Ultra national rankings

Ultrarunner of the Year: My Ballot

photo: marathontrainingacademy.com
I was honored to be included once again on the voting panel for Ultrarunning magazine's prestigious Ultrarunner of the Year award.  This was my third time voting, and it isn't getting any easier.  I know I complained last year, but at least in 2016 the top spots for both the men and women were pretty obvious.  This year we had no such luck.  I think pretty much everyone will agree on the top two women, although in which order they ultimately wind up is anyone's guess; I spent nearly as much time deciding between the two of them as I did on the rest of the entire ballot.  The remainder of the ballot was pure torture as usual.  I'm thrilled that I get to keep voting, but it really is an excruciating process and by the time I'm done my stomach usually hurts pretty badly.

Posting my ballot has inspired a lot of good-natured (and not-so-good-natured) criticism in the past, and this year with the launch of my new podcast, The Pain Cave, I decided to be a bit proactive in addressing this.  I invited New York ultra stud Jason Mintz, one of my staunchest (if friendliest) critics, on the pod to debate our picks.  Unfortunately Mintz had to cancel at the last minute, but our mutual friend Laura Kline was kind enough to step in and provide the counterpoint to my ballot.  Listen to the episode here; I'll list my ballot below, but Laura and I get into the nitty-gritty a little bit more and really go through our reasoning and justification for some of the decisions we had to make.

I don't yet have the final results tabulated for the Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings for this year, which is unfortunate since I like comparing them to my ballot.  I hope to have the results finished by the time Ultrarunning publishes the UROY results, and we can do a little comparison then.

Just a reminder: FKTs are not to be considered in this voting, not for UROY or Performance of the Year.  A separate committee votes on the top FKTs of the year.  So, feel free to tear apart my ballot, but dear god, don't criticize me for not including FKTs.

Women's UROY
1. Camille Herron
2. Courtney Dauwalter
3. Clare Gallagher
4. Katylyn Gerbin
5. Magdalena Boulet
6. Jacqueline Merritt
7. Kelly Wolf
8. Katalin Nagy
9. Cat Bradley
10. Devon Yanko

I'm not going to delve deep my reasoning for any of these categories; listen to the podcast as we spent nearly an hour doing that and I don't feel like rehashing that here.  The Camille vs. Courtney debate for the top spot was incredibly difficult, but Clare Gallagher was a pretty easy choice, for me at least, at #3.  Spots 4-6 were basically identical and I would've been happy with any order.  Toughest omissions: Keely Henninger, Anna Mae Flynn, Kathleen Cusick, Hillary Allen, Megan Kimmel, Sarah Bard, and Sabrina Little.

Women's Performance of the Year
1. Camille Herron's 100 mile WR at Tunnel Hill
2. Camille's win at Comrades
3. Courtney Dauwalter's 24-hour AR at Soochow
4. Camille (again!) 12-hour WR at Desert Solstice
5. Rory Bosio's overall win and women's CR at Tahoe Rim Trail 50-mile

Tough omissions were Cat Bradley's unexpected come-from-behind win at Western States, Clare Gallagher's win at CCC, Courtney's dominating win at Run Rabbit Run (despite temporary blindness), Katalin Nagy's (transient) 24-hour AR, and Michelle Leduc's Canadian Record at 100 miles (made easier to leave off the list by the fact that Camille ran over two hours faster this year).

Women's Age Group Performance of the Year
1. Liz Bauer (58 years old), first at Across the Years 6-day (418 miles)
2. Meghan (Arbogast) Laws (56), 9th at Western States
3. Sally Brooking (61), 4th at Mountain Mist 50K (5:46--and that's not an easy course)
4. Roxanne Woodhouse (54), first at Tahoe Rim Trail 100-mile
5. Jean Herbert (61), 9:21 at JFK 50

Men's UROY
1. Tim Tollefson
2. Jim Walmsley
3. Alex Nichols
4. Tim Freriks
5. Avery Collins
6. Sage Canaday
7. Mark Hammond
8. Hayden Hawks
9. Max King
10. Patrick Reagan

God, was this an unpleasant task.  Again, listen to the podcast for most of my reasoning; Laura and I discussed if it's fair to grade Jim on a curve, how much a DNF should count against you, why I'm such a Cornell XC homer, and the importance of big international races like CCC, Comrades, and UTMB.  My toughest cuts in this category: Dylan Bowman, Bob Shebest, Olivier Leblond, Jeff Browning, Jason Schlarb, Cody Reed, Brian Rusiecki, Kris Brown, Anthony Kunkel, and Eric Senseman.

Men's Performance of the Year
1. Olivier Leblond's 48-hour AR (262 miles)
2. Geoff Burns' 5:14 at Chicago Lakefront 50-mile
3. Tyler Jermann's 2:48 50K at Caumsett
4. Hayden Hawks' win at CCC
5. Guillame Calmettes' win at Big's Backyard Ultra

I found this category much easier this year than last, for some reason.  Jim had some amazing performances again this year, but nothing that captured the imagination of the ultra world like many of his 2016 exploits.  For some reason Tim Tollefson's third place finish at UTMB was fifth on my ballot last year but not this year.  So much for internal logic.  But I was much happier with this list than with my UROY top 10.  Toughest snubs: Jim's CR runs at Tarawera and Gorge Waterfalls, Tim's aforementioned UTMB race (and Jim, DBo, and Zach at UTMB, for that matter), and Tim Freriks' two huge wins at Transvulcania and North Face.

Men's Age Group Performance of the Year
1. Thomas Devers (60 years old), 3:38 50K (and first place) at the Tallahassee Distance Classic
2. Bob Hearn (51), 151 miles in 24 hours at Run4water
3. Rich Hanna (52), 6:18 at American River 50-mile
4. Jean Pommier (52), 3:19 at Jed Smith 50K
5. Gene Dykes (69), finishing the Triple Crown of 200s

So there you go.  Same rules from last year apply: feel free to rip me apart in the comments, but you have to vote for me for Run Ultra's Blogger of the Year first.  Cast your vote and flame away!

Merry Statesmas! My WS100 Picks and a Pre-Squaw GUR Top 50 Update


I'm recycling the title of this post from last year.  Let's get into it!

I've been way behind on the Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings this year, mostly due to finishing my exercise physiology coursework, but I finally got caught up in the past two weeks, and have a pre-States GUR Top 50 at the end of this post.  As such, though, I haven't been quite as immersed in results as in previous years, so my picks for this weekend's Big Dance are likely to be even less reliable than usual.  But you get what you pay for.  Which is nothing.  So here goes.

Ladies
Six of last year's top ten return, joined by a very deep field that includes ten of the current GUR top 50 (including six of the top 10), and twelve of the 2016 top 50 (including 10 of the top 20).  The depth of this group is frightening; while both the men's and women's fields have at least twenty solid contenders for those magical top-10 places, the talent and experience on the women's side might outflank the men, especially at the 100-mile distance.

1. Kaci Lickteig
Final 2016 GUR: 1
Current 2017 GUR: 5
2016 WS: 1
Western States does tend to look kindly on defending champions--think Krar, Olsen, Trason, and Jurek, to name just a few.  Whether the Pixie Ninja belongs among the all-time greats is still debatable, but the returning champ has three straight top-5 finishes here, and her buildup to this year's event looks awfully similar to last year.

