Dave Mackey of Novato, California and Ellie Greenwood of Banff, Alberta have been voted the 2011 UltraRunning magazine North American ultra runners of the year.
Mackey, a medical student, won five ultramarathons during the year, including the Miwok 100K in northern California, the nation’s largest 100-kilometer race. He edged Michael Wardian and Mike Wolfe in the closest three-way vote in the award’s 31-year history.
Wardian, an international shipbroker from Arlington, Virginia, finished second at the World 100-Kilometer Championships in Winschoten, Netherlands and won the US 50-Mile Road Championship at Tussey Mountainback in Pennsylvania.
Wolfe, an attorney from Helena, Montana, was top American finisher at the prestigious Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, and won The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile, one of the country’s most competitive events.
Greenwood was a runaway winner for the women, placing first on 20 of the 22 ballots. Originally from Fife, Scotland, she has lived in Canada for the past 12 years. Greenwood won the Western States 100 in June, posting the second fastest women’s time ever. She also won the American River 50 and the Chuckanut 50K.
Meghan Arbogast of Corvallis, Oregon was runner-up for the second straight year. The 50-year-old massage therapist set a world age-group record at the IAU World 100K Championships, which was voted the best female age-group performance of the year. Arbogast dominated the category, also taking the second and third best age-group performances.
David Riddle of Cincinnati won the outstanding performance of the year for men, with his 5:40:45 course-record run at the 49th annual JFK 50 Mile in Maryland. Ian Sharman’s stunning 12:44:33 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile, the fastest time ever posted in a trail run, was a close second.
Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, North Carolina won the outstanding performance of the year for women, setting a record time for traversing the Appalachian Trail. She covered the 2180-mile trail, which runs from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia in 46 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes, averaging nearly 47 miles per day. Greenwood’s Western States win was only four votes behind in second.
Jay Aldous, 50, of Salt Lake City won the best male age group performance with a stellar 13:52:29 clocking for 100 miles at the Desert Solstice run.
A panel of 22 race organizers from all regions of North America submitted ballots this year. An ultramarathon is generally defined as any race longer than a 26.2-mile marathon. There were 606 ultramarathon races held in North America in 2011.
Photo, top: Ellie Greenwood at the American River 50 (John Medinger photo)
Photo, left: Dave Mackey at the Waldo 100K (Michael Liebowitz photo)