OGDEN — Participants in the 2013 Zions Bank Ogden Marathon and half marathon will only have to race once, and it won’t be to register. The GOAL Foundation puts on the marathon, and for 2013, they are instituting a lottery system that promises to give more than just those with high-speed internet a chance to register for the highly popular race.
For a $5 nonrefundable fee, hopeful participants can register for the lottery beginning 9 a.m. today at www.ogdenmarathon.com through 11:59 p.m. Oct. 21. Selected applicants will be notified by email on Nov. 1 and will have until Nov. 15 to register.
“Last year our half marathon sold out in two hours and the full marathon sold out in three days,” said Jenny Scothern, GOAL Foundation director. She said that as the demand to run the race increased, GOAL saw a need to give more people a chance and began researching how to best facilitate more than 9,000 people registering for the race.
“It will also help us analyze the volume of people that we are turning away, and as an organization we’ll be able to see what measures we can take to ensure as many people that would like to get in, get in, but still keep the integrity of the race,” Scothern said.
Local runners who have participated in lottery systems with other races said they are glad the Ogden Marathon is moving to a lottery format.
“I think that’s a good move for them, it’s gotten so popular,” said Caroline Pebley, a West Haven resident and runner. Pebley has participated in the St. George Marathon lottery and said that even though an entry can go either way, lotteries make things more fair and easy.
“I think it’s nice. It gives more people a chance. I don’t want to get up at five in the morning to register. It’s nice that I don’t have to be the first person on the computer to register.”
Last year Pebley and her sisters tried to register for the Ogden Half but missed it because they didn’t get up early enough. She said she’s also glad that Ogden is using a group registration option of up to 10 people per entry that allows runners to register together, so that family members and running partners can get in or be rejected together.
Richard Dunkley, who has participated in the relay portion of the Ogden Marathon (registration for the relay is not part of the lottery and opens up with the 5K and Kid K on Nov. 15), said that he likes the idea of using a lottery system.
“When I did the relay it was a lot of fun. It’s a really cool race, and the more people that have opportunity to experience that, even just once, is cool,” Dunkley said.
“I think it’s a good way to do it,” said Linda Clay, a local runner and Roy resident. “I did it six years in a row, and if I had continued to do it and get in I would be a race hog, so it does give other people a fair chance.”
Runners who had run the full marathon eight times previously have already registered, but Scothern said that this year the lottery will not be skewed in favor of those who have gotten into the race before, or those who have not ever gotten into the race.
“After we get through this first year, we’ll be able to develop loyalty programs once we know what we’re up against,” Scothern said. “Once we can analyze this data, we’re hopeful we can do things like ‘third time’s the charm,’ that they do with other races, and we’ve researched that, but this first year we wanted to take a more conservative approach. “
While there are no loyalty programs this year, GOAL has analyzed data from the past that will guide the lottery.
“We’ve looked at historical data, and we’ll stick with the last six year’s average of Weber County, in-state and out-of-state runner percentages. Eighty-eight percent of our runners are in-state, and we’ll allow in the lottery the same percentages. That’s going to be the criteria we give to the random generator system as part of our registration program,” Scothern said.
More information about the how the lottery works and frequently asked questions can be found at www.getoutandlive.org/registrationinfo.