"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not."

Hardrock 100 Lottery’s Eve

Tomorrow is the lottery for the 2014 Hardrock 100, which I am registered in.

The lottery rules are fairly complicated, but the gist of it is this:

There are 3 kinds of runners:

  • Noobs – never started
  • Has-beens – been there, done that
  • Veterans – over 5 finishes (!)

Each group is in a totally separate lottery. The groups get the following number of spots:

  • Noobs – 35 slots
  • Has-beens – 70 slots
  • Vets – 35 slots

So there’s 105 slots for people that have already run the race before and only 35 for new people. Why the fuck the organizers think that so many people should keep running this race over and over, and not let new runners in, I don’t know… I guess because it’s an elitist club of old buddies who think their friends shouldn’t have to sign up for lotteries? No idea.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this post, though it does piss me off. The point is that they released a .pdf containing all of the runners and how many tickets they have. So I went through and calculated what everyone’s odds are of getting in.

Noobs: Probability varies from 1.3% to 57.5 %.

Noobs: Probability varies from 1.3% to 57.5 %.

As you can see from the Noobs chart, your odds are generally shit. That’s because 1025 people signed up for 35 fucking spots. Haha! Ridiculous.

Every year you didn’t get in, you get more tickets, same as the Hunger Games. Except in these games, it goes up by 2N. So after 3 years you have 8 tickets. So in that chart above, the steps go basically like 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 tickets. Imagine, there are 4 people with 64 tickets! Ha! If you have 1 ticket, your odds are 1.3 %, and if you have 64 tickets it works out to about 60 %.

For the vets, the situation is way different:

Vets odds vary from 39 to 89 %. Losers.

Vets odds vary from 39 to 89 %. Losers.

Since only 43 people qualify as “Veterans” and they give out 35 spots for them, you’re almost guaranteed to get in. Great, I’m sure they’ll have a ton of fun running the same course for the millionth time while literally 990 people who have never ran it cry themselves to sleep tomorrow night. Typical entitled baby-boomers.

Lastly, the “Has-Beens”:

Varies from 9.5 % to 59 %.

Varies from 9.5 % to 59 %.

Somewhere in the middle. The worst has about 10 % chance of getting in versus about 60 % for the “best”. There’s only 213 runners in this group vying for double the number of spots (70), so the odds are fairly good. One-in-ten ain’t bad.

Again, this entire category is for people that have already done this race at least once before.

Anyway, so my odds of getting in are as low as they go, at a whopping 1.3 % chance. I have better odds of being hit by a car while training for the race than I do of getting into the race!

I have to agree with the top comment on this fucking terrible iRunFar article:

Want to enjoy a “truly low-key, no frills mountain run”? Consider the HarderRock 100. Same course, same 48 hour time limit. You do not pay $250, you do not need permission from the King and his court of jesters. You do not get pampered at 13 aid stations and you do not get a $.50 finisher’s poster.

Lucky Luke and the Ultramathon

Lucky Luke and the Ultramathon

ps: I’m terrible at statistics and didn’t verify that my formula (or even the calculations) are correct. Here is the spreadsheet if you want to look at the raw data:


pps: For all my shit-talking I do still want to do this race. Ha! Wish me luck!

1 Comment

  1. cameron

    Yes yes and yes. Nailed it. Old boys club.

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