The Connection Runners + [running man]

Hardrock Waitlist v. Something Else, a Tentative Race Schedule

I'm always astounded at how early I have to begin finalizing next years race schedule, but I'm getting close to finalizing it. I was not chosen to run Western States this year. I wish I had been chosen because I think that it's a run that I could prepare well for and then perform well at. But alas, it is not going to happen for me this year.

Hardrock is a different story. I am 30th on the wait list. Clearly, I wish I'd had been chosen so that I know that I'm in. Being 30th on the wait list is not a great place to be. At this point I think not being on the wait list might be a better position than being 30th. Because HR is more popular each year, I figure my odds are not really that good for being able to run the race. As it becomes more popular, people are less likely to drop out of the race even if they haven't had the ideal training block, if they're slightly injured, just wanting to experience HR, and so on. And there isn't anything wrong with that. Whoever got in is luckier than me and they should decide for themselves whether they're going to run or drop out. The other factor that lessens my ability to get in is the automatic entry concept. This year there were 36 people who had automatic entry to the race (so only 104 people where chosen in the lottery). And next year, there will be even more people who have automatic entry, since there are several people running this year who will have their 5th finish. The automatic entry concept is clearly unsustainable, but perhaps that's a topic better left for someone else with more vitriol.

But what it all comes down to is if enough people drop out, then I may be able to run. Blake Wood, who sits on the HR board of directors posted this on irunfar.com:


To anticipate the inevitable question, here is the highest number on the
initial wait list to get into the run for the past few years:
Year – Highest # to start Hardrock
2003 – 75
2004 – 50
2005 – 28
2006 – 42
2007 – 38
2008 – 99
2009 – 27
2010 – 27
2011 – 36
So if I was 30th on the wait list over the past 9 years, I'd have been able to run 6 of those years. But of the last 3 years, I'd only be able to run once. I'm not a statistician so I don't know what percent chance I have of running this year. But I figure the odds are not great - maybe around 50% given the increasing popularity of the race.

I would love to run Hardrock, but I really don't want to head down to Silverton in mid-July and find myself without anything to do. I could volunteer at an aid station, but I'd need to commit fairly early to doing that. I'm not ruling this out as a possibility - maybe they will take anyone at an aid station at any time. I also don't want to commit to a race earlier than HR, like Kettle Moraine or Big Horn, where I'd be in recovery mode when HR came around. So I think I have a tentative solution:

Train like I'm in Hardrock and sign up for Angeles Crest. Wait until mid-July to find out where I sit on the updated wait list. If 5 of the chosen have dropped out then it will seem even more unlikely that I'll be able to race and then I can just focus on AC100. But if 20 of the chosen have dropped out then it will seem likely that I will get into HR, in which case I'll be primed and ready to race.

The only aspect of this plan that I don't like about this race is using Angeles Crest 100 as a backup. It isn't a second tier race and I feel odd treating it as such. I also don't know if I'd be able to get any money back if I signed up for AC100 and then dropped out (on short notice). But AC seems like the perfect choice, as oppose to Cascade Crest, Leadville, or another 100 later in the season, because I'm planning on running Bear 100 in middle/late September. For now that'll be my plan. My race schedule now looks like this:

February 18: Moab Red Hot 50K
May 19: Jemez 50M
July 13: Hardrock 100
or
July 21: Angeles Crest 100
September 28: Bear 100

If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them and I'll keep you updated on my thinking on this. Thanks for reading my rants.