Arbogast

The Grand Old Dame of Ultrarunning was at it again with impressive races all season long. Her win at Way Too Cool, fifth place at Lake Sonoma, win at Ice Age 50k, tie with Amy Sproston at Shibamata 100k, and fourth place at Western States positioned her solidly in the pack after the first six months of the year. Then, her solid second place at White River only added to her impressive season. As with some of the others in this pool, if Meghan jumps into another race or two this year and does well, this could be the difference maker.

The Big “But”: She’s faced some head-to-head losses with other contenders at Lake Sonoma and Western States.

Odds to win: 7-1

Bottoms up!

* Editor’s Note: AJW is discussing Ultrarunner of the year Candidates who reside in North America. Obviously, other runners would warrant consideration if the geographic scope of consideration were larger.

AJW’s Beer of the Week

Boneyard Beer Girl Beer - BeermosaThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from Boneyard Beer in Bend, Oregon. Their Girl Beer is a perfect accompaniment to this week’s column!

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Which of these women do you think has the current edge for the North American Ultrarunner of the Year title? Who’ll get it in the end with late-season races?
  • If you were to add anyone else to this list, who would it be and why?
  • If we expand the scope of consideration to the rest of the world, Emelie Forsberg and Núria Picas would be strong contenders. Who else beyond North America would be in the running for global women’s ultrarunner of the year?

There are 39 comments

    1. Brett

      Yup, that is an amazing record. Would be hands down performance of the year if not for Rory Bosio. Rory's record could stand for 30 years.

  1. Steve

    Second Sabrina Little (she dropped the Moran surname a couple years ago).

    She's the first name I looked for, and I'm really disappointed that she was excluded here. She's seriously not even worth mentioning?

      1. David W

        "This award has historically distinguished one male and one female North American runner for their ultramarathon-distance performances over the course of a calendar year, whether the performances took place on roads, tracks, trails, at “home,” or abroad." – Meghan Hicks

    1. Meghan Hicks

      Guy C.,

      As you mention and from their race reports on their blogs as well as speaking with them in person, we also understand that Amy and Meghan intended to tie and crossed the line together. The race's timing system didn't allow for a tie and the race officials chose one of them as the winner and one of them as second place. Indeed, Meghan is marked as the Shibamata 100k winner but, as is sometimes the case, numbers don't tell the whole story. :)

    1. Meghan Hicks


      As we said during our discussion of the men's North American Ultrarunner of the Year award a couple weeks ago, AJW is ruminating over this year's top contenders for the award that UltraRunning Magazine has been handing out since 1981. This award has historically distinguished one male and one female North American runner for their ultramarathon-distance performances over the course of a calendar year, whether the performances took place on roads, tracks, trails, at "home," or abroad.

      1. jeff

        It just seems a little pointless. With such a variance in terrain , distance and competition how can you really have a fair comparison anyway ? If every elite North American runner was at one race that would be ideal . But only with separate road and trail categories of course .

  2. Anonymous

    I'll say the same thing I said for the Men:

    Instead of the award being assigned by a website or a magazine, why not just have the people vote — readers/subscribers submit whatever name they want, tally the entries and BAM! you have a reader/subscriber voted winner.

    Most folks have established an opinion based on their individual preferences of runner personality, event type, terrain, degree of inspiration, etc and therefore have an opinion. At this point I am unclear as to why it is left to an editorial staff of a website or magazine to determine…

    If an “award” is mandatory, than perhaps create relevant categories that represent the variety of competition that exists (Trail, Road, Track) and represent the participants (North American, International) that participate.

    This approach would better represent the wide variety of ultra events, and IMO is more thorough and fair.

    Specific (rather than general)awards would also expose the larger ultra community to the different categories of “ultra” — and the people pushing the envelope of human endurance.

    1. DC

      There's nothing wrong with the "people's choice" idea for recognizing ultra performances, but selection of Ultrarunner of the Year was not "left to" Ultrarunning magazine. They have been doing this since 1981, when not that many people cared about ultras, and there were no websites, no blogs, and very general media attention or sponsorship of ultras and ultrarunners.

