Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ultra running National Rankings: Fall Update

photo: the North Face
photo: Runners World
OK.  First off, if you're wondering what this is all about, or how I came up with this, go back and read the first Ultra National Rankings post I put up in June.  Briefly, as a fan of top-level ultra running, I thought it would be fun to have a system to rank elites (and non-elites) in an objective way.  So, I came up with a system.  The original post outlines much of the thought process that went into it and addresses some of the issues that I've identified with the system (some of which will be tweaked next year, some which will be left alone because I don't think they need changing, and some which are inherent to the system and just won't be able to be fixed).  It's pretty long, but it gives you a good idea of where this comes from, so if you think this might be at all interesting to you, I'd encourage you to read it.  There are a bunch of comments on that post also, much of which is a pretty interesting discussion (which was kind of the whole point), so check those out too.

At the end of that post I listed the top 50 men and women for the year, through May 31.  I'd like to remind everyone that it's not just the top 50 that are ranked; I have, at this point, over 2200 women and 2400 men who have earned at least one ranking point for the year.  Fifty just seemed like a good number to put on the blog, but you can view the entire list if you want.  (Fifty wasn't completely arbitrary either; starting next year, the top 50 will all count toward determining the "field strength multiplier" for each race (which is going to mean so much more work for me, ugh)).  I'm constantly updating the list each week, but my goal was to publish an updated top 50 every few months for people to see.  But, as I explained last week, my computer died, and I fell multiple weeks behind in August and September, so I've just now caught up and have a fresh top 50 for you, which you can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how the rankings are reflecting the results so far.  As you might have guessed by the pics leading off this post, Western States champs Rob Krar and Magdalena Boulet are leading the respective lists, both of whom would be tough to argue with at this point.  Looking down the rest of the top 10-20 on either side, I think the system has done a good job of identifying some folks who are really having some great years.  A few people might be a little over-valued by being prolific, which may get tweaked a little bit next year.  But, being prolific is a skill, too.  It's hard to run an ultra a month at a high level and stay healthy, so in the abstract at least, I don't have too much of an issue with it.

One aspect of this whole project that I've enjoyed the most is that it really highlights athletes who are having outstanding seasons that probably don't get enough attention or credit.  (Not that everyone necessarily wants that, but...)  I mean, everyone knows about Rob's and Magdalena's exploits, but before I did this, I never would have realized how great a year Kathleen Cusick is having, or Paul Terranova, or Nicole Studer, or Bob Shebest.  Hopefully this throws at least a little bit of a spotlight on those folks who aren't the household names in our sport, but are having great years nonetheless.

Of course, it's nowhere near perfect.  Two folks who are definitely too low are Sage Canaday and Camille Herron, both because they haven't run a ton of ultras this year.  Both have run some fast road marathons, which cut into their ultra schedules.  Sage's injury-related DNF at UTMB obviously cost him a shot at a lot of points.  Camille is ranked pretty high at 14th despite having run only two ultras, but in those two races she's won a national title and a world championship, and I'd like to see her in the top 10 at least.  But I think everyone in the top 10 really is deserving.

We'll see how the rest of the season plays out.  Magda has probably locked up the top ranking for the women for the year--and deservedly so, in my opinion--but the top placings on the mens' side are very much up for grabs, particularly with the TNF-EC championships on the not-too-distant horizon.  If we have some significant movement before then, I'll post an updated list in a month or so, but we'll see how it all shakes out.

Again, if you want to view the entire list (alphabetically, not numerically, sorry) please waste a bunch of time at work doing so.  As always, questions/comments/feedback/suggestions are encouraged.

