Inside Trail Commentary

A check of the “local” blog-o-shpere reveals a couple of soft pours.  If you like what a tavern usually serves, then it’s your obligation to notify the patronage, even the management, when there’s a miss.  Geoff Roes says this year has been his most enjoyable year of running.  Andy Jones-Wilkins is asking for comments about this year’s UROY.

I really don’t want to seem like I’m piling-on Geoff Roes.  I already wrote a piece that went out of its way to formulate some kind of explanation for his whiff at Western States 100 and his 2011 racing misfortune in general (COMPARED to his recent past.  Context is key, for all contrarians out there).  The sliver of hope that some mustered post WS100, rallying around the fact that he was not fully back from a tough spell, but in fact his entire 2011 season was focused on UTMB, came-up short.  Objectively speaking, from a competitive racing standpoint, 2011 was a pretty big loss for Roes.  And again, the argument that one (I) should not be critical of others, that one (Roes) can run for whatever thrill he/she seeks is horse manure.  This is a sport, a very competitive one in which Roes has been pretty successful the last few years.

I’m not going to exhaustingly analyze this recent statement, other than to say really it doesn’t make any sense at all.  At least qualify your statement more than reference to an “up and down” year.  At least acknowledge the difficulty and misfortune that seemed to transpire.  Give fans a more fulfilling account.  Or is it just an advertisement for socks.  I’m a sports fan and the past provides enormous context and expectations.  Certainly, an off year is perfectly understandable.  A plan to improve upon this year – sounds great.  Racing doesn’t mean as much to him as it has in the past?  Okay, if that’s how you feel.

But enjoyable?  What in the world are you talking about?  Does anyone remember Terrell Davis?  I phantomed a Roes pick in our UTMB preview because the guy has, in the past, shown a lot of competitive heart, which assumes race health and fitness.  I felt, if healthy, fit and driven, that he was the one and only guy who could hang with the train.  Competing didn’t transpire.  I’m disappointed like any fan of ultra running should be disappointed.  Hate to break it to some who may think that on the elite level this is still just an extra-curricular past-time, like a little chamber of commerce fun run: this is going going gone international with the kind of competitive spirit that precedes major international endorsement aka major athletic production participation.  If Roes doesn’t have the health or the drive, give the world a heads-up and good luck on that recovery.

Roes actually did have some success this year.  I am not talking about Chuckanut or Crow Pass.  Rather, he was instrumental in putting together a championship race since the country clearly lacks any sort of event.  I love his thought process.  He was actually anointed the “elite athlete liaison,” which basically means he was charged with convincing other elites to come on down to Virginia and run the UROC 100k with him.  He helped organize an ultra national championship!  Geoff Roes for Ultra Running Czar!  If you didn’t catch wind of some of the discussions that took place on the web about this issue, go find.  They seemed to revolve around the misguided idea that Western States is a default national championship ultra marathon.  Roes, a reader can see, has some strong opinions on this matter.

In either Idaho or Virginia, the Andy Jones-Wilkins – to – Western States 100 association is freakishly strong.  And it’s the autumn of another racing season.  Therefore, he’s wondering who will be crowned Ultra Runner of the Year.  Being of the quasi-academic fold, I hope he efforts to clarify for everyone the purpose of the UROY.

So often a discussion reeks of superficial significance.  Andy and the sport at large can do better than this (that’s what Geoff Roes helped reconcile this year.  Not sure if UROC will become the official national championship, but the effort is there.  Appreciate that.)  What would give UROY more meaning is a clarification of it’s intent.  Though some might say the website/magazine does specifically say the award is for the top N. American ultra runners (without distinguishing between trail or road) picked by representatives from N. America, the popular perception is that it certifies a more comprehensive (global) supremacy.

In the past, the UROY might have been fairly accurate in recognizing a season’s top ultra (“100 miler mountain”) runner in the world.  And I suppose we might just have to assume that this particular runner (especially guy) ran and won Western States 100 because it’s an “old” race that has been on “everyone”’s radar.  In the past, we could perhaps feign ignorance about what was taking place around the world.  These athletes rarely came together but for some shorter Skyrunner series races, or WMRA races, or European mountain classics like Sierre-Zinal.  So let’s assume the award just symbolized the innocence and naiveté of a sport understandably excited about what’s happening in its own backyard.  To the point, we’re years later, getting much more worldly and mature.  Consequently, it’s time for some clarification just so we’re not misleading anyone here with a sense that our young sport decided to skip world geography, drop-out of school, and go to work at the local gas station (not that there’s anything wrong with working at a gas station).

