The 2009 season is far from over, but I have learned quickly that you need to be organized and ahead of the game in the world of trail running if you want to get into popular or tightly capped races. I have a number of such events that I want to run in 2010; in fact, I just registered for my first 2010 race this morning: The Ghost Town 38.5 mile, which is held somewhere in New Mexico, nine hours south of FoCo.
I was just perusing the website yesterday, and learned that registration for the last 40 spots was to open this morning. Wow, good timing, as this thing will likely sell out today, a full four months before the event is due to take place - crazy. It is capped at 75 runners, with first dibs being offered to previous runners - 35 decided to return. After reading and hearing a number of rave reviews from last year, I decided that I wanted in, despite the hefty $99 entry fee.
So what else? Well, if I can remember to be online Jan 1, then I am definitely going to register for the San Juan Solstice 50, which is one of those runs that any self-respecting mountain runner should run at least once, or at least that is what I am told. This one sells out on the day - a full six months before the event. In February, I hope to run the Red Hot 50k - another one that sells out quickly - or the 50/100 mile event in Huntsville, TX (Rocky Raccoon), an event that mercifully does not have a cap.
I am definitely thinking of running a California event, and had originally planned on Way Too Cool (50K), but I'm just not prepared to add to the drama of a race that sold out in under ten minutes last year. I mean how good can an event be? So instead, I'm thinking that the Miwok 100k is more my kind of thing: lots of climbing and lots of miles. In addition, I know the race director and her significant other and have wanted to run their event for quite some time. Plus, it took over a month to sell out last year, which is a better fit for my procrastinative nature.
What else? Well, I have pretty much committed in my mind to doing another 100 miler (for my sins), but I'm having a hard time with the logistics of lotteries and such like. My first choice would be Western States, but as most are no doubt aware, the chances of getting in through the lottery are not good. However, the up side is that I would find out if I am in or not (Dec 15) before having to put my name into the hat for Hardrock, which does its lottery in early January. If, as is likely, I fail to get into both events, then the default is Leadville, an event that will take anyone with a pulse and $225 (in '09).
Beyond that, I'll fill the rest of the calendar as I go. I think most of the other races I am interested in running are either not on my radar yet, or have much more reasonable entry requirements, i.e., you don't have to commit a half year in advance.
The clock is already ticking on 2010 events people. Better start planning now.