Rob Murphy

August 13, 2020

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Salt Lake City,Ut,

Member Since:

Feb 11, 2010



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

I had some success in high school and college. Winner 1985 Rod Dixon Run 

Had a fair amount of success as a Masters runner for most of my 40s. 

Short-Term Running Goals:

Have fun, not get fat, stay fit.

Long-Term Running Goals:

 Keep running in some fashion.


I teach AP European History and other courses at Alta High School. I coached the track and cross country teams at Alta for 16 years.

Married, two kids - Abby and Andy

My Twitter  @murphy_rob

Miles:This week: 22.05 Month: 92.15 Year: 1598.59
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Crap! I got shut out of the masters circuit money again this year. Passed by both Steve and Sasha on the last race of the year which I didn't race.

I even sort of tried this year.

PM: 9.25 miles in the gully.

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00Weight: 0.00Calories: 0.00
From steve ash on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 08:30:11 from

Your in good company Rob, I could not afford to even front the money for all those entry fees let alone get the time off also to run them all!

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 09:02:59 from

You would have had it if it weren't for the Des debacle. 10K > Marathon next year.

From Rob Murphy on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 09:07:33 from

It's all about picking the right races with the least competition. Being fast helps, but it's not the only factor.

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 09:10:02 from

Its more about quantity. I won just because I did most of the races this year. The last two years I think I ran 3 and 5 circuit races, respectively. This year I didn't even win a single one of them (which I sort of feel stupid about)

From RileyCook on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 09:47:09 from

Quantity and running a marathon are definitely the main keys to success. I won last year by running several races and jogging a marathon (though Jake, Teren, and arguably Hornock were more fit than I was).

This year I'm 3rd and I'm WAY more fit this year (but lower quantity and no marathon).

Which brings me to my main gripe with the circuit. Why give so much weight to marathons? They are already the least competitive races on the circuit with only a handful of people running them; why compound that? 5k is just as legit of a race as a marathon or a half. I say do away with the extra weight. Why tip the scales in favor of endurance runners and away from speed runners?

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 09:54:52 from

I don't know how the scoring system came about - it's been that way for a while (1.25 for HM, 1.75 for Mar) as far as I know. I have a few ideas to balance things out a bit. One idea is to select to have a few "championship" races at shorter distances that are worth more points.

Some USATF associations actually split their circuit into long course and short course, and have separate winners.

I don't know what the best thing to do is. Ultimately, the goal is to increase participation. That's the bottom line. Right now participation is low, and the prize money is too high relative to how many people have even been running the circuit the past two years.

Board meeting is next Monday - any ideas are welcome. I can't speak for everyone in the group, but I am definitely open to shaking things up a bit and trying something different in 2014.

From Steve on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:04:18 from

Yeah, but you had some great races Rob. Next year is going to be fun. Masters is finally challenging again

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:06:24 from

Sasha is making you guys step up your game!

From RileyCook on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:32:09 from

I think setting aside a race at each distance as the "Road State Championship" is a great idea. But it only works if everyone accepts that it's the championship and treats it as such. I got a coaster from that SLCTC Winter 10k that says "State Champion", but let's be honest no one holds that as a championship race. I didn't even know it was supposed to be one until I got that coaster! A race needs to be designated and then people have to buy in. I'd recommend Draper for 5k, Des News for 10k, TOU for Half, and maybe UVM for full? Honestly, Draper, Des News, and TOU almost felt like championship races. All were loaded with talent.

I don't think races need to necessarily increase the prize money as much as they need to extend it deeper. If a race paid 10-deep, you'd get a lot more runners out. For example instead of 500/250/125, they could do 150/130/110/100/90/80/70/60/50/40. That's just an example, but spreading the wealth out may increase participation. I think a lot of the guys that could finish just outside the top three avoid some races because they don't think they can place. So they seek out races less likely to draw top runners and then get their podium that way. Especially if they are paying entry fees, that is less risky for them. Two years ago I had the problem of finishing fourth in almost every circuit race (no $), yet I was paying lots in race fees. Ben had that problem last year. So it's hard for people in that position to commit to run the circuit. Spreading the wealth can increase participation, but at the risk of losing 1-2 of the very fastest guys (double-edged sword I guess).

I asked Kotter once why he didn't do the circuit and he said it's because he can make more money doing non-circuit races on the same days as the circuit races. And it's true. You have freedom 5k in Provo that triples the purse at Murray on the same day. You have Lavender and Bryce that pay 5 times more than Tour de Run on the same day (and also Hobbler that day). I don't know what you do to solve this. Adding those high-paying races is a start, but if they are already drawing elites why would they want to pay more to be on the circuit? I thought UVM was a huge addition for you guys last year. I know that while I took 3rd on the circuit this year, I still came away with more money by running non-cirucit races on the days of circuit races (Bryce $500, Freedom 5k $200, and Des News Half $500). So I came out ahead by running non-circuit races at the expense of my circuit standings.