    2. Jamie

      The problem with a reader voted award is that many people are underinformed. Tony Krupicka would probably win the men's award no matter what anyone did. Look back at IRF's race coverage comments and reader polls: during live coverage, commenters ask how he's doing in races he's not even participating in, and he's often predicted by readers to win those races. It's absurd.

      1. Anonymous

        History is relevant, and I was unaware that the award had been issued by URM since 1981. Despite that established history, it would seem the current arrangement still leaves people wanting.

        By limiting the voting to subscribers one would assume you'd be dealing with more informed voices/opinions rather than the underinformed masses chiming in.

        Perhaps another category could simply be added: People's Choice Award.

        Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Jesse


    I noticed in both your Ultrarunner previews you left out both Jon Olsen and Sabrina Little, whom both set records this year, albeit on road/track ultras. I know you are a trail guy and definitely probably look more favorable on trail performances, and nothing wrong with that! I was more wondering if you felt some of the other voters, might look more favorably on those performances as they are breaking long standing records off the trails? And if you think they will be in the running with the other voters? Maybe just not your own.

    1. Tim

      Not just American records, but also on the podium at the IAU world 24-hour championships. For Sabrina there's also her 3rd place on the trails at Bandera 100k.

      1. Steve

        It's inexcusable. Few American Ultrarunners win international competition, and those that do don't even receive lip-service by the voting representatives of the main American Ultrarunning rag.

        1. Brett

          AJW can defend himself, but I'm going to guess he just overlooked it. After all, I recall him saying he voted for Mike Morton for ultrarunner of the year 2 years ago on the back of his American Record in the 24 hour…and over Tim Olson's WS100 record run (AJWs favorite race).

    2. Meghan Hicks

      Jesse and all in this thread,

      I'm sure AJW will stop by sometime today and comment, but I know he's working in his school right now. AJW has today (and two weeks ago) shared his thoughts on frontrunners of the Ultrarunner of the Year award given out by UltraRunning Magazine which honors a man and woman who has an outstanding year of ultrarunning. You may know that the magazine also gives out Performance of the Year awards to a man and woman who are voted as having the best single ultramarathon result in a calendar year.

      While Jon Olsen and Sabrina Little had remarkable singular performances, I would guess neither made it onto AJW's lists because their entire year of ultrarunning didn't contain as many high-level results as the other listed athletes, rather than the fact that the races they participated didn't occur on trails. [Edited: Joe Fejes reminded me in a comment below that Jon Olsen also won the 24-Hour World Championships in calendar year 2013. I had forgotten. Apologies here for originally missing that important detail.]

      Tim mentioned below that Sabrina Little finished third at Bandera 100k as a result that might make her a contender, but he didn't mention that her finish was something like 52 minutes behind winner Michele Yates and that the women's field had a relatively small amount of competition compared to some of the other races that AJW lists third places and fifth places for, races that contained a high number of competitive women.

      In any case, we can await AJW's thoughts later, but some more facts to chew on between now and then.

      1. Steve

        All I'm saying is that their performances at least warrant consideration. It was pointed out two weeks ago when Olsen was excluded, and it's being pointed out today. Any time someone wins an international competition or sets an American Record, it should at least be mentioned, and Sabrina and Jon did both.

  4. Greg

    So Bandera, Run Rabbit Run, and UROC don't have the "competitive chops"? Or is that just another way of saying "didn't run Western States"?

  5. Matt

    Residing outside of North America there are the two mentioned by Meghan, Emelie and Nuria, but I think the big "three" includes Stevie Kramer also. She has had a fantastic summer, albeit at slightly shorter distances, which hurt her Ultra resume. I think she is even back living in the states now, or soon?

    How long does one have to live in North America out of a calendar year to be considered for the award?

    Some of these runners are traveling so much that the lines are being blurred.

    1. Meghan Hicks


      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).

      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, as you note, she's had an off-the-charts year.

  6. Fejes

    Sabrina's 152 miles is ultra performance of year hands down. Sabrina didn't run many events this year so maybe UROY isn't the appropriate category compared to others. Failing to mention Sabrina as UPOY though reflects one of the following: (1) a clear disdain for ultra performances other than trail races; (2) lack of appreciation for a 24 hour race or (3) mere oversight perhaps? AJW how do you plead?

