It’s the final countdown for the Western States Endurance Run (WSER) lottery draw. On December 7 at 8:30 a.m. PST, race director Craig Thornley and WSER organizers will draw from 6,700 entries (minus the 27 applicants who “forgot” to run a qualifying race). Although it’s more likely you’ll win the actual lottery than get picked to toe the line in Squaw Valley, the ultrarunning world continues to wait patiently to find out who will be running to Placer High School next June. Regardless of whether you have zero or 164 tickets, it’s exciting to think that 2020 could be your year.
The WSER lottery system can be confusing. With one-time lottery buys, pregnancy policies, top 10 finishers, Eric Senseman, and Gordy Ainsleigh in the mix, understanding the draw requires its own university degree. Luckily, Canadian Trail Running has cracked the code and created a simplified version of the lottery process. This flow chart by the incredible Nick Jarvis should help ease your worries.
The Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run has an equally complicated lottery system, complete with its own algorithm and jargon. Whether you fall into the Never Finished, Never Started, Veteran, or Everyone Else category–things can get tense. If you’re still confused, fear no more. Since the 2019 race was cancelled, the 2020 lottery is simpler than ever.