Access to one of the most exclusive clubs in ultrarunning is at stake Saturday, Dec. 3, when the Hardrock 100 conducts its lottery for the 2017 edition of America’s toughest 100-mile footrace.
Nearly 2,000 applicants are in the hunt for just 145 spots, divvied up among three smaller drawings – 33 spots for runners who have completed five or more Hardrock 100s, 45 spots for runners who’ve never started a Hardrock 100, and the remaining 67 spots to applicants who don’t fit into either of the first two categories.
Twenty-five Massachusetts ultrarunners are in this year’s Hardrock lottery. Of that group, 22 are hoping to run the race for the first time. They are the dreamers of the bunch, among the pool of 1,700-plus in the “Never Started” category. Their chances of getting in are the longest … some with odds as low as 0.6 percent according to 20-time Hardrock finisher Blake Wood’s odds calculations. It’s improbable, but not impossible.
Massachusetts’ first-time Hardrock hopefuls are Michael Agbay of West Boylston, Peter Agbay of Shrewsbury, Scott Baver of Wakefield, Mark Blakeley of Norton, Chris Bustard of Cambridge, Joseph D’Alessio of Boston, Matt Elam of Allston, Tim Finocchio of Holbrook, Tom Flummerfelt of Winchester, Robijn Hage of Cambridge, William Jackson of Salem, Samuel Jurek of Oak Bluffs, Ryan Knapp of Melrose, Dane LeBlanc of Littleton, Gregory Lowe of Ipswich, Maddy McCarthy of Newburyport, Tom Morton of Chicopee, Padraig Mullins of Cambridge, Nicole Ponte of Dartmouth, Karen Ringheiser of Newton, Peter Tjersland of Dartmouth, and Scott Traer of Woburn.
As soon as a runner has completed Hardrock once, they are in the club and their odds of returning surge. Each of the 201 runners in the “Everyone Else” classification – which includes runners who have finished the race between one and four times previously – have at least a 9.9 percent chance of seeing their name drawn for a return trip. Christopher Agbay and Dima Feinhaus are in that group.
Agbay, of Jefferson, Mass., has finished Hardrock two years in a row after a DNF (did not finish) in 2014. He logged a time of 39:46:52 in 2015 and 39:56:43 at the 2016 race. His three lottery tickets give him a 26.8 percent chance of being selected.
Feinhaus, of Waban, Mass., completed the 2013 Hardrock in 40:46:41. He has five tickets in this year’s lottery, which place his odds of having his name drawn at 40.6 percent.
Then there’s Jeff List. Based on Wood’s calculations, List’s odds of going back to Hardrock are 72.1 percent with his seven tickets. The odds are in his favor because he earned them. Hard work and perseverance over time got List through his first Hardrock in 2009. He returned in 2011 and finished again. After a year away in 2012, List has rattled off four consecutive finishes. Six times he has started the Hardrock 100; six times he has “kissed the rock” to finish.
List, of East Falmouth, Mass., is one of 43 applicants on the Veterans list this year vying for 33 spots.
The Hardrock lottery will take place live on the race’s Twitter feed. Once the entrants’ names are drawn, and additional 100 will be drawn and placed on a wait list.
The 2017 Hardrock 100 will take place July 14 in Silverton, Colo.