Press release from USA Track & Field’s Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Council. Based in Indianapolis, USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.
The USA Track & Field Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council of long distance running has named the 2019 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Runners of the Year, and Contributor of the Year. Over 100 talented MUT runners from 20 different U.S. states received nominations. After reviewing hundreds of international and national race results, 31 MUT Council members, elite athletes and race directors from a dozen USATF Associations cast ballots for this year’s awards.
The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada this weekend. All results listed below are from 2019.
Mountain Runners of the Year:
- Men’s Open – Lyndon Ellefson Memorial Award – Joseph Gray, 34, Colorado Springs, CO. World Mountain Running Champion, USATF Mountain Running Champion, XTERRA Trail World Champion.
- Men’s Master – Chris Grauch, 47, Nederland, CO. USATF Masters Mountain Running Champion, first US master at Broken Arrow Skyrace 26K.
- Women’s Open – Grayson Murphy (pictured, center, top of page), 24, Salt Lake City, UT. World Mountain Running Champion, USATF Mountain Running Champion, XTERRA Trail World Champion.
- Women’s Master – Kasie Enman (pictured, right, top of page), 40, Huntington, VT. 2nd place USATF Mountain Running Championships, 21st World Mountain Running Championships, 31st World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship, 24th Trail World Championships.
Sub-Ultra Trail Runners of the Year:
- Women’s Open – Samantha Lewis, 25 Moscow, ID. USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion, 4th USATF Mountain Running Championships, 29th World Mountain Running Championships.
- Women’s Master – Laura Lunardi, 44, West Chester, PA. USATF Half Marathon Trail Masters Champion.
- Men’s Open – Jim Walmsley, 29, Flagstaff, AZ. World Long Distance Mountain Running Champion, 3rd place Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race.
- Men’s Master – Thomas Knowles, 44, Oakland, NJ. USATF Marathon Trail Masters Champion, 1st place Pennypack Trail Race 20K.
Ultra Trail Runners of the Year:
- Men’s Open – Jim Walmsley, 29, Flagstaff, AZ. 1st place Western States 100, 1st place Ultravasen 90K, 1st place Fast100 Ultra Fast 50 Miles HKG.
- Men’s Master – Olivier Leblond, 47, Arlington, VA. 1st place Umstead 100, 1st place Bob’s Big Timber Backyard, 1st place Old Dominion.
- Women’s Open – Courtney Dauwalter, 34, Golden, CO. 1st place UTMB, 1st place Tarawera 100K, Madeira Island 115K.
- Women’s Master – Meghan Laws, 58, Cool, CA. 1st master Tarawera 100K, 1st master Ruck a Chuck 50K, 1st place FLUT 110K.
Ultra Road Runners of the Year:
- Women’s Open – Ruth Anderson Award – Camille Herron, 37, Alamosa, CO. IAU 24 Hour World Champion, 1st place Desert Solstice 24 hour, 1st place Desert Solstice 24 hour.
- Women’s Master – Pam Smith, 45, Salem, OR. 4th place IAU 24 Hour World Championship, 5th place 6 days in the Dome 24 Hour.
- Men’s Open – Ted Corbitt Memorial Award – Zach Bitter, 33, Phoenix, AZ. World Record Six Days in the Dome 100 Mile, World Record Six Days in the Dome 12 Hour.
- Men’s Master – Olivier Leblond, 47, Arlington, VA. 3rd place IAU 24 Hour World Championship, 1st place Six Days in the Dome 48 Hours, 1st place Icy 8 Hour.
Contributor of the Year:
Linda Sanders (IRun4Ultra) has been selected as the USA Track & Field Mountain, Ultra and Trail (MUT) Contributor of the Year.
Nominated by Tracey Outlaw who wrote: “Share what you have and don’t expect anything in return.” This was the advice Linda Sander’s mother gave her while growing up in Mexico. Linda continues to bring that advice to life through her charities in her current community of Manhattan Beach, CA and around the world. She’s the founder and chair of the board of Hope So Bright, a non-for-profit to help promote awareness, collaboration, education, resources and advocacy for children with learning disabilities. As much as she has for children, she has had equal success promoting and connecting our ultra running community. Through her running-related media company, IRun4Ultra, she has covered ultra running races around the world, from Marathon Des Sables to Badwater to Big’s Backyard in Bell Buckle TN. Linda invested in covering the 2019 24 Hour World Championship in Albi, France. This was the first time the World Championship had any large-scale media coverage and it will set the bar for upcoming World Championships. She not only conducted interviews, provided updates and took amazing photos of the international field, she also focused on the USA 24 Hour Team with photos and a post-race video. Due to Linda’s efforts, ultra running is reaching broader domestic and international audiences. Our 24 hour page gained +1,000 new followers in the week leading up to and during the World Championship, due in large part to IRun4Ultra’s coverage and partnership. Linda and her team is a story-telling force and exactly what we need in ultra running – covering all aspects of our sport not just trail ultras, or mountain or road. She covers ultra running. Through our 24 Hour social media platforms, I look forward to future partnerships with Linda and IRun4Ultra. We are lucky to have her passion focused on our sport. She will not expect this award.
Past Contributors of the Year:
2003: American Ultra Running Association
2004: North Texas Trail Runners
2006: La Sportiva/GoLite
2007: Co-Contributors of the Year: White Mountain Milers Running Club is the Mountain Running Contributor of the Year. The Mad City 100km Road Race is the Ultrarunning Contributor of the Year.
2008: Scott McCoubrey
2009: Paul Kirsch
2010: Mount Washington Road Race Directors Bob and Anita Teschek
2011: Lin Gentling
2012: Tom Raffio, president Northeast Delta Dental
2013: Brian Metzler
2014: Richard Bolt
2015: Dr. Lovy and the Kirksville School of Osteopathic Medicine
2016: Gary Cantrell a/k/a lazarus lake
2017: Tracey Outlaw
2018: Jamil Coury
An explanation of USATF MUT award categories and nominations:
- Mountain runner of the year awards are for outstanding performances in highly competitive, less than marathon distance (sub-ultra), off-road races with large amounts of vertical gain or gain & loss.
- Sub-Ultra Trail runner of the year awards are for outstanding performances in highly competitive, less than marathon distance (sub-ultra) off-road races.
- Ultra Trail runner of the year awards are for outstanding performances in highly competitive, marathon distance or longer off-road races.
- Ultra Road runner of the year awards are for outstanding performances in highly competitive, marathon distance or longer road or track races.
- Mountain and Trail Running are covered by Section VIII of the USATF Competition Rule Book in sections 253 and 254.
- Winners of 2019 World Championships, National Championships and masters champions are automatically nominated for these awards. Anyone is welcome to submit a manual nomination of any USATF member during the nomination period.
More information about all the 2019 athlete nominations can also be found on trailrunner.com.