Sacramento Running News

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Qualifying for the Western States Endurance Run Just Got a Bit Harder

October 24, 2013 By: John Blue Category: General Running News, Ultrarunning

wser logoIn a move guaranteed to anger some and thrill others, the board of directors for the Western States Endurance Run has just announced new, more stringent qualifying standards for the 2015 race.

Noting the exponential growth in applicants (583 in 2000 and 2,295 in 2013) and the fixed number of entries available (270 lottery slots), they have set the qualifying standard to: 100 Km in 16 hours, or an official finish in a 100 mile race.

As before, not just any race will get you in. You need to run one of their selected qualifying races.

For years now, I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that the qualifying standards were too generous. Many locals had become convinced that this local race was essentially out of reach. So I applaud this move by the WSER board to attempt to improve a difficult situation.

However, I would call on the WSER Board to improve, clarify, and expedite the process by which the qualifying races are selected. The system as it stands rewards large, existing races and will make it difficult for new events to develop. Additionally, the small number of 100K races available includes only one in Northern California–Miwok–which is already oversubscribed and difficult to get into.

As it stands, aside from the lucky few that can get into Miwok, runners in this area are going to have to travel at least to Southern California so that they can get the chance to run in our local 100 mile race.

All in all, this is a step in the right direction. The situation had become unacceptable and I applaud the WSER Board for making this difficult first step.

Read the full statement from the WSER.



1 Comments to “Qualifying for the Western States Endurance Run Just Got a Bit Harder”

  1. STRINGENT?!?!?!?!?!? Eliminating 50 milers is one thing, but the WSER board eliminated Rio Del Lago 100 miler (ranked 94% on but left the easier (ranked 83%) Rocky Raccoon. As for WSER 2015, forget Miwok — after the fires the 2013 entrants are being given first dibs for this coming year. TRT is lottery only too. So there are NO local qualifiers. Locals who cannot afford to travel (take a week off of work fly, food, lodging, etc.) with crew and pacers are essentially eliminated. I’m wondering where the board thinks all those volunteers who do trail work all year round (especially after the fire) and do everything under the sun on race weekend come from. Southern California? Arizona? NOT! All the WSER legends (Gordy, Cowman, Cathy Mason — first woman to run Tevis and WSER in the same year, and Twietmyer) are locals. Turning their backs on the local running community in favor of bigger (and easier) races is not about upping the standards and leveling the lottery odds — it’s about upping their profile and big name sponsorship. Surely leaving (or creating) just ONE local comparable 100 mile qualifier won’t significantly impact the lottery, the number of DNF’s, or the quality of the runners and/or race. They claim they want to open up the race world wide, to be more egalitarian. Somehow, they’ve forgotten their roots and their community.


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