Mike Morton of Lithia, Florida and Ellie Greenwood of North Vancouver, British Columbia have been voted the 2012 UltraRunning magazine North American ultramarathon runners of the year.
Morton, 41, a Master Sergeant in the US Army Special Operations Command, won all five races he entered in 2012, including Badwater, a 135-mile race across Death Valley in July. He set course records at both the Umstead 100-Mile Race in North Carolina and the KEYS 100-Mile Race in the Florida Keys. His year culminated in winning the World 24-Hour Championships at Katowice, Poland, where set an American record with 172.457 miles. Western States 100 Mile winner Timothy Olson of Ashland, Oregon finished second in the voting, just ahead of Bend, Oregon’s Max King. Another Oregonian, Hardrock 100 Mile winner Hal Koerner, finished fourth.
Greenwood, who won for the second straight year, was a unanimous winner for the women, placing first on all 24 ballots. Originally from Fife, Scotland, she has lived in Canada for the past 13 years. Greenwood, 33, won the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in June, breaking the women’s course record set in 1994 by the legendary Ann Trason. In all, she won eight ultramarathon races during the year, including a course record win at the venerable JFK 50 Mile in Maryland.
Morton’s 24-hour record run in Poland was voted outstanding performance of the year for men. He averaged 8:21 per mile for the entire 24 hours, breaking Scott Jurek’s 2010 record by nearly seven miles. Timothy Olson’s Western States record time of 14:46:44 finished second in the voting, with Max King’s 5:34:59 stunning course-record run at the 50th annual JFK 50 Mile in Maryland placing third.
Greenwood also won the outstanding performance of the year for women with her stellar run at Western States, widely considered the most important competition in the US, where she set a record time of 16:47:19. Runner-up honors went to Amy Sproston of Portland, Oregon, for her win at the World 100-km Championships in Italy.
Arthur Webb, 70, of Santa Rosa, California won the best male age-group performance with a stellar 33:45:40 clocking for the Badwater run across Death Valley. Meghan Arbogast, 51, of Corvallis, Oregon won the women’s age-group award for her 7:41:52 fourth place finish at the World 100-km Championship. It was the second straight year that Arbogast has won the age-group award.
A panel of 24 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. Ultramarathon running is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, with participation more than doubling over the past five years. There were 717 ultramarathon races held in North America in 2012.