Lottery Process

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose 140 starters from nearly six times that many applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock, Hardrock. The Board feels that our ideal mix of runners would be 25% first-time Hardrockers, 25% veterans (i.e. >= 5-time finishers), and 50% everyone else. To preserve this mix, we are replacing our single weighted lottery with three weighted lottery pools, each with its own wait list:

  1. First-timers - 35 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 DNS's 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 first-time applicants 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, or each 5 years' of general volunteering for Hardrock) will each count as an additional DNS. This puts a high value on contributions made to Hardrock in your own personal time and labor.

    Examples:
    1) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in in 2013 has one DNS and would have 2^1=2 tickets.
    2) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in in 2012 and 2013 and was an aid station captain in 2013 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. The number in this pool is about the same as the number of 5-time finishers bypassing the lottery in each of the past few years, and so comes close to preserving this feature.
  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 will be unchanged from the current one (see below). Modeling suggests that the chances of being selected from this lottery will be better than under the current system.

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 race get one additional ticket each (except the winners, who are already accepted).
  • Up to ONE additional ticket will be provided to any entrant from the past three years who did not start. This includes runners who were on the wait list or who withdrew from the wait list or accepted list for any reason.
  • 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 (i.e., simply working an aid station or pacing another runner isn't enough), but those who worked at least two days of last July's Trail Work Weekend will get an additional ticket. 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.

Important Changes upcoming for the 2015 Lottery

Note: Changes will NOT be in force for the 2014 lottery

  1. No longer does merely starting Hardrock, regardless the year, count as qualifying.
  2. We will reduce the "finished any Hardrock within five years" qualification to three years.

Hardrock itself is and will be a qualifier like any other on the list, except that it counts for an extra year (three instead of two), beginning in 2015.

It is still the case that everyone in any of the lotteries has to have run a qualifier in the appropriate time period.