USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council Announces Runners of the Year

Indianapolis, IN —- The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2010 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Championship Series winners, and Contributor of the Year. The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF National Convention in Virginia Beach, VA, on Saturday, December 4, at an awards breakfast.

Mountain men open: Joseph Gray, 26, Lakewood, WA, wins his third consecutive USATF Mountain Runner of the Year title. Gray was the top U.S. finisher (10th overall) at this year’s World Mountain Running Championships to lead the men to their best-ever finish with a team silver medal. He earned his spot on the 2010 U.S. Mountain Running Team (his third U.S. mountain team) by placing third at the USA Mountain Running Championships held at the Mount Washington Road Race in June. Gray also won the NACAC Mountain Running Championships hosted by Canada in July and placed second at the 2009 XTERRA World Championships (December).

Mountain men master: Tim Van Orden, 42, Bennington, VT, had a stellar year in 2010 including masters top honors at the USA 10km Trail Championships, the USA 15km Trail Championships, and the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb where he also set the masters’ record. He finished fifth in his age group at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships. In the USATF New England Mountain running series, he finished ninth overall at the Ascutney Mountain Challenge, tenth overall at the Wachusett Mtn. Race, and sixth overall at the Northfield Mountain/NE Trail Running Championships. In addition, Van Orden was the top masters snowshoe racer in New England, taking overall places of three firsts, six seconds, two thirds and three fourths (masters’ champion in all but one).

Mountain women open: Kristin Price, 28, Raleigh, NC, is a first-time recipient in this category. Price won the USA Mountain Running Championships to earn a spot on her first U.S. Mountain Running Team, and was the top finisher (12th overall) for the U.S. women at the World Mountain Running Championships leading the team to its fourth-place finish. Team USA was the first team to finish all four women at the World Championships.

Mountain women master: Nicole Hunt, 40, Deer Lodge, MT, had an outstanding year as a masters’ competitor. Hunt is no stranger to mountain running awards having been named the 2006 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. In 2010, Hunt finished fourth overall – third American – winning the masters’ title in a masters’ course record performance. She was the third U.S. woman finisher (17th overall) at the World Mountain Running Championships. She finished fourth, first master, at the USA 15km Trail Championships.

Ultra men open: Michael Wardian, 36, Arlington, VA, wins his third consecutive Ted Corbitt Memorial USATF Ultra Runner of the Year Award in 2010. Wardian was the USA 50km Champion, and won bronze at both the 50km World Championships and the IAU 100km World Championships. He finished third – the best finish ever by a U.S. man – at the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco, and finished as the top U.S. runner at Comrades Marathon (89km). He finished second at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Washington, DC, just one week after Comrades. He posted six marathon victories in 2010 including ING Miami, National Marathon, Delaware Marathon (Delaware State Record & Course Record in 2:26:22), Grant & Pierce Indoor Marathon (setting indoor marathon World Record of 2:27:21), Kauai Marathon, and ING Hartford Marathon. He was also 15th overall at the USATF Men’s Marathon Championships posting a time of 2:21:18.

Ultra men master: Scott Dunlap, Woodside, CA, 41, is a first-time recipient of this award. He was the top master and 11th overall at the USATF 50km Trail Championships, third master at the USATF 50km Road Championships, third master at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships, and third master at the USATF Trail Marathon Championships in 2009. He also won the 40-44 age group at the XTERRA World Championships in 2009 and was first overall at the Woodside Trail Marathon (3:36, CR). He won the 40-49 age group at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50km (5th overall, the RRCA Nevada Championship). Dunlap promotes USATF and its championship races on his award-winning blog, A Trail Runner’s Blog at this link. (http://runtrails.blogspot.com)

Ultra women open:  Kami Semick, 44, Bend, OR, is now a two-time recipient of the Ruth Anderson USATF Ultra Runner of the Year award having won this title last year. She posted an outstanding year on the road and trails. Her wins included the USA 50km Trail Championships, the Miwok 100km Trail Race, the Vermont 100 Miler, and the Portland Marathon. In 2009 (November), she won the IAU 50km World Trophy in Gibraltar. She was fourth overall and top American at Comrades Marathon (89km). Semick is an active member of USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council.

Ultra women master: Meghan Arbogast, 49, Corvallis, OR, a first-time recipient of this award, was the winner of the 2010 U.S. 100km Championships, the USA 50 Mile Trail Championships, Where’s Waldo 100km and the Ice Age 50 Mile Trail Race.  She finished second overall at both the 2010 Western States 100 Mile Trail Race and at the 2009 JFK 50 Miler (November) where she was also the top masters’ finisher. She was the fifth masters’ finisher at the Twin Cities Marathon – the U.S. National Masters Championships – finishing 16th overall.

USA Trail Championships Series WinnersMario Mendoza, 24, Cambria, CA, and Gina Lucrezi, 27, Newton, MA. Mendoza and Lucrezi garnered the most points in the inaugural USA Trail Championships (sub-ultra) series. The events included the 10km, 15km, half marathon, and marathon event distances. In 2011, the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council hopes to further promote and enhance the championship trail series.

Contributor of the Year – Mount Washington Road Race Directors Bob and Anita Teschek. In 2010, the Tescheks recruited the deepest field in the 50-year history of the Mount Washington Road Race (June 19).  This was done by actively recruiting top runners and offering inducements such as travel money, lodging, and doubling the prize purse.  The race served as not only the USA Mountain Running Championships, but also as the lone qualifier for both the men’s and women’s mountain running teams.  This was the first time a race had been granted this distinction, which can be traced to the efforts of the Tescheks to get the top runners to the starting line.  They have served the mountain running community for many years, hosting the USA Mountain Running Championships and team selection races in the even-numbered years starting in 2004. They have also made contributions to the U.S. Mountain Running Team. Bob Teschek has been the race director at Mount Washington for over 25 years with this year’s race being his last as race director. 

Others nominated in the Contributor of the Year category for 2010 included Salomon footwear; Julie Fingar, owner of Fit to Run, Inc., and race director for The Sierra Nevada Endurance Runs, Way Too Cool 50km, and the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run; and Race Directors Jason and Allison Bryant (The Continental Divide 10km Trail Race)

In order to be considered for the USATF Mountain and Ultra running awards an athlete must show top results in U.S. competitions for 2010 November 1, 2009 through October 31, 2010, to include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail races of varying lengths, as well as road races for the ultra category (distances beyond the marathon). International results are also considered. The nominee must be an ambassador for the sport. Nominee must be a USATF member for 2010, and to be considered for the masters’ category athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.

For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit www.usatf.org. You can view this release at the following link. (http://www.examiner.com/trail-running-in-national/usatf-mountain-ultra-trail-council-announces-runners-of-the-year)

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