Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Max King, Mike Morton, Connie Gardner And Other Champions Named USATF Runners of the Year

The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2012 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Runners of the Year, Trail Championship Series winners, and Contributor of the Year.

The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF Annual Meetings in Daytona Beach on December 1.

(Sage Canaday winning the 2012 Mount Washington Road Race, photo courtesy of Dennis Coughlin/AP)
Mountain men open: Sage Canaday, Boulder, CO, is the recipient of the Lyndon Ellefson Memorial Award as the Runner of the Year in this category. Canaday won the 2012 USA Mountain Running Championship by winning the Mt. Washington Road Race, clocking the fastest time ever by an American. He finished in 5th place at the Jungfrau Mountain Marathon, leading the USA mountain team to a second-place finish in the Long-Distance World Mountain Running Challenge. And in his debut 50-mile trail race, Canaday won the White River 50, breaking the course record by nine minutes.
(Dave Dunham, photo by Scott Mason)
Mountain men master: Dave Dunham, Bradford, MA, dominated his 45-49 years age group in mountain running and cross country in the Northeast in 2012, as demonstrated by his winning his age group in the USATF New England Mountain Running series and taking first place in his age group in USATF New England Mountain Running Championships. Dunham also excelled in running on trails, roads, and track.

(Morgan Arritola competing at the World Mountain Running Championship)
Mountain women open: Morgan Arritola, Ketchum, ID, achieved her Runner of the Year award by winning - with but one exception - every race she entered in 2012. The exception was a stellar achievement in itself: the individual bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Championships; Arritoa led the USA women to the team gold medal.

(Laura Haefeli, photo courtesy of
Mountain women master: Laura Haefeli, Del Norte, CO, led the master’s field at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Mt. Washington, where she was the 4th place woman overall and set the age 44 course record. She was the top female master as well at Loon Mountain, finishing 7th overall and qualifying for the USA world mountain team.

(Mike Morton at his American record-breaking 172 mile run at the World 24-Hour Championships)
Ultra men open: Mike Morton, Lithia, FL, has won the Ted Corbitt Memorial Award for his selection as the USATF Men’s Ultra Runner of the Year. “Ultra” does not begin to describe Morton’s impressive season in 2012. He won the World 24-Hours Championships, breaking the American record with a distance of over 172 miles. Morton also won the notorious Badwater ultramarathon, a race of 135 miles in Death Valley, California. In addition, Morton had multiple sub-14-hours finishes in other 100-mile races, breaking course records along the way.

(Roy Pirrung)
Ultra men master: Roy Pirrung, Kohler, WI, competing in the 60-64 years age group, once again won multiple USA titles to become Runner of the Year in this category. Pirrung won the national championship in the USATF 50km Championships at Caumsett Park, Long Island, NY, then came back to win another national title in the Burning River 100-mile USATF trail championships near Cleveland, OH.
(Connie Gardner on her American Record setting run of 149.3 miles at the 2012 World 24-Hours Championships, photo courtesy of IAU)
Ultra women open: Connie Gardner, Medina, OH, had another blockbuster season in 2012, to win the USATF Ruth Anderson Award as Runner of the Year in this category. Gardner won the USATF women’s 50-mile national championship in both the open and masters classes. She won both the open and masters first-place prizes at the USATF women’s100-mile trail championships. And Gardner led the USA women to the team gold medal in the IAU World 24-Hours Championships, taking home the individual silver medal for second place; in doing so, Gardner set a new American women’s record of 149.3 miles.

Ultra women master: Connie Gardner doubles this year as Runner of the Year in this category, to go with her award as Runner of the Year in the Ultra women open class.

(Max King at XTerra)
Trail men open: Max King, Bend, OR, for the second consecutive year, is the trail men’s open award recipient. King repeated his victories from 2011 in this year’s USA Half Marathon Trail Championships and USA 50km Trail Championships. He was the winner of the XTERRA National Trail Running Championships, the Siskiyou Out Back 50km Trail Race, the Ultra Race of Champions 100K, and the Transrockies 3-day event, among other fine race performances.

