Lottery Process

2020 Run Cancellation and Lottery/Qualification Impacts

  • How are lottery tickets going to work moving forward?
    • The ticket earning process remains unchanged. There will only be lotteries for the Veteran and Else categories for the 2021 Hardrock. Tickets will continue to accumulate in the normal way for each lottery “bucket”.
      • For 2019, as the season was skipped for all, all lottery entrants were affected equally, with no one accumulating additional tickets (except for trail work attendees).
      • For 2020:
        • As the season is skipped for Never lottery entrants, they will all be affected equally, with no one accumulating additional tickets.
        • As the Veteran lottery is based on solely number of previous finishes, not years applying, the cancellation of Hardrock means their ticket count will also be unaffected.
        • In the Else lottery, having applied to the lottery for the 2019 and not having been able to start the run in 2019 will count as a DNS as usual, regardless of whether you were chosen in the lottery for 2019 or not. As the 2019 field rolled over to 2020, no additional DNS will be given for not starting in 2020.
  • How are qualifiers going to work moving forward?
    • 2021 Hardrock (only Veteran and Else lotteries to be held):
      • Qualifiers that would have been applicable to the 2019 or 2020 lotteries will be valid.
        • Aka, completion of one of the qualifiers listed on our webpage in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020 OR completion of Hardrock in 2016, 2017 or 2018.
      • Never Entrants and wait listers from the 2019 run who are rolled over to 2021 do not need to requalify.
    • 2022 Hardrock: Complete one of the qualifiers listed on our webpage in 2020 or 2021 OR have completed Hardrock 2021. *Depending on the 2020 slate of races that occur, this policy will likely be expanded.

Each year, we are faced with the difficult problem of how to choose our starters from now more than 2000 applicants, while still respecting the values that make Hardrock Hardrock. We are always reviewing what we think is a fair mix and will continue to do so in the future. The current number of entrants drawn from each of the three weighted lottery pools are listed below:

  1. Never Finished - 65 slots will be allocated for the 2021 run. Entrants and wait lists originally drawn for the 2019 run will be rolled over to 2021 in light of the two consecutive cancellations. This lottery pool is for anyone who has never finished a Hardrock.

    The intention is to increase the likelihood for applicants with many DNSs to get into the run. Modeling suggests that giving applicants 2^N tickets, where N is the number of previous DNSs, will ensure that those with the most DNSs will get in, while still giving applicants who have never started Hardrock a chance. “DNS” includes everyone who applied, was qualified, and went through the lottery, but did not get to start the run. This includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list.

    Additionally, service tickets (Aid Station Captain and/or 2 official Trail Work Days in the previous year's event and/or each 5 years' of general volunteering for Hardrock and/or clearing markers from the course) will each count as an additional DNS. This puts a high value on contributions made to Hardrock in your own personal time and labor. Your DNS count does not go away if you miss applying a year - it is all your DNSs, ever.

    1) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in for 2019 (now 2021) has one DNS and would have 2^1=2 tickets.
    2) a never-started applicant who applied and did not get in in 2018 and 2019 (now 2021) and was an aid station captain in 2019 has three DNSs and would have 2^3=8 tickets.

  2. Veterans - 28 slots will be allocated to this lottery for the 2021 run.

    This lottery pool is for anyone who has five or more Hardrock finishes, with the following qualification: an applicant who DNFs in two consecutive attempts beginning in 2012 will be placed into the "Everyone Else" pool until they complete the run in a subsequent year. Applicants will get one ticket for each previous Hardrock finish, plus service tickets as described under "Never Starters".

  3. Everyone Else - 62 slots will be allocated to this lottery for the 2021 run.

    This lottery pool is for anyone not in one of the previous two lotteries. The algorithm for ticket allocation is described below.

    Runners entering Hardrock from the Never lottery must actually FINISH Hardrock to graduate to the Everyone Else lottery in subsequent years. Runners already in the Everyone Else lottery for the 2021 draw will be grandfathered in for subsequent years, whether or not they have finished Hardrock. If a runner DNFs after entering Hardrock from the Never Lottery, they will retain all the tickets they had in the Never Lottery when they apply in a subsequent year.