2. Magdalena Boulet
Final 2016 GUR: 2
Current 2017 GUR: 3
2016 WS: DNF
The 2015 champ and UROY dropped early in last year's race, then gutted out a difficult fifth-place finish at Speedgoat later that summer.  She bounced back, however, with a strong second at North Face in December, and this year has looked very strong, placing second to Camille Herron at Tarawera and earning her ticket to WS with a T2 at Lake Sonoma.  She's got the speed, the experience, and the 100-mile chops to ascend the podium again.

3. Andrea Huser
Final 2016 GUR: NA
Current 2017 GUR: NA
2016 WS: NA
She's got wins or runner-up finishes at a dizzying array of Europe's most competitive trail ultras, including Diagonale des Fous, Lavaredo, Madeira Island, and UTMB.  We don't often see rookies or Euros atop the States podium--usually it takes a couple of tries to get it right--but she's not your average rookie.  Is she too much of a mountain specialist for this course, or does she have the wheels to hang with Magda, Kaci, and Camille when things start heating up on Cal Street?

4. Amanda Basham
Final 2016 GUR: 18
Current 2017 GUR: 9
2016 WS: 4
Speaking of wheels, I like the recent UROC champ to reprise last year's finish.  Undefeated in three ultra starts this year, though has yet to face a field of this caliber in 2017.

5. Camille Herron
Final 2016 GUR: 24
Current 2017 GUR: 2
2016 WS: NA
I gave a lot of serious consideration to picking Camille for the overall win.  Already this year she's beaten Magda at Tarawera, and may have already locked up Performance of the Year with her dominant win at Comrades two weeks ago.  (An honor she won in 2015, her first year in ultrarunning.)  However, she hasn't yet proven to be quite as dominant on the trails as she is on the roads, and this will be her 100-mile debut; besting a field of this caliber under those circumstances may be too much to ask, especially if there's any residuals fatigue from Comrades.  If anyone can pull at Walmsley on the women's side, though, it's definitely her.

6. Maggie Guterl
Final 2016 GUR: 17
Current 2017 GUR: 128
2016 WS: 8
She's lightly raced so far this year, having picked up wins at some smaller, short East Coast trail races, but she smoked a 14:47 at Brazos Bend in December.

7. Jacqueline Merritt
Final 2016 GUR: 69
Current 2017 GUR: 6
2016 WS: NA
Another East Coast stud, she already has four wins this year and a second-place finish at the Georgia Death Race to lock up her Golden Ticket.

8. Amy Sproston
Final 2016 GUR: 6
Current 2017 GUR: 109
2016 WS: 2
I picked Amy seventh last year and commented, "I feel like I actually might be selling her short here."  She went out and crushed a second place finish.  Naturally I've dropped her to eighth this year, so I fully expect her to win and make me look like an idiot.

9. Stephanie Howe Violett
Final 2016 GUR: 133
Current 2017 GUR: 16
2016 WS: NA
The 2014 WS champ missed most of 2016 due to injury but rebounded for ninth at North Face and then bested a solid field, including Camille Herron, to win at Bandera in January.  Definitely selling her short here.

10. Clare Gallagher
Final 2016 GUR: 13
Current 2017 GUR: 65
2016 WS: NA
Talk about selling short...she won Leadville last year in her 100-mile debut, but has flat speed honed during a stellar collegiate career, backed up with a fifth place finish at TNF in December.  I could easily see her in the top 3.

Hedging my bets
11. Meghan Laws (nee Arbogast)
12. YiOu Wang
13. Kaytlyn Gerbin
14. Nicole Kalogeropolous
15. Alissa St. Laurent

Lads
Eight of last year's top ten return, though unfortunately not defending champ Andrew Miller, recovering from injury.  Eight of the current GUR top 50 are in the field (including three of the top 5), and thirteen of last year's top 50, including eight of the top 20.  Add in several top-flight Europeans and you've got a very solid field of contenders...but absolutely nobody is picking an upset.

1. Jim Walmsley
Final 2016 GUR: 1
Current 2017 GUR: 3
2016 WS: 19
Allow me to become the 457th commentator to observe that the only person who can beat Jim right now is Jim.  His stunning 100 mile debut was one of the most electric performances of the year, notwithstanding the wrong turn at 91 miles that cost him the win and likely the course record.  Did you know that other than that wrong turn, Jim hasn't lost a race in over two years?  I could see him maybe blowing up if he is serious about chasing his stated goal--a sub-14:00 finish, which would better the course record by nearly an hour--but it's not likely.  And short of that, or injury, I don't see anyone in this field who can beat him.

2. Kyle Pietari
Final 2016 GUR: 23
Current 2017 GUR: 1247
2016 WS: 8
OK, I'm going straight chalk with my picks for the winners, but here's a little bit of a dark horse for you.  He backed up last year's top-10 with a second place finish at Leadville.  He's been quiet this year, with only one ultra finish back in March.  Is he ready for a huge breakout?

3. Alex Nichols
Final 2016 GUR: 12
Current 2017 GUR: 46
2016 WS: NA
Alex has a long history of stellar performances at huge ultras and other mountain races, including multiple wins at Pikes Peak, and has represented the US in the World Mountain Running Championships.  He made his long-awaited 100-mile debut last year with a win at Run Rabbit Run, and backed that up with top-five finishes at Speedgoat and North Face.  The WS course sets up well for people with Alex's particular skill set--climbers who have flat speed to burn.

4. Jeff Browning
Final 2016 GUR: 11
Current 2017 GUR: 25
2016 WS: 3
When you've been running ultras for fifteen years, it's hard to have a career year at 45--but that exactly what Jeff did last year, with a win at HURT, third at WS, and fourths at Hardrock and Run Rabbit.  He's undefeated in three low-key 50Ks so far this year.  It may be too much to expect a repeat of 2016, but I feel weird picking against him.

5. Chris Mocko
Final 2016 GUR: 29
Current 2017 GUR: 4
2016 WS: 7
He may have had the best 2017 so far of anyone in the field not named Walmsley: second at Way Too Cool, third at Sonoma, wins at Marin and UROC.  As long as he hasn't cooked himself too early in the season, he'll be heard from this weekend.

6. Jonas Budd
Final 2016 GUR: NA
Current 2017 GUR: NA
2016 WS: NA
I always have trouble picking the Euros (though I did hit Lorblanchet exactly last year, and wasn't too far off on Giblin) so who the hell knows.  But Jonas has the speedster pedigree of the Euros who usually perform well at States, and he was second to Walmsley at Tarawera earlier this season, though not really without shouting distance.

7. Ian Sharman
Final 2016 GUR: 3
Current 2017 GUR: 1528
2016 WS: 6
I'll pick him to finish in the top ten every year.  More dependable than taxes.

8. Thomas Lorblanchet
Final 2016 GUR: NA
Current 2017 GUR: NA
2016 WS: 4
Fourth in 2016, fifth in 2015.  Pretty safe bet he'll be up there again.

9. Brian Rusiecki
Final 2016 GUR: 2
Current 2017 GUR: 5
2016 WS: NA
The perennial UROY contender and 2015 GUR #1 makes his long-awaited WS debut.  Brian usually excels on more technical tracks, and so the WS trail might not quite be in his wheelhouse.  But he's incredibly smart and tough, and he comes in off one of the best stretches of his career, including his recent runner-up finish at Cayuga Trails.

10. Mark Hammond
Final 2016 GUR: 8
Current 2017 GUR: 57
2016 WS: NA
Maybe a little bit of a dark horse here, but I like his form recently, particularly a runner-up finish to Nichols at Run Rabbit (ahead of Browning), and a smoking 14:49 at the Salt Flats 100 in April.

