Whole Lotto Love, Again

Lotteries are a reality in 100-mile ultras. RealEndurance.com's Gary Wang summarized that "The sport has grown more than 10x in last 20 years. In 1996, there were 973 runners finished an 100 miler, and there were only 18 100m events."
Several images swiped from RealEndurance.com

In late 2016, Hard Rock 100 was accused by Aaron Denberg; alleging fraud in the raffle system, insider favoritism, and financial hardship by runners who’ve spent $17,000 to get to the starting line. Where he got that $17k number is beyond me. But it seems to fuel a lawsuit animus.

Denberg also alleges misconduct in the trail-work process, scree spillage etc. All this is chickenshit compared to what the USFS deals with on a daily basis; especially in light of a savage incoming Trump Administration and its blazing love for all things logging, mining, fracking and drilling.

Western States has had a lottery since 1981. The draw is public, and you’re welcome to sit in the Placer Co HS auditorium and watch your name not get pulled. There's an abundance of qualified applicants, a capped number of entrants due to the grandfathered easement through the Granite Chief Wilderness, and a complex system of figuring out who gets in.

This year HRH has their draw in Blake Wood’s living room, and responding to this criticism, invited three observers: Ian Torrence, Emily Harrison, and Ultrarunning’s Heather Sackett to view. Full disclosure: I’ve known Ian since the late ‘90s, and he is unimpeachably honest, period. That said, HRH may want to open it up to a more public venue. People want to see names pulled. They'd probably love to see the original applicant list as well. 

Denberg also takes HRH to task for outing Leadville as hypocrisy. By contrast I was thrilled. Leadville was always a civic moneymaker, and when it was bought by LifeCycle, the applicants jumped from 500+ to over 1200. It was a complete clusterfuck, which seems to have been dialed way back since. HRH outing LT100 did ultras a favor.The unmentionable was finally aired.

And Angeles Crest? its all Ken’s Picks. Crickets and tumbleweeds

Despite promises of a “random computer program” in a 2016 email, the entry process remains the same. The same post-apocalyptic Day After Gold Rush scramble, where runners without a single ultra to their name will be signed up.  

There will always be surprise adds just before the race, which prompts WTF yelps from whichever puzzled out-of-state runner who didn't get in.

The 2016 Race saw the late addition of Amy Palmiero-Winters, an amputee runner who'd completed Western in 2010, with Badwater and others later on. She hadn't raced a 100 since Vermont 100 in 2013, but Kenny needed a celeb. There was a flurry of "OMG! CNN is gonna come out and cover the Race!", resulting in a 1:17 segment.

And there is still no waiting list, no pre-qualifieds, no explanations. One fine day somebody with time and money will gin up a suit, and it will be interesting. 

 In contrast to other 100s, this image seems to sum up the AC100 entry process:
Butt wait, there's more!


waaron1 said…
Perhaps Ian is as honest as you say, however, when he wrote up his observations of the lottery process, he neglected to write about the part where the hardrock 100 inserts fake picks and passes them off as genuine. There is no doubt this happens as Blake Woods revealed this to me in emails which are included at fixhardrock.blogspot.com. There is not much use in having "independent" observers if they neglect to write about the entire lottery process.
Mr Trail Safety said…
I mentioned the entrant/pick conundrum in the sentence "They'd probably love to see the original applicant list as well."

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