    1. Meghan Hicks


      Since this article is about UROY and not UPOY, maybe we should all just beg AJW to do UPOY posts, too? We need more to ruminate on! ;)


      How about it?! UPOY article for men and women soon? Pretty please? We'll give you lots of hoppy beer.

  7. Fejes


    (1) Jon Olsen did not have a singular performance. He broke the AR in the 100 with a sub 12 and he won the WC 24 hour.

    (2) Sabrina did have a "singular" performance in breaking the 150 mile barrier in the 24 hour WC which is why I explicitly stated that her performance should be the UPOY and not the UROY.

    Do you disagree with either or the above and why?


    1. Meghan Hicks


      Ack, you're right! I had forgotten that Jon's world 24-hour win happened in the 2013 calendar year, even though we reported on it. (Admittedly, I didn't read all of the comments to AJW's post two weeks ago to have my memory refreshed because we were driving a moving truck between Park City and Moab.) I apologize to you and especially to him!

  8. AJW

    Hey everyone, thanks for the comments. It is great that so many of you are interested in this topic. As for Sabrina Moran's race I certainly would consider that in the top-3 in the Performance of the Year category and I imagine many voters will give it #1. Same with Jon Olson's 100 mile AR a couple weeks ago. The criteria for Ultrarunner of the Year asks the voters to consider a runner's entire body of work and not focus on just one or two performances. Thus, I chose these six runners as most likely to win ultrarunner of the year.

    By the way, these choices (both this week and two weeks ago) represent my attempt to predict who will win the Ultrarunning Magazine Award. They are not, necessarily, how I would vote because, as everyone knows, I always just pick the winner of Western States as the Ultrarunner of the Year:)

  9. AJW

    And, yes, next week's column I'll write about Performance of the Year contenders for both men and women. So, in advance, how about you all tell me what you think would be good criteria? For example, do FKTs count? Races in foreign countries? A series of races (such as the Grand Slam) considered one "performance"? Just trying to limit the vitriol y'all

    1. Luke Garten

      I would say that FKTs do count if they have a long history so the performance could be justified. Otherwise I would say Max King's record at Way Too Cool 50k should be a contender.

  10. Fejes

    Thanks for the clarication on Sabrina AJW. I presumed that was your thought process.
    I disagree that Jon didn't have multiple Performances that would qualify him as the top contender for UROY–in fact both of his performances could be deemed to be standalone UPOY candidates–in my opinion. Since this is about the ladies I will get off my soapbox…lol

  11. AJW

    Certainly, this is 'merica and we're all entitled to our opinion. I just didn't think Jon was likely to get the votes for top-4, you do. That's good. Maybe Boehner and Obama would take a meeting with us and we could clear up a lot more meaningful stuff.

  12. MTP

    No matter where you live in the North America you have a pretty equal chance to train for a 24 hour race or a 100 mile track record.

    Less than 1/3 the population has the same luxury to training for mountain ultras = Living within 2-3 hours of mountains that have altitute and climbs romotely similar to WS or UTMB.

    If fact the percent of North American's that are on an even training ground might be much lower, maybe 10% of the population? Yet, races where 90% of the population has a training handicap are used as a measuring stick.

    I think AJW is correct that Sabrina and John will only get an honorable mention as best. John has a shot at World ultra-runner of the year, but no real shot at North American Ultra Runner of the Year.

  13. Charlie M.

    What I love is that one week after a TapRoom post in which AJW's asked the readers to give him some ideas for future posts, he reverts to the one style of post (year after year) for which he receives the most public flak. He's either one stubborn dude, or has a bad memory, or just doesn't care about the heat in the kitchen–because it increases readership! :)

    1. AJW

      Charlie, Nice!
      1. I certainly am one stubborn dude. Although I see that as an asset most of the time.
      2. I have a good memory, just not for the right things (according to my wife) Ask me to remember the 3 things I supposed to get from the grocery store and I am like a 7th grade boy with ADHD. But, ask me my splits from my 7 top-10s at WS and I'm like a TED talking ultrarunning version of Rain Man.
      3. I actually appreciate taking flak. Makes me stronger. And, I let Bryon worry about readership:)

  14. Steve

    In my opinion anything counts. There is a perceived emphasis on a few key races such as Western States and North Face 50, to the neglect of everything else. I would remind The Panel that often the best performances don't always happen at the most prestigious races.

