I’m sure that everyone realizes that this past week was a VERY big week in America. Sure there was the election thingy, with all of its twists and turns. But what I’m talking about was far more monumental. This past week was none other than the official Western States Endurance Run lottery entry period, the hallowed time in America when anyone with a qualifying finish time in a qualifying race will put their name in the WSER “hat” in hopes of being one of the lucky 369 runners to get selected.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m anywhere close to being ready to tackle Western States, let alone take a shot at the grand slam next summer.
Why the low number, you ask? Back in 1984, during the dawn of the Western States modern era, the National Park Service put a cap on the number of runners – to protect the beautiful (but fragile) Granite Chief Wilderness the course passes through. So today, even though Western States attracts the attention of thousands of eager, ultra enthusiasts, only a select few are chosen each year.
A couple things to note. First, Western States is the first race of the four in the grand slam. Anyone, like me, who wants the chance at completing the grand slam needs to start their arduous journey with a WS entry and finish in late June. Second, the Vermont 100 (which I completed in July 2016 and is also a leg of the grand slam), is a Western States qualifying race.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think I’m anywhere close to being ready to tackle Western States, let alone take a shot at the grand slam next summer. However, the odds of getting into Western states are so small (approximately 5% for year 1 entries) that I think I might as well give it a shot. Besides, I need to start the process since those people who don’t get selected in a given year get rolled over into the next year, making their odds of selection just a little better. And who knows – if lady luck happens to shine on me this year and I get picked, I’ll just need to dig deep, to step up my training and to be ready to start my grand slam bid earlier than I imagined.
So I’m entered. The drawing is December 3. Stay tuned to see how things work out.