We have argued elsewhere that the American version of the sport (or even the world’s for that matter) hasn’t seen, nor will it see – at least as far as we can see – a versatile talent like Dave Mackey in a long time.  He races and, usually, he wins.  He does his job.  He’s been one of the biggest influences of Inside Trail’s other half, Tim.  This year he’s a leading candidate for UROY.  This is a great achievement, but it’s time to address the  lack of international credibility that UROY has had in the past.  If it has zero international scale, then clarify that.  You can’t really disagree with that popular perception of UROY.  Change the name of the award.  For the sport’s sake.  For Dave Mackey’s sake.  He is the best North American ultra runner of 2011.  Tough to argue that.  In fact, we are going to go ahead an award him the NAUROY.  Congratulations, Dave.

In the end, this commentary is not meant to belittle anyone; rather, we are more interested in improving the sport and really encourage discussion of these types of issues.  An “MVP” type of award will always have shades of controversy involved because a “committee” votes and even if the criteria are rock solid, there’s still opinion that can discourage consensus or rational thought.  That’s understandable and actually expected.  At Inside Trail, when there appears to be a huge flaw in a process that’s supposedly quite central to a community or culture, we feel like that should be addressed.

45 comments

  1. Sounds to me that Geoff maybe changed alot this year….personal life, running goals, etc. I think he did “enjoy” the running camps up in Juneau, really “enjoyed” some of the more low-key ultras (Santa Barbara 100 for ex.) and then just maybe didn’t have the same focus/eye of the tiger for the bigger events. I think it’s quite common in all sports to have a down year after a “championship” type year (record at WS, etc.). I think a bigger problem may be that Inside Trail is trying to turn the sport into something it’s not, but I guess the jury is still out. Yes, elite running is evolving but it doesn’t mean it has to turn totally into the NFL/NBA/MLB…Maybe Geoff should get an agent and a lawyer and a PR person, etc. etc.

    1. I don’t think it is Inside Trail who is trying to change the sport, but the “elites” themselves. Just read/listen the demands of “cash purses” and “special” elite events, lottery exceptions etc. This is not a grass-roots change, but change promoted by elites, and UROC is just a big testament to it – not organized by some mid-packers who would love to see fast guys chase each other, but primarily by elites themselves. And lo and behold, as long as fast guys remain fast they are happy to be called elites and stars, and bathe in our support and admiration, but if “we” (i.e. regular runners) start acting like their true fans with all the possible emotions – good or bad – then a gigantic flame-war starts … when I started with my ultras I always heard about the “humble”, “down to earth” people no matter how fast they were … to be honest, reading discussions on Geoff’s blog and all other regular internet places, I wonder how many “humble elites” are still out there.
      While Inside Trail Commentary seems like someone tries to kick a hornets nest, I for one am very thankful for such voice. As long as the discussion remains civilized, it can only help the sport.

      1. Thanks for your comment, Vlad. I can tell you from personal observation that Dave Mackey is as humble as he is talented. You almost have to beg him to talk about his accomplishments and even then it comes across as “I just felt good and ate right.” I’ve also run with Geoff a couple of times and came away with the same feeling. I’ve found ultrarunning to be a lot like competitive road cycling; the true elites are down to earth for the most part. It’s the “b” level guys who have warped, inflated egos and self-view.

        I also want to make it crystal clear that both Matt and I are true admirers and “fans” of Geoff.

      2. I certainly did not want to point my finger to Geoff – I am a huge fan of him, though somewhat disappointed and perplexed by his attitude now too. What I meant was simply if you scroll through the discussion on his blog, there are some pretty big names who’s contributions are not compatible to “humble” and “down to earth”. My 2c.

      3. I also want to make it crystal clear that I am a true admirer and “fan” of Inside Trail. They bashed Geoff and then said they were a fan. So likewise I bashed Inside Trail but am a fan. Hey, wow, it is easy to convince yourself that what you are doing is not really bashing! Now I don’t feel like I bashed Inside Trail because I said I was a fan! Lame….

