Are lotteries a good way to manage admittance into popular trail races?
In my head, I can run a lot longer and a lot faster than I actually can.
I call it “small dog syndrome”.
What do I mean?
I used to own a little Yorkie named Wilson and he would attack other dogs that were 10 x his size. It didn’t matter. In his head, he was the top dog and there was nothing that would conquer him.
I feel that way about running sometimes. I have made incredible progress over my years of running but in my head, I can always do more. The same drive that gets me out of bed to train at 4 AM is the one that caused me to train through my stress fractures. Sometimes, my “small dog syndrome” or the infallible belief that I can do anything, despite all of the logical facts presented, can be a detriment to me causing injury or pushing me past my physical boundaries.
The reality is, I will not let that phase me. To prove this, I have made a race bucket list of some of the biggest trail races out there that I know, I JUST KNOW I will do before I die.
The problem is, there are a lot of other people out there who are just as committed to the sport of running as I am and they all have their eyes on these races as well, which makes it difficult to get in. In a way, it is comforting to know there are others out there who are willing to spend their life savings on a race that can kill them, but that is the beauty of the ultra community, I suppose.
I don’t have any immediate plans of racing these incredible races. I am spending my time reading about them, planning and dialling in my training and nutrition because I know I have a lifetime of endurance racing ahead of me, however, when the time comes, I will be extremely grateful for lotteries because I think it evens the playing field.
An ultra isn’t about speed, it is about mental strength. It is hard to tell by statistics alone who will be able to successfully complete 135 miles of torturous terrain and unpredictable weather and physical reactions. I think the ones who are most successful at ultras have a little bit of “small dog syndrome” in them where they forget or are just simply not aware that it is not normal for a person to run 100 miles in one stretch and they just do it. They don’t have the concept of impossibility and that is why lotteries are a vital part of endurances races, because there is incredible athletes at every end of the speed spectrum who deserve to be on the course of some of the world’s biggest trail races.
What are your thoughts on lotteries for some of the bigger races?