    1. Davide

      Anything counts, but it's out of question that some races have a deeper field. A win at WS, UTMB or TNF 50, in the last 3/4 years, it means that you had a great day to outperform a dozen + other fast guys.

  15. MTP

    I was agreeing with AJW assessment ~ The US is a Mountain, high altitute, 100M trail race centric nation. With secondary respect going to shorter races in the Mountains.

    I just find it curious how we ended up there when so little of the population has an equal chance to train. Running / hiking long climbs, at altitute on technical trail is such a specialized subset of ultra-running.

    2012 was an epic year for records at Superior 100M race – Founded in 1991, 21000 feet of gain and loss over technical trail. Both the Men's and Women's records fell. But likely none of the readers here would know what the records are or who set the records. Why? Because Americans are in love with high altitute mountain races.

    Not a complaint, just an observation.

    My question remains how and why did we move from the 1880-1900's from a 24 hour and race accross america mentality to our current state of being?

    From a business, marketing and sponsorship perspective (Follow the $$$), I am facinated how a very small subset of the total population carved out such a large portion of the prestigue and money. (If you can call barely enough money to eek out an existence carving out $$).

    I think a big part of the euqation is that all the people that do not live near mountians, still feel there is a special mystique about the Mountains. Since we do not live, train or experience the mountian trails, there is a real epicness to races in the Mountains for us.

    Someone living near Squaw Valley or Leadville will find Superior 100M much more difficult than Leadville 100 or WS100. But not in an Epic way, but in a "death by 1000 misquito bites" kind of way.

    Thank you for a Friday's distraction – Good read and comments.

      1. MTP

        1000 mosquitoes = 1000 shorter steep ups and downs over technical trail versus 2-3 mile climbs and decents. Each climb and decent is meaningless and often times not respected.

        1. dogrunner

          And the technical aspect of Superior Trail should not be ignored – especially in the dark! Technical downhills with lots of big rocks! And all those roots to trip you into those rocks. Did the 50 mile and probably broke some ribs from falling so many times! It amazed me that anyone could make good time on that trail!

    1. caper

      Interesting comment…I was in Oregon in April and took the opportunity to run some trails. I live in eastern Ontario BTW. I remember thinking lots of hills here, but nary a rock, root, or tree to trip on. I could get away with simply running, not watching out for something to put me flat on my face. My trails in Gatineau park made the Oregon trails look like paved pathways. Now the hills and elevation were beyond what I have available to train on, but boy they were easily runnable. I've hiked near Superior, that's tough footing…

  16. Russ Trice

    How about that Meghan Hicks? Winner of the Marathon des Sables (first US female since 1999). This was at least her 2nd ultra win of the year. Come on folks, let's have a little "home website" support! :)

  17. MTP

    Talk about comfort zone ~ What are your thoughts on the US 24 Hour Championship Race?

    Big 3 on Ladies side

    * Connie Gardner

    * Sabrina Little

    * Suzanna Bon

    If all three are healthy and weather cooperates, this could be an epic battle.

    Men's side

    * Mike Morton has to be favorite

    * Phil McCarthy has to be mentioned, everyone odds of winning depend on Mike struggling

    Then there are a bunch of interesting thoughts –

    * Brian Teason

    * Dan Rose

    * John Cash

    1. Tim

      +1. It would be great to see a FKT get a POY, and 45 miles a day for 60 days is more impressive (to me anyway) than running any race quickly.

  18. Paulette Stevenson

    Angela Shartel

    1st place lady, 4th overall at AC 100, new course record by 40ish minutes

    1st place lady, at PCT 50, new CR by 40ish minutes.

    She doesn't race a lot, but when she does, it's awesome!!

  19. james varner

    Despite not having ever ran a race further than 60k, if Jodee Adams-Moore had run 1 minute faster at Speedgoat 50k I think she would have to be in the conversation. As it stands her 2nd place finish to Stephanie Howe(another NW ultrarunner who could also add her name to the short list if she adds another big win this fall) was still 6 minutes faster than Anna Frost's CR.