      4. Here is what he wrote in the post about Roes:

        (Re: Roes) “….But enjoyable? What in the world are you talking about?…Hate to break it to some who may think that on the elite level this is still just an extra-curricular past-time, like a little chamber of commerce fun run….If Roes doesn’t have the health or the drive, give the world a heads-up and good luck on that recovery.”

        That my friend, is bashing. Now I’ll stop writing, I’m starting to feel like Cloud.

  2. Maybe you should add a T into NAUROY, for trail? Do you think that Dave is a better ultrarunner than Wardian based on their performances this year? There seems to be two options, either designate trail and road UROY’s, or give international competitions the proper emphasis, as in most other disciplines of running.

    The 100 miler focus with ultra rankings is very interesting. A similar situation in track would be to say that winning a WC 10k is more impressive than winning a WC 1500, due to the distance.

  3. I agree with Ben, and would actually clarify further on the American citizen versus living here versus internationally – would you call it NATUROYLTAC?

    North American Trail Ultra Runner Of The Year Limited To American Citizens. LOL. Or just living here. Canada, etc.

  4. I don’t buy the idea that being excellent at something makes you beholden to your fans.

    The fact that there are many people watching doesn’t alter the fact that determining the nature of this season lies between Geoff and Geoff. Sport serves his goals, not the other way around. Fans’ hopes and dreams are their business, not his.

    Could he have succeeded at certain goals better? Probably. Are those the things he should have done and wants to do? Only he can say.

  5. Nice write up. I’ll have to think a little more before I comment in more detail.

    Geoff is holding 3 Alaska trail running camps next summer (May, June, July). I really don’t think his focus is “UROY” or being the best any more ( opinion)? Is his heart really in the game? Maybe he has seen the future and making the requisite moves to secure a more profitable and productive life? For sure,the fire is not burning deep and the animal has been silenced?

  6. I always was under the impression that the UROY given by the mag was weighted towards trails and longer distances just as the USATF UROY award was weighted towards roads and longer distances. I guess I don’t get the beef, it doesn’t seem to me that they are attempting to call it a “world champion” award.

    1. What gives you the impression it’s weighted toward longer distances (I assume you mean 100 milers)? Is that in writing somewhere publically? If Ellie G is eligible, then is it not a world recognized award? We’re merely taking a look at something that could use clarification, especially after this year so far.

      1. Just the impression I’ve got since I’ve been involved (barely 3 years). Seems that 100 mile performances (or 100K in USATF land) are valued over shorter ones. That is my perception, not fact, just what I see.

        I’ve got to be honest Tim, I know we barely know each other, and I don’t know Matt at all, but it seems like IT is doing a bit more than merely taking a look at the issues. Perhaps that drives readership. I agree clarification is needed, but I don’t really see it as a big deal.

    2. Your perception about UROY is correct, but why do you think USATF UROY is weighted towards roads and longer distances, because Mike usually wins instead of some of winners of the USATF trail events? Wardian wins the the road 50k every year. Because USATF is unpopular with many trail ultrarunners, some of the trail events are not that competitive. The winners of the USATF trail events don’t often compete internationally. In contrast, Wardian gets medals at World Championship events, and competes well at small international races like Two Oceans, Marathon des Sables, and Comrades. So you have trail runners that do well domestically vs. a guy who does well both domestic and international races. I doubt it is a difficult decision for USATF.

      It’s amusing that Wardian got IAU ultrarunner of the year in 2010 for bronze medals at the 50k and 100k, but was not good enough for UROY.

      I agree that UR is not trying to imply that their award designates a world champion, but I am pretty sure that there are a lot of people who think some US runners are some of the best in the world despite the fact that they never race internationally, and rarely race someone from outside the US.

  7. “But enjoyable? What in the world are you talking about?”

    This seems assert that one’s subjective feeling of enjoyment in something can be mistaken or it misinterprets what was stated. If it’s an argument against subjective enjoyment, given that enjoyment is inherently subjective, it’s a bit of an odd assertion. There would not seem to be a contradiction if one were to assert that one had his or her most enjoyable year running even if he or she lost every race, for example. Were I to read such a statement, I would assume the enjoyment obtained from the many hundreds of hours of running during the year outweighed the losses. I see no reason not to charitably interpret the statement in the context given.

