December 28, 2009

Canadian, Ultra Trail Performance Of The Year, Male & Female

I see lots of this type of thing going on in the U.S. scene, with friendly polls and banter about who put in the best performance of the year and who deserves the 'ultra runner of the year', but I have yet to see a Canadian specific poll so here it is!

In a very slight effort to get a few Canadian trail demons a bit more notoriety, I'd like to propose a poll. Male and Female Ultra TRAIL performance of the year, and runner of the year. I'll start with performance of the year and want to be sure I don't miss anyone, so I'll leave it open to comment for a few days first. Here's what I've got so far. I'll narrow it down to five a side for the vote but please let me know if I've missed anyone?

-Has to be of an ultra distance
-Has to be on TRAILS
-Has to be either born in Canada OR currently resides in Canada and represents 'The Maple Leaf' when they run
-Has to have been run in 2009
-Has to have won the race in question
-Can't be a staged race
-Most runners are multiple race winners. I've chosen what I consider to be the most impressive run by that individual in 2009. Full results for each will be listed in the 'ultra runner of the year poll'. If you feel one of their other races was more impressive than please say so...Hiedt's KK CR comes to mind, I'll have to ask his take on his best race?

Candidates, Performance Of The Year, Female

-Tracy Garneau: 1st - HURT 100 Miler, Hawaii
-Tamsin Anstey: 1st - Mountain Masochist 50 Miler, Virginia
-Denise McHale: 1st - C.R. Elk-Beaver 100k, B.C.
-Jen Segger: 1st - C.R. Bridle Trails 50k, Washington
-Ellie Greenwood: 1st - C.R. Stormy 50 Miler, B.C.
-Monica Sholz: 1st - Arkansas Traveler 100miler, Arkansas
-Lorie Alexander: 1st - Scorched Sole 50 Miler, BC
-Sue Lucas: 1st - Sulpher Springs 100 Miler, Ontario (Cdn ACU 100 Mile Champ!)


-Ryne Melcher: 1st - Mt Si 50 Miler, Washington
-Aaron Heidt: 1st - C.R. Chuckanut 50k, Washington
-Chris Downie: 1st - C.R. Sinister Seven 90 Miler, Alberta
-David Papineau: 1st - C.R. Scorced Sole 50k, B.C.
-Taylor Murphy: 1st - C.R. Run For The Toad 50k, Ontario
-Hassan Lotfi-Pour(Sammy): 1st - Stormy 50 Miler, B.C.
-Bruce Grant: 1st - Scorced Sole 50 Miler, B.C.
-Adam Hill: 1st - C.R. Laurel Highlands 50k, Ontario
-Glen Redpath: 1st - C.R. Haliburton 100 Miler, Ontario
-Derrick Spafford: 1st - Finger Lakes 50 Miler, New York
-Gary Robbins: 1st - C.R. Diez Vista 50k, BC (I'm just throwing my name in here but I won't put it to the poll cause it won't be fair considering it's my own damn blog! Plus I truly feel there are numerous more impressive runs on this list anyways)

Plenty of great runners missed out due to either injury or simply not winning outright. Special mention for sure to Nicola Gildersleeve and Darin Bentley, who each put in some great races in 09 and will always be in the mix with the top runners Canada has to offer on trails!

On a side note, Nicola wrote a great article for the local North Shore News about our Mountain Masochist experience in early Nov, here's the link.

I'll put this to a poll on the weekend, so please let me know if I've overlooked anyone, and my sincerest apologies if I have!!



Derrick said...

Great to see a Canadian poll!

Re: Adam Hill - Laurel Highlands 50 km Trail Run - new course record 4:32:10. Adam had so many great other races too.

I'd probably add Glen Readpath (lives in NY, but is Canadian) to the mix too. He had a great season that included smashing the course record at Haliburton 100 in 17:18 (old record was 18:23).

Oh, and you HAVE to add yourself to the poll to make it official!

Gary Robbins said...

Derrick, THANKS!! I knew you or someone out East would help me fill in the blanks here. I didn't know Glen smashed Haliburton 100 Record, damn impressive!! Thanks for clarification on Hill as well.


Bill Traynor said...

Just thought I'd mention Monica Sholz who won the Arkansas Traveler 100miler in 2009. Monica is from Jerseyville, ON

Gary Robbins said...


