Lottery Process

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose our starters from now more than 1900 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 - 45 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 everyone who applied, was qualified, and went through the lottery, but did not get to start the run. This 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.

    Examples:
    1) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in for 2017 has one DNS and would have 2^1=2 tickets.
    2) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in in 2016 and 2017 and was an aid station captain in 2017 has three DNSs and would have 2^3=8 tickets.

  2. Veterans - 33 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 - 67 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 33 "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. If a wait list is empty, runners will be taken from the other two lists on an alternating basis, beginning with the "everyone else" list.

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

The entry fee for Hardrock is $325, and applies to all entrants.

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.
  • Applicants get one ticket for each DNS since they last started Hardrock. “DNS” includes everyone who applied, was qualified, and went through the lottery, but did not get to start the run. This includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list. Your DNS count does not go away if you miss applying a year - it is all your DNS's, ever.

Service Tickets

Volunteering at Hardrock can improve your odds in the run lottery! Service Tickets count as an additional finish for the Else or Veteran lotteries, and an additional DNS for the Never lottery.

There are two types of service tickets: One-time and Perpetual

One-time tickets apply only for the next lottery held after they are earned and do not roll over. They can be earned by:

  • Aid Station Captain: 1 Ticket
  • Trail Work (Both Days): 1 Ticket
  • Trail Work (Both Days) AND certified as a Trail Boss - 1 Additional Ticket to the Trail Work ticket
  • Course Marking and Clearing: Tickets are awarded by the Course Director to those volunteers who have most contributed. Not all course marking and clearing volunteers will receive a Service Ticket.

Perpetual tickets accumulate, do not expire, and can be used in more years than one. They can be earned by Hardrock volunteer work such as marking the course, working an aid station, helping at check-in, helping sell merchandise, and serving on the various Hardrock organizing committees. At least eight hours of volunteer work must be performed to have that year count. Pacing or crewing a runner DOES NOT count toward these tickets, nor does representing a vendor if you are employed by them. One ticket will be awarded for every five years of volunteer work:

  • 5-9 Years: 1 Ticket
  • 10-14 Years: 2 Tickets (and so on)

Additionally, Directors may nominate volunteers who have gone far above & beyond the call of duty for Service Ticket(s), subject to approval by the Hardrock Board.

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 is reached. As tickets are drawn, they are taped onto a display board as a record of the drawing.

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.