Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ultra Roundup: Western States 100 Lottery

Eighteen Minnesotans are hoping to have their names drawn in Auburn, California Saturday at the Western States 100 lottery. The drawing takes place at the Placer High School track, where the race finishes.

Among the local hopefuls: 2011 Sawtooth 100-mile winner John Horns; 2011 Black Hills 100-mile winner Adam Schwartz-Lowe; 2010 Sawtooth 100-mile winner Brian Peterson; and Christi Nowak, who has yet to attempt the 100-mile distance but is undefeated in ultras up to 100K.

A total of 1,942 applicants will vie for over 300 spots. The exact number is not set. Peterson, who broke down the odds on his blog, HERE, explained that the race aims for a five-year average of 369 starters, and that 400 are typically selected. Once automatic qualifiers – including previous top-ten men and women and Montrail Cup Series Winners – are factored in, the number of runners whose names will be drawn Friday could be closer to 310 or 320.

But those 310 won’t just be selected from the 1,942 applicants. Two-time entrants (including Peterson, who unsuccessfully entered last year) have two tickets in the lottery and three-time entrants get three tickets, bringing the total number of tickets up to 2,941.

Based on this system, and assuming 310 names are drawn, Peterson broke down the odds. A first-time entrant – like Nowak – has a roughly 10% chance of being selected to toe the starting line in Squaw Valley next June. Two time-entrants have a roughly 19% chance, and three-time entrants have a near 27% chance.

Probably the best-known of the major 100-mile races in the US, Western States has a special connection to Minnesota. Proctor native and St. Scholastica graduate Scott Jurek won the race an unprecedented 7 times from 1999-2005 and held the course record until 2010.

Award Winners Named ... The Upper Midwest Trail Runners (UMTR) announced their 2011 Ultra Series Champions at their banquet in November. Here’s the list:

Men’s Open – Craig Hertz
Men’s Masters – Rick Bothwell
Men’s Grandmasters – Gary Sheets
Men’s Overall Champion – Craig Hertz

Women’s Open – Christi Nowak
Women’s Masters – Lisa Messerer / Shelly Thompson (Tie)
Women’s Overall Champion – Christi Nowak
(There was no Women’s Grandmaster winner.)

Adam Schwartz-Lowe was also awarded the $500 “Gnarly Bandit Series” prize for completing the Zumbro, Kettle Moraine, Black Hills and Sawtooth 100-milers and the Wild Duluth 100k in 2011.

DtB's Ultramarathon Contributor Alex Kurt filed this report.

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