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