USATF 2011 MUT Nominations Forum

You’ve probably seen or heard the announcement for 2011 USATF MUT runners of the year awards.  Certainly a lot of talk has circulated regarding UROY.  Let’s here focus on the USATF awards, which seem significant and should be more significant since there seems to be a broad, diverse collection of voters looking at relatively clear assessment criteria and the awards cover a variety of open and masters men’s and women’s race results.

This is absolutely a call for comments since so many of you have a great deal of experience with USATF, some of its races, who know some of the eligible athletes, and may even have a bit to say about this awards process.

Does the USATF do a good job supporting the sport and its athletes (does it do enough)? Or is it more an unfortunate case of a token recognition process made by an organization that’s merely established “a council […] called MUT (Mountain/Ultra/Trail) — an appropriate moniker since USATF treats these sports like mutts and feeds them bones” (Matt Carpenter, Running Times, 2007).  Let’s give USATF the benefit of the doubt and say it’s still coming to grips with a more fringe sport still making its way to “prime time” or the “big screen” (either way I didn’t say mainstream).

Here’s the announcement.  Take look and tell us what you think.

Nominations open for 2011
USATF Mountain Runners of the Year – Open andMasters
USATF Trail Runners of the Year – Open andMasters
USATF Ultra Runners of the Year – Open andMasters
USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail Contributor of the Year

TheMountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance runningwill select the
2011 USATFMountain Runners of the year and Ultra Runners of the Year based on
nominations received from interested athletes, coaches, and administrators involved in the sport.
The following is the selection criteria for the 2011 USATFMountain and Ultra Runners of the

1) Nominated athlete must show top results in U.S. mountain/trail competitions for 2011
(November 1, 2010 through October 1, 2011) – this will include mountain races (these may
be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail
races of varying lengths below the ultra distance. USATF ultra runners of the year results on
trail and ultra road courses above the marathon distance in both national and international
2) The nomination window includes the period: Nov 1, 2010 through Oct 1, 2011
3) Show top results in international competitions for 2011
4) Be an ambassador for the sport – athlete promotes and supports mountain running
5) Be a USATF member for 2011 – athleteMUST have a current USATF membership
6) To be considered for the masters category, athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.

To nominate an athlete, send BYOctober 25, 2011, the following information to and .
Nominated athlete’s name, age or birth date (if you know it), athlete contact information, brief
bio, reason for nomination in 2011. Anyone and everyone is welcome to nominate an athlete (or
in the case of COY – an individual, company, etc.). An athlete may also nominate

Nominations received by October 25 will be considered in the selection process. After all
nominations are compiled, the MUT council will vote (by October 30) for the mountain runner
and ultra runners of the year from nominations received. The USATFMountain Ultra and Trail
Runners of the Year will be announced at or before the annual convention in St Louis in
December. Should you have any questions about the procedure, please contact: Dave Dunham at

We also will accept nominations for contributor of the year for mountain, ultra, trail. Past
Contributor of the Year recipients have been: American Ultra RunningAssociation, Teva, La
Sportiva, North Texas Trail Runners, the Mad City 100 km, theWhiteMountain Milers, Scott
McCoubrey, Paul Kirsch, and Bob and Anita Teschek.

7 thoughts on “USATF 2011 MUT Nominations Forum

  1. MUT is, and in my opinion should always be, an outsider sport (really three separate sports). It’s a good thing. I am surprised USATF gives awards and couldn’t care less about them. Part of me wishes they wouldn’t because I revel in the fact that I participate in an outsider sport that allows me to escape into the mountains and forest.

  2. Expectations are all over the map for USATF and the MUT group, which has made for some entertaining dialogue. On one side, it’s “why can’t we get paid to race for our country” from disgruntled elites to “I’m glad somebody is doing something to pull mountain/trail running into an official group/championship” on the other. I suspect the dialogue will rage on.

    I structured my 2010 race schedule around USATF championship races, and really enjoyed it. It does pull more elites in, although no race (White River 50 may be the exception) truly was an elite all-comers. I certainly sensed a lot of pride in those making the world teams in XC, Mountain Running, and the select few for 50k/100k worlds. I think it’s better to have MUT championships than not, and appreciate the effort they put in.

  3. David, I bet you’re safe, that USATF rarely ventures into those dark and remote getaways.

    Scott, thanks for dropping-by. I like your characterization of the dialogue, and agree with you, especially the last sentence. I look forward to checking-out your 2012 schedule and glad you stayed on the west coast. Sounded like a close one!

  4. Matt – Can you provide us with a bit of a history lesson? How long has this award program been around and who are some of the past winners? Any speculation about potential winners this year?

    Hmm – sounds like I am starting to care….

    • Hi David,
      Caring is good! 😉
      Follow-up and deeper thoughts on the award with predictions (some are too easy to pick to be considered “predictions”) coming shortly…
      Thanks, Tim

    • Coming right-up, David. We were hoping here to just generate some reader perspective, unfettered. Something new, as opposed to Tim or I or both acting like the dialectical madmen we usually are.

      It’s not a coincidence that the UROY and USATF discussions are juxtaposed here. Really a pretty confusing process: to recognize dominance.

  5. What I have thought about, and don’t get, is why we have a USATF mountain runner of the year and a USATF trail runner of the year. Max King and Kasie Enman are obvious locks for mountain runner of the year, and because a mountain race is also a trail race, I’d give them trail runner of the year too. Don’t see the need for the mountain/trail split I guess.

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