(Tim Van Orden)
Trail men master: Tim Van Orden, Bennington, VT, is a repeat winner in this Runner of the Year category. Van Orden finished as the first masters competitor in the USA Marathon Trail Championships, the USA Half-Marathon Trail Championships, and the USA 50km Trail Championships. In addition to his running, Van Orden competed at the highest levels cross country skiing and snowshoe racing.
(Stevie Kremer)
(Megan Kimmel winning the 2012 Continental Divide USATF 10k Championships)
Trail women open: Co-winners in this Runner of the Year category are Stevie Kremer, Crested Butte, CO and Megan Kimmel, Silverton, CO. Kremer won the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland, the 2012 world championship race, and placed 7th in the World Mountain Running Association Championships. Kimmel won the USA 10km trail championship in course-record time, and finished a close second in the USA Half-Marathon Trail Championships.

(Julie Thomas, photo courtesy of the Deseret News)
Trail women master: Julie Thomas, Canby, OR, was selected as Runner of the Year in this class with a pair of outstanding age-group performances. She was the gold medallist for women in the 40-49 group at the USA Trail Marathon Championships (9th place overall), and the silver medallist for women in the 45-49 group at the USA 50km Trail Championships (8th place overall).

(Jason Bryant, photo courtesy of La Sportiva)
USA Trail Championships Series Winners: Megan Kimmel, Silverton, CO and Jason Bryant, Elkin, NC are the USATF Trail Series Champions for 2012. These individual series winners are the athletes who garnered the most points in the 2012 annual USA Trail Championships (sub-ultra) series of events. The events include the 10km, half marathon, and marathon trail championships.

(Tom Raffio)
Contributor of the Year – Tom Raffio, President of Northeast Delta Dental, Concord, NH
Northeast Delta Dental and Tom Raffio, the firm’s president and chief executive officer, have been avid and generous supporters of the USA mountain running. Northeast Delta Dental has been the primary sponsor of the USA Mountain Running Championships for the past three years and has committed again to be title sponsor for 2013.

For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Trot Participation Up 6% for 2012 (Road Race Weekly) Race Weekly reported a 6% increase in participation in Turkey Trots, typically 5k/10k races held on Thanksgiving morning, around the US. That's a nice trend! I didn't make it out to a Trot this year...too many cooking duties. But that didn't stop the local San Jose Turkey Trot from growing 24% this year!

Out of the 20 well-established turkey trots surveyed, 161,480 runners crossed finish lines in 14 states, compared with 153,353 last year. The largest race in the survey, the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in San Jose, Calif., contributed nearly half of the increase reported in the index, rising to 20,159 finishers across all races. That was an increase of 3,883, or 24%, from last year. The Fifth Third Bank Turkey Trot in Detroit, Mich., the second-largest event in the survey, also showed a smart increase of 9.3% to 18,953.

Thirteen of the 20 races showed increases in finishers. The oldest race in the survey, the Delaware YMCA Turkey Trot 8K in Buffalo, N.Y., showed an increase of 5.3% to 12,501. That race was held for the 117th time. The Charlotte Turkey Trot in Charlotte., N.C., showed the greatest decrease of any of the events surveyed, both in the number of finishers and percentage change. Finishers fell to 4233, a decline of 12.4 % from last year.