You really pushed the circuit here on the blog last year and I pushed it to the guys I run with and we didn't really get anyone new to buy in and participate except Bryant Jensen. We lost Teren, Hornock, Ken, and Ben from being active participants. So this year just wasn't very competitive at all. More subtractions than additions. I know several people said they wanted to do it this year, but no one really followed through.

The participation is a real problem and not one that I see an easy solution to (at least not without more money, but that money has to be generated somewhere and where do we get it from)? Maybe seek out sponsors for the circuit. "Zion's Bank USATF racing circuit". Ask the running stores to push it in their stores? Give them posters with schedules to hang etc.

It's tough man, I don't envy you guys in the positions trying to improve it. I appreciate your hard work though. Thanks Jake.

I will continue to think about this stuff and if I come up with any ideas I will email so as not to litter Rob's comment section with long, long write-ups like this one. Sorry Rob.

From Jake K on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:43:43 from

Great thoughts - I'm going to print this and bring it on Monday to the meeting and share w/ the group.

I have a Google doc "brainstorm" sheet that I've been working on for the past couple weeks - a lot of your ideas line up exactly with what I've been thinking. The thing about the championship races is that there are USATF hoops to jump through, but it might be possible.

We're working on getting a title sponsor which would be a game-changer.

In addition to open men/women's competitors, what we really need is age-group participation. One option might be re-distributing some of the overall prize money to the age groups.

I think the priorities are 1) title sponsor 1a) advertise 2) retain the good races and get some new ones on board 3) figure out if the scoring needs to be tweaked

In my ideal world, the scoring would be done by some sort of BCS super-computer than made competitive races automatically worth more and ranked head to head competition. But then everyone would just want a playoff anyways :-)

From RileyCook on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 12:23:48 from

Yeah we need BCS-type rankings and then everyone needs to get his/her fantasy USATF Circuit team ready for the first ever fantasy running league...haha.

From RileyCook on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 12:30:17 from

Jake, your comment of making more competitive races worth more made me think of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Jace ran it this year and told me about how the scoring works. They give you bonus points for beating other guys that are currently in the top 10 overall standings. Here's what their website says:

"Two bonus points will be awarded to a competitor for every runner beaten in a race who was in the top 10 in the same gender in the overall standings."

From Steve on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 15:43:39 from

Just my two cents on the circuit scoring. Marathons should carry the weight they do. They take much more planning and often the risk of losing a chunk of your season. I wasn't in the game this year and it showed. So the scoring has some legit. My fastest races couldn't be marathons this year, I was too injured to train the distance. The circuit is something different. It's one of the few racing things that's about participation too. I never thought about it as a money maker. It just never had any in it really. I wouldn't change a thing

From RileyCook on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 15:48:21 from

Steve if it's about participation, let's just take the money normally given to the overall winners and instead use that to buy everyone a trophy! :-)

From Steve on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 16:26:12 from

Yeah, then add in some mud or maybe foam pits.

Come on, you know what I mean. Look at the top three in the circuit for the past years. You'd have to admit they are some of the best. Look at the top 10 finish times in each circuit race and compare them to similar size races around the country. It attracts competition.

The absolute fastest doesn't always show in the final score, but what race actually does? Just a guess here, but win the Utah Circuit you have to be able to run a 5k in the 15s, a 68 or faster Half, and a Full at least in the mid 2:20s. Takes some work. A Master needs 16 and change on a 5k, a Half at 72, and a Full in the mid 2:30s. So it justifies leaving the fuel belt at home. :-)

From Jake K on Sat, Sep 28, 2013 at 16:02:25 from

Good points and perspective Steve. Running one of the local marathons well is sort of necessary to win the circuit (unless you're Teren), so you have to have some good range and stepping up to the marathon is part of that. I'm not 100% certain, but I'm guessing the scoring system was designed with that in mind. Utah is a pretty marathon-centric state anyways.

Its definitely a balancing act, where you have to weigh the circuit races against your other goals and races you want to do outside the state. This year it worked out where I could run most of them, so I did; last year I chose to make some other things a bigger priority. So while I technically won due to "participation" this time around - I still gave it a honest effort every time out and ran decent times across the board, so I don't feel TOO guilty about it.

From Steve on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 15:39:39 from

The best Circuit on the planet is the World Marathon Majors. (my opinion) Only the winners get money from a two year circuit. $500,000.

No sharing there

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