Weber State University senior Tammy Harris has run the Ogden marathon for the last four years. But now the English major says that, if she hopes to run the 26.2-mile race in May 2013, she’s going to have to get lucky.
That’s because race entries, which have previously been sold on a first-come, first-serve basis, are now being sold as a lottery.
The lottery registration opened on Oct. 1 and will close on Oct. 21. Hopeful racers pay a nonrefundable $5 administration fee. Winners will be selected electronically and notified by Nov. 1. Then they will have until Nov. 15 to complete their registration.
According to a press release from the GOAL Foundation, which organizes the annual spring race, the decision to switch to the lottery system was in response to a steady increase in demand.
“Last year’s full marathon sold out in an unprecedented three days, and the half marathon sold out in hours,” the release stated. “More than 9,000 participants ran in the 2012 race, representing 39 states and five countries.”
Harris said she is disappointed at the idea of not getting a chance to run next year’s marathon.
“Who wouldn’t want to run through the beautiful Ogden Canyon?” she said. “It’s a gorgeous race. I think the lottery system sucks, but it’s necessary to keep the number of runners under control.”
Some Wildcats will be able to bypass the lottery through a program with WSU’s Student Wellness Center called Students in Motion.
The program is a low-cost training group for students whose BMI is higher than 27.
Julia Darley, a health promotion major and student intern at the Student Wellness Center, said one of the goals of the program is to empower students.
“We are here to help make a difference in their lives, for the rest of their lives,” she said.
Students in Motion began a 16-week training in the 2012 spring semester that culminated with participants running the Ogden marathon. That May, 20 students ran the half marathon and 10 opted to run the full marathon.
For the upcoming 2013 marathon, the program is guaranteed 30 entries. Darley said it’s a great opportunity for some students to get out of their comfort zone and try something new.
“I respect that it’s not for everyone, (but) I encourage running,” she said. “It’s a way to challenge yourself.”
Darley said many of the students who ran this past May said they never thought they could have done it.
“They felt like it was such a great mark of how far they had come that they were able to run part of the marathon,” she said.
For the rest of the WSU students who hope to join the race next May, they will have to take their chances with the lottery.
Angie Carrier, a WSU graduate student, ran her first half marathon this past September.
“I was really nervous, but felt really accomplished when it was over,” she said. “Until recently, I never would have believed I could run for that long.”
A busy mom of two, Carrier said running is great for reducing stress and losing weight. She said she thinks Students in Motion is a terrific idea.
“Getting in shape is hard work,” she said. “I think that being part of a team or group helps people stay on course.”
Carrier has already entered the lottery for next May’s half marathon.
“I wish there was a way to let everyone run,” she said. “Hopefully I’ll get lucky.”