    The argument against subjective enjoyment seems to rephrase “It’s probably been the most enjoyable year of running I’ve ever had” into “It’s probably the most enjoyable year of running I’ve ever had as a competitive runner and winning is the sole source of my enjoyment of running.” Where the latter, rather than the former, statement the actual statement, I too would wonder about the statement’s coherency.

  8. I think it’s unfortunate that Geoff’s gotten such criticism. He’s had a hell of a career on the trails and had a down year. Most great athletes have a down year. What made Geoff so great hasn’t disappeared; he’ll be back so long as his heart and mind are into it. I think most of us would agree to that.

    I think there’s a poster (whose “name” I will not use) out there who keeps putting negative crap up on Geoff’s blog and it’s driven some unfortunate discussions, such as the one on here. I really like inside Trail but I think it’s kind of troubling that Geoff’s being examined like this–as if this were the NFL and he’s Payton Manning with a sub-50% completion percentage and bad QB rating.

    Also, on a fairly unrelated note, a lot of people continue bashing American runners after Mont Blanc. Seems to me….

    A) Probably our best long-distance mountain runner, Anton Krupicka, has been injured for the better part of the year
    B) Nick Clark was tired from so much intense racing
    C) Karl Meltzer was injured
    D) Geoff’s had a down year

    Some stuff didn’t go the way of the US this year. I think the loss of Anton was a bad loss for American ultrarunning. The pendulum will swing back in the other direction.

    Wyatt

    1. I’m sure Team Salomon, I mean any Euro country could come up with a similar A-D list. Would things have been much different if Kilian had not raced?

  9. Wyatt,

    You can’t have it both ways. It is impossible to have ultrarunning be both grassroots and mainstream with lucrative sponsorships and cash prizes. If indeed ultrarunning is to go mainstream the comparison to Geoff Roes and Payton Manning is spot on. Along with fame and elite status comes all the garbage that is undesirable.

    Todd

    1. Thanks, Todd, for stating what Matt and I have discussed in regards to push-back for simply analyzing a sport that is a spectator sport via blogs, race sites, ranking sites like ultrasignup, and even live at the events. Looking into what makes the sport tick, the “substance” is not always going to be painless and fun. It’s a lot like the literal aspect of our sport, to gain clarity you need to go through the pain.

      Wait, did you just call us undesirable garbage? 😉

      If folks want those sunshiny race rports (i.e. “I lined up with 200 other lovely, smiling people and throughout the race I felt love in my heart and only felt happiness in my blistered feet”), we can’t help you there. There are plenty of place you can have a tired discussion about the pros and cons of barefoot running. If you want to have a reasonable discussion about the reality of our sport and its players, then stick around and we’ll learn together.

    2. Wow. That the writers of this blog have the gall to tell Geoff Roes what he’s supposed to feel about this year’s running? Let me break it to you: it is perfectly possible to enjoy the hell out of your running, without winning a damn thing. Please note – Geoff didn’t say “this was my best racing year EVAR!!!1”. He was saying he was having a blast on the trails all year. Good on him. Maybe it’s my age talking, but I’m still in the “how cool is it that these folks are sharing their running with us” camp – I’m not “owed” an explanation on anything — I’m neither their mother nor their boss. I’m an admiring fan, who likes to check in to see what they’re doing in between my own adventures.

      Second: Ultrarunning is not football. It is never going to be football. Comparisons are silly. Call back when Geoff/Tony/Dave et al are able to get multi-million dollar contracts to run.

      Third: I don’t understand why it is inconceivable for some people that a runner can run primarily for the love of it, enjoy – heck, even prefer – low key races, and still want one race where all of the top runners can get in and duke it out.

      Fourth: I really hate this recent emphasis on nationality. It’s one thing if it’s an official team. But for UTMB/States/Hardrock, no one was wearing an American jersey, they were running _for themselves_. I don’t want this sport to turn into an abomination where folks are rooting for jerseys with the right country written on them. Let’s keep rooting for Killian and Ellie, Krissy and Sebastien and Dave and Geoff because they’re awesome runners and fantastic people, and not because they come from the “right” country, whichever that might be.

      Fifth: In spite of just how cranky this particular post made me, I am enjoying the new blog! Cheers!