    After placing 2nd to 2011 and 2012 UROY Ellie Greenwood at Chuckanut 50k last year Jodee came back this year and won beating Ellie's CR by 6 minutes and placing 10th overall in the Northwest's most competitive ultra. She easily beat a bunch of elite women including, Devon Yanko, Alica Shay, Cassie Scallon, Kerrie Bruxvort, Tina Lewis, Denise Bourassa amd Mel Bos(devon was closest 21 minutes back). Her time of 4:01 would have given her a 1st or 2nd place OVERALL every year as recently as just 4-5 years ago.

    Jodee's two other ultras this year were also wins and course records. In addition to all the other women mentioned above she also beat at races this year: Jenn Shelton, Krissy Moehl, Ruby Muir, Bethany Lewis, Anita Oritz, Francesca Canpea, Angela Shartel,and Nikki Kimball(who she beat by almost an hour at the Angels Staircase 60k).

    I know all about the 100 mile bias in judging this award but considering her domination of the ultras she did run and level of competition at each one she's in my opinion one more big race away from right up there with the other women AJW mentioned. Chuckanut and Speedgoat are most likely the two most competitive 50ks in the country. Orcas Island 50k is pretty competitive too and her course record there is super solid thanks to having Moehl, Greenwood, Yanko, Pam Smith, and Jen Segger as past finishers. Maybe she'll run her first 50 miler at North Face in December?

    Oh and Heather Anderson's setting of the Overall Unsupported FKT on the PCT has gotta be up in the top 3 POY.

  20. Buzz

    Good job AJW getting the conversation going, and Meghan for helping keep it on track!

    And good job readers for pushing Jon and Sabrina forward – while the US is very "trail 100 mile" centric, an ultra is an ultra.

    Michele Yates (Suszek) beat many of the contenders one-one and lost to none of them, so glad to see her emerging from under the radar.

  21. Jesse

    Thanks for responding! I was unaware that is a compilation of work throughout the year. I just thought those performances stood out so much, and are more easily measured, by contrast to the difficulty of comparing different trails, conditions, and competition. I guess that is why all the women's odds are so close!

  22. Ian Sharman

    Steph Howe has to be the favorite. How has nobody mentioned her apart from James Varner? Despite being injured almost the whole year she ran a CR at the most competitive 50k in the country this year at Speedgoat and 2nd at UROC. In a smaller, but still competitive race she ran a CR at Gorge Waterfalls 50k and that time was extremely impressive, just minutes behind some fast men.

    If she wins TNF50 in December (a race she was 2nd at last year)…or even gets 2nd behind Emilie Forseberg again then I think that's clearly the stand-out of the North American women this year. Even without that the 3 performances I mentioned put her on a par with any of the women listed above this year.

    1. james varner

      her absence from AJW's list i would assume is due to the lack of a 100 miler and a lack of races in general. if she had run, and it's a good safe bet she would've been top 3-5 if not #1, lake sonoma then i'd agree with you ian. but she was hurt and made the smart choice to heal up. 3 races just doesn't seem like enough especially considering what others have done this year but yeah with another top placing at NF50 she could get her name in the running for UROY.

      her CR at gorge waterfalls 50k beat her previous CR there by almost 18 minutes and she won by 15 minutes over a handful of good women.

      it'll be exciting to see what happens in 2014 when hopefully she can race the whole year.

  23. Scott RJ

    I am curious if people think evaluating the women against the men is helpful, hurtful or not important in deciding UROY, or Performance of the Year. In my observations, it appears women get way more attention and write-ups if they do well overall. There appeared to be more attention drawn to Rory's overall place than her course record, time, splits, or any other aspect of her remarkable UTMB performance. It is helpful in that sense because it provides another way of calibrating one's performance.

    However, I think it is not helpful when there is a strong men's field, for example, Lake Sonoma this year. Cassie and Joelle fought a heroic race, but it was secondary news to the men's race (in fact no one seemed to know or care who was leading the women's race at any of the aid stations). I wonder if the men's field had been mostly mediocre runners and Cassie and Joelle had gotten fourth and fifth OVERALL, (but ran the same times), if those performances would have gotten more attention. I also have to wonder, if someone like Joelle, who has five wins and three seconds this year, would have been in contention for UROY, if something like the hypothetical situation above had happened.

