Number 1 - Scott Creel - Bozeman - 49. After a couple of years away from the racing scene (he kept running but also spent some more time with the family and in honing his climbing skills), Scott returned with a vengeance in 2011. While winning most of his master's races at age 49, Scott was also a force to be reckoned with in the open ranks. His performances for the year include:
- Montana Men's Master's Mile - 4:41.91 - 3rd Place
- Wulman CDT 14K - 57:32 - 5th Overall, 1st Masters - New Masters Course Record
- Ridge Run - 3:17:19 - 1st Overall, 1st Masters. 10 for 10 in Ridge Run Wins. # 10 time ever (only other person to have a time in the top 10 is Mike Wolfe from the epic 2006 race)
- Bozeman Classic 5K - 16:58 - 2nd Overall, 1st Masters
- MT Cup 7.2K - 23:51 - 8th Overall, 1st Masters
- Hugging For Stuffing 5K - 18:11 - 3rd Overall, 2nd Masters.
Number 2 - Pat Judge - Helena - 41. Continuing the momentum of his 2010 campaign, Pat had a season that in most years would have qualified him for a Number 1 ranking. But, with Creel back on the scene, Pat has to settle for the runner-up spot (to complement his 2010 # 2 Ranking).
- Montana Men's Master's Mile - 4:42.94 - 4th.
- Don't Fence Me In 5K - 17:21 - 1st Overall
- AOH 3-Mile - 15:18 - 2nd Overall, 1st Masters
- Ice Breaker 5 Mile - 27:20 - 4th Overall, 1st Masters
- Wulfman CDT 14K - 59:30 - 7th Overall, 2nd Masters
- Montana Cup 7.2K - 24:17 - 2nd Masters
- Governor's Cup 10K - 34:37 - 1st Overall
- Vigilante Mile 5K - 16:59 - 2nd Overall, 1st Masters
- Big Sky State Games 5K Track - 16:29 - 1st Overall, New Age Record
- Veteran's Day 5Mile - 28:49 - 1st Overall (Has now won the race in 3 separate decades)
Number 3 - Mike Telling - Dillon - 42, Mike didn't have the greatest volume of racing in 2011; but, he certainly threw down some quality. And, his head to head races helped him to secure the number 3 slot (matching his 2011 ranking).
- Don't Fence Me In 12K Trail - 51:58 - 4th Overall, 1st Masters
- Wulfman CDT 14K Trail - 1:00:44 - 8th Overall, 3rd Masters
- Ridge Run - 3:53:56 - 8th Overall, 2nd Masters
- Riverbank Run 10K - 34:55 - 4th Overall, 2nd Masters
- MT Cup 7.2K - 25:06 - 3rd Masters
Number 4 - Steve Morley - Bigfork - 43. Steve's is probably a bit of an unexpected choice. He doesn't race much outside of the Flathead Valley. But, this year he expanded his reach a bit. Like the racers above him, he threw down some quality performances. And, when you look at his head to head performances - that's again what gave him the nod to rank in the top 5.
- Roodell Run 5K - 16:28 - 1st Overall (winning over Pat Judge)
- Whitefish Lake Run 5K - 16:37 - 1st Overall
- Boogie To The Bank 3 Mile - 15:44 - 4th Overall, 1st Masters
- Huffing For Stuffing 5K - 18:01 - 2nd Overall, 1st Masters (winning over Scott Creel)
- MT Cup 7.2K - 25:17 - 5th Masters
- River City Roots Run 4 Mile - 21:41 - 10th Overall, 1st Masters
Number 5 - Don Demetriades - Bozeman - 51. This was probably the most difficult choice of the bunch. Jeff Braun of Butte had a great year with lots of quality performances at a wide variety of distances. And, at the shorter end of the spectrum, Peter Dan Sullivan of Helena was outstanding. In fact, both had the measure of Don at Montana Cup.
But, there were two factors swayed the ranking in Don's favor. First was his marathon in April. It represented the 5th decade in which Don has run under 2:50 - which appears to make him the only person in the US to have done so. And, he had some stellar performances at Ultra/Trail events.
- Bighorn 50K - 4:19:19 - 2nd Overall/1st Masters
- Thunderbolt 50K (Helena) - 4:48 - 1st Overall
- Pocotello 50K - 6:44:38 - 6th Overall, 2nd Masters
- Martian Marathon - 2:47:09 - 6th Overall/1st Masters
- Huffing For Stuffing 10K - 42:31 - 9th Overall/2nd Masters
- USATF 50 Mile Road Championships - 7:24:22 - 12th Overall, 5th Masters, 50-54 National Champion!!!
- MT Cup - 27:58 - 16th Masters
And yet, that still leaves a lot of deserving folks off the list. Guys like Ray Hunt, Peter Dan Sullivan, Brent Ruby, Jeff Braun, Kyle Strode, Rob Walker and Steve Bruner. The best part is that this means that we have a healthy, competitive group of masters runners in the Treasure State. And, we have some new guys coming in like Chris Colberg of Helena.
Performance Of The Year - As with the Open Men, we also have a top performance to consider. For 2012, that would be Scott Creel's 3:17:19 at the Ridge Run. Running the event for the first time in 3 years, this was the #10 performance ever on the course. Only Mike Wolfe has also run sub-3:20 on the course. The other 9 times all belong to Creel. All that at 49.
The #2 performance was Creel's crushing of the Wulfman's Master's Course Record with his 57:32 time (breaking Mike Telling's old record by almost 3 minutes).
#3 was Demetriades 2:47:09 Marathon at 51.