The 47th annual Western States Endurance Run won’t take place until June 27-28, 2020, when 369 runners will once again toe the starting line of ultrarunning’s original 100-miler in Squaw Valley, Calif., and journey through mountains and over singletrack trails to the finish line on the Placer High School track in Auburn, Calif. The first round of excitement for the race always cranks up seven months early, however, with the lottery that will determine the fates of thousands of Western States hopefuls.
The Western States lottery will take place at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time (8:30 a.m. Pacific) Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Placer High School gymnasium. There are 6,669 lottery entrants for the 2020 race vying for 264 of the starting spots. Many of the other race bibs go to top 10 finishers from 2019 – including former Boston resident and four-time top-10 finisher Kyle Pietari (now of Edgewater, Colo.) – who choose to return, as well as winners of various Golden Ticket races and to runners selected by various sponsors. In addition to the 264 lottery selections, another 50 will have their names drawn for the Wait List.
There are 165 New England Residents among the applicants, including 66 from Massachusetts. Another 32 applicants hail from Connecticut, followed by 25 from New Hampshire, 21, from Maine, 15 from Vermont and six from Rhode Island.
None of the Massachusetts hopefuls have waited longer to have their name drawn than Tom Morton. The 43-year-old from Chicopee is one of just nine people in the lottery for the eighth consecutive year. Nobody has waited longer since the lottery was first implemented. Each year Morton has followed the lottery rules, running a race on the official list of qualifiers to be eligible for Western States. First he ran the Vermont 100 in 2012, followed by the Leadville 100 in 2013, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2014, Eastern States in 2015, Wasatch 100 in 2016, and then the Vermont 100 again in 2017 as well as the Fat Dog 120. In 2018, Morton qualified for the Western States lottery for a seventh time by finishing the Bear 100. After another lottery rejection, he finished two more qualifiers this year – the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and his second straight Bear 100 – to earn what is now his eighth consecutive lottery opportunity. All of that time and effort has allowed Morton to amass 128 tickets and an 80.5-percent chance of being selected according to Western States’ lottery data analysis, but he knows nothing is guaranteed.
While Morton has waited the longest to have his name drawn for Western States, three more Massachusetts ultrarunners can empathize with him. Medway’s Jack Bailey, Stoneham’s Chris Bustard and Arlington’s Marilyn Oberhardt are all in the lottery for the sixth straight year. Each has 32 tickets and a 33.5-percent chance of being selected. They are joined by 124 more applicants with the same odds.
Bailey’s lottery journey started with the Leadville 100 in 2014, followed by the Vermont 100 (2015), Umstead 100 (2016), Vermont (2017), Grindstone (2018), and the Fat Dog 120 in Canada this year. Bustard finished the Woodstock Hallucination 100 in 2014, Rocky Raccoon in 2015, the Bear 100 in 2016, the Georgia Death Race in 2017, Rio Del Lago in 2018, and Vermont this year. Oberhardt’s qualifiers were Javelina (2014), Tahoe Rim Trail 100 (2015), the Canyons 100K (2016), Tahoe (2017), Rio Del Lago (2018), and the Woodstock Hallucination 100 this year.
Hoping to have their names drawn after four prior unsuccessful tries are Joseph D’Alessio, Shaun Daylor, Russell Dresher, Neil Feldman, Dane LeBlanc and Gregory Lowe. All six Massachusetts men have 16 tickets in this year’s lottery.
Two runners – Lance Doherty and Leanne Tierney – are in the lottery for the fourth year in a row, holding 8 tickets apiece this year. There are seven more third-year hopefuls. Those holders of 4 tickets are Sarah Aponte, Wayne Chan, Kate Cook, Aaron Keene, Harry Mattison, Padraig Mullins and Jeremy Scanlan.
Seven Massachusetts residents are in for the second year in a row with 2 tickets apiece. They are Shelley Cheung, Davis Cutter, Christopher Lay, Douglas MacLean, Dan Peterson, Roy Van Buren and Sarah Weigel.
The largest crop of lottery hopefuls from Massachusetts are first-timers. Forty ultrarunners from the Bay State have one ticket apiece. They are Matt Aponte, Melissa Arnold, Rachel Bainbridge, Brian Burke, Rufus Chaffee, Todd Cleland, Lain Coryell, Todd Curtis, Jake Dissinger, Thomas Eaton, Ryan Fecteau, Dima Feinhaus, Miriam Fenton, Mark Gauthier, Peter Guza, Douglas Hall, Whitney Hanschka, Tess Harvey, Dave Horton, Brian Huffman, Christopher Karter, Dan Kelley, Jennifer Kenty, Arthur Krieg, Stephen McCaffrey, Maddy McCarthy, Ian McLachlan, Amy Morgan, Blake Pomeroy, Nicholas Reid, Kristin Ritchie, Carlos, Rodriguez, Juan Santos, Kyle Sevits, John Sherback, Stephen Taylor, Brian Tjersland, Nicholas Velonis, Greg Wolodkin, and 2019 Western States finisher Oliver Truog.
