Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gunksrunner Ultra Rankings: First 2016 Update

Women's #1 YiOu Wang
photo: Trail Runner Magazine

With the first third of the year gone, and summer racing season just around the corner, it's time to check in with the Gunkrunner Ultra Rankings.

Regular readers (what are you people doing with your lives?) will remember that the GUR began last year as my attempt to provide an objective ranking of the top ultrarunners in the US.  Using the World Golf Rankings as a model, I devised a formula that accounts for field size, field strength, race prestige/importance, and head-to-head competition.  How successful it was is open to debate, but I was pleased with the results the first time around, and so I continued it with some minor tweaks for 2016.

It's a little early in the year for the results to be very meaningful as yet.  Many of the top runners have barely opened their campaigns; neither of last year's UROY (David Laney and Magdalena Boulet) has raced an ultra yet this year, and most of the biggest races on the calendar are still to come.  But with the Golden Ticket races completed, as well as the first major showdown of the year at Lake Sonoma, some early trends are taking shape.

Men's #1 Jim Walmsley
photo: Ultrarunner Podcast
To nobody's surprise, Jim Walmsley is dominating the men's ranking to this point, with more than double the points of second-ranked Ian Sharman.  Jim has won four races already this year, including major wins at Sonoma, Bandera, and Moab.  The Sonoma women's winner, YiOu Wang, also comfortably leads the women's rankings.  The men's point totals in the top 25 are easily outpacing those of their female counterparts, reflecting that many of the top-ranked men have raced more often, and more frequently against each other, than the leading women.  (This effect disappears among those ranked 26-50, where the point totals are nearly identical for men and women.)

You'll notice that the point totals are much higher this year than in 2015.   The reason is twofold.  First (and most importantly) the point values for level 4 and 5 races have been increased significantly from 2015, lending these races more weight.  Secondly, I'm using last year's top 50 to calculate field strength (as opposed to only the top 10 last year), so the field strength multipliers are more frequent and more robust.

You may also notice there are no more international runners in the rankings.  I've decided to limit this only to North American runners.  I've been trying to be more inclusive of overseas races this year, as many of the top US runners are travelling abroad to compete, and the UTWT takes on more importance domestically.  However that exposes me to many, many more international runners, and keeping track of them was becoming untenable.  Plus, it wasn't like I was doing a good job of capturing their results last year, and the rankings that Killian, Francois, Gediminus, etc. were receiving was not at all reflective of any sort of reality.  So, North Americans only right now, though I'm still using Gediminius' ranking (and Emma Roca on the women's side) from last year to calculate field strength when he shows up.

A side benefit of this fact is that the GUR are now a little more in sync with the Ultrarunning UROY criteria.  I'm thrilled that this year I've been able to partner with Ultrarunning; the GUR now has a permanent home on their website, so you can view updated rankings in real time whenever you feel like I'm being too slow publishing them.

Top 50 (as of 5/5/16) below; check out the full list here.



Men
State
Points
Women
State
Points
1
Jim Walmsley
AZ
159
YiOu Wang
CA
94
2
Ian Sharman
CA
72.5
Bethany Patterson
VA
56.8
3
Mario Mendoza
OR
59.9
Kaci Lickteig
NE
47.9
4
Paul Terranova
TX
58
Cassie Scallon
CO
45.1
5
Christopher Dennucci
CA
55.675
Anna Mae Flynn
CA
44.3
6
Tim Freriks
AZ
55
Ellie Greenwood
Can
40
7
Dylan Bowman
CA
47.6
Keely Henninger
OR
38
8
David Roche
CA
47.5
Jodee Adams-Moore
WA
37.5
9
Jesse Haynes
CA
46.7
Caroline Boller
CA
35
10
Andrew Miller
OR
45
Sabrina Little
TX
35
11
Matt Flaherty
IN
42.6
Amy Rusiecki
MA
31.1
12
Chris Mocko
CA
41.625
Emily Peterson
CA
31
13
Brian Rusiecki
MA
41.55
Devon Yanko
CA
30
14
Michael Daigeaun
PA
40
Megan Roche
CA
30
15
Masazuma Fujioka
WA
39
Denise Bourassa
OR
28.8
16
Ed Ettinghausen
CA38.4
Sarah Schubert
VA
28.6
17
Ryan Bak
OR37.5
Julie Koepke
TX
28.175
18
Zach Miller
CO35
Nicole Kalogeropoulos
TX
28
19
Daniel Metzger
CA
34.5
Rachel Ragona
CA
27
20
Jorge Pacheco
CA
32.8
Bev Anderson-Abbs
CA
26
21
Stephen Wassather
CA
31.5
Amy Sproston
OR
25.5
22
Jared Burdick
NY
28.5
Camille Herron
OK
24.7
23
Charlie Ware
AZ
28.5
Janessa Taylor
OR
24.5
24
Jorge Maravilla
CA
28.5
Kathleen Cusick
FL
24.5
25
Caleb Denton
TN
27
Amy Clark
TX
24.25
26
Karl Meltzer
UT
24.3
Anne-Marie Maddon
Can
24
27
Jeremy Wolf
WA
23.675
Kelly Wolf
AZ
23.2
28
Nicholas DiPirro
VA
22.5
Laura Kline
NY
23
29
Sage Canaday
CO
22.5
Amanda Basham
OR
22.5
30
Jeff Browning
OR
21.5
Brittany Goicoechea
ID
22.5
31
Dominick Layfield
UT
21.4
Natalie Larson
CA
21.5
32
Chikara Omine
CA
21
Corinne Malcolm
WA
21.25
33
Brett Hornig
OR
20.65
Maggie Guterl
PA
21
34
Troy Shellhamer
KY
20
Traci Falbo
IN
21
35
Zach Bitter
CA
19.7
Alicia Hudelson
GA
20.475
36
Chris Roberts
DC
19.2
Katrin Silva
NM
20
37
Yassine Diboun
OR
19.2
Jennifer Pfeifer
CA
19.2
38
Darren Thomas
VA
19
Heather Hoecsht
PA
19
39
Mark Hammond
UT
19
Kaytlyn Gerbin
WA
18.875
40
Ryan Neely
CA
19
Kait Sheridan
NY
18.5
41
Benjamin Koss
CA
18.9
Kathryn Drew
Can
18.2
42
Ryan Ghelfi
OR
18.5
Jameelah Mujaahid
GA
18
43
Jason Friedman
NY
18.05
Rebecca Watters
GA
17.3
44
C Fred Joslyn
NY
18
Deysi Osegueda
CA
17.1
45
Brian Miller
CA
17.75
Alissa St. Laurent
Can
16.5
46
Coree Woltering
CO
17.5
Megan Stegemiller
VA
16.5
47
Michael Owen
OH
17.25
Christina Clark
Can
16.3
48
Kevin Moore
CA
17.2
Alician Rich
IN
16
49
Aaron Saft
NC
17
Cait Morgan
CT
16
50
Jeremy Humphrey
ID
17
Sarah Bard
WA
16

Will Swenson
MA
17




Ryan Atkins
Can
17



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