Here is the list of 20 events and their year-over-year change in finisher totals:

Event, 2011 Finishers, 2012 Finishers, Change, % Change
Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot/Elite 5K^ (San Jose, CA), 16,276, 20,159, 3,883, 23.9%
Fifth Third Bank Turkey Trot^ (Detroit, MI), 17,339, 18,953, 1,614, 9.3%
Thanksgiving Day 10K (Cincinnati, OH), 13,878, 14,801, 923, 6.7%
Manchester Road Race 4.78M, (CT), 13,467, 13,409, -58, -0.4%
Delaware YMCA Turkey Trot 8K (Buffalo, NY), 11,881, 12,510, 629, 5.3%
Feaster 5-K & 8-K (Andover, MA), 8,520, 9,288, 768, 9.0%
Dana Point Turkey Trot^ (CA), 8,085, 8,477, 392, 4.8%
Capital One Bank Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 8M & 5-K (TX), 7,878, 7,557, -321, -4.1%
Atlanta Half-Marathon (GA) , 8,489, 7,551, -938, -11.0%
Turkey Trot 5K (Chicago, IL), 6,012, 6,448, 436, 7.3%
Troy Turkey Trot^ (Troy, NY), 5,715, 6,207, 492, 8.6%
Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 Mile (Cleveland, OH), 5,466, 6,196, 730, 13.4%
Turkey Day 5K (Charleston, SC), 5,609, 5,669, 60, 1.1%
Alexandria PWBA Turkey Trot (VA), 4,053, 4,259, 206, 5.1%
Charlotte Turkey Trot 8K (NC), 4,831, 4,233, -598, -12.4%
Pequot Runner’s Thanksgiving Day 5 Mile (Southport, CT), 4,223, 4,141, -82, -1.9%
YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase (MD), 4,090, 4,022, -68, -1.7%
Garden City Turkey Trot 5-Miler (NY), 3,377, 3,225, -152, -4.5%
Port Washington Thanksgiving Day Run (NY), 2,599, 2,627, 28, 1.1%
Portland Thankgiving Day 4 Miler (ME), 1,565, 1,748, 183, 11.7%
Totals, 153,353, 161,480, 8,127, 5.3%
^5K & 10K finishers combined

Monday, November 19, 2012

Great Gifts for Trail Runners - 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for some great gift ideas for trail runners? I've listed a few goodies below, and be sure to check the comments at the end for the usual bunch of great recommendations. Happy shopping, and I hope you are all enjoying Fall!

Tribute to the Trails Calendar ($23)

This calendar has quickly become the "gold standard" gift for trail lovers. Uber-photographer and trail runner Glenn Tachiyama (along with Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs) has consistently put out the most beautiful trail running calendars to raise money for the Washington Trails Association. The gorgeous full-page shots (check them all out here) compliment a complete calendar of ultrarunning events, and forms to win free entries to 20 races! Few things can spice up the drab cubicle life like a constant reminder of epic trail runs hanging on the wall. I buy 3-4 each year. You can pick one up at ZombieRunner, Rogue Valley Runners, or other stores for $23.

Re-StringIt Drawstring Re-Threader ($15)

If you've ever had to re-string a drawstring through your shorts or hoodie, then you are going to love this little gadget. It turns the 15 minute frustrated inchworm routine into a 30-second non-issue. Available at

Parrot ARDrone Remote Control Helicopter ($300)

Want to get those killer fly-by videos as you run the trail? The ARDrone can be controlled by your iPhone and takes 720dpi HD video. Rumor has it there is software you can download to have it follow you everywhere. Let the drone wars begin! Available at

Injinji Performance Toe Sock ($13)

The latest sock from the toe-obsessed gang at Injinji are snug and breath really well. Now available in pink, blue, green and other festive colors! Available at

Solarjoos Solor Charger ($149)

If you're out on the trail a lot but fear the battery drain, then a solar charger might just be the right ticket. This one by Solorjoos is one of the more rugged and heavier models, and charges faster than most. A great pick for the always-connected runner! Available at

Duracell Instant USB Charger ($29)

Another great idea for the electronic obsessed, this battery can quickly boost a USB-driven device like an iPod or Garmin watch to get through the race. A good item for your drop bag!  Get it at

Custom Race Bib Coasters ($22)

Want to keep a memorable race bib around? Immortalize it on four coasters! Take a picture of a friend's race number and send it to Mile Stones via for a fun coaster puzzle.

