Say What?

by Carilyn on January 11, 2012

Ultrarunning Magazine just came out with it’s annual announcement of Ultrarunner of the Year, which includes the top runners and performances of 2011.  It’s a very impressive list.

There is one glaring problem, though, as I see it.  Phil McCarthy, my former US National teammate and buddy, is number 20 on the list!  Are you kidding me?  Phil set an American Record in the 48 Hour last May by running 257.34 miles in 48 Hours – which was also a world-best for 2011!  And he’s only ranked 20th?  Say what?

Phil McCarthy


As Dan Brannen, Executive Director of the American Ultrarunning Association points out:

For some perspective on Phil McCarthy’s new 48-Hour American Record:  Last year Scott Jurek’s new American 24-hour record was voted #2 in the Performance of the Year rankings.  Jurek’s 24-hour total stood at 87% of Yiannis Kouros’ absolute 24-Hour World Record.  An interesting comparison shows that Phil McCarthy’s new American 48-Hour record also happens to stand at 87% of Kouos’ absolute 48-Hour World Record.  Also, McCarthy’s 48-Hour puts him in the top 10 on the all-time World List.  There isn’t another American currently active (nor has there been one for almost a decade) who has a performance in the top 10 on the all-time World List.  Phil’s 48-hour total works out to just a few ticks over 11 minutes/mile average for the entire 48 straight hours.

Phil is a pretty low key guy, rarely calling attention to the many, many phenomenal accomplishments he has had in running.  And obviously, this has hurt him when it comes to “public” acknowledgment of his talent.  But, I would really hope that the voters on the panel (RDs for many of the ultras around the country) would not vote based on “popularity” of a runner, but rather on  results.

Well, the good news is that Phil has many more fantastic races in his future, so Ultrarunning Magazine, keep watching!

Happy Running!


Luis A. Zaragoza January 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm

The low ranking can only be described as a true injustice! Dan Brannen’s perspective, quoted in your blog, says it all: Phil’s record “puts him in the top 10 on the all-time World List.” Ultrarunning Magazine has redefined “Record” to read giving credit based on commercialization.

olga January 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

U-mag leans heavily towards trail (and even more so mountain) ultras, specifically 100 milers, with an accent on WS100. There is no real viewing of who did what, as the judges judge what is popular at the moment (and who is popular and in the buzz). As a side kick, while Jenn’s AT record is truly astounishing, but UR performance? As far as I am aware, Jenn is an immensely awesome hiker. Not an ultrarunner. And her record was not a competition against the field at the time being – but “in” time.

Carilyn January 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Very true, Olga!

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