Hedging my bets
11. Tofol Castanyer
12. Paul Giblin
13. Jared Burdick
14. Dominick Layfield
15. Zach Szablewski

Pre-Western States GUR Top 50 (as of 6/16)


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Sage Canaday
CO
126.4
YiOu Wang
CA
191.5
2
Max King
OR
125.5
Camille Herron
OK
178.1
3
Jim Walmsley
AZ
118.5
Magdalena Boulet
CA
95.3
4
Chris Mocko
CA
107.1
Ladia Albertson-Junkans
WA
74.5
5
Brian Rusiecki
MA
96.3
Kaci Lickteig
KS
71.8
6
Tim Freriks
AZ
71.75
Jacqueline Merritt
GA
61.7
7
Hayden Hawks
UT
68.5
Sabrina Little
TX
59.25
8
Cody Reed
AZ
63.6
Courtney Dauwalter
CO
58
9
Chris Raulli
NY
55
Amanda Basham
UT
48.5
10
Tim Tollefson
CA
52.5
Marianne Hogan
CO
48
11
Dakota Jones
CO
45
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
46.8
12
Chikara Omine
CA
43.9
Hillary Allen
CO
46.7
13
Michael Owen
OH
43.5
Kathleen Cusick
FL
46.5
14
Matt Flaherty
IN
40.75
Camille Shiflett
WI
45
15
Justin Ricks
UT
40
Cassie Scallon
CA
43.7
16
Zachary Szablewski
WA
38.5
Stephanie Howe Violett
OR
40
17
Franz van der Goen
CA
38.2
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
38.5
18
Masazumi Fujioka
WA
38.2
Megan Roche
CA
35
19
Ed Ettinghausen
CA
38.05
Rachel Drake
OR
34.5
20
Ryan Kaiser
OR
35.8
Ashley Nordell
OR
33.75
21
Dylan Bowman
CA
35
Devon Yanko
CA
33.6
22
Scott Trummer
CA
35
Dani Filipek
MI
32.5
23
Ronnie Delzer
TX
33.9
Janessa Taylor
OE
31
24
Matthew Thompson
VA
33.5
Gina Slaby
WA
30.6
25
Paul Terranova
TX
32.3
Shandra Moore
TX
30.2
26
Jean Pommier
CA
31.65
Julie Koepke
TX
29.9
27
Dominick Layfield
CA
31.2
Rachel Jaten
WA
28.9
28
Anthony Jacobs
TX
31
Sheila Vibert
VA
28.9
29
Travis Morrison
UT
29.9
Penny McPhail
CA
28.3
30
Ben Koss
CA
29.75
Caroline Boller
CAN
28
31
Cole Watson
OR
29.5
Meghan Arbogast
CA
28
32
Bob Shebest
CA
29.4
Molly Schmelzle
OR
26.9
33
Olivier Leblond
VA
28.6
Kirsten Hite
FL
26.3
34
Avery Collins
CO
28
Amy Macintire
TN
25
35
Ryan Bak
OR
27.25
Julia Stamps
CA
25
36
Jesse Haynes
CA
26.9
Rachel Entrekin
AL
25
37
Mario Martinez
CA
26.1
Bree Lambert
CA
24.9
38
Joe McConaughy
MA
25.025
Katalin Nagy
FL
24.9
39
Tyler Jermann
AZ
25
Jenny Hoffman
MA
24
40
Michael Daigeaun
PA
23.4
Alicia Hudelson
GA
23.9
41
Jason Schlarb
CO
23.05
Shawn McTaggert
AK
23.5
42
Ryan Ghelfi
OR
23.05
Meg Landymore
MD
23
43
Jean-Bernard Flanagan
IL
23
Chavet Breslin
CO
22.5
44
Matt Smith
TX
23
Karen Holland
CAN
22.5
45
Alex Nichols
CO
22.5
Amy Rusiecki
MA
22
46
Rob Krar
AZ
22.5
Camelia Mayfield
OR
21.9
47
Tyler Green
OR
22.5
Michelle McLellan
TN
21.5
48
Drew Macomber
CA
21.7
Addie Bracy
CO
21
49
Noah Brautigam
UT
21.7
Katrin Silva
NM
21
50
Patrick Caron
MA
21.5
Keely Henninger
OR
21










Final 2016 Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings

Men's #1, and UROY, Jim Walmsley
photo: Geoff Baker
I'm still waiting on results from two races in mid-December to officially close out 2016, but I don't really expect either of them to substantively affect the standings, so here are the more-or-less final 2016 GUR.  As noted, I made some tweaks to the formula this year, placing a larger emphasis on level 4 and 5 races, which I think helped.  The question now is whether these races are a little over-valued.  I don't think they are.  Yes, performing well in only one or two level 5 races can really vault someone to a high ranking.  But, it should!  There were only ten level 5 events on the calendar this year; placing highly in one of them really should carry extra weight.  The biggest problem I think I have right now is accurately categorizing overseas races.  Several of them were level 5 this year: Comrades, obviously; UTMB; Laveredo; MDS.  Many others were also level 4, including Transvulcania, Transgrancanaria, Ultravasan, CCC, and several others.  But these races are taking on increased importance, particularly among the North American elites, and I need to be as methodical as possible about making sure these are accurately reflected.  I'm not willing to just accept that any race in Europe is automatically a level 5, as some folks would have you believe--every European field is not Western States, people!--but I need someone with a little more expertise to help out here.  Any volunteers? (Jason Schlarb, I'm looking in your direction.)  I may have to over-rank these races a little bit to account for the fact that the field strength multiplier will not be as robust as it should be (since the multiplier is dependent on the number of top-ranked runners in the race, and these rankings follow North American runners only, European and Asian fields will get some short shrift in this respect).

Otherwise, I'm happy with the balance that the rankings continue to strike between racing a lot and racing just a few big races.  There are certainly multiple runners on both the men's and women's side that obtained top rankings with varied racing schedules.  Some people are higher than I'd like to see them, some are lower.  That's OK, that's what UROY voting is for.

Twenty-seven of last year's top 50 women repeated in the top 50 this year, and twenty-two men did the same.  And allow me a brief moment of bragging to point out that yours truly managed to rank #94 for the year.  I don't know if that accurately reflects anything, really, but I'm kind of psyched about it.

Anyway, here's the final top 50 for 2016.  These runners will factor into the field strength multipliers for every race they run in 2017.  Nearly 4000 men and over 3500 women earned ranking points in 2016.  As always, you can view the entire list here, or anytime using the links on the Ultrarunning magazine site.  Use the CTRL-F function on the rankings sheets to find your own name.


