The MURCA Runner of the Year Award is given to one MURCAn to recognize noteworthy accomplishments in the sport of ultrarunning and contributions to causes greater than themselves. This year’s MURCA Runner of the Year embodies the highest qualities of being a Marine, a MURCAn, an ultrarunner, and personifies the essence of MURCA’s mission and ethos.
2020 MURCA Runner of the Year
Mosi D. Smith
2019 MURCA Runner of the Year
2018 MURCA Runner of the Year
The 2018 MURCA Runner of the Year is Diane Durden, for noteworthy accomplishments in ultrarunning and service as an inspiration to all MURCAns. Diane has finished one 200 mile race, eight 100 mile races, and altogether over 30 ultramarathons and 94 marathons. Diane has overcome significant challenges in life and has set the positive example that personifies the MURCA mission and ethos. In addition to achieving a high level of personal success in our sport, Diane has used her passion to raise money for the Bob Hope USO. As a direct result of her efforts, she raised $2,700 for the charity. Diane is a consistent source of inspiration for MURCAns and for those who are close to her. This year’s MURCA Runner of the Year holds the highest qualities of being a Marine, an ultrarunner, and embodies the essence of what MURCA stands for.
Thanks for the inspiration Diane. Semper Fi!
2017 MURCA Runner of the Year
Butch joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1973 as a tactical air operations control specialist. He made the All-Marine Wrestling Team and then got out as a sergeant in 1977. After the Corps, he spent 35 years in the Mortgage Banking industry and retired from U.S. Bank in 2017. Butch started running in July of 2011 after being inspired by a co-worker 10 years his senior who had recently completed an Ironman Triathlon. Butch was 56 years old at the time. After returning home and noting the large indentation on his couch where he sat daily, he decided to make some changes. The next day he ran a mile and barely completed it. Butch was in decent shape, with considerable experience in competitive softball until age 43 and as a varsity baseball coach for 11 years, but didn’t have much experience running. Butch had been bitten by the running bug, and five months later he ran a half marathon, then a trail marathon five months after that, and then ran his first ultra within 13 months of discovering running. He has since completed 56 ultra marathons including a 100 miler, three 100k’s, seven 50 milers, and the rest 50k’s. His favorite running accomplishment was completing the Umstead 100 and receiving the coveted award buckle. Butch does well in his age group and has won several age group awards after reaching the age of 60.
Butch decided to use his passion for running to help a cause greater than himself in 2017. He teamed up with an organization called 22 Too Many, whose mission is to honor warriors that were lost to PTSD and to serve as a living memorial. He dedicates each race he runs to a Marine who lost their life to depression or PTSD. Butch wears a picture of the Marine on the back of his pack as he runs, taking them along in spirit and in remembrance. After the race, he writes a letter to the spouse/parents of the fallen Marine to let them know that Marines “never leave a man behind”, that their loved one still lives within us, and even includes his race finisher’s award. Butch ran for 12 of these fallen warriors in 2017.
As a result of Butch’s selfless devotion to the cause, he helps keep the memory of the fallen alive and allows others to know who the fallen hero was and what they did for the United States. Butch’s efforts also raise conversation among fellow runners, spreading awareness of PTSD and the staggering rate of suicide and PTSD-related deaths. He also provides a great deal of support and comfort to the families of these Marines. When they see a picture of their loved one being honored and/or receive a medal and a note in the mail, it means the world to them. Butch has also helped recruit other runners for 22 Too Many, which allows the organization to grow and accomplish its mission on a larger level.
Not only is Butch helping us accomplish our mission, but he is touching many, many lives in a very positive and meaningful way by being a 22 Too Many runner, and we all appreciate him greatly. -Dayna Harrison of 22 Too Many
Butch Britton is a positive example of the power of the human mind and spirit. Many people find running late in life, and the beauty of our sport is that it transcends the boundaries of age and ability. Butch’s contribution to the sport of ultrarunning and to the families of fallen warriors is significant and noteworthy. Congratulations Butch on an impressive year of running and helping 22 Too Many.