Competitive Scene - Page 4
Tony Krupicka and Geoff Roes in the hard-fought 2010 Western States 100-miler, now the crowning race of the Montrail Ultra Cup series. Photo by Luis Escobar.
MONTRAIL ULTRA CUP
A dozen years ago, looking for a way to determine the best ultrarunners and broaden interest in the sport of ultrarunning, Scott Tucker, then president of Montrail, and Greg Soderlund, then race director of the Western States 100, came up with the idea of the Montrail Ultra Cup, which was brought to life by then Montrail employee Krissy Moehl.
Inherently, a single championship race determines only who’s the best at a particular distance on a given day. The inaugural Ultra Cup attempted to crown a broader champion by requiring participants to run one race each at 50K, 50 miles and 100 miles as well as a total of four races out of the six well- established ultras in the series: Way Too Cool 50K, Promise Land 50K, Western States 100-Mile, White River 50-Mile, Wasatch Front 100-Mile and Mountain Masochist 50-Mile.
In 2002, Scott Jurek and Luanne Park were the inaugural series champions, taking home $5000 each. Montrail also recognized champions at each distance. Moehl, now a Patagonia ambassador, notes, “The athletes liked the idea of earning a bit of cash, but [even the winners] couldn’t net any money with all the travel.”
Over the past decade, the Montrail Ultra Cup’s format has undergone near-constant adjustments. Throughout those changes, the series has consistently resulted in victories by well-known ultrarunners, such as Meghan Arbogast, Nikki Kimball, Dave Mackey and Timothy Olson. Moehl says, “The sport will always have grassroots, but the Ultra Cup made ultrarunning a sport.”
The Ultra Cup now starts each summer and wraps up with the Western States 100 the following June. This season, runners accrue points from their best race at each of the Cup’s four distances: 50K, 50 miles, 100K and 100 miles. Points are weighted based on the length of the race and podium finishes, putting a premium on winning the two 100-milers, Pinhoti and Western States.
Krupicka crosses the 2010 finish line in course-record time, but second to Roes. Photo by Luis Escobar.