OGDEN -- After 12 years of explosive growth, the Get Out And Live Foundation announced Monday that the Ogden Marathon will be implementing a lottery registration format beginning with the 2013 race, making it only the second marathon in Utah to use the lottery system.
Last year the popular race, dubbed Utah’s Spring Run Off, was full three days after registration opened and could have filled quicker if all the interest hadn’t temporarily crashed servers. The half marathon race was filled in less than two hours.
The lottery registration, which will use a computer system to randomly select participants, will open on Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. and close on Oct. 21. The selected and rejected runners will be notified Nov. 1, at which time selected participants will be invited to officially register for the race.
“Any time you make a change like this, it’s a hard transition,” said Jenny Scothern, president of the GOAL Foundation. “We went through a lot of scenarios and did a lot of research to come up with, what we feel, is the most fair and equitable system.”
Last year many runners missed registering because they were away from an Internet connection during the three days of registration and couldn’t sign up.
“We didn’t really know how many locals tried to sign up but couldn’t,” Scothern said.
With the lottery system, organizers will have a more complete picture of interest in the race. The computer algorithm will skew in favor of local runners and provide data to tweak the process in the future, possibly allowing for more growth.
“We will evaluate the process next year and make changes as we see necessary to benefit the local runners,” Scothern said. “Ninety percent of our participants are from Utah.”
Kristin Wojciechowski, co-owner of Striders running store in Layton and former Ogden Marathon race director, said she saw this coming.
“They’ve definitely grown to the capacity to have a lottery and the majority of the runners we talk to in the store expected it,” she said.
There are a few ways to guarantee an entry. The first is by registering with the VIP program, which allows runners to make an upfront contribution of $300 to save a spot for either the half or full marathon distances.
Half of the VIP registration fee is used to fund the GOAL Foundation’s Young Runner program which, with the help of the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club, encourages children in after-school programs to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The program serves children in the Ogden and Weber County school districts.
Runners who donate money to any of the official charity partners of the Get out and Give program will also be granted a VIP entry. Charity partners for the 2013 race include the Ogden Symphony Ballet and Youth Impact.
Runners who have completed eight or more previous full Ogden Marathon races (26.2 miles) will also be eligible for a guaranteed spot, enabling them to register Sept. 17-28, before the lottery opens.
Registration for all races other than the full and half marathon, such as the marathon relay, 5k and Kids K, will open Nov. 15.