Dom Repta said...

what about Aaron Heidt's Knee Knacker? was that not a CR?

Barry Hopkins said...

Hey Garry just wanted to add Lorie Alexander to your woman's list as she won Scorched Sole 50 miler and is the female record holder. It's amazing that she has done this as Lorie was in the middle of her 50/50 milers for the year. Lorie has taken several female 50+ titles including the woman's 50+ USTAF championship 50 miler and the Canadian 50+ National championship 50 miler. Lorie will complete her 50th 50 miler on Dec 31st 2009 3 months ahead of schedule.

Gary Robbins said...

Good stuff, appreciate the feedback all!
Have added Lorie to the list.
Dommer, I mentioned Heidt's CR at KK earlier in posting. I've only chosen one result per person and personally feel his Chuck time was that much more impressive due to the field he was competing against!

Dom Repta said...

i think you also have to look at number of competitors. Well, I will say outright, I think AH should win for the men. Aaron Heidt in 2 races beat almost 500 other racers. That is a lot of competition.

I assume that with those two wins, that is the most cumulative competition in two races?

Dom Repta said...

ps. if we look at TWO CR by AH, and the history of the runners at those two races, it's over. AH wins.

saschasdad said...

One comment regarding Ryne and Mt. Si - Mt. Si really isn't a trail run. Well, at least in my opinion. Granted, I've never run it, but from what I hear, it's part crushed gravel road and part paved bike path. Sounds like a road race to me.

This isn't to take anything away from Ryne and his smokin' 6:17, rather I'm just trying to get clarification for your parameters for the poll.

It's about time a Canadian poll was started for this topic.

Gary Robbins said...

-I see where you're coming from Dom, but overall numbers don't really mean could easily beat 49,000 runners in The Sun Run and still be a very average runner. Knee Knacker was decently competitive, but either way he took down a very established and respected record. I knew this one would be up for debate, but I still think his Chuckanut win, against a very stacked field, where he destroyed everyone, was much more impressive. Can't argue with the rest of what you said though!
-Sean, I'm always looking to take the carpet out from under Melcher and didn't realize that the course was such. Unless he makes a startling case for himself I won't roll his result into the poll. It's worth mentioning though, that as impressive as his win and time was, he did it on a messed up knee and would have likely broken that course record and challenged sub 6hr had his miniscus not locked up on him for 5 miles of the run!

Thanks for the feedback guys!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Gary,

I'd like to nominate Sue Lucas from Dauphin, Manitoba. Here are some of her 2009 results:

McNaughton 100 mile - 28:12:43
Sulphur Springs 100 mile - 21:47:28 - First Place Female and 2009 Canadian ACU 100 mile Trail Champion
Dirty Girls 24 hour - First Place Overall - First Place Female (170 km/106.25 miles)
Lean Horse 100 - 5th female - 2nd place age group - 22:29:35
Halliburton 100 mile - First Place Female 24:20

Also, Sue won the 2009 Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series for the Marathon and Longer Division.

Also Sue was awarded the Team Salomon Flight Crew contest. She was awarded the grand prize of entry to the Transrockies Run in 2010.

Not to mention she is one of the most humble and modest ultrarunners out there. She just puts her head down and runs!!!

Vince said...

I love this kind of stuff! Adam's Sulphur 50-miler is quite impressive too...only seconds off Melcher's CR. Can't wait to see that Repta boy race again!!

Gary Robbins said...

-Anon, thanks so much for telling me about Sue, she sounds incredible and I'm shocked to say I hadn't heard of her yet. Hope she can make it out west for some big races in 2010! I'll definitely post her to the poll and she most certainly deserves a huge nod in the 'ultra runner of the year' poll as well!
-Vince, thanks for DL on Hill's near CR there as well. This is cool for me to get to know more about the East Coast Crew, I feel so ignorant it's embarrassing! PS, didn't ya hear, Repta retired, he's a full time DJ Daddy now!!
-Had another comment via Twitter regarding Derrick Spafford's 'Finer Lakes 50 Miler' win. Noticed it myself earlier today and going to add in here shortly. Bonus points to Derrick for throwing props at everyone but himself. Very impressed by that humble spirit!

Ryne said...

I'll throw my $0.02 in for what its worth....

