5 Ways to Guarantee You’ll Win the Race Lottery

fri5Last Tuesday we were all on pins and needles waiting to see if Pumpkin made it into the Twin City 10 Miler. She entered the lottery, but unfortunately didn’t win a coveted entry to this popular race. She pronounced herself “bummed” and, as her friend, it broke my li’l heart to see her disappointment. I wanted to help.

Rather than act impulsively and launching a full-scale media war or otherwise trying to subvert the race lottery system, I tugged at a copy of Racing the Antelope, and when the bookshelf swung open I stepped into the Secret Salty Research Laboratory to hit the books. After a thorough scientific investigation into the great race lotteries of the world, having studied all the statistics and pored over historical accounts of various numbers rackets, I have formulated a few strategies to increase Pumpkin’s odds next year. With more races turning to lotteries every year, I figured you might be able to use them too.

1. Sneaky Like A Fox

Step 1: Get a bedazzler.

Step 2: Perfect your sleight of hand by examining old David Copperfield videos on YouTube.

Step 3: Show up to the lottery selection in your bedazzled bra and bunz and ask to play Vanna White.

Step 4: Make sure you have a slip of paper with your own name printed on it in your hand and just “happen” to choose yourself.

David Copperfield
It’s maaaaagic.

2. Blackmail

If you frequent all the local group runs, you’ve probably picked up a little gossip. Maybe you saw the RD or lottery coordinator on Tinder and you “just don’t want to have to” tell his wife.

“Tender, where people meat.” (img and caption blatantly stolen from Reddit)

3. Brute Force

Hire a click farm in Bangladesh to help you create 3,000 false identities for application.

What do you mean I don’t look like my name is Mittens Furrypants? Look at my ID! Call my mom, if you want! Seriously, she’ll meow.

4. Other brute force

Make a few deals, hire some goons. You don’t need to know their methods, just their results.

Sign him up for a mailing list from which he can't unsubscribe

5. Fly to Paris …

where you will be contacted by an elderly monk, who begs you to help solve a murder in a church. There you will meet a cryptologist, who will help you decipher a code that the deceased left just before death. The code will lead you to a deposit box in a bank, where you will find a keystone, which you will need to place correctly in Westminster Abbey. There, you will be accosted by the race director, who you will have discovered to be the leader in a plot to take down the Vatican by revealing the true nature of Jesus Christ’s relationship with Mary Magdalene. Ignore all that and make sure to enter at 5pm on the day before the lottery closes and enter the promo code “VITRUVIAN.”
Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert
Tom Hanks
It seems familiar. Can’t place it. Oh well.

What are your tried and true methods to getting into your favorite race?

Cinnamon made Salty Running, takes lots of pictures and drinks lots of coffee. By day she's a camera assistant for films and tv in New York, and by night she's on a quest for zen in the 10k. Her writing is a mix of satirical humor, finding wholeness as an average runner, cheering for runners at all paces and more.

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  1. This is so funny!!

    Well…i did get a spot in the Berlin marathon lottery but not sure I’m ready to tell you exactly how. It was a lot of effort to fake my own death in that flaming freight train full of alien bodies. And then the coupon code turned out to be in Navajo – and just try entering that into an online form. Sigh…

  2. Guaranteed to win if you don’t want to / won’t be able to run the race that year but are in the lottery to preserve your “extra” tickets for the next year’s lottery. (Western States)

    1. I had no idea what this meant but Oregano explained it to me – how awesome that you get extra entries for each qualifying race! I wish the big road races would take a page from that playbook!

      1. To be clear – you get only one lottery entry per year (by completing a qualifying race within that year). If you’re not chosen in that year’s lottery, your “ticket” carries over to the next year (provided you have also completed a qualifying race within that year). So, a 1-time loser would have 2 lottery tickets the next year; a 5-time loser would have 6 tickets in their 6th consecutive lottery.

        From the WSER website:
        Runners who are not accepted in the Lottery (and otherwise not admitted as an entrant) will remain in the “hat” for the next year’s Lottery and for each consecutive year that they apply but fail to be selected. Unaccepted lottery applicants must re-qualify and re-register for the lottery each year. If you are selected for the waitlist but decline the opportunity to register you will maintain your ticket counts in the next lottery. If you are entered in the race at any point your ticket counts will start over at the next lottery.

  3. Get injured, get pregnant, or have a close family member’s wedding scheduled for the same day and you are sure to get picked!

  4. Maybe this is just a rumor, but I heard that NYC preferences people with zip codes that are out of the city figuring that if you live here, you can easily run it another year. Any substance to that type of race lottery algorithm?

    1. Not sure about NYC, but I have heard of other races that take zip code into consideration, so they get a distribution of entrants.