Competitive Scene - Page 8
Geoff Roes en route to victory at the inaugural Ultra Race of Champions, Virginia. Photo by Joel Wolpert.
ULTRA RACE OF CHAMPIONS
Along with Dr. Francesca Conte, J. Russell Gill founded the Ultra Race of Champions 100K (UROC) in 2011 “to determine the best ultra-distance athlete by creating a single-day championship, with a course and distance that levels the playing field, with incentives to encourage the world’s best ultrarunners to participate.” In 2011 (see “Ready or Not,” December 2011, Issue 76), those incentives included $10,000 in prize money, which was upped to $20,000 in 2012. The race also put together an Elite Advisory Committee composed of top ultrarunners to help recruit others of their ilk. They succeeded. The first year’s race featured Geoff Roes, Dave Mackey, Michael Wardian, Ian Sharman, Devon Yanko (formerly Crosby-Helms) and Anne Riddle Lundblad, while 2012 saw an even stronger field featuring Max King, Sage Canaday and Ellie Greenwood.
Roes, who heads UROC’s Elite Advisory Panel notes, “I think UROC is a really important step in the process of championships in ultrarunning. It’s basically the only event in the sport right now that is specifically focused on taking measures, such as reaching out to top runners, providing travel and lodging assistance to some, as well as paying appearance fees to a limited few, to draw as deep and fast of a field of runners as possible.” In 2013, UROC will be sure to see even more top runners than ever as it’s moved to the Colorado Rockies and will host the 2013 Ultra SkyMarathon Series championship.