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Bull Run Run 2012 -- Entry Procedures

STOP! Read This First

This page describes the BRR entry process in excruciating detail. You do not need to know everything on this page! We set it all out in the interest of full disclosure and for the truly anal. You need not read this. We will tell you what you need to know as you complete the entry process.

This is like your car's transmission. All you have to know is how to put it in "D" and go. You can, if you want, read a manual that describes how a transmission works. But the complication inside the transmission needn't make driving the car complicated.


The three major events of the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club have enjoyed increasing popularity. This popularity, however, meant that entry became hectic and stressful. In response, we developed an entry process that we believe reduces the stress while being transparent and fair.


The application process is in two parts. You fill out the application at one time, then you come back and pay later. If the number of applicants is significantly greater than number of spaces in the field, we pick the initial entrants to the event by lottery.

You pay on your second visit to us. If we had to have a lottery, and you did not win the right to enter the event, you can join the wait list. We will fill vacancies in the field from that list.

Important Points

This process, except as noted below, is online. There is no paper option for entry. You will pay online.

We use PayPal to process payments. There is a fee for that, but we pay it. Payment processing is included in your entry fee.

You will pay on the PayPal site, but you are not requred to have or create a PayPal account. You can use a credit card. If you have a PayPal account, you can pay that way, but you don't have to.

To hold a spot on the wait list, you must mail us a paper check. (We may change this to allow for paying electronically to hold a wait list spot. This is not decided.)

Filling Out Forms and Paying

Anyone who wants to run the 2012 BRR must complete the on-line application during the week noted on the shedule on the entry page.

Runners may apply only one time, under a name they commonly use. This will help ensure that the lottery is fair and that everyone has the same odds. (Entrants may be required to verify their identity at race packet pickup.)

Also, if you have run the event previously, you should use the same name you did before so that you get credit for those finishes. If your name as changed please contact the race director before completing the entry application so that you can have credit for your finishes.

While we expect that runners are generally honest, anyone caught trying to subvert or "game" this system may be barred from all future VHTRC events.


Does this mean that entry is hopeless?

You should not interpret this process as meaning that your chance of getting in the race is low. In fact, we believe that the wait list procedure we have instituted will help us accommodate most runners. While we are not sure how many will seek entry, we don't suggest that you assume you can't get in.

In 2009, everyone made it off the wait list either by withdrawing or being moved to the Entrants list. There were vacancies on the Entrants List on race day in 2009. In 2010, everyone also made it off of the wait list, though there were no vacancies on the final entrans list. In 2011, however, there were 28 people left on the wait list who could not run the event. Only 18 of these participated in the lottery. The rest joined the wait list later.

We believe, but cannot guarantee, that most who make an effort to enter the event during the initial process will be able to run. We know that this process will be more orderly and less stressful.

We have taken measures to make the lottery open, transparent, and fair. If we need a lottery, here is how it will work.

During the period that application is open, each person who fills out an application will be given a unique, randomly-generated number from 0 to 999. Once a number is issued, it will not be used again. The applicant's name and randomly generated number are added to the applicants list immediately and can be seen by the public. The applicants list will be "ordered" based on the randomly generated number. (But wait! Number 1 is not necessarily better than number 698. Keep reading.)

We will determine the initial entrants by picking 340 applicants from this list. We pick them by determining a starting number and then taking it and the 349 people above or below that number. (So if the starting number is 680, it sounds like 1 isn't doing so well!)

The second figure is the DOW—we think!

The starting number is determined by using the least three significant digits of the closing Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW). The date of the DOW will be specified before entry begins. The DOW number is available on any number of Web sites. If there is any question about what the DOW close was on the day in question, we will go by the number on the site maintained by Dow Jones & Company, which 'owns' the DOW.

If no one has that exact number from the DOW, we move up or down to the next number with an applicant on the list as the starting point for selection. If the DOW closes up, we select up. Otherwise, we select down. (As used in this explanation, "up/above" and "down/below" means on the number system, not the page. Thus, 11 is up from and above 10 and 9 is down from and below 10.)

Once we find the starting person, we select him or her and the 349 people below or above (depending on the direction that the DOW sends us.) If we get to the end/beginning of the applicant list and not all the slots have been filled, we wrap around to the beginning/end and continue selecting.

[DOW is usually listed to two decimal places (e.g. 13,438.86). If the last digit is a zero, some sites will drop it. If that occurs, we will add it back. So if see the close as: 13,438.8, we will start at 880.]

Example: If the DOW closes up at 13,625.58, our starting number would be 558. We would look at number 558 on the applicants list. If there is a person at 558, he or she is the first person in the event. If not, we go up until we find a number with a name. After we find the first person, we select that person and the 349 people above. If we get to 999 and have not reached 350, we go to 0 and work up from there.

The people not selected in the lottery may join the wait list. The wait list will be ordered in conformance with the priorities set out below. (If you are not selected among the initial 340 entrants, you will need to take additional action to secure your position on the wait list. See below.)

The results of all of this will be posted on this Web site and the people selected would have the specified period to come back to complete the entry by paying online. Anyone who has not paid at the end of this period would lose his or her slot in the event.

Those eligible to join the wait list, but who have not done so during the time to pay will lose their wait list priority. (After this process ends, anyone may join the wait list at the bottom.)

(Since we know that all lottery "winners" will complete the process by paying, we usually add some from the top of the wait list to those who may pay and join the entrants list. So, for example, in 2011 we let the 350 lottery winners and the first 50 people on the wait list pay and enter the event. 348 actually paid. So the next three people on the wait list were moved to the entrants list immediately. It is important to note, however, that regardless of how many we allow to pay and jolin the wait list, the first 340 will be decided by the lottery and the additional ones will be decided by wait list priorities.)

The point of all of this is transparency. All applicants know where they stand and where everyone else stands at all times via the Web. The selection of the initial number (the DOW) is available on the Web and is completely out of the hands of the VHTRC (indeed, anyone).


All applicants will have an equal chance to be selected in the lottery. There are no priorities in the lottery.

We have established priorities to order those on the wait list. Since we expect significant movement from the wait list to the entrants list, being near the top of the wait list creates a significant chance of getting into the event. In fact, we will usually allow the top people on the wait list to enter because we know that not all lottery "winners" will complete the process and enter.

Applicants will be placed on the wait list in the order of the priorities. The priorities are set out on the entry page.

The Wait List

Those not selected in the lottery are eligible to join the wait list in the order noted above. To preserve your priority, you must join the wait list during the same period that successful applicants must pay.

You will join the wait list by mailing in a check. Information about how to send in your check later will be available when you seek to join the wait list.

Example: Fred, Sam, and Betty have each won the BRR before. They have lottery numbers 455, 456, and 457. The DOW was up and the last person to go on the entrants field had lottery number 450. There was no one on lottery numbers 451-454. Fred and Betty sent in a check to join the wait list by the deadline. Sam did not. Fred and Betty would be the top two applicants on the wait list.

When the wait list reopens after the initial entry period, you (and Sam above) may join the wait list at the bottom in the order we receive your check. (Checks received the same day will be shuffled to determine their priority among each other.)

Important: For all deadlines that involve mailing in checks we go by when we receive them in our hands, not postmark. In the initial entry process, there is plenty of time for the mail to arrive if you mail early. If you wait to the last minute to mail, you assume the risk that a huge snow storm will shut down mail delivery.

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