What To Do About Your Western/Hardrock Lottery Luck

[Title image taken from Strava.com]

Were you one of the thousands of people crossing their fingers and hoping the lottery gods would shine their favor on you for Western States or Hardrock last weekend? With this being a record high year for the number applicants, and the worst odds of being selected, it was a tough shot to get in. Congrats to those who did. To those who didn’t… This one’s for you!

Support your local running scene

Finding a local group of people to run with can be a fun way to think up new running ideas, network with new people, and maybe learn more routes at at your hometown trails. This could also be a good way to get to know the area brand reps for your favorite running gear… who knows, maybe you’ll walk away with some free schwag! 


There are still good 100’s that you can do without a lottery. 

Click here  for a complete list. Here are some notables:

Ouray 100 - Taking place in the San Juan mountains of Colorado (the same as Hardrock 100), this one is sure to test your climbing abilities. Boasting 42,000ft of gain and a high point over 13,000ft in elevation, this is one of the most climbing intensive official 100 milers out there. Plus, you’d be lucky to find a place with more beauty and color than the San Juan mountains.

Cloudsplitter 100 - Deep in the heart of Appalachia, this is a mountainous race on the east coast. Be prepared for solitude in the miles and miles of uninterrupted forest!

 Massannutten Mountain - This almost full loop 100 out in West Virginia has a bit over 16,000ft of gain and could make for a good spring race.

 Pinhoti - A rare point-to-point style course takes you through the hills of Alabama. The entry fee is reasonable. This could be a good late season race.

Hallucination Hundred - A hippie themed race on a looped course where you can enjoy the party every 16 miles. If you want, you can even opt for the “all natural” 5k if you want to experience nature in a new way. Plan for a flat, fast race here in the Hell (yes, the town), Michigan’s forest.

Ozark - Another point-to-point style race with 96 mile on one continuous trail. With 12,000ft total gain, this might be a bit of a faster option as well.

Find another ticket

There’s always next year. And statistically speaking, the year after that. The adventures don’t have to stop though. With dozens of domestic and international races, there are plenty of choices you could use as a long weekend race or a big destination running vacation.



Go for some FKT glory

Where there can’t be a race, there can be an FKT. FKT is the new style of pushing creativity and endurance limits. If you can dream it and put your feet on it, you can FKT it. Some big name routes include Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim(to-Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim…), John Muir Trail, White Rim Road, Nolan’s 14, Wonderland Trail, and Cactus to Cloud. Create a new route or take a crack at a local route or destination route. You mind is the only boundary. Search and track FKTs here.

Host a fatass style race

Round up your buddies for a day of run! Fatass races are generally done unofficially and on a low budget; BYO food/drink/gear type of stuff. Get creative with finisher rewards. Gag gifts, dollar store items or wacky necklaces could be used. The point is just to have fun with friends and maybe push the pace a little! You could organize a fixed distance race, duration race (3/6/12/24 hour), elimination style, relay, denim mile… (we made that up). A fatass race could easily double as a long run or workout in the off-season.

Volunteer, Crew, or Pace

Help is always appreciated and keeps the sport moving. Lots of races look for help with aid station volunteers, course sweepers, or timing. Some races that have a lottery system will give points or preference to volunteers, if you plan to try to run in a future year. Some 100’s keep a list of pacers offered/sought. Local forests and governments are almost always in need of volunteers to work on projects and keep parks looking good! A quick email to your county/state parks, a race director, or your run club’s facebook should open up lots of opportunities.

Wherever your year takes you, we wish you the best of luck in your races and the next lottery!

Comments: What are you planning to do instead? If you got lucky this year, what are you most looking forward to in training or racing?