Minutes from the 2021 USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council Meetings

USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council Annual Meeting – December 3-4, 2021 in Orlando, Florida – Hybrid Meeting – Onsite attendance, Virtual attendance via Bizzabo provider

Attendance for all or part of the meetings during the conference days
Camille Herron, Roy Pirrung, Meghan Canfield, Lin Gentling, Justin Kuo, Andy Carr, Angie Longworth, Robin Jeffries, Scott Richards, Shawn Weirick, Terru Sudria, Craig Evans, Fred Finke, Tyler Noble, Chris Rinaldi, Laura Fala, Mike Scott, Duffy Mahoney, Steve Taylor, Gary Morgan, Zack Raubuck, Vin Lananna, David Katz, Brad Overturf, Yen Dancy, Mike Blackmore, James Peterson, Jennifer James, Lauren Siegel. Mike Rahmer, Edward Neighbour, Joe Jurczyk, Richard Bolt, Addy Bracy, Rick Berman, Sara Brist, Bill Brist, Cassandra Cline-Kalal Mckenzie, David Lapierre, Sho Obemeata, Ryan Case

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Meghan Canfield at 1:00 PM.

Lin Gentling served as acting secretary.

The agenda was projected onto the screen. Although the agenda is laid out, we may interrupt the agenda at any time as invited guests enter into our meeting. With their limited time, we will ask them to speak as they arrive.

The minutes from our 2020 virtual meeting were reviewed. They are also found in the document library. Hearing no amendments, Roy Pirrung motioned for approval, Lin Gentling seconded, and motion passed.

The budget for 2022 is reported to be similar to the budget from 2021. However in a later conversation with Duffy Mahoney (in attendance at our second meeting), he mentioned that our budget would be $120,000, a substantial increase from 2021. Pre-covid we had a budget of $97,000. This assumed $15,000 per national team for world championship competition, and 2 junior teams budgeted at $6,000 and $3,000. Similar budget for drug testing. Budgeted and implemented eight championships in 2021.

USADA conducted anti-doping tests at last years USATF Mountain Running Championships.

Drug testing
12 MUT athletes were drug tested in 2021 utilizing our entire drug testing budget. The drug testing budget is totally separate from our MUT budget.

Camille Herron asked if a MUT person could “buy” i.e. donate extra funding to MUT specifically for drug testing? This would essentially add to the number of tests available for MUT athletes at competitions, as well as for random, out of competition testing. Camille went on to mention that this could be an opportunity to “give back” by an individual to increase the funding available for MUT drug testing. No one in the audience had any readily available answers; however, Duffy was able to provide additional insight into Camille’s question during his visit.

USADA quotes a number of tests they will provide to USATF. USATF can also add to that number with USATF’s funds. For example, USADA indicates they will pay for 12 drug tests and USATF will pay for 6 tests adding up to 18 tests that may be available for a sport discipline. USADA will cover the cost completely for a high-level event, i.e. senior nationals would be considered a high-level event, while a junior national event is considered a lower level. This is where USATF funding would be utilized. USATF is the sole provider for MUT drug testing. The cost per drug test is at least $1000 and can be as much as $1250.

Duffy called Chris Quatant during the meeting to “ask the expert” about donations to the drug testing program. No actual direction was determined for donations. Camille is following up with USADA.

MUT has been given complete approval to verify/approve records set by athletes in MUT competitions. Previously this verification had been done by the men and women’s LDR.

Jason Bryant submitted the following for L&L (Law and Legislative) approval, to Amend Operating Regulation 13.C.1.c/13.D.2a and 13.C.2.b. That submission which directly affects MUT verifying our own records is recorded below.
Regulation 13.D.2.a
2. Mountain/Ultra/Trail Running Council:
iii. Records: Approve records for the events within its discipline
Regulation 13.C.2.b
b. Jurisdiction:
i. Men’s Long Distance Running
ii. Women’s Long Distance Running
iii. Masters Long Distance Running

3. Rationale: The rules were changed last year to give Mountain Ultra Trail Council the control over Ultra marathon records and their ratification. With the change in rules, the bylaws should be adjusted accordingly to align with the rule change. This amendment should have no conflict with any other bylaws or regulation. The amendment would resolve a conflict.

4. Constituencies affected: Mountain Ultra Trail and LDR would be affected. It would finalize the shifting of control over Ultra marathon records from LDR to MUT. MUT has already assumed control of these records, so affect would minimal. The amendment improves the mission and operation of USATF by aligning bylaws to current practice of MUT controlling records for disciplines that they oversee.

