This morning the Western States 100 published the schedule and criteria for its 2021-22 HOKA Golden Ticket Races by which up to 28 runners will gain automatic qualification into the 2022 Western States 100.
Most notably, the Golden Ticket Races now include three international races–UTMB, the Endurance Trail des Templiers, and the Tarawera Ultramarathon 102km, while the the number of US Golden Ticket races has been reduced from five or six races in recent years (excluding 2021) to four. The addition of international Golden Ticket races coincides with the dissolution of the Ultra-Trail World Tour (UTWT) after 2021. Since 2014, the UTWT had six automatic spots into each Western States. At least in the early years of these UTWT spots, there was inferred preference for non-US entrants to receive these spots. For 2022, there will be up to 12 Golden Ticket spots given away at international races.
It’s also worth noting that with the removal of the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile from the lineup, all seven Golden Ticket Races are at least nominally 100k in length, which is the current minimum qualifying distance for the race. Simultaneous, there are now two races–UTMB and the Javelina Jundred–that are at least 100 miles long.
The qualifying criteria remains unchanged, except for an administrative change reflecting the addition of three Golden Ticket races prior to the Western States 100’s December lottery. Essentially, that means that the top two women and top two men at each Golden Ticket race automatically qualify for the 2022 Western States 100, with those automatic entries sequentially rolling down to as low as fifth place if a higher finisher already has a spot in the 2022 WS 100 or declines her or his spot. The current language is below:
[T]he top two (2) female and top two (2) male finishers in each of the seven individual races will automatically qualify for entry into the 2022 Western States 100 event. In the case that the first or second place participant is already in Western States (or decides to opt out), the automatic bid will slide to third place, fourth place, and subsequently down to fifth place as needed (no places below fifth will be accepted). Winners will receive their invitation via email and have two weeks from the qualifying race to decide (and complete the registration if after annual December lottery), including paying the entry fee.
Here’s the full 2021-22 HOKA Golden Ticket race schedule: