The first Saturday of December always ranks among the most drama-filled days in North American ultrarunning thanks to the annual Western States Endurance Run and Hardrock 100-mile lotteries. Selection Saturday was worth the wait for several current and former New England ultrarunners this year as they came up big and were selected for two of the United States’ most hyped and high-profile events.
There were 7,169 runners in this year’s lottery vying for 271 spots in the 2023 race, which will take place June 24-25 starting in Olympic Valley, Calif., and ending 100.2 miles later at Placer High School in Auburn, Calif. The list of hopefuls included 177 current New England residents with 98 of them living in Massachusetts. Ultimately, 10 current and one former New Englander were drawn in the lottery, as well as one more local runner for the wait list.
No runner from the region had waited longer to have their name drawn than Chris Bustard of Lebanon, N.H., who was one of 37 lottery entrants trying for the eighth year in a row. Only five runners had waited longer – nine years specifically – to have their names drawn. Bustard was the third New Englander and 81st overall runner selected in the Western States lottery. Sean Meehan of Canton, Conn., was the first New Englander and 47th overall runner selected, followed by Gregory Lowe of Ipswich, Mass., at 63rd overall. Three more New Englanders were among the first 100 runners selected. Kate Cook of Marblehead, Mass., was drawn 84th, followed by Michael Schnepp of New Haven, Conn., as the 92nd selection and Jennifer Kenty of Medford, Mass., one selection later at No. 93.
Dan Kelley of Waban, Mass., was drawn at No. 116; Peter Lawson of Burlington, Vt., was pulled at No. 142; and former Vermont resident and current Flagstaff, Ariz., resident John Fegyveresi was selected 158th. Two more New Englanders were among the last 20 runners selected. Melissa Arnold of Framingham, Mass., was the 251st runner selected, and Michael Medeiros of West Hartford, Conn., was drawn four picks later.
An additional 75 runners were selected for the Western States waitlist. Sophia Farnsworth of Stow, Mass., was the lone New Englander to make the waitlist with her name drawn 18th.
Joining the successful lottery applicants will be two other New England natives who secured spots in the Western States field prior to lottery day.
Scott Traer of Woburn, Mass., earned an automatic entry to the 2023 race thanks to his top-10 performance at the 2022 edition. Additionally, Katie Schide of Gardiner, Maine, earned an automatic entry by winning the 2022 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc.
Building upon the successful draw in the Western States lottery, a handful of current and former New England ultrarunners also had reason to celebrate lottery success for the even more exclusive drawing into the Hardrock 100. The rugged, high-altitude race covers 100 miles and 33,000 feet of climbing on a loop course through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains that starts and finishes in downtown Silverton. More than 2,400 runners vied for 146 spots in the field for the 2023 edition of the race which will take place July 14-16.
At least five current or former New England residents were selected to toe the starting line, while three others were drawn for the wait list. Sixteen-time Hardrock finisher Tyler Curiel of Lebanon, N.H., was selected for the field, as was five-time finisher Mike Weigand of Middlebury, Vt. As a follow-up to his run at Western States, John Fegyveresi, the former Vermont resident now living in Flagstaff, Ariz., will go for his second Hardrock finish. Former Massachusetts resident Matt Elam, now living in Boulder, Colo., is in the field for the first time.
Making the Hardrock wait list were Pamela Harght of Marshfield, Mass., Howie Breinan of Manchester, Conn., and Ryan Trott of Berwick, Maine.