David Katz was in attendance and spoke out regarding the lack of consistency in LDR, WA (World Athletics), and International Association of Ultrarunning (IAU) rules interpretation. For example, WA has women’s only and mixed race records, whereas, the IAU has only women’s records. There are no mixed records with the IAU. The IAU strictly prohibits any woman running with a man in their world championships to avoid the assumption of pacing. As a result, the IAU records are for women only in an event where both men and women are participating in the same race. Des Linden’s 50K world record is a world record in a mixed race and not as a participant in a women’s race. A man paced her, which is legitimate in a mixed race as long as the male starts the race at the same time.

There are 2 ways to recognize world performances, one as a world record (WA) and the other as a world best (IAU). WA recognizes world records at the 50K and 100K distance. The 24 hour is currently not recognized for world record performances (but is for World’s Best by IAU). David Katz indicated he would review this event for consideration as a World record event for WA. The requirements for a world record are more stringent than for a world best. Both require drug testing for verification, however, WA requires on site drug testing immediately following the record setting event, whereas a world best by the IAU provides for 24 hours for drug testing to occur following an event. Re-measurements of the course are also necessary for both.

Gene Dykes

Gene Dykes at the USATF 50K Road Championships.

Meghan provided a slide presentation of all those MUT athletes whose records were approved for verification in 2021.
Men’s LDR Road Records
M Open 6:09:26 Jim Walmsley 31 Carbon X@100K 1/23/21

Women’s LDR Road Records
W Open 2:59:54 Desiree Linden 38 50Km/Marathon 4/15/21**
W Open 39196m Marisa Lizak 41 3 days@ Fair 9/28/20

**World Mixed Record

Masters LDR Road Records: Men
M45-49 50 km 3:04:36 Nicholas Thompson 45 Brooks 50km/Marathon 04/13/21
M60-64 50 km 3:31:44 Rick Lee 60 Caumsett 50k Champs E Islip NY 03/13/21 2
M70-74 50 km 3:56:44 Gene Dykes (pictured above) 73 Caumsett 50k Champs E Islip NY 03/13/21**
M50-54 100 km 7:31:50 Billy Mertens 52 MAD City Madison WI 04/13/19
M60-64 200 km 25:01:30 Steve Troxel 60 6 Days in The Dome Milwaukee WI 08/23/19
M55-59 50 mi 5:50:52 Rich Hanna 56 Jed Smith Sacramento CA 02/27/21
M45-49 100 mi 13:50:09 Olivier LeBlond 48 Canal Corridor Akron OH 07/11/20
M60-64 12 hr 119233m Larry Stephens 64 Jackpot 100 Sparks NV 04/25/21
M65-69 144 hr 661440m Brad Compton 66 3 Days @ Fair Augusta NJ 05/09/21

** World Record
Masters LDR Track Records: Men
M40-44 200000m 18:00:12 Jacob Jackson 43 Desert Solstice 12/12/20
M55-59 200000m 20:50:09 Bob Hearn 55 Desert Solstice 12/12/20
M45-49 100 mi 12:41:57 Olivier Leblond 55 Desert Solstice 12/12/20
M55-59 100 mi 15:28:21 Bob Hearn 55 Desert Solstice 12/12/20
M45-49 12 hr 152112m Olivier Leblond 48 Desert Solstice 12/12/20
M55-59 24 hr 221810m Bob Hearn 55 Desert Solstice 12/12/20

Masters LDR Road Records: Women
F65-69 12 hr 97770m Pamela Chapman-Markle 65 Icarus UltraFest 11/20/20
F65-69 24 hr 175035m Pamela Chapman-Markle 65 TX Icarus UltraFest 11/20/20
F65-69 48 hr 281241m Pamela Chapman-Markle 65 TX Icarus UltraFest 11/20/20
F45-49 144 hr 698455m Jessica Mullen 46 WA 3 Days @ Fair 05/10/21

Masters LDR Track Records: Women
F50-54 50000m 4:21:15 Jessica Ann Standford 52 Cornbelt Running 05/15/21

Grayson Murphy winning her 2nd XTERRA Trail Running World CHampionships. Photo: Jesse Peters/XTERRA

MUT Runners of the Year
Due to many race cancellations – especially world championships – these past two seasons, the 2021 ROY process was abbreviated ONLY for this year. Those changes were:

There were only four awards in the following categories: open male, open female, masters male, masters female. Past years featured 21 awards in separate Mountain, Sub-Ultra, Ultra and Contributor of the Year categories.
The list of nominated athletes was compiled by members of the USATF MUT Executive Committee. Years past featured an open nomination process as well as automatic nominations based on wins at USATF championship races.
Next year we hope to return to the original award structure with more depth and representation.