  10. Todd:

    I hear what you’re saying. In my eyes, the big difference between Manning and Geoff is that the former gets paid tens of millions while the latter is probably just scraping by. Geoff and all the rest of us run ultras because we love it! I hate to see guys and gals get scrutinized when they’re running out of true love for the sport. Also, Geoff, like Scott Jurek, is a total ambassador of the sport. Look at what he’s doing with his camps. One could potentially argue that maybe this isn’t the best time in his career to devote time to camps, but he’s making a positive impact and so I say bravo! Manning, too, is doing some great work, but, at the same time, when you sign a $90 million contract, like Manning has, you are implicitly agreeing to accept criticism and Monday-morning quaterbacking as part and parcel of the gig. Not so with elite ultrarunners. These guys do it because they love it, and we only wish other pro athletes had the same investment heart and soul and were as approachable and down-to-earth.

    OK, getting off my soap box now.

    Wyatt

  11. On an entirely different note – is the UROC actually going to be a race of ‘champions’? I havn’t actually seen a start list, but I believe several of the elite runners listed on their website are not running (Karl for example). Wondering if it will actually be a real race or not…any idea?

    1. Great question, Nick. Were you invited there? It seems like it’s going to be mostly a B-level (I can say that because I’m MUCH further down the alphabet) race with a couple big runners going. I think Mackey’s running it but only guessing. Certainly not a big dot on the radar screen in terms of interest from a fan’s (sorry Jenn) viewpoint.

      How do you feel for Bear? Probably REALLY tired and worn down from utmb, huh? You should probably go out no faster than 15 hours for the first 50 miles.

      1. What, you are saying is that I am B-level so I should have been invited! FWIW I did not receive an invite…

        I’ll keep my cards close to my chest on Bear 😉 I look forward to a nice jog through the mountains, see you next week!

  12. Sorry but there is very little that’s mainstream about ultra running – I have yet to see lucrative sponsorships or big purses (10,000 at NF50 is peanuts) as compared to even American track athletes. Geoff or Anton are not professionals. I’m not sure why Matt needs a more fulfilling answer about Geoff’s season. Roes is under no obligation (except to drymax apparently) to write, he writes for whatever reasons he has, which can also be said about his running. and I think it’s horse manure to say that just because he does write that he opens himself to criticism. Write about the racing not about the reasons a man runs.

    1. Of course it’s not mainstream, Pete, but, as Scott so eloquently pointed out in an earlier comment, it’s another subjective thing. For those of us who care more about ultrarunning as a sport compared to, say, the NFL (aak), it can be and will be analyzed and sometimes further explanation is requested (as Matt is simply doing here). As soon as Matt gets out of his daily meeting with his parole officer today he’ll chime in and explain what he means in his post. Anyone who’s read Matt’s other blog or writings about the sport and Roes, in particular, will understand that he is a true fan of the sport and people in it. As Barney Fife’s (Andy Griffith show) mother used to tell people, “he’s spirited”.

  13. Wyatt,
    I have no doubt that everybody loves running in the mountains and hanging out with friends. I also completely agree that the comparison is weak between Manning and Roes, although I would argue the elites (I do feel Geoff seems to be getting the shaft), once they get their shoe sponsorships and small (if any stipends), are really not that different from all the other pro athletes. Ultimately, it is quite easy to run ultras just for the love of it. Get rid of the sponsorships and blogs and just go running. If you want to make a business of ultrarunning you are just going to have to deal with all the growing pains that go along with it.
    Todd

  14. I’ll just leave a general comment here so it’s not lost in this whirl-pool of participation. Thanks to everyone. Great stuff. One thing NO ONE can disagree with: discussion of this kind is good. And I look forward to carrying-on this discussion now that I’m off work, beer in hand (almost) and poised at the keyboard.

    Trailclown/Charlie/Cloud (whatever your name is), you’re coming-off as a troll. You didn’t read enough of the post. This doesn’t bode well for whatever you’re trying to say. Nor are you looking at the big picture. Why would I have so much to say about Geoff Roes? His 2011 misfortunes have coincided with American misfortunes in these big competitive races. Is that a coincidence? That he and Anton both got bad cases of the not-this-years on the competitive front is very unfortunate. It’s a little cheesy to say that I care about these things. But I do. And I want others to care, too.

    Complacency is a dime a dozen. Not giving a shit is insidious and I don’t want it around here. I have a lot of ideas about the trail and I am very excited to have a forum and even more excited that people leave comments because they seem to care too.

