I received a tremendous amount of great feedback from the likes of Andy Jones-Wilkins, Scotty Mills, Greg Loomis, and Olga Varlamova regarding my draft proposal for revising the current Western States entry system, which is likely to be revamped at tomorrow’s lottery. Feedback on my draft proposal can be summarized as such:
- For better or worse, the two-timer loser rule has outlived its viability and must go;
- Some sort of weighted ticketing system would work; and
- The 25 automatic international entrants provision should go.
After that, there were a whole lot of great ideas, but little consensus. Here are some of the ideas:
- There were a few calls to modify the current auto entries for the Top 10 male and female finishers from the prior year. These suggested modifications included:
- A general reduction in the depth of placing that earned auto entries;
- The complete elimination of Top 10 placing as an automatic entry provision; and
- The reduction of women’s auto entries to Top 5 placings based on the much smaller size of the women’s field.
- Regardless of modifications to the Top 10 rule, many felt the previous winners should have automatic entry for life.
- Various ideas for weighting the number of tickets given to a particular applicant, include:
- An extra ticket for each consecutive year for which an applicant applied but did not gain entry;
- An extra ticket for each year within a set span of years that the applicant applied but did not gain entry;
- An extra or extra tickets to age group winners from the previous year; and
- Extra tickets based on the number of 100 mile races the applicant has completed.
- Some suggested that the qualification standards be modified either by
- Tightening the time criteria, or
- Requiring a previous 100 mile finish.
- Others suggested that the WSER Board be given between 20 and 50 discretionary entry slots. These slots would be used to grant entry to elite runners.
- Based on the fact that the WSER is such a community, there were calls for applicants with at least a given number of WS buckles (aka official finishes) automatic entry. These suggestions ranged from 6 to 10 prior finishes.
- One suggestion was to grant entry on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Another idea is that anyone who finished in a given year sit out the next year.
- A just proposal was made to require aid station caption designees to have actually worked at the respective aid station the previous year.
- A less serious proposal made as a potential way to cut down the number of applicants was to require entrants to run Western States to run in the buff.
While folks had their thinking caps on, they made some suggestions for the Montrail Ultra Cup, at least as far as races at which the Top 3 women and men get auto entry into States. These suggestions include:
- Not including 50ks among the races with auto WS entries, though they might otherwise add to the series.
- Make the auto entry races of series of tune up 50 milers, including Zane Grey, Bull Run Run, Ice Age, Mt Jemez, and American River or Leona Divide.
- Make only 100 milers the races which result in automatic entries into WS. In particular, the other “majors” – Vermont, Hardrock, Leadville, and Wasatch – were suggested.
- Broadening the geographic scope of the races.
Good luck to everyone in tomorrow’s lottery!
[If anyone would like direct attribution for an idea, please let me know and I’ll add it. These days, I’m erring on the side of privacy – even for thoughts that were otherwise posted publicly.]