Lots of good performances around the board on both genders and I wouldn't want the task of choosing male or female Canadian UR of the year.

Re: Mt. Si. Yeah its a very tame trail and given the MCL tear and meniscus junk going on I was limited to run stuff like that so I didn't do anything real stupid on tech stuff. It also boosts my argument that Aaron's Knee Knacker is more impressive than his Chuckanut run. Yeah he beat a stacked field at Chuckanut but 75% of the Chuckanut course is gravel paths or forest service roads like Mt. Si. Both races have a helluva tradition but given KK is hands down a more challenging run than Chuckanut and he beat the CR at KK and not Chuckanut I would say that might be the Male Peformance of the Year.

Taylor Murphy at Run for the Toad makes a strong argument for male performance of the year. Yeah the Toad isn't a knarly tech trail but it is a trail nontheless and not only did he beat Victor Hickey's CR but he did it by 13 minutes and on a course that was harder than when Hickey set the record. For those young bucks who don't know the name Victor Hickey he represented Canada 5 times at the IAU World 100k Championships with a best time of 6:57 for the 100k and won many National Championships in the late 90's early 00's.

Speaking from past experience and knowing what shape I was in back in 2005 at Sulphur Adam Hill's 6:27this year I put it in the mix as well. The course is about 6500' of climb and can get very hot at the beginning of summer there.

Gary while you listed your Diez time (due to CR and win) I think your performance of the year is Mt. Masochist not Diez Vista.

Male UR of the Year? Glen Redpath or Adam Hill. Aaron had only two ultra performances and while both are knock outs I don't think it exhibits enough versatility to win. Adam had great results at Sulphur, Highlands, Bull Run Run and Masochist. Glen had a similar resume of top notch results as mentioned in prior posts.

Women. Cripes gets even harder than the men. Long story short I give Tamsin the nod for performance of the year at Mt. Masochist. Initial thought was it was a cake walk over Ellie's Stormy 50 mile Canadian Championship win but then again while Stormy isn't quite as challenging as Masochist Ellie did run almost an hour faster and nearly beat Adam Lint and Sammy (who had that performance noted on the men's list). Then recalling that Masochist is measured in Horton Miles (ie. race was 54 miles not 50) makes the gap of 53 minutes more like 20.

I can't find an argument for Ellie not to repeat as female UR of the Year however. Wins at Chuckanut, Dirty Duo, Knee Knacker, Stormy, Toad 50k (crushing the CR by 17 minutes) gives her my nod.

This was the best year in recent memory of Canadian success on the ultra running scene and lots of fresh blood and energy/excitement to carry over to 2010!

Happy trails,
Ps. is this not the longest blog comment ever?! I should get an award for that at least!

Gary Robbins said...

I hate to admit it but Melcher almost sounds like a seasoned veteran who knows what he's talking about here!
-In reference to Heidt's Chuckanut time, it IS actually the course record on THAT version of the course and apparently extrapolated (had to google that one) would have challenged Uli's original CR. I'm still not sold on KK over out there??
-Agree on Taylor, would love to see him do more ultras and some mtn runs
-Agree on my own part as well. MM was my best race of my ultra running career to date, but not a win and unfortunately to keep this thing reasonable I had to establish some set of rules. Since it's my own blog I had no intentions of putting my own name in the poll anyways as I feel I'd get too many 'default' votes and it wouldn't be legit
-Agree on Male of year. I think you have to give serious nod to Chris Downie as well though. Wins at Stormy 100, Sinister 7 90m, Frosty Mtn, and Walk in Park show versatility and he would have broken my own Stormy CR if he didn't miss some flagging and get lost.
-Agree on Ellie vs Tamsin for most part, I just wish Ellie would do some bigger US races. Garneau also finished 3rd at TNF Championships though, McHale smashed H2H record and won Rock n Ice, and Dauphine's results seem stacked too, and at much longer distances...glad I don't have to decided anything there as well!
-Rune I'll give you the 'award' for longest comment cause it's the only thing yer gonna win in 2010!!

Sue said...

Hi Gary

This is Sue, obviously I have a fan out there. My last name is actually Lucas and not Dauphine as you have listed. I live in Dauphin Manitoba. Love that Roxy dog of yours she is so cute!


Gary Robbins said...