The USA Track & Field Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Running Council named the 2021 USATF MUT Runners of the Year. Thirty-seven talented MUT runners from twenty different U.S. states received nominations. After reviewing international and national race results, fifteen MUT executive committee members, made up of elite athletes, coaches, administrators and race directors from a dozen USATF Associations, cast ballots for this year’s awards.
The following individuals were recognized at the USATF Annual Meeting.

  • Open Male – Joseph Gray (Colorado Springs, CIO)
  • Open Female – Grayson Murphy (pictured above) (Bozeman, MT)
  • Masters Male – Max King (Bend Oregon)
  • Masters Female – Kasie Enman (Huntington, VT)

Redcap of MUT Executive Actions/Work during 2021
There were eight national championships during 2021. More than any other USATF discipline.
The Mad City 100K (Madison, WI), originally scheduled for April 2021 was postponed to September, but due to another national championship being held in WI on that same day, the Mad City 100K championship bid award was deferred to 2022. The No’to’mom 100K in California replaced Mad City as the 100K 2021 national championship.

Rules interpretation. There has been race director and athlete confusion regarding some of the rules guiding MUT USATF sanctioned events. Some of this confusion is also the result of USATF certified officials not being on site to enforce the rules and lack of knowledge about filing a protest within the 24-hour window following the finish of an event. As a result, the MUT executive council is putting together a task force to review rules specific to MUT events that are causing confusion, especially the pacing rule. Members of that group include Meghan Canfield, Jason Bryant, Haley Pollack, and Lin Gentling.

Established selection standards for the 2023 24 Hr, 2023 50K, 2022 100K, and 2021 mountain/trail national teams competing in world championships
Reviewed national championship bids for 2221 and 2022 MUT races
Verified national and world record setting performances in MUT events
Established a new MUT website using the ATRA sub domain
Drug testing at championship and selection races
Tracking race results for MUT runners throughout the year
Dealt with all 2021 world championships being canceled; monitoring 2022 world championship status
Oregon 22 MUT project (pursuing idea of hosting a MUT event/championship during the world track and field championships in Eugene OR, July 2022
USATF attendance at US Trail Running Conference
Review and amending of MUT race rules and regulations
Outreach for national MUT championships

Social Media and Marketing – Richard Bolt
In 2021, MUT consolidated our web presence to one location, https://trailrunner.com/usatf-mut/

Richard and Meghan primarily, with several others less frequently, have been posting articles on this website on a regular basis. This is our most up to date website and the location that MUT has immediate control over for posting results, MUT calendar, records, qualifying and selection procedures, world and national championships, MUT rules and regulation, recognizing MUT athletes, and MUT related news. It is critical for keeping our followers updated and this site provides that information with very little delay.

MUT is maintaining social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, Tracey Outlaw monitors his Facebook site, the voice of the USA National 24 Hour Running Team. This site relates to all types of MUT events, not only 24 Hr. Tracey also has a twitter site with MUT information.

We are having difficulty getting information on and updated to the USATF website since we do not have edit access. It is also lacking in being user friendly and intuitive. For the time being, it seems most efficient and effective to utilize the sites mentioned above. These sites are in an almost real time status and our “go to” for updated information.

USATF 50K Trail Championships Sunapee & Ragged Mountain, NH, Aug. 8. (c) Mike Scott 2021.

National Championships – Joe Jurczyk, Championships Chair
We briefly reviewed the eight 2021 National Championships:

We are anticipating eight national championships for 2022. Those 2022 championships, which have been awarded to date, are:

  • Jackpot 100 mile road – Henderson, NV; February 18, 2022
  • Heckscher 50K road – East Islip, NY; February 27, 2022

We are expecting bids for the 100K road (Mad City: April 23), trail marathon (Moab: Nov or Breakneck Point: April), 24 hour (NYC: Sept), and the Birkie trail half marathon (Sept) in the very near future and expect to award these events by mid-January 2022

We looked at some of the more well-known MUT events to invite to bid for national championship, especially those who already have a prize structure in place; Javelina trail 100 mile, Tunnel Hill trail or road 100 mile or 50 mile, and Black Canyon 100K trail are among those that would fit championship criteria quite well.

