Western States lottery proves nearly as tough as the ultra itself

western states 100 logoThe wait is over, and 262 people now know what they’ll be doing for the next six months or so – training for the 2019 Western States 100 Endurance Run.

Organizers held the registration lottery Dec. 1 and drew names of those who had qualified for selection. That involves running one of several 100-mile qualifying races and finishing under the qualifying time.

And that’s just to have your name put in the hat for an opportunity to be drawn as a Western States entrant.

Western States organizers handicap the drawing by factoring in how many times you’ve put in for the lottery without having your name drawn. For each year your name isn’t drawn, you receive an additional lottery ticket, thereby increasing your odds.

A total of 5,862 runners were entered in the lottery.

In addition to the 262 people chosen in the lottery, an additional 50 people were selected for the wait list. Should any of the 262 withdraw due to injury or other conflicts, the next person on the wait list can fill the slot.

In 2018, the 36th runner on the wait list was the last to make it into the ultra.

western states elevation map
A map shows the elevation gains and losses along the Western States course.

The lottery winners join roughly 100 other runners who received automatic births. For example the top 10 male and top 10 female finishers from the previous year’s race receive automatic births. Each running club that mans an aid station receives one entry. Certain sponsors also receive entry slots as do a handful of winners of other selected  ultra-marathons.

In 2018, 369 trail runners from more than 30 countries and more than 40 states toed the line at the start of the Western States 100, according to a Western States news release.

Western States, which starts at Squaw Valley and ends at Placer High School in Auburn, will be held June 29-30, 2019.

View the complete list of Western States registrants.