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Jim Walmsley
AZ
254.125
Kaci Lickteig
NE
230.9
2
Brian Rusiecki
MA
181.1
Magdalena Boulet
CA
141
3
Ian Sharman
CA
148.5
Kathleen Cusick
FL
121.4
4
Andrew Miller
OR
145
YiOu Wang
CA
119
5
Zach Miller
CO
137.4
Courtney Dauwalter
CO
104.5
6
Dylan Bowman
CA
129.875
Amy Sproston
OR
100.5
7
Paul Terranova
TX
113.5
Caroline Boller
CA
98.3
8
Mark Hammond
UT
106.95
Devon Yanko
CA
93.2
9
David Roche
CA
101
Neela D'Souza
Canada
80
10
Christopher Dennucci
CA
100.725
Bethany Patterson
VA
79.3
11
Jeff Browning
OR
99.4
Cassie Scallon
CO
76.05
12
Alex Nichols
CO
97.375
Julie Koepke
TX
75.875
13
Hayden Hawkes
UT
95
Clare Gallagher
CO
75.8
14
Cody Reed
AZ
87.3
Sarah Keyes
NY
74.5
15
Jesse Haynes
CA
81.7
Alissa St. Laurent
Canada
72
16
Tim Tollefson
CA
73.1
Hillary Allen
CO
71.825
17
Michael Daigeaun
PA
68
Maggie Guterl
PA
71
18
Paddy O'Leary
CA
66.05
Amanda Basham
OR
70
19
Mario Mendoza
OR
65.9
Heather Hoechst
PA
68.75
20
Jason Lantz
PA
64.95
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
68.6
21
Matt Flaherty
IN
64.85
Jodee Adams-Moore
WA
68.25
22
Jason Schlarb
CO
64.8
Kelly Wolf
AZ/CO
66.7
23
Kyle Pietari
MA
64.5
Sarah Schubert
VA
65.8
24
Sage Canaday
CO
63.75
Camille Herron
OK/MI
62.7
25
Michael Owen
OH
62.75
Corinne Malcolm
WA
60.25
26
Tim Freriks
AZ
62.125
Megan Roche
CA
60
27
Jorge Maravilla
CA
61.85
Laura Kline
NY
59.75
28
David Laney
CA
60.8
Keely Henninger
OR
59.725
29
Chris Mocko
CA
60.375
Sarah Bard
WA
59.3
30
Jared Burdick
NY
58.5
Aliza Lapierre
VT
59.25
31
Aaron Saft
NC
58.075
Darcy Piceu
CO
57.375
32
Ed Ettinghausen
CA
57.6
Sabrina Little
TX
54.5
33
Dakota Jones
CO
55.5
Anna Mae Flynn
CA
54.3
34
Tyler Sigl
WI
54.9
Megan Kimmel
CO
54
35
Zach Bitter
CA
54.5
Annie Jean
Canada
52.5
36
Dominick Layfield
UT
52.55
Megan Alvarado
VA
52.25
37
Jorge Pacheco
CA
52.2
Liz Bauer
SC
52
38
Mike Wardian
VA
50.95
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
51.875
39
Stephen Wassather
CA
49
Angela Shartel
CA
51.5
40
Brett Hornig
OR
45.4
Amy Rusiecki
MA
50.625
41
Chikara Omine
CA
45.35
Abby Rideout
UT
49.7
42
Masazumi Fujioka
WA
45.3
Pam Smith
OR
49.1
43
Chase Nowak
MN
45
Justyna Wilson
PA
49
44
Patrick Regan
GA
44.5
Beverly Anderson-Abbs
CA
49
45
Anthony Kunkel
CO
44.1
Erika Lindland
CA
48.8
46
Patrick Caron
MA
44
Leah Frost
VT
48
47
Ryan Bak
OR
44
Denise Bourassa
OR
47.425
48
Morgan Elliot
NC
43.2
Katalin Nagy
FL
46.8
49
Olivier Leblond
VA
43
Darla Askew
OR
46.6
50
Clark Messman
CA
42.5
Megan Digregorio
PA
45.4








Ultrarunner of the Year: My Ballot

This was the second time I was asked to vote for Ultrarunning magazine's Ultrarunner of the Year award, and I found this time around much harder than the first.  The men's and women's UROY were pretty obvious choices, but beyond that, narrowing down the rest of the top ten was exceedingly difficult.  Not to mention parsing the myriad fantastic races run this year to come up with the five best Performances of the Year.  And of course, just when I had settled on just about everything, last weekend happened and OH MY GOD.  It was pretty much back to the drawing board Monday morning.

One thing that made it a bit easier--or maybe harder?--was that for the first time, we were explicitly instructed by the powers-that-be that Fastest Known Time performances (FKTs) were not to be considered among the criteria for deciding UROY or POY.  This meant that several of the top contenders for POY, particularly on the men's side--Jim Walmsley's incredible R2R2R FKT, Pete Kostelnick's amazing transcontinental record, Karl Meltzer's FKT on the venerable Appalachian Trail, Jacob Puzey's 50 mile treadmill WR--were all out.  (For me, that effectively took Pete and Karl out of the running for UROY as well, though it didn't effect Jim's candidacy at all.)

There are about thirty voters, and the results are still being tabulated; the final results will be released on the Ultrarunning website starting in about a week.  For what it's worth, here are my picks.

Women's UROY
1. Kaci Lickteig
2. Magdalena Boulet
3. Caroline Boller
4. Courtney Dauwalter
5. Sarah Bard
6. Amy Sproston
7. Camille Herron
8. Maggie Guterl
9. Hillary Allen
10. Darcy Piceu

I found this category to be the toughest of all to compile my ballot.  This past weekend made it almost impossible; after Kaci, who was untouchable in 2016, I agonized over just about every spot on this list.  Toughest omissions for me: Katalin Nagy, Pam Smith, Gina Slaby, Devon Yanko, YiOu Wang, Jenny Hoffman, and Alissa St. Laurent.

Women's Performance of the Year
1. Gina Slaby, 100mi WR at Desert Solstice
2. Caroline Boller, 50mi trail world best at Brazos Bend
3. Katalin Nagy, dominant repeat win at Spartathlon
4. Sarah Bard, fourth place at Comrades
5. Hillary Allen, win at Cortina Trail ultramarathon

Felt like maybe I made up a bit here for leaving Gina and Katalin off the UROY ballot.  Tough to leave off Maggie's 100mi performance at Brazos Bend last weekend, Kaci's dominant win at Western States, and Cassie Scallon's course record at Bandera.

Women's Age Group Performance of the Year
1. Meghan Arbogast (55 years old), 100K age group WR at IAU World Championships
2. Meghan again, sixth place at Western States
3. Connie Gardner (52), win at Mohican 100
4. Beverly Anderson-Abbs (52), win (3:48) at Jed Smith 50K
5. Debra Horn (52), 170 miles in 48 hours (and the win) at Across the Years

Meghan's world age group record was an easy choice for me here, though I continue to have difficulty evaluating all of these performances across different age groups.

Men's UROY
1. Jim Walmsley
2. Jeff Browning
3. Zach Miller
4. Alex Nichols
5. Ian Sharman
6. Hayden Hawks
7. Dylan Bowman
8. Cody Reed
9. Brian Rusiecki
10. Andrew Miller

Just like for the women, Jim was an easy pick for the top spot; I'd honestly be a little surprised if he doesn't win unanimously.  And, just like the women, the next nine spots were a nightmare.  Almost too many difficult omissions to count; the toughest: Zach Bitter, Dave Laney, David Riddle, David Roche, Paddy O'Leary, Chase Nowak, Patrick Regan, Tim Tollefson, and Aaron Saft.

Men's Performance of the Year
1. Zach Bitter, 100mi American Record at 2015 Desert Solstice
2. Jim Walmsley, course record at JFK
3. Jim Walmsley at Western States
4. Tony Migliozzi, repeat winner at IAU 50K world championship
5. Tim Tollefson, third place at UTMB

Honestly, this was even harder than the women's POY for me.  Trying to choose between Walmsley course records was a thankless task; JFK got the nod given the history of the race, the number of legends who have taken on that course, and the fact that no one is within two fucking miles of that performance.  I couldn't leave off Jim's race at States either, which was the single most talked-about performance of the year, and the most dominant display that I've ever seen.  It may not be fair, but that's my vote.  I do hope Zach winds up winning this; it's unfair that people have kind of forgotten about DS last year, which was too late for 2015 voting.  Toughest omissions here were Zach Miller's crazy battle and win over Hayden Hawks at North Face, Jim at Bandera, Jim at Sonoma, Jason Schlarb at Hardrock, Geoff Burns' 6:30 100K at Mad City, and Patrick Regan's third place finish at IAU 100K worlds.