While prize money is part of the bid requirements, there currently is no strict structure of how much prize money must be present for a national championship bid and how it should be allocated. It is always a plus to see prize money provided for masters athletes. There is nothing written in stone for a minimum amount. The MUT Executive Council reviews each bid and considers several factors, including the amount of prize money to be awarded. Most events realize that as they grow their event, prize money becomes more readily available. For the most part, MUT goes after established races in seeking national championships. It seems that most MUT runners are not so much into a prize money purse as most elite runners have sponsorships already.

Prize money is awarded at the discretion of the race director. Typically, the money goes to the championship runners as they usually place in the top runners. Most RDs indicate that prize money is reserved only for those who are in the championship. However there are some races that simply award to the top finishers, both open and championship, whoever finishes in the top. It is not guaranteed that the top finishers are all USATF members and in the championship race. The question is should we write into our bid verbiage that the prize money must be given only to those in the national championships and not to those in the open race?

Men’s lead pack at mile 5. Photo: Michael Scott. Sunapee & Ragged Mountain, NH, Aug. 8. (c) Mike Scott 2021.

Liaison for National Championships – Lin Gentling
Lin briefly commented on the liaison responsibilities at national championships. The liaison is the bridge with the national championship and USATF and must be safe sport certified. Responsibilities include (but not limited to), ensuring the event is sanctioned, assist in the logistics of drug testing, ordering medals back and front bibs, and banners, ensuring the rules and regulations are followed (being a USATF certified official is a plus in the liaison role), corresponding with the timing company for results reporting, certifying that those entered into the championships are current USATF members, writing pre-race announcements and post-race review and results, knowing USATF contacts for various needs, frequent dialogue with the event race director for questions and clarifications, provide USATF logo for use on media, procedure for checking memberships for late registrations, communication, communication, communication.

Liaisons are no longer able to check for current membership status with championships entrants. For this reason, we need to rely on USATF to provide that verification. Most often, we are able to receive an immediate response (within 24 hours). However if a race is on a weekend and late registration is permitted, those who sign up during late registration (as late as Friday or Saturday, depending on the day of the race), those entrants go unchecked. If they do well and win an award, we are potentially left with no verification prior to the race and need to go on the runner’s word. This is especially problematic in areas where there is no internet connection to show proof. One solution to avoid this problem is for a runner intending to run in the championships to declare (i.e. register) their intent at least 36-48 hours before the start. That provides USATF still the time to verify membership. If we decided to go this route, it should become part of the bid form and communicated to RDs and athletes specifically.

Rick Berman, Pacific Association and certified official mentioned that within some associations, a few have access to the database. “In Pacific I think we have 3 people with access (Membership, Certification, and Training chairs)”. The suggestion here is that we might be able to get later verifications by reaching out to the association where we have an event…….or reach out to people we’ve built a relationship with no matter what association.

As a liaison, it is vital that you be present for the entire event, including awarding the medals to all championship winners. That may mean there should be two liaisons, especially at the longer events where staying up for 18+ hours is often difficult. Tag teaming works very well with the longer events.

USATF President’s Report – Vin Lananna
Vin began his report thanking MUT for all the work we have done, especially this year.

Jim Estes is our LDR representative on the USATF Board of Directors.

There is a focus specifically on three items:
1. Ability to recapture those who left USATF membership
2. Rolling out the strategic plan
3. Leveraging out 2022 to include the World Track and Field championship in Oregon in 2022 – https://worldathletics.org/competitions/world-athletics-championships/oregon22

This will be the first time the world championship will be in the United States and provide a great opportunity for MUT to get involved by offering some type of competition and visibility during this event. The opportunity is there, MUT needs to decide how to leverage that opportunity. What can MUT do to use the attention and create a meaningful world experience that will come to this world track and field event and how can we jump start this opportunity and work closely with the Oregon Association (Jay Miles). We will have a great captive audience and we are hearing from the OR Association that they want to work with us in offering a MUT event during the WA T&F Championships.

MUT will need to act fast as the world championships are only 7 months away. Vin urged us to look at anything MUT related from roads to trails, shorter distances to ultra-distances.

Meghan and Lin will meet with Jay Miles, president of the Oregon Association during the conference to jump-start this MUT project. We will begin looking into a MUT event in Corvallis as the infrastructure is already in place, and Meghan knows RDs of already existing ultra-events in the area. Corvallis has many enticing features as a city, including being only 37 miles from Eugene, the site of the world championships. There will probably be event attendees staying in Corvallis during the championships.

This type of event rolls right into the USATF strategic plan, especially with the visibility (if we were to roll this opportunity into a national championship) with all athletes regardless of abilities.