Running Books ($9-30)

It's hard to go wrong with a running book, and there have been some great ones that came out this year such as Scott Jurek's Eat to Run, Marshall Ulrich's Running on Empty, and The Ghost Runner by Bill Jones. Amazon and ZombieRunner have them all!

Jawbone UP Life Tracker ($129)

Jawbone's UP tracks your day-to-day movement and can help give insights on sleep habits, tips on healthy living, and more. I like the form factor more than the Nike FuelBand and Fitbit, and the accompanying iPhone/Android app is very cool. Reissued for 2012 just this November! Available at

Personal Running Tour (Free!)

If you don't have the cash-ola, give the gift of time with a guided trail running tour of your favorite park. Set the date, make a plan, bring some snacks, create a hand-written card that sums it all up...voila, an instant free gift. And one that will certainly be treasured! If you have a friend who is constantly too busy with kids to do those long runs, give him/her some hand made gift certificates for babysitting. Trust me - they will guard them with their lives. 

Holiday Flavored Bars/Gels ($0.50-$3)

When you eat as many of these as we do, a little Peppermint Stick or Spiced Pumpkin Clif Bar is a nice break. On sale now at REI.

Columbia Omni-Heat Electric Jacket ($250)

Columbia's Omni-Heat lining is super warm, but even warmer when you flip on the batteries! Perfect for the friend/spouse who volunteers or spends long hours waiting for you at aid stations. I got one of these for Christi last year, and it remains a cold-weather favorite. The price of these has been cut in half since 2011, and now boots and gloves are also available at

Aero-Press Coffee Maker ($30)

It's a little crazy how good coffee tastes from this handy little device that fits right in with all your camping gear. Available at ZombieRunner.

Action Wipes ($3+)

Ever try to take a full shower with baby wipes? I know I have, and they don't quite do the trick. Action Wipes is here to save the day with their full body wipes. Check out their web site for the full story!

Fun Running/Running-Themed Clothes ($10+)

Trail runners have lots of race shirts, but do they have something fun or sexy? You can peruse sites like eBay for vintage race shirts, CafePress and Zazzle for comical sayings (like "I don't date, I train"), and it's hard to beat Ink n' Burn for sexy gear (or to lose a few hours "shopping" on their site).

ZombieRunner Gift Certificate ($10-100)

I've never met a trail runner who couldn't drop $100 in Zombie before their coffee is even ready. Definitely will prompt a smile. Also an easy gift to buy and send instantly.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Too Fast, Too Soon? Young Endurance Runners Draw Cheers and Concerns (NY Times)

The NY Times wrote a fascinating piece about Kaytlynn (12) and Heather Welsch (10), two sisters from Alvin, TX, who are quickly becoming stand-out stars of the trail running and triathlon circuits. They finished the XTERRA National Trail Run Championships just a few weeks after competing in the Junior Triathlon Championships, and have finished over 90 endurance races already.

(Kaytlynn Welsch, 12, center, and Heather Welsch, 10, before running more than 13 miles on a mountainous Utah course in September. Photo courtesy of Erik Szylard Daenitz for The New York Times)
It's seven pages of all the craziness you would expect...too much, too soon? Parents off their rockers? Doctors say it's okay? How do other runners react when they regularly break out into tears, or have a stuffed animal pinned to their shirt? And what if the kids say they love it?

Good stuff. Be sure to read the whole article here.

- SD

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The 2013 Race Lottery Season Fires Up!

Yup, it's that time of year to enter your names in your choice races and see how the Lottery Gods determine your fate! Below are a few links and dates to make sure you don't miss 'em - let me know if I missed any. 