Runners not selected in the first two lotteries WILL NOT be rolled over into the third lottery. If fewer than 28 "Veterans" apply, the unused slots will be added to the "Everyone Else" pool.

A separate wait list will be maintained for each lottery. When a runner withdraws from the start list, a runner will be taken from the wait list for the lottery from which the withdrawn runner was chosen. If a wait list is empty, runners will be taken from the other two lists on an alternating basis, beginning with the "Everyone Else" list.
***Specifically for 2021 - With a temporary increase in the maximum possible field size to 155 for 2021, to keep the overall number as close to 145 as possible, the first 10 drops from the entrant list for any of the three categories will not be filled. The 11th drop will be filled from the category wait list as described above.

The previous year's winners will continue to bypass the lottery, but they will count against the lottery pool they would have been in.

The entry fee for Hardrock is $325, and applies to all entrants.

Ticket Allocation Practices For "Everyone Else" Lottery

The number of tickets an applicant has in the "everyone else" lottery will be determined as follows:

  • All qualified applicants get one ticket "just for applying".
  • Applicants with 1-4 Hardrock finishes ever will get one additional ticket for each finish.
  • Applicants get one ticket for each DNS since they last started Hardrock. “DNS” includes everyone who applied, was qualified, and went through the lottery, but did not get to start the run. This includes both those who were on the wait list and those who withdrew from either the wait list or start list. Your DNS count does not go away if you miss applying a year - it is all your DNSs, ever.

Service Tickets

Volunteering at Hardrock can improve your odds in the run lottery! Service Tickets count as an additional finish for the Else or Veteran lotteries, and an additional DNS for the Never lottery.

There are two types of service tickets: One-time and Perpetual

One-time tickets apply only for the next lottery held after they are earned and do not roll over. They can be earned by:

  • Aid Station Captain or their nominee: 1 Ticket - If the Aid Station Captain declares their intent not to enter the run lottery, they can recommend to the Aid Station Coordinator or Run Director an outstanding volunteer from their aid station to receive their service ticket.
  • Trail Work (Both Days): 1 Ticket
  • Trail Work (Both Days) AND certified as a Trail Boss - 1 Additional Ticket to the Trail Work ticket
  • Course Marking and Clearing: Tickets are awarded by the Course Director to those volunteers who have most contributed. Not all course marking and clearing volunteers will receive a Service Ticket.

Perpetual tickets accumulate, do not expire, and can be used in more years than one. They can be earned by Hardrock volunteer work such as marking the course, working an aid station, helping at check-in, helping sell merchandise, and serving on the various Hardrock organizing committees. At least eight hours of volunteer work must be performed to have that year count. Pacing or crewing a runner DOES NOT count toward these tickets, nor does representing a vendor if you are employed by them. One ticket will be awarded for every five years of volunteer work:

  • 5-9 Years: 1 Ticket
  • 10-14 Years: 2 Tickets (and so on)

Additionally, Directors may nominate volunteers who have gone far above & beyond the call of duty for Service Ticket(s), subject to approval by the Hardrock Board.

Conduct of the Lottery

Members of the board tabulate the number of tickets for each entrant based on the data provided by the entrant during registration. All data on number of applications and finishes are verified through records maintained by the HRH. The number of tickets for each entrant is posted on the HRH website before the lottery so that applicants can check their number of tickets. Members of the Board, and usually some independent observers, calculate the statistical distribution of selection given a number of tickets.

The lottery is normally conducted at the beginning of December. Tickets for each lottery showing entrant names and how many tickets each has are printed from a spreadsheet. These are then cut into individual tickets and placed in a separate container for each lottery. Each drawing is conducted by the members of the Board present taking turns drawing one ticket each. Names are selected until the entrant allocation for the lottery plus a wait list is reached. As tickets are drawn, they are taped onto a display board as a record of the drawing.

In addition to those selected via the lottery, the Hardrock Race Director may also select up to 5 runners for entry. The intent of these picks is to correct perceived omissions in the lottery, such as a runner that has tried for many years to enter, or who has given exceptional service to the HRH, or that the RD thinks will bring added interest to the run. All runners selected via this procedure must have entered the lottery and must also have qualified. Hardrock does not disclose the names of runners so selected either to the selected runners or otherwise.