Lottery Process

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose our starters from 1500 applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock Hardrock. The Board feels that our ideal mix of runners would be about 30% first-time Hardrockers, one-quarter or so veterans (i.e. >= 5-time finishers), and up to 50% everyone else. To preserve this rough and fair mix, we have replaced our single weighted lottery with three weighted lottery pools, each with its own wait list:

  1. Never Started - 47 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has never started a Hardrock. The intention is to increase the likelihood for applicants with many DNSs to get into the run. Modeling suggests that giving applicants 2^N tickets, where N is the number of previous DNSs, will ensure that those with the most DNSs will get in, while still giving applicants who have never started Hardrock a chance. “DNS” includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list.

    Additionally, service tickets (Aid Station Captain and/or 2 official Trail Work Days in the previous year's event and/or each 5 years' of general volunteering for Hardrock and/or clearing markers from the course) will each count as an additional DNS. This puts a high value on contributions made to Hardrock in your own personal time and labor. Your DNS count does not go away if you miss applying a year - it is all your DNS's, ever.

    1) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in for 2015 has one DNS and would have 2^1=2 tickets.
    2) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in in 2014 and 2015 and was an aid station captain in 2015 has three DNSs and would have 2^3=8 tickets.

  2. Veterans - 35 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone who has five or more Hardrock finishes, with the following qualification: an applicant who DNFs in two consecutive attempts beginning in 2012 will be placed into the "Everyone Else" pool until they complete the run in a subsequent year. Applicants will get one ticket for each previous Hardrock finish, plus service tickets as described under "Never Starters".

  3. Everyone Else - 70 slots will be allocated to this lottery, which is for anyone not in one of the previous two lotteries. The algorithm for ticket allocation is described below.

Runners not selected in the first two lotteries WILL NOT be rolled over into the third lottery. If fewer than 35 "veterans" apply, the unused slots will be added to the "everyone else" pool.

A separate wait list will be maintained for each lottery. When a runner withdraws from the start list, a runner will be taken from the wait list for the lottery from which the withdrawn runner was chosen.

The previous year's winners will continue to bypass the lottery, but they will count against the lottery pool they would have been in.

Ticket Allocation Practices For "Everyone Else" Lottery

The number of tickets an applicant has in the "everyone else" lottery will be determined as follows:

  • All qualified applicants get one ticket "just for applying".
  • Applicants with 1-4 Hardrock finishes ever will get one additional ticket for each finish.
  • Top-5 male and top-5 female finishers of the previous year's run get one additional ticket each (except the winners, who are already accepted).
  • Applicants get one ticket for each DNS since they last started Hardrock (this is new for 2016). This includes runners who were on the wait list or who withdrew from the wait list or accepted list for any reason. Your DNS count does not go away if you miss applying a year - it is all your DNS's, ever.
  • Applicants who have performed special services for Hardrock may receive one or two additional tickets. We have generally set a high bar for awarding extra tickets. If you think you have performed a special service, please list it on the application for selection board review.
  • Aid Station Captains from the previous year (only) are awarded one additional ticket.
  • Long-time volunteers receive one additional ticket for each 5-year pin you have earned from the Volunteer Coordinator.

Conduct of the Lottery

Members of the board tabulate the number of tickets for each entrant based on the data provided by the entrant during registration. All data on number of applications and finishes are verified through records maintained by the HRH. The number of tickets for each entrant is posted on the HRH website before the lottery so that applicants can check their number of tickets. Members of the Board, and usually some independent observers, calculate the statistical distribution of selection given a number of tickets.

The lottery is normally conducted at the beginning of December. Tickets for each lottery showing entrant names and how many tickets each has are printed from a spreadsheet. The Board has a chance to review those sheets, which are then cut into individual tickets and placed in a separate container for each lottery. Each drawing is conducted by the members of the Board present taking turns drawing one ticket each. Names are selected until the entrant allocation for the lottery plus a wait list of 100 names is reached. As tickets are drawn, they are taped onto a display board as a record of the drawing.

In the past several years Hardrock has been allowed an increase in the number of its allotted starters. In addition to those selected via the lottery, Hardrock may also select up to 5 runners for entry. The intent of these picks is to correct perceived omissions in the lottery, such as a runner that has tried for many years to enter, or who has given exceptional service to the HRH, or that Hardrock thinks will bring added interest to the run. All runners selected via this procedure must have entered the lottery and must also have qualified. Hardrock does not disclose the names of runners so selected either to the selected runners or otherwise.