In general I think the voting panel did a pretty good job. Each year there are some surprises in this voting, but I think when you have something as obscure as ultrarunning being measured by a panel of 18 voters you are going to have some weird outcomes.
It still baffles me how little recognition this panel gives to the North Face Championship race in December. Granted I didn't win this race, but I beat more truly world class ultrarunners in that run than any North American ultrarunner has in a long time, if not ever. It certainly wasn't my best race ever, but not good for a single vote in the performance of the year category? Tony's vote tally for his Western States performance, which I think he deserved, shows that the panel is willing to vote for a second place finisher, but my lack of even a single vote for NF race shows just how unwilling the panel is to acknowledge that that race has become, without question, the most competitive ultra in North America.
I think another example that illustrates this is the fact that Dave Mackey got one total vote for runner of the year. Yes, he only ran 2 ultras all year but he won Firetrails and finished 3rd at North Face. Max King (not to take anything away from Max, but just to prove a point) also ran (to my knowledge) 2 ultras this year. He finished 2nd at Way Too Cool and 3rd at American River and finished with 8 total votes and 11 places ahead of Dave in the voting. Perhaps Max picked up some votes due to his dominance at shorter races, but I suspect it has more to do with voters who are unwilling to place as much importance on a new race like NF 50 as they are on some of the old classics like Way Too Cool and American River, even if the new race had a significantly stronger field.
At any rate, this is a pretty minor thing to be my biggest question with the voting. Overall I really do think they do a pretty good job at something which is really not as easy it sounds. The women's side of things was certainly a lot closer and likely will raise a lot more questions, but I think the panel did a good job there too. Personally I think Ellie deserved female runner of the year, but without having run a 100 miler I certainly didn't expect her to win it. She has the talent to dominate the women's side of things for the next several years, I'm excited to see if she's able to stay healthy and turn that potential into a reality.