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, June 29, 2013 (Lottery Nov 10-24, Drawing Dec 8)

Miwok 100k, May 4, 2013 (Lottery NOW-Dec 10, Drawing Dec 12)

Way Too Cool 50k, March 9, 2013 (Lottery Dec 2-8, Drawing Dec 10)

Wasatch 100, September 6, 2013 (Lottery Dec 1-Jan 6, Drawing Feb'ish)

Hardrock 100, July 12, 2013 (Lottery Now-Dec 1, Drawing Dec 16)

Leadville 100, Aug 17, 2013 (No lottery - reg opens Jan 1)

Vermont 100, July 20, 2013 (No lottery - reg opens Dec 1)

Badwater 135, July 15, 2013 (Lottery/app Feb 1-15, Selection Feb 18)

Massanutten 100, May 18, 2013 (Lottery Dec 1-8, Drawing Dec 10)

Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, Aug 30, 2013 (Registration Dec 19-Jan 8, Lottery selection Jan 20 if needed)

Ironman Hawaii World Championship, Oct 13, 2013 (Lottery Now-March 1, Drawing April 15)

Mt. Washington Road Race, June 15, 2013 (Lottery Feb 14-March 14, Drawing March 15)

Friday, November 02, 2012

NYC Marathon Cancelled in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Mayor Bloomberg let everyone know today that the NYC Marathon planned for this Sunday, 11/4, has been cancelled. A bit late notice, if you ask me, but the right choice nonetheless. Bottom line for those who were planning to race - (1) guaranteed entry for next year, (2) your $200 entry fee is basically a donation to Hurricane Sandy victims now so try and feel good about that, and (3) you can donate your unused hotel rooms to hurricane victims if interested.

A press release issued this afternoon by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Road Runners CEO Mary Wittenberg cited the divisive situation (and reported very well at, from where I am quoting much of the below).

“We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants,” it read in part. “And so we have decided to cancel it.”

Wittenberg and Howard Wolfson, Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications, explained the rationale for the decision at a press conference:

“Obviously this has been a very difficult week for the city of New York,” said Wolfson. “Over course of week the marathon, which is one of th best days in the life of the city, a celebration of life, had become divisive and controversial, a feeling that grew over the course of the week.

“Those of us who love this city and love this race realized this wasn’t the marathon if there were people who were hurt by the running of it. This is obviously difficult news for people trained for it, who came from around the world to run it, but it was obviously the right decision.

“The marathon is the only event that has no dissenters, it’s a unifying event. If all of New York is not behind the race as it is every year, it is not the marathon we know. We will have a fabulous marathon next year, we will rebuild our city better than ever as fast as we can. The race had become a distraction, in an unfortunate way. This was a difficult, painful decision, but the right decision.”

One could speculate that opposition from local press contributed to the decision. Many newspapers ran stories and editorials against holding the race so soon after the race when large parts of the city were still without basic services like electricity and water, and social media sites, including the NYRR Facebook page, were filled with comments echoing those sentiments.

All of the 40,000-plus runners will be offered guaranteed entry into the 2013 edition of the race or next year’s NYC Half Marathon, typically held in the spring. “Obviously next year’s race will be extremely difficult to get into,” she acknowledged.
She and Wolfson said proposals for a smaller, alternate event were discussed but ultimately discarded for the same reason the 26-mile race was called off. She said the large field of elite athletes will be “treated fairly,” while acknowledging they were foregoing substantial potential prize winnings and time bonuses.

In keeping with the goal of helping the hurricane victims, she said many of the marathon supplies, such as portajohns, water and space blankets would be donated. “We’re working with City Hall to find out what can best be used where,” she said. “We’re taking some of our event guys and putting them to work on the relief effort. We have a lot of infrastructure, especially at Ft. Wadsworth [where the runners are staged before the start] and hopefully that can be used.”

As for the thousands of runners who had paid more than $200 apiece in entry fees, in addition to travel and lodging expenses, she offered a sincere apology, noting that the extent of the storm damage was more than they had anticipated. “Earlier in the week I said time was on our side,” she said. “But now I say we ran out of time.”