    I can't think of another sport involving running that places so much emphasis on how women do overall. You would never say "Deena Kastor just got 36th overall in that marathon." I'm not sure if it's actually relevant and/or helpful in evaluating the women's races and performances. I know this has historically been used because few women raced. Well, that's changing. The women's fields are really exciting in their own right.

    1. james varner

      I thought about mentioning Joelle as well but other than lake sonoma she didn't run any other races with a bunch of top ladies. i think when the voting happens she'll get some votes but and probably will make the top 10(or close) but when so many of the other top women went up against the other top women at multiple major races it's hard to see her getting the kinda of votes needed to be at the very top. although she sure seems to have the abilty if she were to do a few more big races.

  24. sllygrl

    With a completely different angle on things (and probably one that wouldn't count) my vote is for Pam Smith. Her Western States win was amazing (along with the accompanying article on how she did it) but my reasons are for what occurred last year at WS. Watching the elite field I've seen so many times, drops because they aren't going to win or even place well, but the mere fact that she stuck in that race and finished regardless of a slower time is admirable to someone like me who runs ultra's to finish. She could have dropped and no one would have blamed her for doing so, but she didn't, and to a normal runner that speaks volumes and she deserves recognition for coming back and winning that race, much to the surprise of many (although I don't believe herself). I'm sure there are other elites who have done this, but this one sticks in my memory and if I could vote, I'd vote for her.

      1. caper

        Fully agreed…that and she outright won against a tough field the so called premiere event of the year. Rory didn't win, Pam did…and its meant as no disrespect to Rory. Pam had "it" at the race everyone else wanted "it".

        If she doesn't win its only because Rory is more popular.

  25. Sandi

    I think Cassie Scallon should at least be thrown in here:

    CR at Lake Sonoma,Ice Age, and now Tussey.

    She also had some good 50k races against some stellar competition.

  26. Wyatt

    Nice analysis AJW! It had to be hard to narrow down the list of females to the list of 6 with so many great performances among the US women ultra runners so far this year. I always find it odd how the US ladies seem to take a back seat to the men (in the media and with fans) when they seem to outperform the US men on an international level whether it be Mountain running, Skyrunning and/or ultra running. Yes, there are many amazing US men runners and I am a huge fan of them, but it just seems in recent years the women have been placing higher and beating a lot of the top international runners more often then the men. Anyway, love to see the ladies get some attention.

    1. Scott RJ

      The media treats the men's and women's races "equally" in the sense that they report both. But 99.9% of the time, it follows the format, men first, women second. Almost always- race previews, articles, predictions (e.g. this did come out 2 weeks after the men's). I've always wondered a) WHY that is the case and b) how/if it affects attention drawn to the women's race. I suppose it is always reported that way for consistency, and logical chronology.

      I do think it skews attention slightly to what is reported first, but I have nothing to back that up, except my suspicions. I do wonder if media started mixing up the order of reporting or previewing races, how that may affect readership interest.

  27. Wyatt

    In my very biased opinion (so take it for what its worth), I would have to agree with the couple other posts on here that it seems Michele's results for most of the year seemed to have gone under the radar and not given much weight as far as most people in the ultra community and press look at it since she did not run Western States. I understand that every trail ultra is completely different and people can have bad days, but she has consistently had great performances with the lone exception being a race in which she ran injured. And yes, many of those races included women that everyone on here are talking about.

    Bandera 100K – 1st place woman, 9th overall, 9 min. ahead of 2nd place, 51 min. ahead of Sabrina, 2 hours and 15 min. ahead of Arbogast (this was all done when she only had 3 workouts in the 4 weeks leading up to the race with none of those workouts being a run due to illness and injury)

    Nueces 50 Miler – 1st place woman, 4th overall, course record, 39 min. ahead of 2nd place, 46 min. ahead of Pam Smith

    Indiana 100 Miler – 1st place overall, 44 min. ahead of 1st male, 4 hours 44 min. ahead of 2nd female, course record (it was the first year of the race)

    IAU World Champs – ran injured and hobbled the last 25+ miles to finish the race so the US team could get their first official team score in the championships

