A few months ago, it was announced that the USATF would “sponsor” a team scoring event at a few big ultras around the country. I had the USATF MUT Council’s spokesperson Kami Semick on the show, spoke with the Chair Nancy Hobbs by phone, and wrote my thoughts about it here.
So with the first event a few short weeks away, I figured I’d take the opportunity to examine what potential teams will look like, based on elite registrations I’ve obtained from race management, talking with athletes and team leaders, and sure, sharing some unsubstantiated rumors. Some of those listed may not be running, some might not be in prime shape, and others not not on the list may show up. Who knows.
Team Scoring Rules
As discussed in the podcast, teams can consist of up to ten runners, with a minimum of three from each gender. The top three from each gender “score”, and those times (not places) are added up for both a gender division, as well as an overall division. Lowest overall time wins.
For this analysis, I’ve taken the elite athletes registered for the race (by last name alpha), matched them up with their respective teams, and included past results from this course. Anyone who knows the Marin Headlands is aware that the trail/course has changed over the years due to weather, and that’ll just have to account for an extra level of uncertainty come December. Also, in terms of photographs, I was following the fellas last year and missed pics of the ladies. No disrespect meant, this is just all I have and didn’t want to swipe any off the internet.
If I’ve missed some times or screwed up, please let me know so I can correct the data (and place my new wagers accordingly.)
Disclaimer: This analysis is neither endorsed nor supported by either USATF or The North Face or affiliates. Just my little project to try to figure out this possible next step in MUT racing and to try to stoke some conversation.
Melanie Bos (8:11 in ’13)
Rory Bosio (8:30 in ’11)
Ruth Croft (No TNFEC finishes)
Dylan Bowman (6:23 in ’14)
Jez Bragg (6:49 in ’11)
Hal Koerner (7:15 in ’11)
Rob Krar Tim Olson
With many of their athletes laying low right now (Olson fatigue, Krar injury, Howe & Swanson not running), the title sponsor is looking light for team scoring.
Melanie Bos has only raced one fifty miler since last year’s TNFEC, but it was a tough race where she finished second female. Rory can be a bit inconsistent at this race, but if she’s on and ready to race, she’ll be at the front. And Ruth Croft (a Kiwi living in Hong Kong) doesn’t have domestic experience, but finished 2nd at the highly competitive Tarawera 100k this year.
Dylan Bowman lives on these trails and after his recent awakening at TNF Australia, his racing skills are finely honed. Hal’s experience speaks for itself, and I’ve learned to never discount him when he lines up for a race. Same for Jez Bragg. An experienced and smart runner, Jez should finish not at the front, but towards the front of this fast field.
Men’s race: Bowman, Bragg, Koerner: 20:07
Women’s race: Bos, Bosio, Croft: ?
Amanda Basham (8:26 in ’14)
Caroline Boller (8:07 in ’14)
Kaci Lickteig (No TNFEC finishes, but I’d guess an 8:04 is doable) Alicia Shay (8:21 in ’14) Not running
Ryan Bak (No TNFEC finishes. My prediction: 6:20)
Ryan Ghelfi (6:58 in ’14)
Daniel Kraft (6:55 in ’14)
Zach Miller (6:44 in ’14)
David Roche (No TNFEC finishes) Chris Vargo (7:29 in ’14)
Alex Varner (6:14 in 14)
Nike is looking strong for both women and men. Really strong.
Nike has two women who could win the race–Caroline Boller or
Kaci Lickteig–with Amanda Basham and Alicia rounding out the rest of the top three.
The Nike Trail Elite men’s team has the strongest showing going into this. Alex Varner is focusing on Quad Dipsea the week before TNFEC, but he’s been known to have successful doubles before. All
seven five of their runners could theoretically finish in the top ten.
Women’s hypothetical finish (Boller, Lickeig, Shay): ?
Men’s hypothetical finish: (Varner, Bak, Miller) for ?
Meghan Arbogast (8:47 in ’10)
Ashley Erba (No TNFEC finishes)
Leslie Howlett (No TNFEC finishes)
Nicole Studer (No TNFEC finishes)
Sondre Amdahl (No TNFEC finishes)
Josh Arthur (7:06 in ’14)
Jacob Puzey (No TNFEC finishes)
Thomas Puzey (No TNFEC finishes)
Jason Schlarb (6:54 in ’11)
The Altra team has enough runners to score, but not too much way up front.
If masters runners get special scoring, Meghan Arbogast can carry her entire team. The remainder of the Altra women’s team has not been tested on this course, but Nicole Studer,
Ashley Erba, and Leslie Howlett will be fun to watch.
Schlarb’s in shape and should score first for the Altra team, followed by Sondre Amdahl and Josh Arthur. For a team with so many athletes, they’re holding back a bit, it seems.
Men: (Schlarb, Amdahl, Arthur) in ?
Women’s hypothetical finish: (Arbogast, Erba, ?)
Jen Benna (8:34 in ’11)
Magda Boulet (7:08 in ’14)
Larisa Dannis (No TNFEC finishes)
Darcy Piceu (No TNFEC finishes)
Jorge Maravilla (6:28 in ’14)
Bob Shebest (7:18 in ’13)
Paul Terranova (No TNFEC finishes)
Mike Wardian (7:06 in ’14)
Jeremy Wolf (No TNFEC finishes)
Hoka is looking strong in both depth of runners, and athletes’ familiarity with the course.
Magda and Larisa are both speedsters who know how to win, and they both run these trails a few times each week. They’ll both finish towards the top, with Magda likely winning the female division. Jen Benna and Darcy Piceu, both tough and smart, will round out the team really well.
Like Magda and Larisa, Jorge lives on this course, and Bob is nearby. I’d expect Jorge to finish near the front of the race followed by Wardian and Bob, who’s having a heckuva year.
Hypothetical women’s finish: (Boulet, Dannis, Piceu) in ?
Hypothetical men’s finish (Maravilla, Shebest, Wardian): 20:52
Sara Bergstrom (No TNFEC finishes)
Anna Mae Flynn (No TNFEC finishes)
Ellie Greenwood (7:07 in ’11)
Anne-Maria Madden (8:03 in ’14)
Cassie Scallon (No TNFEC finishes)
Adam Campbell (6:34 in ’11) Not attending event Francois D’Haene (5:46 on modified course in ’12) Not attending event Dakota Jones (6:12 in ’14)
Max King (6:54 in ’13)
Update: Rickey Gates (7:35 in ’13)
Update: Justin Hock (7:04 in ’14)
From the list and info I have, the Salomon women’s team is solid, while the men’s team is really solid.
Obviously, Ellie has proven herself at nearly every distance out there and knows how to win a race. Cassie is great at the 50M distance, having wonSquamish this year and Sonoma two years ago. And Anne-Marie Madden ran a solid 4th place last year. Not sure of her fitness now. I’m not familiar enough with Sara or Anna Mae to make a call on them. Anyone?
The men’s team. Wow. Anyone of those fellas could go home with a chicken dinner (and a check for $10k.) Update: With Adam and Francois (and now Dakota) out , Salomon will depend on the likely addition of Rickey Gates (and now Justin Houck) to secure a legitimate score.
Women’s hypothetical finish: Ellie, Cassie, ?
Men’s hypothetical finish: Max, Dakota, Rickey
After digesting who’ll be toeing the line in two weeks and getting past the mental hurdle of thinking of individual performances, which team will come out on top? Who’ll get the women’s title? How about men’s?
Will teams be thinking about the UTI aspect of the event? Will you?
You want my predictions? I think the Salomon men will edge out Nike, while the women’s race is a toss up between Hoka and Nike.