Western States changes entry criteria

WSER logo ©westernstatesendurancerun

WSER logo ©westernstatesendurancerun

Keep it fair. Keep it Simple. Raise the Bar.

….the Board also realizes that something needs to change to alleviate the increasing pressure on our lottery. Thus, the qualifying standards for entering the WS lottery beginning with the 2015 race are:

  • 100K finish in under 16 hours or
  • 100M finish in time allowed by race.

We have limited the number of qualifying races to the largest trail 100 milers domestically, and the largest 100Ks that are also of significant difficulty. The 100K distance aligns better internationally. Worldwide, we’ve included the largest races but also have the goal of geographic diversity so runners from anywhere in the world have an opportunity to run a qualifying race. There are 63 races on the 2015 qualifying races list.

The 2015 qualifying run must be run from Monday, November 11, 2013 through Sunday, November 14, 2014.

You can read the full post on the WSER website HERE

Call for comments:

  1. What do you think about the qualifying races?
  2. What are your thoughts on the criteria for entry, 100km in sub 16-hours or a 100-mile finish within the cut-off?
  3. How will this impact on those who wish to race in UTWT (Ultra Trail World Tour)?
  4. Any other thoughts or concerns?

On a personal note, Western States ultimately have no choice (in my opinion) to make entry more difficult. If they are not able to increase the field and allow more runners, then they need to ensure that those who run, ‘earn’ the place. However, I do agree with the comments in regard to Gordy running the race way back in the early 70’s with no experience and completing the task… such a difficult balance act to get right. Western States needs to progress with the times and we can look at TNFUTMB as an example of how a race changed criteria to balance supply and demand.

Welcome your thoughts!


5 thoughts on “Western States changes entry criteria

  1. Would have liked more 100 milers on the list. Don’t know why they restricted it to the largest ones. There are two local ones that are not qualifiers now.

  2. I have no problem with upping the distance required to gain entry, however they need a wider net for qualifying races.

    Looking at some stats:
    38/64 are in the US, 22 of those are in the western US, roughly the same as all the international events (26)

    Only two races in all of Canada, both of which are in Alberta (again western)! Yet England has 4 races?

    I would be interested to know what the criteria was for selecting these races, because for some of these you need to qualify or get access via a lottery to enter, so you are now potentially having to do multiple ultras in order to even get into the draw for Western States.

    This may end up with those with the time and money to travel to races with a better opportunity to qualify. This may end up going the same way that we have seen with Ironman Kona.

  3. By focusing on large races and not 100 miles that are comparable, the board eliminated local qualifiers. WSER is different from many of the 100’s out there. It was born from the love of the local running community. It’s a local storied event. The legends of the race are locals. WSER relies on locals for trail work (especially now after the fires) and volunteers. Some of the aid stations require backpacking in and camping there for days. The locals are the pool of pacers overnight for the middle to the back of the pack runners. The two closest races, the Miwok 100K and the TRT, are lottery only events. By eliminating local qualifiers, the number of would be entrants will only go up for these races. So, local runners without the financial means to travel with pacers and crew are essentially eliminated. Gordy and Cowman’s race will no longer resemble the dream. The board is focused on elite runners and big dollar sponsorship. They claim to be about egalitarianism for the sport — to open it up to more runners around the word. But they’ve turned their backs on the very running community they rely on for success. Every single finisher will tell you no one runs it alone — the volunteers are the very backbone of WSER. Sadly, the board has forgotten that. Do they really expect us to believe that keeping or creating at least ONE local qualifier is somehow going to effect the lottery, the number of DNF’s, or the quality of the runners and the race? They kept Rocky Raccoon (ranked 83% on realendurance.com) and eliminated Rio Del Lago (ranked 94%) because of the size of the race. WOW!

    • I completely agree with both Laura and runnerstrailspin. Maybe the locals should boycott pacing and aid stations at Western States and create their own race on the same route on a different date.

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