The Western States Board of Trustees has instituted a set of rules around the overall selection process. There are several ways in which a runner may be automatically selected, and not be subject to the lottery. Here is a complete list of ways in which a runner may be automatically selected:
- Top 10 male finishers from the previous year’ race.
- Top 10 female finishers from the previous year’s race.
- Up to 30 slots are reserved for winners of the Montrail Ultra Cup Series.
- Six slots are reserved for elite athletes through the Ultra-Trail World Tour.
- Each running club that sponsors and staffs an aid station at Western States is allowed to designate one runner. Generally speaking, each is a volunteer who has worked that particular aid station for at least three prior years.
- Certain sponsor agreements specify a designated runner for the sponsor.
- Members of the Board of Trustees.
- Pioneers: Gordy Ainsleigh, who ran solo in 1974 and Cowman A-Moo-Ha, who duplicated the feat in 1976.
- Nine-time finishers going for their first attempt at a tenth finish, and 18-time and 19-time finishers going for their first attempts at 19th and 20th finishes.
- Winners of the twice-annual Raffle Drawing. The drawings are held 18 and 12 months prior to the Run for which the winning entries apply.
To be selected as an automatic, you must complete the online application at UltraSignup.com, including the Proof of Qualification and payment information, and observe the same deadlines as those imposed for Lottery winners.