Daily Chatter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Talk Lottery

I had the weekend to get over the fact that thanks to the stupid DOW being down on the 8th I did not get into the Massanutten Mountain Trails 100.  This weekend also provided me time and opportunity to lower the boom on the super secret spy and get his approval for my insanity, relief that his doesn't need to get me a Mother's day gift from the kids, support for crewing for potentially 36 hours of running fun!

So let's talk about the lottery system that Virginia Happy Trails Running Club uses to pick those lucky runner who get to know that they are IN for events.

VHTRC is one of two running clubs I belong to.  The other is the MCRRC. 
One day I will actually get to participate in more of the events and work days that these two great clubs put on.

This year all you needed to do to register successful for the MMT 100 was:

Qualifications for Entry: Entrants must be at least 18 years old at the time they apply for entry and have completed, within the official time limit for that event, either:

A 100 mile run at anytime before December 1, 2011
A 50 mile run after January 1, 2010 and before December 1, 2011

That would be an official race not a fat ass event and not an event that you "dropped" down in distance during the event. 
Next year it gets a little harder. 

Qualification Change for 2013 Event: Starting with the 2013 MMT, a qualifying 100 mile run must have been completed within the 36 month period before entry opens. If an applicant does not have a qualifying 100 mile finish, he or she must have two ultra distance event finishes, at least one of which is 50 miles or longer, completed in the 24 months before entry opens. Runners with five or more prior MMT finishes need not have a qualifier. (This paragraph added November 2011)

You will need TWO ultra length events within the prior 36 month period.  Not that this new qualification would have been so hard given my current racing schedule BUT things change and if I waited until 2013 or after to attempt MMT 100, I might not have those 2 events completed. 
So 2012 is going to be the year.

Once you've registered by simply meeting those qualifications they check your race history and filling out their online form, you are given a random number.  Then you simply wait for the closing bell the day after the final day to register.  This year that date was December 8th.  They use the last three digits of the DOW at close to pick the "start" number for entries.  If the DOW was up for the day the number that got "in" go up.  If the DOW was down the numbers go down.  If only it had been up!

Lottery Results: On December 8, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down at 11,997.70. (We confirmed that with the DOW official site.) That makes 770 the beginning number. Lottery numbers 766 down through 269 are eligible to enter. (There is no one on 770.)  At registration I was #194

As you can see in the photo above my worst case scenario wait list ranking is 158.  I don't have seniority by having run this event before.  That would suck.  And would probably mean I would not get in on race day with a field of 205 runners.  However, as January 4th draws near the final day to pay if you got "in" or join the wait list runners will question their once strong bravado and not pay the registration fee and not join the wait list. 
This will move me quickly up the list. 

I am hopeful that I get in and get in early so I know that I need to get serious about my fitness and running.  Get serious and smart.  By smart, I mean the dreaded rest days.  Okay, minimum mile days and cross train days is more honest and accurate.  Because if I were to label myself which I don't I would most accurately be called an ultra running streak runner because running every day is important to me.  But that is another post entirely.

Given the 2013 requirement changes and the race date of May 12 - 13, I feel like THIS is the year to go for 100.  If you are new around here, May 12 - 13 would be Mother's Day weekend.  That will be my second Streak-iversary.  And while I don't love the results of the lottery for this race, I do think it is a great way to even the odds for applicants to get to participate in sought after events.

What do you think?

Have you every participated in an event that used a lottery system?
Did you think it offered a "fair" way to choose participants?
What do you think of lottery systems?


  1. Very interesting system, thanks for explaining it! I'm glad they used a lottery, if they just gave priority based on previous races, new 100 mile wanna-be runners would never get in. It is your year, so you'll be there! Cross training is fun! You should do some swimming. Still cardio, but essentially a "rest day" for your legs. Perfect complement to running.

  2. Oh gosh, I feel really bad. A client of mine got into that race and he only ran one 50 miler back in Sept (TNF in Madison). I was stunned he got in, to tell you the truth, and bummed later when I found out you didn't. Just doesn't seem fair, at all. Unfortunately, it's their sucky rules that have to be followed....and yes, I think it is your year to run the 100, but if you don't get in, find another and don't let this one bother you any more. Let it go and move on (but finger's crossed you make the list :)). Will be rooting for you!!!

  3. That's definitely a different system for selecting entrants. I suppose it's fair?? But I wish you had gotten in! Will be keeping fingers crossed that a lot of those runners before you in the list decide it's NOT the year for them. You deserve this!!!

  4. Wow.....I would be a nervous wreck! Thanks for explaining how the lottery system works though.

  5. The best part is trying to explain to a non-runner that you not only want to run 100 miles, but you have to enter a lottery to do so. :)