The top spot was a lot closer than it would perhaps appear. We had one master rank in the open category; and, you would think that would make her a clear choice for the master's runner. But, we had a another master woman who had a stellar year and was just outside the open rankings.
It probably doesn't surprise anyone to see Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge at the top of the list. Here's her performances (as outlined in the open rankings).
1st woman at Wulfman CDT-14K in 67:58
2nd woman @ Riverbank 5K in 17:38
1st woman @ AOH 3-Mile in 17:17
2nd woman @ Big Butte Challenge in 57:09
4th woman @ Ice Breaker 5-Mile in 32:32
5th woman in MT Cup in 26:03
4th MT woman @ Bloomsday in 45:46
1st woman at Governor's Cup 5K in 19:08
1st woman at Don't Fence Me In 12K Trail in 58:18
2nd woman at 11 Miles To Paradise Trail in 76:13
As noted in the open rankings, one of the most impressive things about her year is the fact that she had twin boys in November of 2011, with 4
months of no running before the c-section birth. So, to be able to
come back at age 42 and race at a high level throughout 2012 was impressive
Just behind Nicole, the #2 spot goes to 41-year old Dani Shahan of Bozeman. Her performances were limited; but, she made the most of her racing opportunities. How about these:
1st MT woman @ Bloomsday in 45:01
2nd overall and 2nd master @ Ice Breaker 5-Mile in 30:00
2nd overall and 1st master @ Bozeman Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 83:23
4th woman and 1st master @ Governor's Cup 1/2-Marathon in 85:53.
Although Dani had 2 wins over Nicole.............Nicole moved a notch ahead as her post-pregnancy fitness came around - as evidenced by her overall win at Wulfman and her overall performance (and masters win at MT Cup).
The rest of the top 5 go to Missoula area women. First among them at #3 is Jenny Newton (42). Jenny runs a bit of everything below the marathon distance; and, her range was shown by these performances.
1st overall @ Catch 'Em If You Can 5K in 19:01
3rd overall and 2nd master at Wulfman CDT 14-K Trail in 72:35
3rd overall and 1st master @ Riverbank Run Tri-Fecta with runs of:
10K in 37:40 (2nd overall, 1st master)
5K in 18:15
6th overall and 2nd master @ MT Cup in 26:12
5th MT woman and 3rd MT master @ Bloomsday in 47:35.
We then have more of a short distance specialist @ #4. Mary Thane (48) is better known for her track prowess at 800 and 1500 meters; but, her move up in race distances allowed her to return to the rankings after her #2 spot in 2010.
2nd overall and 1st master @ Missoula 5K in 19:30
2nd overall and 1st master @ Whitefish Lake Run 10K in 40:40
1st overall @ Run 4 The Luck Of It 5K in 18:55 (= Course Record)
1st master @ Roots Festival 4-Mile in 25:59
3rd master @ MT Cup in 27:06
4th MT master (1st in 45-49 age group) @ Bloomsday in 49:12
#5 goes to a distance specialist - 44-year old Julie Gilchrist.
3rd woman and 1st master @ Resolution Run 10K in 43:09
Houston Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 1:29:10
5th woman and 2nd master @ Catch 'Em If You Can 5K in 21:22
3rd master @ Wulfman in 75:39
1st master @ Missoula Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 1:30:25
Julie tops off a solid list of women's masters. But, it would be great to see a few more of the 40+ crowd racing a bit more regularly.
And, that concludes the 2012 Muddy Buzzard Runner Of The Year rankings.
I'll be following up next with the performances of the year.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard