What’s the same

Qualifications for Entry

Entrants must be at least 18 years old and have met one of the following tests by the day entry opens on January 1, 2020:

Entry schedule

Entry has the following periods (refer to the sidebar for actual dates):


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.)

If you have run the event previously, you should use the same name you used before so that you get credit for those finishes. (Prior finishes are a priority for most events.) If your name has 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.


The entry fee is refundable less an amount we keep based on the date you withdraw.


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 public applicants list immediately. 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 applicants from this list. We will pick applicants equal to the number of runners allowed on the entrants list. We pick the initial entrants by determining a starting number and then taking the applicant with that number and the people next above or below that number until we have filled the list. (So if the starting number is 680, it sounds like 1 isn’t doing so well!)

The starting number is determined by using the least three significant digits of the closing Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW) as it is normally displayed. (We use the one digit to the left of the decimal point and the two digits to the right.) 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 the exact number from the DOW, we move up or down to the next number with an applicant as the starting point for selection. If the DOW closes up, we move up. Otherwise, we move down. (As used in this explanation, “up/above” or “down/below” mean 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 people below or above (depending on the direction that the DOW sends us) needed to fill the entrants field. 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 people above sufficient to fill the entrants list. If we get to 999 and have not filled up, 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 entrants, you will need to take additional action to secure your position on the wait list. No one is added to the wait list automatically.)

The results of all of this will be posted on this Web site and the people selected 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 loses 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 the initial entry process ends, anyone may join the wait list at the end.)

Since we know that some lottery “winners” will not pay and complete the process, we usually allow some from the beginning of the wait list to pay and join the entrants list also. Regardless of how many we allow to pay and join the wait list, the number equal to the size limit of the field will be decided by the lottery while any 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).

The Wait List

Those not selected in the lottery are eligible to join the wait list in the order dictated by the priorities and lottery number. The top of the wait list is virtually guaranteed of entry.

Wait List Priorities

All applicants will have an equal chance to be selected in the lottery for initial slots in the entrants field. There are no priorities for the lottery winners.

Priorities apply to the order on the wait list. Since we expect significant movement from the wait list to the entrants list, being near the beginning of the wait list creates a significant chance of getting into the event.

Some events do not use all priorities. Any priorities used, however, are in this relative order of precedence (best first):

(1) Applicants who, on three prior occasions in the last five years, served as pre-committed volunteers at this event and who were not in the starting field of the most recent running of this event.(2) Who pre-committed to volunteer either the 1st or 2nd shift for Finish Line Food the previous year.
Prior Champion or Race Director
Prior overall winners of the men’s or women’s division of this event, or a prior race director of this event.
Five or more prior finishes
Applicants who have finished this event on five or more prior occasions. A “finish” must be within the time limit for the event.
Prior Year Loser
Applied for entry last year and did not get in. Specific conditions are:
  1. You entered the lottery for this event last year and were not selected;
  2. You joined the initial wait list for this event last year;
  3. You did not withdraw from the wait list;
  4. You did not move from the wait list to the entrants list;
  5. You did not start this event last year; and
  6. You apply for this year’s lottery and are not selected
One to Four prior finishes
Applicants who have finished this event on one to four prior occasions. A “finish” must be within the time limit for the event.
No Priority
Not qualified for any priority above.

Within categories, applicants are sorted by lottery number in the direction that the DOW closed. In the two categories based on number for finishes, we sort first by number of finishes, then by lottery number. For example, all applicants with three finishes will be ahead of all applicants with two finishes.

No one will know his or her rank on the first version of the wait list until the end of the initial period to join the wait list. Our experience is that some who are eligible to join the wait list will not do so.


Fred, Sam, and Betty are in the same priority group. 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 joined the wait list by the deadline to pay. 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, anyone (and Sam above) may join the wait list at its end.

  1. Clarifications: Both qualifying run’s must be an official competition with an entry fee, required course, time limit, a Web site, and official results that are published on the Web. “Fat ass” or other informal runs do not count even if they produce results. You must finish the distance you signed up for in the time limit for the event. (Example, entering and starting a 100 mile run but dropping down to a 50 mile option or dropping out at any distance short of 100 miles, is not a qualifier.) You may not use any race you dropped out of regardless of how many miles you ran. Stage races may not be used unless one stage, by itself, qualifies in distance and has separately reported results, a required route, and a time limit. You may run a race longer than 50 miles to qualify as a 50 miler, but you must complete the race you entered. If you enter a 100 km, you must finish the 100 km to qualify as a 50 miler. You may use a 24 hour race as a 100 miler assuming you complete at least that distance. If you have a question about your qualifier, you should contact the RD ahead of time.