After the debacle of registration for the Chicago Marathon (seemingly largely the fact that just couldn’t handle the traffic) that resulted in registration being shut down while a solution was determined, they have now announced that there will be a lottery for the remaining 15000 slots.

Weirdly, there were numerous reports of people ending up with multiple registrations, but 15,000 is the number of remaining slots they stated at the very beginning was available. So I have no clue there, but whatever.

I’m not running it this year – had no intention to and already have a marathon for that weekend (we’ll get to that) that I’m all registered for. Hartford. But out of curiosity, I have been perusing their facebook page since I heard. And as expected, there is a lot of anger.

And I do understand it. It’s not the same equal chance that people have if they just do an open registration again. And it doesn’t give any guarantee that people who want to run together will both get in. But at the same time, it seems the most fair way to deal with this.

I understand that lotteries don’t offer any guarantee, but. There are ways to do things like register as a group (see: Nike Women’s for a great example) where either one gets in or no one gets in. I know NYC doesn’t do this (just comparing a large city marathon), but it’s definitely possible. And if you want, you could set a limit on group size (like 10 or something like that). However, that would likely work better in the future assuming the registration will now be by lottery from here on out (I’m not saying it will be…I’m just saying IF) as there are people who are saying things like “I’m in already, but my friend will have to do the lottery, and I don’t want to do it without her/him.”

Besides that, the REALLY weird thing is that A) there is no fee to enter the lottery and B) your card isn’t charged the moment your name is selected. People will have 2 days to finalize their registration. BUT if they choose not to finalize, those slots will not be reopened to a waiting list. Which is just crazy. By not having an “application fee” attached, you’re risking people who really aren’t serious but just want to say they got one of the slots getting drawn and not taking the slot. Among other issues.

It’s a horrible situation all the way around, and I am glad I’m not in charge or even involved in this. BUT I do think there are better ways this could have been handled. (And selfishly I’m hoping that Active has their shit together before Disney registration opens up!)

The other thing I’ve been seeing are variations on this theme: I’m already training and raising money for a non-affiliated charity…people have started making donations already and now I may not have a race to run.

Ok, I get that Chicago may not happen, but if you are fund-raising for a non-affiliated charity, I’m sure your supporters would totally support you running others. And these are not others that have the whole OMG MUST REGISTER NOW thing that Chicago has going on. (Though with this debacle those registrations might pick up a bit now.) Out of curiosity, I went to to see what is going on that weekend (10/12 and 10/13).

The list (no links here, but google them if you’re interested):

Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon – Bemidji, MN
ING Hartford Marathon – Hartford, CT
Skyline to the Sea – Los Gatos, CA
WhistleStop Marathon – Ashland, WI
YMCA Stone Bridge Marathon – Belvidere, IL

Atlantic City Marathon – Atlantic City, NJ
Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon – Susanville, CA
Amica Breakers Marathon – Newport, RI
Durango Marathon – Durango, CO
Friends of the Falling Waters Trail Friends of the Falling Waters Trail Wild Life Marathon – Concord, MI
GMAA Green Mountain Marathon – South Hero, VT
Long Beach International City Marathon – Long Beach, CA
Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon – Albany, NY
On the Road for Education – Mason City, IA
Ottawa Fall Colours Marathon – Ottawa, ON
Poulsbo Marathon – Poulsbo, WA
Via Christi Health Prairie Fire Wichita Marathon – Wichita, KS
Run Mother Road Marathon – Joplin, MO
Steamtown Marathon – Scranton, PA
The Tyler Rose Marathon – Tyler, TX
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – Toronto, ON
Destination Labrador Trapline Marathon – Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NF
Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon – Victoria, BC

And that’s just what was listed on marathonguide (there are others who were marked with ?????? but have been in the same time-frame. So there are options. Yes, they’re smaller races, but the ones that I’ve heard of I’ve heard great things about. They’re worth looking into anyway.

In the meantime, best of luck to everyone who’s entering the Chicago lottery! And have a great race those who are already in!


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