Men's Age Group Performance of the Year
1. David Jones (65 years old!), 17:34 100 mile at Tunnel Hill
2. Rich Hanna (51), age group national record (3:17) at Jed Smith 50K
3. Jean Pommier (52), 3:18 at Caumsett 50K
4. Ed Ettinghausen (57), 270 miles in 72 hours at Beyond Limits
5. Roger Jensen (66), 7:59 for 50 miles at JFK

You really could make an argument for any of these to be at the top of the list for me, and I wouldn't disagree with you.

So there you go.  Feel free to tell me what an idiot I am.  If you do, though, you must vote for me for Run Ultra's Blogger of the Year.  If you vote, you can go to the comments and call me whatever names you want.

Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings: Fall Update

I've kept the ultra rankings posts to a minimum this year; now that they have a somewhat permanent residence at Ultrarunning magazine, it doesn't seem as crucial to have them on the blog, since you can view the updated rankings anytime you want.  But as a service to those who haven't found their way over there yet, or as a reminder for those who have, I figured now would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed on where we stand with about ten weeks of racing left in the 2016 season.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head over to the Ultrarunning link above for a summary of how the rankings work, or just click the "ultra national rankings" label at the bottom of this post to see everything I've posted about it in the past.

photo: Myke Hermsmeyer
Since winning Bandera on January 6, Jim Walmsley has dominated this year's GUR.  He holds a commanding lead of nearly 50 points on second-ranked Ian Sharman, who is putting together another fantastic season.  (That doesn't even take into account Jim's recent demolition of Rob Krar's RTR FKT.)  Last year's #1, Brian Rusiecki, sits in third and should pick up some points at Hellgate in early December.  WS100 champ Andrew Miller is fourth.  A mere 3.5 points separate second through fourth on the men's side.  Walmsley and Miller are both slated to run at the North Face championships in early December, which will probably decide most of the final places in the top 10.

photo: Belinda Agamaite
WS champ Kaci Lickteig, ranked #5 in the 2015 GUR, is even more dominant on the womens' side than Walmsley is on the mens'.  She leads Lake Sonoma winner YiOu Wang by over 100 points; even if YiOu can outrun everyone at TNF, catching Kaci may be impossible.  Kaci has had an extraordinary season, with six wins from seven starts; her only loss was a second-place finish at Sonoma.  I'd be hard-pressed to imagine anyone other than Kaci and Jim taking home this year's UROY awards.

Anyway, below is the current top 50 men and women; totals are up-to-date through this past weekend.  As always, you can view the entire list here, which is updated each week usually around Thursday or Friday.  Use the CTRL-F function on the rankings sheets to find your own name; there are over 3500 men and almost 3200 women ranked so far.


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Jim Walmsley
AZ
194.125
Kaci Lickteig
NE
223.9
2
Ian Sharman
CA
148.5
YiOu Wang
CA
119
3
Brian Rusiecki
MA
147
Kathleen Cusick
FL
101.4
4
Andrew Miller
OR
145
Amy Sproston
OR
100.5
5
Dylan Bowman
CA
129.875
Devon Yanko
CA
93.2
6
Paul Terranova
TX
104
Courtney Dauwalter
CO
81.5
7
Christopher Dennucci
CA
100.725
Bethany Patterson
VA
79.3
8
Jeff Browning
OR
94.4
Magdalena Boulet
CA
78.5
9
Mark Hammond
UT
80.3
Alissa St. Laurent
Canada
72
10
Cody Reed
AZ
78.5
Hillary Allen
CO
71.825
11
Jesse Haynes
CA
76.7
Julie Koepke
TX
70.375
12
David Roche
CA
76
Amanda Basham
OR
70
13
Alex Nichols
CO
75.375
Jodee Adams-Moore
WA
68.25
14
Tim Tollefson
CA
73.1
Cassie Scallon
CO
67.925
15
Mario Mendoza
OR
65.9
Kelly Wolf
AZ/CO
66.7
16
Jason Schlarb
CO
64.8
Camille Herron
OK/MI
62.7
17
Kyle Pietari
MA
64.5
Sarah Keys
NY
60.75
18
Matt Flaherty
IN
63.35
Corinne Malcolm
WA
60.25
19
Tim Freriks
AZ
62.125
Maggie Guterl
PA
60
20
Chris Mocko
CA
60.375
Megan Roche
CA
60
21
Jared Burdick
NY
58.5
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
59.85
22
Dakota Jones
CO
55.5
Sarah Bard
WA
59.3
23
Tyler Sigl
WI
54.9
Neela D'Souza
Canada
59.2
24
Michael Daigeaun
PA
53
Darcy Piceu
CO
57.375
25
Dominick Layfield
UT
52.55
Sabrina Little
TX
54.5
26
Aaron Saft
NC
52.375
Anna Mae Flynn
CA
54.3
27
Jorge Pacheco
CA
52.2
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
51.875
28
Jason Lantz
PA
49.9
Caroline Boller
CA
51.5
29
Zach Miller
CO
49.4
Clare Gallagher
CO
50.8
30
Stephen Wassather
CA
49
Amy Rusiecki
MA
50.625
31
Sage Canaday
CO
47.25
Abby Rideout
UT
49.7
32
Brett Hornig
OR
45.4
Beverly Anderson-Abbs
CA
49
33
Ryan Bak
OR
44
Erika Lindland
CA
48.8
34
Morgan Elliot
NC
43.2
Darla Askew
OR
46.6
35
Olivier Leblond
VA
43
Lee Conner
OH
42.9
36
Masazumi Fujioka
WA
42
Emily Peterson
CA
42.85
37
Daniel Metzger
CA
41.25
Pam Smith
OR
42.5
38
Chikara Omine
CA
40.1
Denise Bourassa
OR
42.425
39
Chase Nowak
MN
40
Keely Henninger
OR
42.225
40
David Herr
VT
39.8
Laura Kline
NY
41
41
Cody Lind
ID
39
Jenny Hoffman
MA
40.5
42
Patrick Caron
MA
39
Ellie Greenwood
Canada
40
43
Paddy O'Leary
CA
38.75
Maggie Walsh
CO
40
44
Ed Ettinghausen
CA
38.4
Joelle Vaught
ID
39.5
45
Caleb Denton
TN
38
Katalin Nagy
FL
39
46
Chris Vargo
AZ
37.375
Megan Kimmel
CO
39
47
Michael Owen
OH
37.25
Traci Falbo
IN
38.6
48
Adrian Stanciu
CO
35.35
Alicia Shay
AZ
37.75
49
Hayden Hawkes
UT
35
Anne-Marie Maddon
Canada
37
50
Pete Kostelnick
NE
35
Krissy Moehl
WA
37




Liz Bauer
SC
37


Merry Statesmas! My WS100 Picks and a Pre-Squaw GUR Top 50 Update



The most anticipated day of the ultra running season is almost here.  Merry Statesmas, everyone!