    Would any of you (who take issue with what I said about Roes) have a problem if Anton said 2011 was a very enjoyable year of running? Would that make sense to you? Sure, some of you would still say “Hey, that’s up for him to decide what’s enjoyable.” I don’t buy that at all. Something my wife would say about my passion for sport and competition. Something my kid’s soccer coach says to the players in an under 8 league, that’s it’s not about winning. Sorry, I’m not buying it here in these circumstances. And although trail and mountain running has an inherent purist, non-competitive vibe, there is a very competitive thing going-on at the professional and semi-pro level. Some of these big races include ridiculously talented athletes who are very competitive. I’m following that. That’s where I’m coming from.

    Someone (probably TrailClown) made a joke out of Tim’s suggestion that we are fans of Roes. On my other blog, I have a series of posts that began with my 2010 Western States preview and includes some of the aftermath. I was in a great place then. American ultra (in my opinion) was in a great place. Roes (and I saw him coming) steamrolled the peloton. I picked him to win that race and sat mesmerized as he (and eventually pacer Dave Mackey) came from behind and mugged each and every leader that day, smashing the CR.

    http://matt-feet.blogspot.com/2010/06/give-me-five.html

    That’s a link to the 2010 WS preview and the 3-4 posts following pretty well illustrate my appreciation of Goeff Roes. But nobody read that. So, I’m guilty of perhaps not providing such context when I’ve been critical of him recently. He seems like a pretty interesting guy off the trail and one of the most talented and competitive guys on the trail. His win at WS 100 and his subsequent criticism of the race’s status, together, are genius. The guy is GREAT on and off the trail. Unfortunately this year his on trail performance was a little under the weather, despite some fine results in Washington and Alaska.

    So, I’m guilty of wanting him to compete and if he’s not up for that, to say a little more than what he said in his post “Happy Feet.”

    I also understand that “Happy Feet” was probably not a place where he was going to address all of that stuff (competition, health concerns, etc.). He’s talking about socks and being positive about his life. I’m all for that.

    But I have the right to say, in effect, come-on Geoff, we need you out there kicking some ass. I can speak here as a full-blooded American and an avid fan of trail running in support of Roes. He had an off year. Period. I can share my concerns, which I have more or less over the last couple of years. In other words, I am a huge fan of the guy. Period.

    The readers who focused so much on my criticism of that line and missed my appreciation of his trail race ethos blew the dog. Shame on you. Geoff’s work with UROC is huge and says a lot about the guy.

    Unfortunately for him, his 2009 and 2010 masterpieces follow him around. I want him to return to that form. Sorry if that offends a few of you.

    1. Matt, I made the joke about “Cloud” to point out that it is actually you who seem like a troll, dissing Geoff because he didn’t live up to his potential and didn’t peak correctly (see the many other popular blogs–mostly Geoff’s–where Cloud chimes in on this subject). And yes, I did joke about you claiming to be a “fan” of Geoff’s, because in ultrarunning (unlike in other pro sports), usually being a fan doesn’t include the right to say, “aw, man, he sucks”. It’s usually a different “vibe” in ultrarunning…and I was trying to indicate my displeasure in the vibe you guys are creating with this new “Expert commentary”. I am not an egotistical “B” runner, I am more like a “C” runner who loves to joke around (thus the Trail Clown). I’ve run many ultras in my day, none of them “well”. I definitely won’t stop by this blog again, but I am glad I tried to make my point. For what it’s worth, I think Geoff’s recent posts are mostly ridiculous, because when he was on top of the world, he never wrote like this. I think that being a “sponsored” runner makes the top guys have to write “something, anything” after races, and he didn’t really know what the hell to write. Good luck fellas, it’s a brave new world out there…

  15. No way Geoff or any other top level ultrarunner is getting “set for life” from whatever their earnings from the sport may be. I can only believe they are meager at best. This is in direct contrast to the $90 mill type contracts of pro-athletes. Even Killian, current king of the ur trail world. would be S.O.O.L if he we were to incur a career ending injury.

    Thus, the scrutiny (and yes, even, venom) many direct at Geoff because he has had some success and offers us a partial (note PARTIAL) glimpse into his running life is absolutely unfounded and quite immature.

