UltraRunners of the year – historical

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Past winners of UltraRunner of the Year. For common questions about the process please see below

Year Female Male
2019
2018 Courtney Dauwalter Jim Walmsley
2017 Camille Herron Jim Walmsley
2016 Kaci Lickteig Jim Walmsley
2015 Magdalena Boulet David Laney
2014 Ellie Greenwood Rob Krar
2013 Michele Yates Rob Krar
2012 Ellie Greenwood Mike Morton
2011 Ellie Greenwood Dave Mackey
2010 Tracy Garneau Geoff Roes
2009 Kami Semick Geoff Roes
2008 Kami Semick Jorge Pacheco
2007 Nikki Kimball Scott Jurek
2006 Anne Lundblad Karl Meltzer
2005 Anne Lundblad Scott Jurek
2004 Nikki Kimball Scott Jurek
2003 Nikki Kimball Scott Jurek
2002 Ann Heaslett Chad Ricklefs
2001 Ann Trason Rich Hanna
2000 Deb Bolig Dan Held
1999 Daniele Cherniak Mark Godale
1998 Ann Trason Kevin Setnes
1997 Ann Trason Tom Johnson
1996 Ann Trason Tom Johnson
1995 Ann Trason Tom Johnson
1994 Ann Trason Tom Johnson
1993 Ann Trason Kevin Setnes
1992 Ann Trason Eric Clifton
1991 Ann Trason Andy Jones
1990 Ann Trason Andy Jones
1989 Ann Trason Sean Crom
1988 Ann Trason Stefan Fekner
1987 Mary Hanudel Charlie Trayer
1986 Sandra Kiddy Chuck Jones
1985 Sandra Kiddy Stu Mittleman
1984 Donna Hudson Bernd Heinrich
1983 Janis Klecker Bernd Heinrich
1982 Marcy Schwam Stu Mittleman
1981 Marcy Schwam Bernd Heinrich

 

Who votes for UROY?

Approximately 30 people cast ballots each year. Voters are asked to complete a ballot listing (in order) their top 10 male and female runners of the year selected from a comprehensive spreadsheet that includes all runners with significant wins throughout the year. Any runner who resides in North America is eligible to be considered. The reason for this is simple: we don’t always know the actual citizenship status of people who have emigrated, and in some cases even if we did it would be ambiguous. Ellie Greenwood, for example, now has dual citizenship in Canada and Great Britain. (The magazine has always treated Canada as a logical extension of its U.S. readership base. Many Canadians race frequently in the U.S., and vice versa. In fact, Canadian women have rather dominated things in recent years, winning UROY four of the past five years.)

What factors determine UROY?

Voters are given instructions, but a lot of the ranking is still a judgment call. How do you compare performances over such a wide variety of events? We ask voters to focus first on the most competitive races, as there are relatively few events where there are a lot of top runners competing. Western States, Lake Sonoma, and The North Face EC 50 Mile Championships comprise the deepest elite fields in North America. Add in the IAU World 100k Championships, and highly competitive foreign events like Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and Comrades. Strong performances in elite competitions rather than a fast time at a low-key race is what makes a runner stand out. We ask voters to look at the entire body of work for the year. One outstanding race can be acknowledged in the separate voting for Performance of the Year.

We also ask voters to focus on head-to-head results where they exist. If Runner A beats Runner B every time, it’s pretty hard to put Runner B ahead of Runner A in the rankings.

How are the votes tallied?

Voters submit ballots with their top 10 male and female runners. Votes are tallied on a 15-12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, acknowledging the fact that often the top runners are fairly obvious, but when you get down to sixth or seventh in the balloting, it’s almost impossible to differentiate.

Ballots are also submitted for the top five Performances of the Year, meaning the best single race, and also for top five Age Group (>50 years old) Performances of the Year. These ballots are tallied on a 7-5-3-2-1 basis.

The ultimate goal is to have rankings that are as objectively derived as possible, and will stand up to the scrutiny they certainly will receive.

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