Trying to handicap this race is almost impossible.  The field is so deep every year, and the course is such a demanding test; you need to be able to survive the high country, but still have legs after Foresthill to throw down when the real racing starts.  Couple that with the unpredictability of the weather and it makes picking the winner very difficult.  But, everyone is giving it a shot, so I might as well do the same.  My best crack at predicting the men's and women's races:

Ladies
Seven of last year's top 10 women are back this year, and they're found by a murderer's row of talent from the Golden Ticket races and elsewhere.  Fourteen of last year's Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings top 50 are set to run; sixteen of the current 2016 top 50 are entered (including four of the top 5).  I think the women's field is at least as deep as the men, which is not always the case.  The only difference is the relative lack of top women from overseas, but I don't expect that to affect the quality of the race one bit.

1. Magdalena Boulet
Final 2015 GUR: 1
Current 2016 GUR:32
2015 WS finish: 1
Everything else aside, this is Magda's race to lose.  The defending champion and the top marathoner in the field has both the mountain chops and the leg speed to meet any challenge.  Her early season results have shown her to be on form.  Anything can happen over 100 miles, but from where I sit, she's the overwhelming favorite.

2. Aliza Lapierre
Final 2015 GUR: 8
Current 2016 GUR:28
2015 WS finish: 4
She had a monster 2015, with top finishes at Bandera, TGC, States, and UTMF.  She's had a bit of a quieter start to 2016, but a dominant win at Miwok shows she's ready to go.

3. Kaci Lickteig
Final 2015 GUR: 5
Current 2016 GUR:2
2015 WS finish: 2
The Pixie Ninja is clearly in top form following her second-place finish at Lake Sonoma and has placed in the top 5 at WS in both 2014 and 2015.

4. Devon Yanko
Final 2015 GUR: 84
Current 2016 GUR: 22
2015 WS finish: NA
She's more known for her prowess on the roads, but she's been running very well on both roads and trails since her return to the scene at Two Oceans last spring.  States tends to look kindly on speedsters, and she's got one of the fastest marathon PRs in the field.

5. Caroline Boller
Final 2015 GUR: 27
Current 2016 GUR: 17
2015 WS finish: 8
After she crushed me--and the national master's record--at Caumsett in March, I'm looking for her to improve on last year's finish.

6. Alissa St. Laurent
Final 2015 GUR: 43
Current 2016 GUR: 79
2015 WS finish: NA
Flying a bit under the radar, but incredibly consistent across multiple distances.

7. Amy Sproston
Final 2015 GUR: 82
Current 2016 GUR: 31
2015 WS finish: NA
I like the road speed, I like the experience, and I like that she won Black Canyon to race her way in to WS.  I feel like I might actually be selling her short here.

8. Janessa Taylor
Final 2015 GUR: 56
Current 2016 GUR: 36
2015 WS finish: NA
She's won almost everything she's entered the past two years, save a second place only to Cassie Scallon's CR at Bandera.

9. Nicole Kalogeropoulus
Final 2015 GUR: 7
Current 2016 GUR: 18
2015 WS finish: 6
She DNF'd at Rocky Raccoon in February, but has won a couple of smaller races since then, and I'm a bit afraid to bet against her after what she did at UTMB last year.

10. Bethany Patterson
Final 2015 GUR: 18
Current 2016 GUR: 3
2015 WS finish: NA
Another incredibly consistent performer and a very prolific racer.  Most of her success is on more technical tracks, though, and I'm not quite sure of her flat-speed credentials.

Hedging my bets
11. Anna Mae Flynn
12. Amanda Basham
13. Meghan Arbogast
14. Maggie Guterl
15. Amy Rusiecki

Dudes
Unlike the women, none of last year's top four are back in 2016.  If anything, though, the men's race is a little tougher to handicap, because I find the top Europeans to be a bit of a confounding variable.  Partly because I don't follow the Euro circuit nearly as closely as the US events, but also, I'm never sure how their success translates on this side of the pond.  In the nine races of the PJE (Post-Jurek Era), only one foreigner (the great Killian Jornet) has won States, and it even took him two tries to do it.  Last year's European contingent was as strong as any in recent memory, and scored an impressive 4-5-6 finish, but can one of them break through for the win?  Regardless, despite the Euros, and despite the presence of eleven of both the 2015 and 2016 GUR top 50 in the starting field, I feel like this is a three-man race for the win, between Jim Walmsley, Sage Canaday, and David Laney.

1. Sage Canaday
Final 2015 GUR: 45
Current 2016 GUR: 29
2015 WS finish: NA
After an unbelievable 2014, Sage had a bit of a frustrating 2015, as evidenced by his disappointing (for him) 15th at Comrades and his injury-induced DNF at UTMB.  But he still managed a dominant win at Speedgoat and put up four sub-2:21 marathons in a 12-month stretch, and since barely missing the OTQ and recommitting to the trails, he looks to be back to his old self.  I don't want to bet against Jim or Dave, but I'll back my fellow Cornell XC/track alum.  Go Big Red!

2. Jim Walmsley
Final 2015 GUR: 18
Current 2016 GUR: 1
2015 WS finish: NA
This feels a little bit crazy.  No one beats Jim Walmsley these days.  (I mean, like no one.  He hasn't lost in over a year.)  It's his first crack at 100 miles, but States has seen rookies have plenty of success in the past.  (Look at Krar in 2013, or Magda last year.)  Can leg speed and overwhelming talent trump experience?

3. David Laney
Final 2015 GUR: 6
Current 2016 GUR: NA
2015 WS finish: 8
Ranking last year's UROY as the third choice makes me feel sick to my stomach.  Let's just move on.

4. Thomas Lorblanchet
Final 2015 GUR: NA
Current 2016 GUR: NA
2015 WS finish: 5
He's the top returning finisher from last year and may have more of the profile of the Europeans who are successful at States (which is to say, "fast," rather than strictly mountain-goat).

5. Didrik Hermansen
Final 2015 GUR: NA
Current 2016 GUR: NA
2015 WS finish: NA
I know very little about him, but he won TGC this year, so what the hell.

6. Ian Sharman
Final 2015 GUR: 7
Current 2016 GUR: 4
2015 WS finish: 7
Ian will finish sixth because I feel like Ian always finishes sixth.

7. Francois D'haene
Final 2015 GUR: NA
Current 2016 GUR: NA
2015 WS finish: 14
I always think of him as more of a mountain runner, but he's won huge 100-milers all over the world and unless something goes wrong I can't see him outside the top 10.

8. Bob Shebest
Final 2015 GUR: 12
Current 2016 GUR: 142
2015 WS finish: NA
My dark horse pick, I can't understand why this guy doesn't get more attention.

9. Jeff Browning
Final 2015 GUR: 69
Current 2016 GUR: 46
2015 WS finish: NA
I just love his form recently.  Third at UTMF in September and first at HURT in January.

10. Jesse Haynes
Final 2015 GUR: 82
Current 2016 GUR: 13
2015 WS finish: DNF
He's always hanging around the back half of the top 10, and has been running well in early 2016.