    The guy loves to run in the mountains, is often very fast and very competitive, is an absolutely great guy and deserves NONE, ZERO of the veiled and often not-so-veiled scrutiny of his character.

    Inside Trail, you are simply participating in a bit of character assassination no matter how you spin it.

  16. Burt, that’s a miss-read. The harshest thing I say is “good luck on that recovery.” Granted, that sounds a little dismissive. Character assassination? Sorry. Read it again.

    I haven’t seen anything of yours prior to this, but I would venture to guess that I have written many a more glorifying few words about Mr. Roes than all of these readers combined. I linked to some of it above. I happen to think about these things. A lot.

    Thanks for stopping by, none the less.

  17. Your attitude towards ultra running is no different than some guy sitting in the stands at Soldier field, or calling into his local sports talk radio show to complaining about the QB’s performance the day before. AJW loves to try to predict WS placements and talk about other runners, but it’s clear that it comes from a love of the sport. There is no love of ultra running in your posts. It’s all ego and drama driven.

    1. Thanks for coming by, God.
      You’ve obviously never read Andy’s viewpoints on DNFs; which I enjoyed reading and commenting on (for their honesty), though they are harsh and can be hurtful as they specifically call into question certain individuals’ fortitude.
      Take a look at my schedule this year. You think that level of time and dedication comes from anything other than love for the sport? You’re incorrect and your anonymity shows your self image.

  18. If Geoff were writing posts about a new silk G-String running underwear product, I think people would be right to call it out as blatant sponsor advertising (whatever that means). But shit, its about DryMax socks – those things are good as gold.

    Matt/Tim, I love that you all are stirring the pot. It never hurts even if you are wrong (not saying you are), because it will illicit responses from differing points of view, which will help everyone more deeply analyze any given topic.

    1. Again what is wrong with sponsor advertising? If UTM running is moving towards the big time (if ever so slowly) then sponsored athletes will be expected to pitch products. I see nothing wrong with this. In fact I wish there was more sponsor money in the game so that our top athletes could committ even more of their time to the sport.

      1. It’s perfectly fine. In this case though, it just came across as a little too fake/forced. I understand it needs to be done. But the ‘even If I wasn’t sponsored I’d post this same post’ front some people put on, is ridiculous. It’s also fine for us spectators to kind of laugh about it. Athletes do this all the time on twitter as well. Just one of those things is smartwool came along and threw some more money at someone who just posted a drymax ad, it would be easy to ‘find and replace’ all the drymax words with smartwool. With the ultrarunning community, I think a lot of us are still in the ‘oh these guys aren’t like THOSE guys, these guys are genuine, and real, and not just pushing product’ but, that’s changing too…

  19. Well IT, I guess you guys have arrived, eh? Lots to read here (and I have yet to read it all).

    I guess the conversation is good, at least somewhat entertaining. It would all be better on a run though.

    At the end of the day – does UROY really matter? I mean, it is sort of an antithesis of our sport award – right?

    Running, at any distance is about toe-ing a line, and then getting across the finish line faster than your competitors. One of things that draws us to this sport is that it is not something that is up to a bunch of judges that hold up score cards. Runners tend to watch figure skating and shake their heads at the subjectivity in the judgement of sports like that. We don’t award style points. We are about times, wins, losses and measureable performance. UROY is an abstraction of all that.

    I find it mildly entertaining that we are so eager to argue (and yeah, I do it too) over how to do that judging when we usually are not interested in it. If your favorite candidate doesn’t win it, nobody shows up at their door and takes away their trophies from their wins.

    Roes or any other athlete’s motivation … only one guy knows what is going on in Geoff’s heart and head and we all know who that is. If he says it was his best year ever, well … it is best year ever. Maybe, he actually looks at it as his best year ever because (like the guy who won WS this year) he sees more value in learning from failure? I dunno. He does. I guess we can all drum up reasons we think are his real motivations, and that makes for entertaining blog posts over a cup of joe.

  20. Hey Matt, still haven’t seen you comment on what started this whole brouhaha in the first place. It has been entertaining to watch as you frantically try to spin your previous post away, but here’s a heady question for you: Just what did you mean when you said AJW was ‘freakishly strong’? I haven’t heard you refer to any stronger runners, such as Roes and Krupicka, and InsideTrail’s little darling Mackey as freakishly strong. What gives?

What say you?