    Run Rabbit Run 100 Miler – 1st place woman, 7th overall, 43 min. ahead of Kimball, 2 hours 22 min. ahead of Pam Smith, beat Hawker's previous course record by 1 hour and 51 min. (course was shortened some from the year Hawker set the previous record)

    UROC 100K – 3rd place female, 2 weeks after RRR 100

  28. AJW

    Hey everyone, doing a POY post on Friday for both the boys and girls. Based on feedback I will once again stick to the North American rule and allow races outside NA to be counted. And, I'll include the following:

    1. Trail races

    2. Road races

    3. Track races

    4. FKT attempts (when verified)

    5. Multi-day efforts

    What I am still unsure about is how to count "series" results. Specifically, the Grand Slam. Therefore, I am interested in your opinion, should the GS be considered one "performance"? Or not.


    1. Steve

      That's a tough call, and I don't know the answer. But individual race performances in the context of a series should definitely be considered. For example, in a non Grand-Slam year I wouldn't consider Sharman's win at Leadville a POTY contender – but this year, definitely. That was stunning.

  29. Nefka

    Not sure I will ever associate ultra running with track running. I respect these people's stubbornness for making that many loops and not dying of boredom, but in my mind this event will never get the same position as winning UTBM and placing 7th overall in the most stacked male and female field world wide.

  30. Mark

    We can understand it's a tie but then if one's chooses to tie, don't come complain that you come 2nd on the final results.

    Isn't it what racing is about ?

    Or if you want to tie, go on a training run with your friend….

  31. Aaron Sorensen

    I think Lake Sonoma mens field had the most talent out of any run this year, (U.S. any way).

    Yes, it made it one sided. It's hard with the ladies when the top 10 in some big races are covered in a blanket and top 10 in women's is hour(s).

    That's why when the ladies put a hurt on the field, (and most of the men), we can't help but notice it.

  32. markdorion

    Traditionally, both in the USA and abroad, a SERIES (be it the US Trail Running Grand Slams, the Grand Slams of PGA Golf and Pro Tennis, etc.) is just that– a SERIES. If one starts counting Serieses as ONE PERFORMANCE, then where do you stop? If I won four different trail 50 milers in the southwest all in one calendar year, can that count as a Grand Slam of Southwest 50 mile trail race Series single performance??

    Also, regarding citizenship and eligibility as NORTH AMERICAN performer of the year/ performance of the year: Throughout the history of UR magazine and other rankings organizations, a runner was supposed to at least have resident alien status ("Green Card") in the US or Canada to be considered. Again, otherwise where does one stop? Would Killian Jornet coming over to the USA and winning ONE big race count as USA performance of the year? Of course not. It is not so hard in today's Internet world to track down what runners are or are not legal US residents.

    I would also add that a great 50Km certainly gets consideration from most voters– the problem with Josh Cox's "A.R." 50Km a few years ago was that it was set in a personal race he set up, and that was only open to those he invited. I inquired about the 50Km (which involved running the Phoenix Marathon and then 4.9 more miles around the ASU track and parking lots), and no one ever even responded to me. I am guessing that as a former Phoenix Marathon winner and 3:09:25 50Km runner, I was judged not fast enough to be in the "event"??

    If, say, Mike Wardian or any other runner beat a deep field at the US 50Km Championships in NY in a fast time, that would certainly get considered (and it has plenty of times in the past).

  33. scottrunsalot

    Michele Yates by a 50k margin.

    1 7:21:51 Dec 7, 2013 CA North Face Endurance Challenge – San Francisco – 50M
    1 4:19:50 Nov 9, 2013 NV Bootlegger – 50KM (USATF Championship)
    3 12:46:24 Sep 28, 2013 CO UROC – 100KM
    1 20:16:54 Sep 13, 2013 CO Run Rabbit Run – 100 Mile – Hare
    5 4:56:09 Aug 16, 2013 CO Pikes Peak – 26M
    1 17:35:17 Apr 20, 2013 IN Indiana Trail 100 – 100M
    1 6:53:25 Mar 2, 2013 TX Nueces 50 – 50M (USATF Championship)
    1 30 10:08:48 Jan 12, 2013 TX Bandera – 100KM (USATF Championship)

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