Hedging my bets
11. Paul Giblin
12. Andrew Tuckey
13. Christopher Denucci
14. Paul Terranova
15. Andrew Miller

Pre-Western States GUR Top 50 Update (as of 6/18)


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Jim Walmsley
AZ
159
YiOu Wang
CA
104
2
Paul Terranova
TZ
85
Kaci Lickteig
NE
61.9
3
Brian Rusiecki
MA
75.6
Bethany Patterson
VA
56.8
4
Ian Sharman
CA
72.5
Sabrina Little
TX
54.5
5
Christopher Dennucci
CA
67.675
Anna Mae Flynn
CA
54.3
6
Dylan Bowman
CA
61.85
Corinne Malcolm
WA
53.35
7
Matt Flaherty
IN
61.6
Cassie Scallon
CO
50.3
8
Mario Mendoza
OR
59.9
Kathleen Cusick
FL
50
9
Jared Burdick
NY
58.5
Jodee Adams-Moore
WA
40.75
10
Tim Frericks
AZ
55
Ellie Greenwood
Can
40
11
Tyler Sigl
WI
50.5
Keely Henninger
MA
38
12
David Roche
CA
47.5
Alicia Shay
AZ
37.75
13
Jesse Haynes
CA
46.7
Bev Anderson-Abbs
CA
37.7
14
Andrew Miller
OR
45
Sarah Bard
WA
36.8
15
Chris Mocko
CA
41.625
Laura Kline
NY
36
16
Stephen Wassather
CA
41.5
Amy Rusiecki
MA
35.325
17
Jorge Pacheco
CA
40.2
Caroline Boller
CA
35
18
Michael Daigeaun
PA
40
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
35
19
Masazumi Fujioka
CA
39
Emily Peterson
CA
31
20
Ed Ettinghausen
CA
38.4
Erika Lindland
CA
30.8
21
Dominick Layfield
UT
38.2
Rachel Ragona
CA
30.6
22
Ryan Bak
OR
37.5
Devon Yanko
CA
30
23
Chris Vargo
AZ
37.375
Megan Roche
CA
30
24
Zach Miller
CO
35
Julie Koepke
TX
29.275
25
Daniel Metzger
CA
34.5
Denise Bourassa
OR
28.8
26
Mark Hammond
UT
33.8
Heather Hoechst
PA
28.75
27
Paddy O’Leary
CA
33.75
Sarah Schubert
VA
28.6
28
Chikara Omine
CA
33.6
Aliza Lapierre
VT
27.5
29
Sage Canaday
CO
33.5
Traci Falbo
IN
26.6
30
Chase Nowak
MN
30
Kelly Wolf
AZ
26.2
31
Charlie Ware
AZ
28.5
Amy Sproston
OR
25.5
32
Jorge Maravilla
CA
28.5
Magdalena Boulet
CA
25.5
33
Jason Lantz
PA
27.4
Amy Clark
TX
25.25
34
Caleb Denton
TN
27
Pam Simth
OR
25
35
Jared Campbell
UT
25
Camille Herron
OK
24.7
36
Nickademus Hollon
CA
24.4
Janessa Taylor
OR
24.5
37
Karl Meltzer
UT
24.3
Anne-Marie Maddon
Can
24
38
Aaron Saft
NC
24.125
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
23.875
39
Steve Barber
TN
24
Katrin Silva
NM
23.25
40
Jeremy Wolf
WA
23.675
Courtney Dauwalter
CO
23
41
Olaf Wasternack
TN
23
Sheryl Wheeler
NY
22.8
42
Patrick Caron
MA
23
Amanda Basham
OR
22.5
43
Nicholas DiPirro
VA
22.5
Brittany Goicoechea
ID
22.5
44
Jean Pommier
CA
22.1
Keila Merino
NY
22.125
45
Mario Martinez
CA
21.6
Liz Bauer
SC
22
46
Jeff Browning
OR
21.5
Bree Lambert
CA
21.6
47
C Fred Joslyn
NY
21.325
Lee Conner
OH
21.6
48
Cody Reed

21
Shawn Chapler
IN
21.55
49
David Goggins
TN
21
Natalie Larson
CA
21.5
50
Brett Hornig
OR
20.65
Darcy Piceu
CO
21.375















Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings: First 2016 Update

Women's #1 YiOu Wang
photo: Trail Runner Magazine

With the first third of the year gone, and summer racing season just around the corner, it's time to check in with the Gunkrunner Ultra Rankings.

Regular readers (what are you people doing with your lives?) will remember that the GUR began last year as my attempt to provide an objective ranking of the top ultrarunners in the US.  Using the World Golf Rankings as a model, I devised a formula that accounts for field size, field strength, race prestige/importance, and head-to-head competition.  How successful it was is open to debate, but I was pleased with the results the first time around, and so I continued it with some minor tweaks for 2016.

It's a little early in the year for the results to be very meaningful as yet.  Many of the top runners have barely opened their campaigns; neither of last year's UROY (David Laney and Magdalena Boulet) has raced an ultra yet this year, and most of the biggest races on the calendar are still to come.  But with the Golden Ticket races completed, as well as the first major showdown of the year at Lake Sonoma, some early trends are taking shape.

Men's #1 Jim Walmsley
photo: Ultrarunner Podcast
To nobody's surprise, Jim Walmsley is dominating the men's ranking to this point, with more than double the points of second-ranked Ian Sharman.  Jim has won four races already this year, including major wins at Sonoma, Bandera, and Moab.  The Sonoma women's winner, YiOu Wang, also comfortably leads the women's rankings.  The men's point totals in the top 25 are easily outpacing those of their female counterparts, reflecting that many of the top-ranked men have raced more often, and more frequently against each other, than the leading women.  (This effect disappears among those ranked 26-50, where the point totals are nearly identical for men and women.)

You'll notice that the point totals are much higher this year than in 2015.   The reason is twofold.  First (and most importantly) the point values for level 4 and 5 races have been increased significantly from 2015, lending these races more weight.  Secondly, I'm using last year's top 50 to calculate field strength (as opposed to only the top 10 last year), so the field strength multipliers are more frequent and more robust.

You may also notice there are no more international runners in the rankings.  I've decided to limit this only to North American runners.  I've been trying to be more inclusive of overseas races this year, as many of the top US runners are travelling abroad to compete, and the UTWT takes on more importance domestically.  However that exposes me to many, many more international runners, and keeping track of them was becoming untenable.  Plus, it wasn't like I was doing a good job of capturing their results last year, and the rankings that Killian, Francois, Gediminus, etc. were receiving was not at all reflective of any sort of reality.  So, North Americans only right now, though I'm still using Gediminius' ranking (and Emma Roca on the women's side) from last year to calculate field strength when he shows up.

A side benefit of this fact is that the GUR are now a little more in sync with the Ultrarunning UROY criteria.  I'm thrilled that this year I've been able to partner with Ultrarunning; the GUR now has a permanent home on their website, so you can view updated rankings in real time whenever you feel like I'm being too slow publishing them.

Top 50 (as of 5/5/16) below; check out the full list here.



Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Jim Walmsley
AZ
159
YiOu Wang
CA
94
2
Ian Sharman
CA
72.5
Bethany Patterson
VA
56.8
3
Mario Mendoza
OR
59.9
Kaci Lickteig
NE
47.9
4
Paul Terranova
TX
58
Cassie Scallon
CO
45.1
5
Christopher Dennucci
CA
55.675
Anna Mae Flynn
CA
44.3
6
Tim Freriks
AZ
55
Ellie Greenwood
Can
40
7
Dylan Bowman
CA
47.6
Keely Henninger
OR
38
8
David Roche
CA
47.5
Jodee Adams-Moore
WA
37.5
9
Jesse Haynes
CA
46.7
Caroline Boller
CA
35
10
Andrew Miller
OR
45
Sabrina Little
TX
35
11
Matt Flaherty
IN
42.6
Amy Rusiecki
MA
31.1
12
Chris Mocko
CA
41.625
Emily Peterson
CA
31
13
Brian Rusiecki
MA
41.55
Devon Yanko
CA
30
14
Michael Daigeaun
PA
40
Megan Roche
CA
30
15
Masazuma Fujioka
WA
39
Denise Bourassa
OR
28.8
16
Ed Ettinghausen
CA38.4
Sarah Schubert
VA
28.6
17
Ryan Bak
OR37.5
Julie Koepke
TX
28.175
18
Zach Miller
CO35
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
28
19
Daniel Metzger
CA
34.5
Rachel Ragona
CA
27
20
Jorge Pacheco
CA
32.8
Bev Anderson-Abbs
CA
26
21
Stephen Wassather
CA
31.5
Amy Sproston
OR
25.5
22
Jared Burdick
NY
28.5
Camille Herron
OK
24.7
23
Charlie Ware
AZ
28.5
Janessa Taylor
OR
24.5
24
Jorge Maravilla
CA
28.5
Kathleen Cusick
FL
24.5
25
Caleb Denton
TN
27
Amy Clark
TX
24.25
26
Karl Meltzer
UT
24.3
Anne-Marie Maddon
Can
24
27
Jeremy Wolf
WA
23.675
Kelly Wolf
AZ
23.2
28
Nicholas DiPirro
VA
22.5
Laura Kline
NY
23
29
Sage Canaday
CO
22.5
Amanda Basham
OR
22.5
30
Jeff Browning
OR
21.5
Brittany Goicoechea
ID
22.5
31
Dominick Layfield
UT
21.4
Natalie Larson
CA
21.5
32
Chikara Omine
CA
21
Corinne Malcolm
WA
21.25
33
Brett Hornig
OR
20.65
Maggie Guterl
PA
21
34
Troy Shellhamer
KY
20
Traci Falbo
IN
21
35
Zach Bitter
CA
19.7
Alicia Hudelson
GA
20.475
36
Chris Roberts
DC
19.2
Katrin Silva
NM
20
37
Yassine Diboun
OR
19.2
Jennifer Pfeifer
CA
19.2
38
Darren Thomas
VA
19
Heather Hoecsht
PA
19
39
Mark Hammond
UT
19
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
18.875
40
Ryan Neely
CA
19
Kait Sheridan
NY
18.5
41
Benjamin Koss
CA
18.9
Kathryn Drew
Can
18.2
42
Ryan Ghelfi
OR
18.5
Jameelah Mujaahid
GA
18
43
Jason Friedman
NY
18.05
Rebecca Watters
GA
17.3
44
C Fred Joslyn
NY
18
Deysi Osegueda
CA
17.1
45
Brian Miller
CA
17.75
Alissa St. Laurent
Can
16.5
46
Coree Woltering
CO
17.5
Megan Stegemiller
VA
16.5
47
Michael Owen
OH
17.25
Christina Clark
Can
16.3
48
Kevin Moore
CA
17.2
Alician Rich
IN
16
49
Aaron Saft
NC
17
Cait Morgan
CT
16
50
Jeremy Humphrey
ID
17
Sarah Bard
WA
16

Will Swenson
MA
17




Ryan Atkins
Can
17



Revised 2015 Final Ultra National Rankings

So 2015 is in the books, and I've finished updating the Ultra National Rankings for the year.  Only one change to the top 50 in the final two weeks of racing: Ed Ettinghausen jumped into 36th on the men's side, following up his third place showing at the Desert Solstice 24-hour with a win at the Across the Years 6 Day only a week later.  Unbelievable stuff.

The Ultrarunning UROY results were released as well, so we can see how the voters' top 10 compared to the rankings:

Men
UROY
GR Ranking
Women
UROY
GR Ranking
David Laney
1
6
Magdalena Boulet
1
1
Ian Sharman
2
7
Camille Herron
2
4
Seth Swanson
3
9
Stephanie Howe
3
3
Rob Krar
4
2
Kaci Lickteig
4
5
Dylan Bowman
5
3
Katalin Nagy
5
10
Zach Miller
6
11
Nicole Studer
6
7
Brian Rusiecki
7
1
Aliza Lapierre
7
8
Alex Nichols
8
10
Ellie Greenwood
8
9
Joe Fejes
9
59
Darcy Piceu
9
26
Bob Shebest
10
12
Bethany Patterson
10
18

I've already started working on the rankings for 2016, with a few minor tweaks as I outlined earlier.  Some exciting news: I'm working with the good folks at Ultrarunning magazine to try to bring these rankings to a wider audience.  In the coming weeks, we hope to have a dedicated page on the UR website for these rankings (which I think I'm going to rename the Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings, you know, building the brand and all).

As always, peruse the entire list here.  (Helpful hint from some smart folks: use CTRL-F to search for your name on the sheet.)

Final 2015 Top 50


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Brian Rusiecki
MA
104.15
Magdalena Boulet
CA
171.6
2
Rob Krar
AZ
87.5
Kathleen Cusick
VA
105.5
3
Dylan Bowman
CA
80.5
Stephanie Howe
OR
95.075
4
Paul Terranova
TX
79.9
Camille Herron
OK
90
5
Alex Varner
CA
78.6
Kaci Lickteig
NE
87.275
6
David Laney
OR
72.2
Larissa Dannis
CA
82.4
7
Ian Sharman
CA
69.5
Nicole Studer
TX
79.675
8
Ryan Bak
OR
68.9
Aliza Lapierre
VT
78.6
9
Seth Swanson
MT
68.6
Ellie Greenwood
Can
78.15
10
Alex Nichols
CO
62.8
Katalin Nagy
FL
72.5
11
Zach Miller
CO
62.5
Cassie Scallon
CO
71.8
12
Bob Shebest
CA
56.375
Ashley Erba
CO
70.9
13
Justin Houck
WA
56.075
Sarah Bard
MA
64.225
14
Zach Bitter
WI
52.5
Bev Anderson-Abbs
CA
58.6
15
Jared Hazen
CO
52
Megan Kimmel
CO
55
16
Mark Hammond
UT
51.8
Amy Rusiecki
MA
55
17
Ryan Kaiser
OR
50.975
Neela D’Souza
Can
54.5
18
Jim Walmsley
AZ
50.3
Bethany Patterson
WA
52
19
Ryan Smith
CO
50.075
Hillary Allen
CO
51.375
20
Chikara Omine
CA
50
Kerrie Bruxvoort
CO
49.4
21
Jorge Maravilla
CA
49.8
Rachel Ragona
CA
49.15
22
Jorge Pacheco
CA
49.3
Traci Falbo
IN
48.1
23
Mario Martinez
CA
48.4
Jacqueline Palmer
NE
48
24
Jean Pommier
CA
47
Emily Richards
NC
46.6
25
Mario Mendoza
OR
47
Emma Roca
ESP
46.35
26
Christopher Dennucci
CA
46.7
Darcy Piceu
CO
43.175
27
Benjamin Stern
CA
46.2
Caroline Boller
CA
41.95
28
Andrew Miller
OR
46
Ashley Nordell
OR
41
29
Pete Kostelnick
NE
46
Lee Conner
OH
40.5
30
Gediminus Grinius
LTH
44
Amanda Basham
OR
39.15
31
David Herr
VT
43
Angela Shartel
CA
39
32
Daven Oskvig
NY
42.5
Amy Phillips
CA
38
33
Michael Wardian
VA
41.1
Emily Peterson
CA
37.75
34
Daniel Hamilton
TN
41
Silke Koester
CO
37.4
35
Scott Traer
MA
40
Kara Henry
CO
37
36
Ed Ettinghausen
CA
38.85
Catrin Jones
Can
36.8
37
Ryan Ghelfi
OR
37.175
Erika Lindland
CA
36.475