Through October 1


Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Rob Krar
AZ
87.5
Magdalena Boulet
CA
171.6
2
Brian Rusiecki
MA
74.75
Stephanie Howe
OR
89.7
3
David Laney
OR
71.1
Aliza Lapierre
VT
78.6
4
Ian Sharman
CA
69.5
Kathleen Cusick
VA
78
5
Seth Swanson
MT
67.8
Kaci Lickteig
NE
73.275
6
Alex Nichols
CO
57.8
Nicole Studer
TX
71.275
7
Bob Shebest
CA
54
Cassie Scallon
CO
61.6
8
Alex Varner
CA
52.6
Larissa Dannis
CA
58.2
9
Jared Hazen
CO
52
Kerrie Bruxvoort
CO
49.4
10
Paul Terranova
TX
52
Hillary Allen
CO
49.25
11
Chikara Omine
CA
50
Katalin Nagy
FL
47.5
12
Justin Houck
WA
48
Emily Richards
NV
46.6
13
Ryan Bak
OR
48
Rachel Ragona
CA
45.25
14
Mario Mendoza
CA
47
Camille Herron
OK
45
15
Benjamin Stern
CA
46.2
Jacqueline Palmer
DE
42
16
Andrew Miller
OR
46
Caroline Boller
CA
41.95
17
Dylan Bowman
CA
44.1
Ashley Erba
CO
40.9
18
Gediminas Grinius
LTH
44
Traci Falbo
IN
40.3
19
Jean Pommier
CA
42
Emma Roca
WV
39.75
20
Ryan Kaiser
OR
41
Lee Conner
OH
39.5
21
Jorge Pacheco
CA
39.3
Angela Shartel
CA
39
22
Mario Martinez
CA
38.4
Silke Koester
CO
37.4
23
Ryan Smith
CO
37.8
Kara Henry
CO
37
24
David Herr
VT
37
Darcy Piceau
CO
34.375
25
Michael Borst
WI
37
Beverly Anderson-Abbs
CA
33.6
26
Nate Jaqua
OR
36
Ashley Lister
PA
32.8
27
Mike Foote
MT
35
Robin Watkins
DC
32.1
28
Michael Wardian
VA
34.85
Meghan Arbogast
CA
32.075
29
Jorge Maravilla
CA
34.6
Alissa St. Laurent
Can
32
30
Sage Canaday
CO
34.5
Amanda Basham
OR
32
31
Christopher Denucci
CA
33.3
Sara Bard
MA
31.225
32
Tim Tollefson
CA
31.5
Joelle Vaught
ID
31.05
33
Tyler Green
OR
30.5
Ashley Nordell
OR
31
34
Chris Vizcaino
CA
30
Mallory Richard
Can
31
35
Nate Polaske
AZ
30
Megan Stegemiller
VA
31
36
Scott Breeden
IN
30
Darla Askew
OR
30.6
37
Scott Traer
MA
30
Neela D’Souza
Can
30.5
38
Timmy Parr
CO
29.5
Janessa Taylor
OR
30
39
Lon Freeman
CA
29
Megan Roche
CA
30
40
Jeff Browning
OR
28.7
Katrin Silva
NM
29.95
41
Daven Oskvig
NY
28.5
Bree Lambert
CA
29.75
42
Nickademus Hollon
CA
27.25
Melanie Fryar
TX
29
43
Mark Austin
ID
27
Kerrie Wlad
CO
28.6
44
Mark Hammond
UT
27
Laura Richard
CA
28.1
45
Oswaldo Lopez
CA
27
Leslie Semler
MA
28.1
46
Karl Schnaitter
CA
26.5
Luanne Park
CA
26.525
47
Nathan Stroh
OR
26.5
Amie Blackham
UT
26
48
Ford Smith
TX
26
Amy Rusiecki
MA
26
49
Gabe Wishnie
WA
26
Suzanna Bon
CA
26
50
Michael Owen
OH
26
Catrin Jones
Can
25.8

Pete Kostelnick
NE
26




Ray Sanchez
CA
26



















4 comments:

  1. Nice work on compiling these rankings! My suggestion would be to separate the rankings into 50K, 50M/100K, and 100M categories, as different athletes excel in different types of races. I would also encourage you to incorporate some degree of human polling into the rankings, as the inclusion of polls would help correct for the fact that some strong runners might have been injured for part of the year or otherwise haven't been racing as much. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nate, take a look at his first post on the ranking system linked above. I think you might possibly change your mind as to the ease of improving on it or in making it any more robust. A lot of rigor has gone in to it. Best, Gary Gellin

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  3. Perhaps someone can help me out here. I downloaded the spreadsheed from the link above, sorted the men's list by total points, and Zach Miller (Team Nike, not Zach Miller from Montana) has ZERO points. Am I missing something?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gary, my mistake. Check your Facebook feed where I explai the bug in the system. Fixed for now. Thanks.

      Delete