This page is not meant to be mean, nor snarky, nor critical of anyone in any way. It is simply meant to explain in plain language what the Entry Selection Process is, and what it is not.
Many people ask ‘How do I get selected to run in the race?’. The answer is in the Entry Selection Process. Here’s what the Process is, and what it is not.
The Entry Selection Process is both private and confidential. There will not be an explanation of who gets offered an Invitation to Run, and who gets put on the Wait List, and in what order they appear on the Wait List. Any explanation will simply lead to endless arguments, and will lead to runners trying to ‘game’ the system in order to ensure that they somehow receive preferential treatment.
No justification of the Process will be offered, no defense of the Process given. This is because of what the Process is NOT.
The Process is NOT fair. In the same way that life is not fair, so is the Process not fair. There is NO race entry process that IS fair – the first-come, first-served process used by races such as the Way Too Cool 50-Mile run is not fair, the lottery process used by the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run is not fair, the complicated mathematical formula/lottery used by Hardrock is not fair, the opaque selection process used by the Barkley Marathons race is not fair. The Entry Selection Process used by Ancient Oaks is no less unfair than any of these races.
The Process is NOT a reflection of you either as a runner, or as a person. The Process is NOT a ranking of runners according to some quality, such as running ability, or state of residence, or anything else. Someone must be the first one to receive an Invitation to Run, and someone else must be the last person on the Wait List. This is NOT a reflection on the worthiness of anyone. In 2014, more than 170 highly-qualified runners requested an Invitation to Run. There are a maximum of 60 Entry slots available. The end result is that many people who deserve a chance to run may end up not getting a chance to run. It’s NOT fair.
Ancient Oaks does NOT cater to elite runners – it matters not how fast you can run 100 miles, nor does it matter how many other quality 100-mile races a runner has won, or has placed highly at. Plenty of other 100-mile races cater to elite runners, so if you’re an elite runner hoping to get special treatment at Ancient Oaks, you’ll be sorely disappointed. You should instead focus on other 100-mile events. The slowest runner has just as good a chance as does the 100-Mile world-record holder of gaining an Entry into Ancient Oaks.
Your other amazing running accomplishments do NOT matter at Ancient Oaks. The fact that you’ve run 100 marathons in 100 days, or that you’ve run across the state, or that you’ve run across the country, does not matter. It matters not that you’ve run Badwater, Barkley, the Marathon De Sable, or any other amazingly difficult event. The Entry Selection Process at Ancient Oaks does not consider your past running accomplishments – no matter how impressive they may be. It does not even matter that you’ve run in previous Ancient Oaks races. The newest, most raw ultrarunner has just as much chance of gaining Entry into Ancient Oaks as does the most-seasoned, most-experienced ultrarunner.
The Entry Selection Process does NOT consider whether or not you are running for charitable purposes. It matters not how much money you have raised, or are trying to raise. It matter not how impressive, or how touching, or how important your cause is. This is NOT meant to denigrate the reasons why runners run and raise money for charity. Each and every charitable cause is worthy, and the efforts ultrarunners put forth on behalf of worthy causes are incredible, highly-respected and admired. But the mere fact that you are raising money for a worthy cause has NO bearing on whether or not you receive an Invitation to Run at Ancient Oaks.
It does NOT matter what else you are trying to accomplish in your ultrarunning life. Your goals of qualifying for Badwater, Western States, or any other event matters not in the Process. It also does NOT matter who you know. No one else can get you into Ancient Oaks. In fact, no one else can request an Invitation to Run for you – you must do so yourself.
In short, everyone who requests an Invitation to Run is considered, and has as good a chance as anyone else of gaining an Entry into the race. And everyone runs the risk of not gaining an Entry into the race.