Feelin' the Payne...

Matt-smile.gifLong Distance Athlete of the Year - To win this award, Matt Payne had to beat out fellow official nominees, Michelle Andres, Diane Hankee and Emily Kratz. Cathy Yndestad, who's LD resume received a boost from her late-season victory at the Soma Half in Tempe, Arizona, was not in the "official mix," but probably should have been. Certainly her resume was strong enough.

Why did Matt win? Or should we ask why did Michelle, Diane or Emily did not?

In either case, here's a peek into the Committee's rationale.

Payne's resume featured five long course performances, only one of which--70.3 Worlds--was uncharacteristically medium-dazzle. He won two halves, one in course record time and placed 2nd in another. In that one, he earned the POY award for turning in the fastest amateur 70.3 time ever by a Minnesota amateur male. Also, his ultra-distance debut--Leadman Bend 250--resulted in a 2nd place finish in 9:08:11. Hard to beat.

How did his fellow nominees stack up?  ...


Andres' resume consisted of only two elite-level performances, albeit one of them was a state-record 9:50:23 at the Hawaiian Ironman World Championships. It was a top-heavy scorecard that lacked sufficient volume to win the award. The fact diane-sideways.gifthat she had an unlucky day in Vegas (70.3 Worlds) didn't help.

Like Matt, Diane (photo R) won two halves. She also set an IM PR at Louisville (10:21:03), where she was beaten by only two other amateur women. Had Diane rewritten Kortney Haag's CR at LIberty, or Ruth Brennan Morrey's at Chisago, she would have been a more serious threat to Payne.

Finally, Emily Kratz's resume was highlighted by an amateur win at Ironman Texas. Her 4th (amateur) at California 70.3 was also impressive. Her effort at Kona was good (10:22:08), but Michelle's was better. To challenge Matt for the trophy she needed at least one more awesome LD effort. Unfortunately, like unlucky Andres and dead-tired Hankee, Emily was unable to perform up to her capabilities at Vegas. Had she done so, the POY conversation may have evolved differently.

When all is said and done, 2013 was a truly awesome year for long distance performances by Minnesotans. Especially the women.


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