Celebrating Community at the 2021 High Lonesome 100 Mile

AJW's TaproomLast weekend, high in the Sawatch Range of Colorado, the 2021 High Lonesome 100 Mile took place. Since its inaugural running in 2017, High Lonesome has quickly become one of the most popular 100-mile races on the North American ultramarathon scene. Central to the ethos of the race are the core values of community and conservation, and the race has worked tirelessly to support both of those in its short history.

In the summer of 2019, realizing that the race popularity was soaring, race director Caleb Efta and his team knew they would need to implement a lottery for the 2020 race. With the support and guidance of some very bright people, Efta and his team designed a lottery which attempted to emphasize their core values while creating a fair, equitable, and transparent system. Most noteworthy in the lottery design was the decision to reserve an equal number of spaces in the race for women and men.

Because the 2020 race was canceled due to COVID-19, the 2021 running was permitted to have 150 starters, 25 more people than was permitted in the past. When race morning arrived, 142 runners began the race, and by the time it was all finished, 91 runners completed the event. After reviewing the race statistics and observing the 92 male starters and 50 female starters, I asked Efta to share some of the details of the entrants list:

  • Due to the distribution of discretionary slots which are not limited on the basis of gender, the post-lottery split was roughly 55 men/45 women.
  • Quite a few more women than men (six women, one man) took advantage of the pregnancy and new child deferral policy.
  • The waitlist was largely rolled over from 2020, one which contained fewer women. The 2022 waitlist will very likely be broken out by gender instead of the 2020/21 method of alternating genders.

Additionally, as we have seen in many races this year, there were a high number of pre-race withdrawals, and of those withdrawals, 26 of 43 were women.

By early July, with the waitlist exhausted and Efta left with spots available in the race, he reached out to runners who DNFed in the first three years of the race and/or who had been unsuccessful in the 2020 or 2021 lottery. Finally, about 10 days before the race, he opened entry to the general public on a first come, first served basis regardless of gender.

Looking at the finisher rate for this year, while women were slightly more likely not to finish than men, Efta made this keen observation: “For women, 47% who did not finish were cut off and 53% dropped, while 39% of men who did not finish were cut off, 61% dropped. This fits my perception… that women are less likely to quit until they are forced to.”

What these statistics say to me, is that for High Lonesome, the system is working. Efta and his team are clearly building and sustaining a strong sense of community with their words and actions. This year’s event, pulled off a full two years after their last one, is a harbinger for an incredibly promising future, a future which places great value on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Bottoms up!

AJW's Beer (Whiskey) of the WeekAJW’s Caleb Efta’s Beer — and Whiskey! — of the Week 

The whiskey of the week is Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon from Laws Whiskey House in Denver, Colorado.

Founded in 2011 on the motto, “There are no shortcuts,” Laws meticulously crafts each whiskey with care, community, and local grains. The Four Grain is Law’s flagship whiskey, and features a strong flavor profile of orange, pepper, and spice.

AJW's Beer of the Week

This week’s beer of the week is the Mosaic IPA, coming from Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs, Colorado.

Nestled at the base of the Sawatch Range, Elevation has been making award-winning craft beer since 2010. The Mosaic IPA is a single hop IPA that strikes a perfect balance between hoppiness and juiciness.

Call for Comments

  • Have you run the High Lonesome 100 Mile? Can you share your thoughts on the race?
  • What has been your experiences with race lotteries in the past, and do you feel they are moving toward being more equitable?
2021 High Lonesome 100

Lori Barekman (front) traverses the High Lonesome 100 Mile course with a group of other runners. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo

2021 High Lonesome 100

Kunlong Cousin (front) makes his way through the High Lonesome 100 Mile course with his pacer. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo

2021 High Lonesome 100

Race director Caleb Efta speaks to runners prior to the race. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo

2021 High Lonesome 100

Jennifer Danese, Tin Cup aid station captain, poses with Laws Whiskey House whiskey, made for the High Lonesome 100 Mile. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo

2021 High Lonesome 100 Mile

Maggie Guterl refuels with her crew at the Raspberry aid station, while a rainbow flag flies in the sun and wind. Photo: Hilary Matheson/@thehilaryann

2021 High Lonesome 100

Race organizers at the start of the event. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo

2021 High Lonesome 100

A view of mountains rising on the High Lonesome 100 Mile course. Photo: Rick Mayo/Mile 90 Photography/@mile90photo