With respect to membership, if people see the value of being a USATF member, it will not be a burden to join. People are asking what is in it for me? What do I get with a sanctioning fee? Not all associations have a MUT chair. Vin urges us to come to him, Mike Scott, Meghan and Nancy with any ideas we might have for increasing membership. There are great global initiatives awaiting, lots of opportunities out there.

Mountain Updates
The world trail and mountain running championships slated for Chiang Mai, Thailand, were postponed from November 2021 to February 2022 and then once again to November 2022. Selection criteria for the race may have to be reviewed to fit in with 2022 timing and world championship date. There will be four different events that the USA will participate in: 40K trail, 80K trail, 10-12K up and down mountain race, and a 6-8K U20 mountain race. The question that will need to be determined is whether those who qualified at Gnar Gnar, 2021, for the mountain team will be able to keep their spots on the national team for 2022. This mountain team is already receiving team experience representing team USA at the 2021 XTERRA Trail Running World Championships in Hawaii on December 4.

2022 WMRA U18 International Mountain Running Cup will be in Saluzzo, Italy. Date TBD.

USATF Liaison to Mountain Ultra Trail – Duffy Mahoney
Duffy shared the 2022 budget with the group. This information can be found under budget earlier in these minutes.

Duffy stated that MUT is in great shape. We were the only group to be able to execute all our national championships in 2021.

In February 2022, Duffy shared that he will be retiring from his position with USATF. Although not firmly decided yet, it appears that Michael Nussa, USATF High Performance Programs Manager, will take over many of Duffy’s current responsibilities. Specifically Michael will take on rules, race walking, men’s and women’s LDR, and be in an advisory capacity with high performance and development programs.

Camille Herron asked Duffy how a donor could contribute to a specific entity (MUT national team) within USATF. Apparently, any donation to USATF is likely placed into the general fund. Duffy suggested that anyone who might consider a donation to look into the USATF Foundation (https://www.usatffoundation.org). The foundation chair is Bob Greifeld. This is separate from USATF and is a group of individuals who support elite athletes as they strive to achieve their dream of competing in world championships. It does not appear that this foundation can specify a particular group (i.e. MUT team), rather it seems more oriented to elite athlete funding.

Richard Bolt added that any contribution could also be made to the American Trail Running Association (501c3). There would be a tax benefit with any donation to a 501c3. If you would like to specify your donation go to a specific team, indicate that desire in the memo portion of your check and make sure it is clearly stated (with a note attached).

Meghan Canfield also volunteered her No’to’mom 501c3 fund. No’to’mom is an ultra-running event established this fall and fully operational. Her fund is used for grant dispersal to various nonprofits who support her race. It also has tax benefits for any donation. Lin Gentling serves as treasurer for both organizations. Please let Lin know if you are making a contribution for a specific team using either of these avenues.

Desert Solstice

Desert Solstice

Ultra Updates
All IAU world championships for 2021 were canceled due to COVID. Those included the 24H in Romania in October and the 50K in Taiwan.

The IAU world championship scheduled for 2022 is the 100K road in Berlin/Bernau, Germany on August 27, 2022.

IAU world championships planned for 2023 include the 50K in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on May 23, 2023, and the 24H in Chinese Taipei, December 2-3, 2023.

Team selection criteria for each of these teams can be found on https://trailrunner.com/usatf-mut/#worlds.

We urge all races that qualify for selection determination for our US teams to consider obtaining a label designation from the IAU. When an event is labeled, in addition to meeting the requirements of an accurately measured and record eligible course, it also can qualify teams for additional travel grant money from the IAU to world championship events.

Growing MUT Programs
We discussed inclusivity in our MUT events, especially with aging runners. Sometimes the way we talk about MUT running can be intimidating to new and/or aging runners. It is important to note that trail running does not necessarily imply mountain running, that not all trails involve difficult and excessive elevation and terrain. Trails can also be flat and fast.

Older populations might be encouraged to participate in such events as Race for the Ages, Across the Years, multi day races, shorter races offered in conjunction with longer races (i.e. a half marathon run at the same time as a 50 mile event). Some events like the Birkie Trail Festival offer a variety of events involving trekking, running, shorter distances, ultra-distances, relays, and solo runs. There is something for everyone while still encouraging people to simply participate. The social aspect found in running is very apparent in these festival type events.

Rick Berman mentioned that each association was being given $5,000 from USATF to increase membership

Roy Pirrung motioned to adjourn the meeting at 11:10 AM, Saturday, December 4, 2021. Seconded by Camille Herron.

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