Opps! Thanks for letting me know Sue! Just checked out yer blog and looks like a few cute pups in there as well! See you at Trans Rockies:)

Vince said...

Some interesting discussions! I don't know the answer to the following question (I have a guess) but I think Rune might have a better idea:

Other then Andy Jones (Elk/Beaver 100K circa 1998), has any other Canadian beaten Victor Hickey in an ultra race?

Ryne said...

Vince I don't know if you are probing me for the answer or you know and you want it revisited but....

I have beaten Victor Hickey 3 times in an ultra race. The first time was in 1998 at the Slough of Despond 50k in Wiarton. It was the last race of the OUS that year and Victor had won the series and I had sealed second. No results could of altered the final standings that race. So I did what any 19 year old ultra runner would do. I drank my face off the night before. When my ride arrived at 5am to take me to the race I was sitting on the porch drinking out of a scotch bottle to pass time and keep the buzz going.

I never envisioned finishing that race but merely wanted to take off like a jackrabbit to drag Victor along and make him sweat and suffer for 10k or so. Turns out I ended up winning big time. Ironically the photo Ed Alexander took at the 15k mark coming off the bluff ended up on the December 1998 Cover of Ultra Running Magazine. People commented on how focused and determined I looked but the true story is I was trying to concentrate so I didn't fall over going around corners!

Scott Turner beat Victor at the Camp Heidelberg 50k in 1998 as well.

In the fall of 1998 I beat Victor at the Fergus 6 Hour Classic (76.5km to Victor's 74.75km) and in the 2000 IAU World 100k he dropped so technically every finisher beat him.

He did lose the 2000 US National 100k Championships and I believe he lost the 1999 100k that was held along the Charles River in Boston but outside of that he pretty much won everything he ran.

The real poll should be this:

Has Vince puked more times in a race than Victor has won a race?

I'm still waiting for more info from the Elias Sports Bureau on that one...


Vince said...

I honestly did not know that! Good on you and I knew you, the ultra running encyclopedia, could enlighten me! Thanks!

BTW, I puked in Hawaii during the Honolulu marathon...state #15 me thinks!

If you don't puke in a race, you're not working hard enough...right?


mrC said...

So this is a poll on just best performance by a Canadian runner in one ultra? Or best overall Canadian ultra runner of the year because one result doesn't make a "best" ultra runner .. so i'm assuming you mean the first.

I'd say throw Melcher's hat back in the pile for consideration. His Mt Si would fall under the USATF's definition of a trail ultra:
"include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain)..."

is there gonna be an award for best performance while under the influence of booze??

Derrick said...

Love this post and all the comments. Fun to see a little more Canadian ultra running inside news.

Taylor's Toad was his ultra debut and he certain smoked it. Funny as Taylor said that he had retired from competitive running, but certainly didn't look that way. He also had a strong race at Canadian Mountain Running Championships finishing second, as well as beating a strong field in winning our 5Peaks race here in Kingston. He said he's planning to go back to the Toad next year and will be interesting to see if he decides to do some other ultras too.

Glad to see Sue added to the list as she had an amazingly strong and consistant year.

Denise looked really strong at Rock and Ice beating Jenn Segger in quite the battle. Though, I guess you're not including stage races in your poll (even though some of the days were longer than marathon distance.) Sad to see Rock and Ice cancelled this year.

Re: Finger Lakes 50mile. Time was slow due to deep mud on the course, however it really shouldn't be included as there wasn't a very strong field, especially after Yassine dropped out mid race.

Gary Robbins said...

Just got off the phone with Heidt and he agrees with the pack here so Knee Knacker it is in the poll...


Dom Repta said...

This DJ must have been the only one is BC to put in over 100km this week and that is just a start!

Secret training....don't worry about me, it is so on!
I am already starting my quest for 2010 ultra runner of the year. Basically me finishing a bunch will make me a shoe in for winner....shoe in I said.

Sue has some impressive results, but it's hard to compare because the distances are so different. I do know the courses though so I have to consider the times I see. I will hold strong and say Ellie has both performance and overall win for ultra runner of the year and performance of the year.

SOLID work on everyone though!! I on the other hand, could not even step into anyones shoes on this list at the moment.

Vince said...

Now that's the D-Load I know and love!!

Hey, how come you never leave comments on my blog??