Connecticut (32): While the pool of Western States hopefuls in their eighth year of applying to get in is small, it turns out two of the nine hail from New England. In addition to Massachusetts’ Morton, Connecticut has an eight-time applicant. Scott Slater, 42, is back in the lottery for the eighth straight year, and his 128 tickets give him an 80.5-percent chance of having his name drawn. Meanwhile, 43-year-old Jim McCaffrey is one of 54 applicants in for the seventh year. His 64 tickets give him a 55.8-percent chance of being selected. Other longtime waiters from Connecticut include fifth-year applicant Tom Golembeski (16 tickets), and fourth-year hopefuls Brian Shafer and Sean Meehan (8 tickets apiece). Sarah Slater, Michael Schnepp, Jarrod Neeley, Debbie Livingston and Steven LaBranche have 4 tickets apiece as third-year lottery entrants. The two-ticket, second-year hopefuls are Russell Stroud, John McCabe, Joseph Laskey, Jesse Howes, Ashley Honey, Sarah Greer, Rob Flowers, and Kelyn Curitomay. First-time lottery entrants include Matthew Pedersen, Andrew Orefice, Peeter Muursepp, Geoffrey Miller, Scott Livingston, Peter Keyo, Keith Hoffman, Kevin Henschel, John Gregson, Matthew Coz, Stacy Ciarleglio, Andrew Brooks, Shaun Berard and Kristijan Begic.
New Hampshire (25): Only 127 of the lottery entrants have 32 tickets as sixth-year hopefuls, and New Hampshire’s Brandyn Lewis is one of them. That ticket total gives her a 33.5-percent chance of being selected. Meanwhile, Alexander Shaffer has 8 tickets as a fourth-year hopeful, and four more New Hampshire residents – John Toscano, Jeffrey Taylor, Julia Plourde, and Christopher Barry – have 4 tickets apiece as third-year hopefuls. The other 19 lottery entrants from the state are first- or second-year applicants. Second-year hopefuls are Zachary Miller, Giuseppe Le Pera, Kanoa King, Maureen Gillespie and Elizabeth Collins, while first-timers include Bill Tidd, Colleen Smith, David Maloney, Andrew MacGibbon, Sharon Knorr, Eric Hoberman, Garry Harrington, Andrew Drummond, Christin Doneski, Molly DeLallo, Johnny Bristol, Austin Black, Sean Berry and Cara Baskin.
Maine (21): The list of Maine lottery hopefuls is led by four runners – Jason Cousins, Bruce Dailey, Melissa Ossanna, and Ken Parnow – who are in for the third straight year and have four tickets apiece. They are joined by several second-year, two-ticket hopefuls in Charlotte Clews, Chelsea Peterson, Todd Reutlinger, Tammy Volock, Doug Beaulieu, Michael Donnelly and Chris Bournakis. The remaining 10 lottery hopefuls who hold one ticket apiece are Gnarls Barclay, Chad Allen, Dylan Brann, Timothy Cushing, Michelle Sherman, Elizabeth Shell, John Sheedy, Giant Parlin, Rebecca Geib, and 2019 Western States finisher Danielle Triffitt.
Vermont (15): Kristin Lundy is back in the lottery for the sixth straight year and has 32 tickets to lead the Vermont hopefuls. Two more hopefuls – Eli Burakian and Luke Robbins – are in four the fourth year in a row and have 8 tickets apiece. Dylan Broderick, Bertram Johnson and Pete McHugh are third-year hopefuls with 4 tickets apiece, and Krista Alderdice, Guy Alderdice Jr. and Christopher Eaton have 2 tickets apiece as second-year applicants. Another six Vermont residents have 1 ticket apiece as first-year lottery entrants – Rob Rives, Eliza Hamm, Britta Clark, Joshua Burns, Benjamin Bruno and Karen Benway.
Rhode Island (6): Tek Ung, Claire Gadrow, Jeremy Howard and Dave Czerwonka are in for the second year with 2 tickets apiece, while first-time lottery entrants Stephen Anthony and Mark Conley have 1 ticket apiece.