Should there be a 100 mile qualifying run for premier 100 mile races?

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Scott Warr

With the increasing popularity of 100 mile races and number of people in premier races’ lotteries, should there be a 100 mile qualifying standard? As a matter of reference, you cannot qualify for the Boston Marathon by running a 13.1 mile race.

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15 comments
  • I weighed in on this topic on the last SocDoc podcast. I am about to flip my position Originally I thought the “Premier” race should be open to anyone that satisfies the 50 mile time requirement…….Flip…………One of the characters of the “Premier” race is the high level of difficulty. Extreme conditions draw fascination and attention. For the majority of us, the distance is extreme enough, and offers all the challenge we need. Save the crazy elevation, jigsaw profiles and scorching heat for future runs……..and Flop.

  • Since I am one of the people trying to get into the Western States, I would also say yes and no. Yes because it would probably lower the number of lottery entrants and no because they do put a time restriction for the 50 miler, meaning that not just anyone is able to run a 50 and get in, they have to run a 50 in a time restriction.

  • I think the 50 mile & 100k qualifiers for something like Western States (and more difficult 100 milers) should be eliminated. But considering the lack of 100-mile qualifiers on the present list for States, I think they should make more 100’s available/approved for qualification purposes. THAT SAID, it should be a mountain (or at least hilly) hundred. When you factor in the toughness of States (mountain, elevation, altitude, distance AND heat) some people are just not set up well to succeed in making those generous 30-hour cutoffs. I want to see a higher percentage FINISH States, not just get to the starting line… send your e-mails my way… 😉

  • Not every race needs to be about inclusion. It is fantastic that everyone wants to be a runner these days and races fill more rapidly every year. But not everyone who wants a ticket to the SuperBowl gets one. Why should premiere races not have races as qualifiers to get into them? There are still plenty of other races for those wishing to test their mettle at whatever distance and whatever terrain. The sport can be both about inclusion and also rewarding those who work hard, train hard and perform well.

  • I am assuming that a ‘premier’ 100 mile race is, by definition, an exceptionally challenging and difficult 100 miler. These then are better suited for a more dedicated and experienced runner. This desirable experience is for the safety and benefit of the runner, let alone, the safety of the other runners and volunteers that would be affected if something goes wrong. So, by all means, I believe there should be certain steps or achievements that need to be reached before tackling such tremendous endeavors. It’s not asking too much for race directors to require 1, 2 or even 3 hard (see Jimmy Dean Freeman’s post) 100 mile races before someone tackles races such as: HardRock, Bear, Wasatch , or Western States. And as a side benefit, it might reward these dedicated trail runners better chances in getting into the premier races’ lotteries.

  • This question came through e-mail the day after I failed to get into Massanuten Mountain Trails 100. That was a lottery, and you had to qualify. Your put in a priority group (how many times completed, if you didn’t get in last year, etc…). I just started running in March. Frankly, I still don’t understand how lotteries work. After reading (MMT 100 web page) something about the number starting where the dow falls. I stopped reading there. I don’t think it should be this complicating. I ran my first 100 in Oct., Rio Del Lago. Now, the RDL100 course crosses a couple points of the WS. It’s really not a qualifying race? Is this suppose to be humourous? Although there is qualifying race in FL. There is a huge number of us dying to make it to WS and many other 100’s. There has got to be a logical solution. That way we can all have the opportunity to run premire 100’s. Run us in waves. Have Western States 2 weekends. That would make sense if the numbers are growing. I’ve surfed my entire life, and the ASP holds the Triple Crown of Surfing 3 weeks in Hawaii. They also stopped letting only pro’s compete in the Triple Crown. That’s because so many local Hawaiians are out there every day killing it. Thanks for bringing TRN to us. Having just started ,TRN has been a big help! Keep up the good work.

  • Ya know, I’ve given this some thought recently, and as much as I’d like to get in to a major 100 miler off a decent 50 mile performance, I think you have to be able to show you can actually FINISH a 100 miler before getting to compete in the bigger races. I’ve tried for two relatively easy hundos (Javelina and Ancient Oaks) and DNF’d. I think it would be rediculous if my name got pulled in a lottery when my 100 mile performances to date demonstrate that I might not currently have the ability to finish the race in the first place. I wonder, how many people every year get into WS or Hardrock or Wasatch, etc. as their first hundo, and then DONT finish? How many runners, that actually have the chops to finish, get left out every year because a newb’s name got pulled instead? And how many of those veteran 100 mile runners have been waiting for YEARS to get in to the big races?

      • I think it just comes down to the fact that the 100 mile distance is so much different than a 50 mile or 100k, no matter how fast you can run the latter. The only exception would be for an elite level runner who runs, like 6:30 or whatever or less for a 50. Just stupid fast people. But even then, the 100 miler is a whole other beast than the lesser distances.

  • I am new to Ultra’s and have only completed a bunch of 50k’s.. (Lost 105 lbs to do them) I heard Don’s comments on the Podcast and agreed with him. I am leary of creating “classes” of trail runners. I understand and agree with the 50 mile qualfication and feel you must respect the 100m distance, but think it is a slippery slope to say WS to to much of a “premirer” race to let newbies in…the Lottery is enough of hurdle for most of us. The spirit of this sport is to promote the “anti couch potato” lifestyle, just because the sports participation has taken off, lets not become snobs and forget why we do this and support everyone in their quest to do something they might have once thought impossible.. Me, I am stepping up to the 50 mile and 100k races in 2013…..WS someday? Wow….that would be amazing…..

  • One thing I have noticed though is the number of 100 mile races out there is growing because our sport is growing so that is good. I like the idea of being inclusive because that is what makes us a great group of people to spend time with. I think it is just fine to allow newbies the same opportunities as those who have been running longer. I think that if someone is crazy enough to even think about running 100 miles then sure let them have that opportunity. But I do feel for the guys like Jimmy Dean who has been trying to get into Western and hasn’t been drawn.

  • i am a newbie and the thing that attracted me most to ultrarunning is the idea that it isn’t corporate and so bogged down with politics. so simple. just pushing your limits, challenging yourself, or just enjoying good people and the outdoors. strap on shoes and go. but we know what the reality is, so set aside 25-30 spots for elites that we know will be in the mix for winning (race directors decide who those will be) and let the rest just be opened to random lottery. if a person is so insistent on their need to run ws100 or some other particular course then do it true ultrarunner style and just go out and run it. why do you need a start/finish line and a buckle?

  • Premier races should include qualifying times based on age groups similar to Boston. If the number of qualifiers still greatly exceeds the number of entrants available then a more strict and organized qualification process should be implemented similar to Ironman Championships. These are more difficult because it’s based on finish place within your age group at the specific qualifying race. In these cases time is not a factor and everyone you’re competing with in your age group is under the same factors of weather, altitude, elevation gain/loss and other course or volunteer related circumstances. It’s inconsistent to see qualifying times of sub 11 hours on courses that are clearly uncomparable (ie: AR50 vs. Twin Peaks).

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