|2018 IAU Career Awards
The IAU Career award has been established since 2014 to recognize for tireless ultrarunning enthusiasts who have worked long and hard to increase the profile of national and international ultrarunning. This prestigious honour recognizes the hard work and dedication in developing and promoting the sport over the years. We are committed to honouring the individuals who have paved the way of the sport for the future.
It is our great pleasure to announce that we awarded two individuals with the IAU Career Award. The Award went to Donald Alexander Ritchie [GBR] (passed away in June 2018) and Jürgen Schoch [GER]. The awards will be presented at the earliest convenience.
Donald Alexander Ritchie [GBR]
Don Ritchie is justifiably regarded by many as one of the greatest ultra runners of modern times. With track World Best Performances at 50 km (twice), 40 miles, 50 miles (twice), 100 km, 150 km, 100 miles and 200 km, plus world road bests at 100 km and 100 miles he had an unparalleled record in the sub 24 hour events.
He had numerous Continental 100 km wins to his credit, (including setting a world road best) , and a 100 mile world road best in the USA. In 1990 he produced the best 24 Hour performance of the year, some fourteen years after setting his first world track best. This distance was to win him the inaugural IAU 24 Hour Championships in Milton Keynes.
In 1989 he had attempted the record for the John O’Groats-Lands End run 846.4 miles from one end of the United Kingdom to the other. Despite serious physical problems, Don set a new record of 10 days 15 hours and 27 minutes for the distance. A tribute to his steely determination.
It is rare for a top class runner to have a long career. The sustained stress of pushing one’s body to the limit usually results eventually in career-ending injury. Don Ritchie did have significant injuries, but he came back from these to add further laurels to his already distinguished list of achievements. As late as 2001 he was a member of the British 24 Hour team that won the Bronze team medal at Uden in the Netherlands. This was 24 years after Don’s first World Best at 50 km in 1977!
Don’s longevity as a runner allied to his ability to push himself to the limit, to sustain a pace, only very slowly giving way in inexorable fatigue, made him virtually unique among Ultrarunners. His willingness to share his hard won knowledge and experience with others was also notable. As a coach of Simon Pride, subsequent winner of the World 100 km Challenge, and also as contributor to first, Training for Ultras and then Training for Ultrarunning books, Don provided detailed information on his preparation for his major ultra feats.
His autobiography “THE STUBBORN SCOTSMAN DON RITCHIE world Record Holding Ultra Distance Runner” published late in 2016 revealed his running career in typical unfussy detail. His remarkable masterpiece of 6:10:20 for 100 km is covered in just three quarters of a page but is placed in context. His meticulous training diaries are recorded for many of those major runs.
Don’s legacy is not just the inspiration of his remarkable records but also his determination to pass on his knowledge and experience for those who come after him.
A unique individual who will be greatly missed”
Jürgen Schoch [GER]
Jürgen is great individual with fantastic experience in sport fields on many aspects. It all started in earl years of his presents in the running community. It all started with middle-distances, reaching his personal best at 1500 m of 4:18 min. His marathon debut was in 1982. He managed to establish his personal best at stunning 2:46:10. Six year from his marathon first appearance he completed for the first time ultramarathon, the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos, Switzerland (67km). He managed to complete this race 8 times. List of races that he participated is long including over 50 marathons and over 80 ultra races. Furthermore he completed 3 long-distance bicycle trips from 8000 to 9000 km in USA, Europe and Asia. This is outstanding. He is active ultra runner for over 20 years.
Since 2005 Jürgen is a member of the executive committee of the German Ultra-marathon Federation (DUV) with the field of duty in statistics. It was his idea and later on responsible for implementation of a database. He manage the multilingual database of ultra-marathon results containing almost all current ultra-marathon races worldwide plus several thousand historic races back to the 1960s. Now it is 13 years since he started this endeavor and soon the DUV database will reach 50’000 races. On the yearly bases there are almost 6 000 events recorded on the website. This is tremendous work done by Jürgen and his team. Its been a go-to site for a lot of runners, raced directors and many other people in running community. It is a bench mark for many of us and point of reference in many aspects of ultra-running. Now we all benefit from his work.
On behalf of the IAU
IAU Director of Communication