I want to thank everyone for all of their comments on my 100 mile prerequisite post. I was happy to see such a range of opinion. Clearly, there is a good deal of interest in the topic and the breadth of responses gave me quite a bit of data. Of course, it is highly unlikely that the Western States Board will change their entry requirements and I certainly respect their rationale for having the requirements that they do. In the end, it's just fun bouncing the ideas around.
So, in that context, here is the idea I almost wrote about "How to Make Western States a better race."
Get rid of the automatic entry for the previous year's top-10 men and women and instead create a formula based on percentages. Here's my idea:
Automatic entries for the following year will be provided to all runners who finish within 15% of the winner's time in both the men's and women's races. Here's an example taken from the 2007 men's race:
Winning time in the men's race was 16:12 (972 minutes approx). In this formula every man with a finishing time below 18:45 (1118 minutes approx) would qualify for the race the next year.
What this would do is provide incentive for runners to push hard regardless of place knowing that their next year's entry would be contingent upon how far behind the winner they were. It would also create a bit of race day intrigue as qualifying would be a moving target from year to year.
Of course, I chose not to do this in my original post because I am less convinced it would make it a better race but I thought I'd throw it out there since I am pretty much thinking of nothing else but Western States these days.