So the race is full. Now what? Luckily many events have wait lists.
Wait lists allow people to register for an event that is full. Races are selling out more quickly than ever. Mt Hood 50 is one of our most popular races and it sells out in hours. Others like Portland Trail Series take just a couple days.
If a racer who is in the race has to drop out for any reason, the race organizer can offer that spot to the next person on the wait list by sending an email invitation. Your credit card information is collected when you register but is not processed until you accept the invitation to move off the wait list. If you don’t get into the race, your card is never charged.
We use Ultrasignup for registration most of our races and they have a fantastic wait list feature. You can see who is on the wait list by clicking on the coffee cup icon. You can also see who is in a race by clicking on the people icon. The wait list is ordered chronologically, so you can see where you are on this list at any time.
People often ask us what are their chances of getting off the wait list. That’s a really hard question to answer as its different for each race. We’ve found that the longer the distance, the more people that drop out beforehand, especially as the race date draws nearer. People get injured training or realize that didn’t train enough so they’ll let us know they aren’t going to make it.
Another factor in how quickly we move through a wait list is the acceptance rate for the wait list invitations. Just because someone is on the wait list doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to run the race. Maybe they didn’t train enough because they didn’t expect to get in, or they have a wedding to go to, or a family vacation on that date. For the Mt. Hood 50 we can go through more than 50 people on the wait list and just a couple dozen will accept and get in. For this year’s Trail Factor 50K we weren’t able to move many people off the wait list at all.
The moral of the story is if you want into a race, its best to register as soon as it opens. If you missed getting in for any reason, get on the wait list as soon as possible.