USA Track & Field - New England

USATF New England
Mountain Running

November 20, 2002

Contacts: Nancy Hobbs
USATF MUT Sport Council
PO Box 9454
Colorado Springs, CO 80932
(719) 573-4405/fax (719) 573-4408
Dave Dunham
USATF MUT Sport Council.
108 Ferry Rd
Bradford, MA 01835
(978) 373-9118 phone/fax

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: USATF Mountain Runners of the Year 2002

On Saturday, December 7, the 2002 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year awards will be presented Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri during a breakfast banquet as part of the USATF annual convention. For the first time masters athletes will be honored in the mountain running discipline as well as open athletes

The USATF Mountain Runner of the Year award recipients in the open category are Paul Low, Amherst, MA and Anita Ortiz, Eagle, CO and Craig Fram, Plaistow, NH and Kari DiStefano, Telluride, CO in the masters category.

Paul Low, 28, Amherst, MA was a member of the Teva US Mountain Running Team earning his spot on the team with a second-place finish at the Vail Hill Climb (Central regional selection race) and a fourth-place finish at the Mt Washington Hill Climb (East regional selection race). Low was the top US finisher at international events including the World Mountain Running Trophy in Innsbruck, Austria (32nd overall), the WMRA Grand Prix race in Susa, Italy, and Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race in Sierre, Switzerland. Additional top finishes in 2002 included a win at Colorado's Barr Trail Mountain Race, a course record-win at the 7-Sisters Mountain Race in Massachusetts, third place at Pack Monadnock (third race in the USATF New England mountain circuit), and fourth place in the USATF New England 10K Championships (30:41). Low was also a US team member in 1999 and 2000 (second and fifth US finisher respectively). Low was born and raised in Mount Pleasant, Michigan where he graduated from Central Michigan University in 1999 with a B.S. in Biology and Geology. He is a graduate student at UMass Amherst in Geoscience studying igneous petrology and tectonics and represents the Central Massachusetts Striders.

Anita Ortiz, 38, Eagle, CO was virtually unbeatable in the mountains in 2002. Ortiz traveled to all three of the mountain running team selection races winning both the Vail Hill Climb and Wolverine Hill Climb and finishing second at Mount Washington (first US finisher) to earn her spot on the Teva US Mountain Running Team. Her exceptional 11th place finish at the World Mountain Running Trophy was the best finish by a US woman since 1995, the first year the US sent a women's team to the Worlds. Says Teva teammate Julie Bryan, "Anita performs to top standards while being a school teacher, wife, and mother of four young children. She does what it takes to be the best in many areas of her life." Adds training partner Ellen Miller, "I participated in many snowshoe races with Anita this past winter, and not only does she win all the races, but she exhibits great sportsmanship, and a cheerful attitude at the events. At the races, she often waits at the finish line for some of us slower women to finish!" Ortiz was the North American Snowshoe Champion and US National Snowshoe Champion in 2002. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and received her Master in Education at Florida State with an impressive 4.0 average. Ortiz teaches kindergarten at Eagle Valley Elementary and has four children all under the age of 10.

Craig Fram, 44, Plaistow, NH , is among the top master runners in the country on the track, on the road, and in the mountains. In 2002 Fram won the masters divisions at Mount Washington (third overall), and at the Wachusett Mountain Race (second overall) with a time ranking as the third fastest ever run at Wachusett. Fram's overall victory at Pack Monadnock, the third USATF NE Mountain circuit race, was exceptional as he beat 2002 Teva US Mountain Running Team members Paul Low, Richard Bolt, Eric Morse, and Dave Dunham. Fram was a member of the 1995 US Mountain Running Team, but declined a berth on the 2002 Teva US Mountain Running Team due to work-related travel commitments. He may try for a spot on the 2003 Teva US Mountain Running Team. "I like to run 2 or 3 of the USATF NE circuit races," noted Fram, "They make a nice switch from road racing and can be an extreme challenge." Presently Fram has his sites set on bettering the 5,000 meter indoor track record and his own US record for 3,000 meters (8:32.5). Fram is the Managing Director of Product Development for Puma.

Kari DiStefano, 43, Telluride, CO, last year's USATF Mountain Runner of the Year, earned a spot on the Teva US Mountain Running Team after her second-place finish at the Vail Hill Climb and was the third US finisher at the World Mountain Running Trophy. The week after the Trophy Race DiStefano earned a silver medal in the 40-44 year age division at the second annual WMRA World Masters Mountain Running Championships shaving more than one minute off her finish time from the week before (same course). DiStefano was victorious in the inaugural running of the Telluride 360 Hill Climb edging out former US Mountain Running Team members Lisa Goldsmith (1997) and Rene Frazee (2000). Equally impressive on the roads, Distefano set the course record in the hilly Rim Rock 37KM last November with a time of 2:28:07. DiStefano has three children and works as a mapper for San Miguel County.

This is the fourth year for the USATF Mountain Runner of the Year awards. Past winners include Colorado athletes Danelle Ballengee, Matt Carpenter, and Kari DiStefano, Cindy O'Neill, Dave Dunham, MA, and Eric Morse, VT.

Criteria for this year's selection included top results in US mountain/trail competitions and international competitions during 2002, current USATF membership, and serving as an ambassador for the sport.


USA Track & Field New England

Home | Track & Field | Road Running | Race Walking | Cross Country | Mountain/Trail Running | Membership

Comments? E-mail USATF-NE at with suggestions for this page. Thanks!