Lottery FAQ

Q: Why do you have a lottery system?

A: Under the first-come, first-served system the race was filling up faster and faster each year. We felt this discriminated against individuals who could not access their computers from work.

Q: Why is there an entry limit in the first place?

A: The finisher limit of 15,000 is set by the National Park Service as a condition for granting us our  permit. The race takes place during the peak cherry blossom tourist season and the Park Service is trying to balance the needs of the runners with those of the thousands of tourists who are in town for a visit.

Q: So how will the lottery work?

A: Starting on Thursday, December 1, you will be able to register for the lottery at the event website, www.cherryblossom.org. You will complete an entire entry form as if you were registering for the race. You will include your credit card information. However, your credit card will not be charged unless your entry is accepted. The lottery will remain open until 11:59 P.M. on Monday, December 12.

Since the lottery will be open for 12 days, we encourage everyone not to try and register the moment it opens. There is no advantage to entering earlier in the 12-day lottery period. Everyone entering throughout the entire period will have an equal chance of being accepted.

Entries will be selected electronically after the lottery closes and an easy-to-use alphabetical list of both accepted and rejected entrants will be posted on the event website by 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, December 15. We would suggest that everyone not try to check his or her status right at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday because we expect heavy website traffic at that time. In addition, an email will be sent with your lottery results.

The credit cards of the accepted entrants will be charged. The credit cards of those individuals not accepted will not be charged for their entry fee or for any ancillary items purchased such as Under Armour t-shirt upgrades, finisher medals, etc.

Q: Does the lottery system apply for the 5K Run-Walk as well?

A: Yes. There will be a separate lottery for the 5K Run-Walk. In addition, we will leave slots in the 5K Run-Walk for 10 mile registrants who later decide that they cannot meet the 2 hour and 20 minute time standard and wish to switch to the 5K Run-Walk.

Q: I have heard that it is possible to enter the lottery as a Lottery Group. Tell me more about this.

A: Yes. It is possible for groups as large as 10 people to enter as a Lottery Group. This policy was instituted to avoid situations where a husband got in and his wife did not, or to allow families to ensure that everyone gets in or no one does. Lottery Groups can consist of all 10 mile runners, all 5K Run-Walk runners, or a mixture of both 10 mile and 5K Run-Walk runners. Here is how the Group lottery registration works:

The first individual of the Lottery Group to register for the lottery will have the ability to create a Lottery Group and give the Lottery Group a “Lottery Group Name” such as “The Jones Family Runners.” Once the Lottery Group is set up, others (up to 10) will be able to affiliate (or join) with the Lottery Group when they go to sign up for the lottery. You can only sign up either as an individual or as part of a Lottery Group – not both – and you will not be able to change your status from individual registrant to Lottery Group registrant once you have signed up. Individuals signing up as both individuals and as a member of a Lottery Group will have all of their registrations rejected.

Each Lottery Group will be treated exactly the same as an individual runner when the electronic selections are made. In other words, a Lottery Group has exactly the same chance to get into the race as any individual runner.

Please note that these Lottery Groups are only for purposes of entering the lottery. The Lottery Groups cease to exist after they are accepted or rejected. No additional individuals can be added to Lottery Groups once the lottery sign-up period is closed. Lottery Groups have no relationship with Teams in our Team Competition. Teams may be formed from runners who are accepted into the race after the lottery is over. Details about team competition will be sent to all accepted entrants in early January. If you have questions about the Team Competition (not Lottery Groups) please contact Team Coordinator George Banker at teams@cherryblossom.org, or visit http://www.cherryblossom.org/generalinfo/teamcompete.php.

Q: I have entered the lottery the last two years and lost both times. Can you let me in this year?

A: YES! Guaranteed entry codes are sent out in late November to all the runners who, according to our records, are eligible for “TTL” (Two-Time Loser) entries. TTL entries will close at 11:59 P.M. on Wednesday, November 30. If you feel you are entitled to a two-time lottery reject entry and did not receive a code by email, please send an email to info@cherryblossom.org. We will research your situation and determine if you should have received a code. Remember: No Two-Time Lottery Reject entries will be accepted after 11:59 P.M. on November 30.

If you have been rejected two years in a row but gained entry through the Transfer Process or by an entry code, you are not eligible for a TTL entry.

Q: Do you have any exceptions for runners who have run a large number of the races either in a row or non-consecutively?

A: We have replaced our "Streakers" category with the "One Hundred Mile Club." If you have completed at least 100 miles in any combination of the 10 mile or the 5K results (i.e. 10 completions of the 10 mile equals 100 miles; 9 completions of the 10 mile and four completions of the 5K equals 102 miles, etc.) either in a row or non-consecutively, and you do not get in through the lottery, you can gain a guaranteed "One Hundred Mile Club" entry, which will be accepted if submitted before February 1, 2017. If you are rejected in the lottery and feel you qualify, please send an email to searchable@cherryblossom.org. If you are uncertain if you qualify, you can check your status on the revised All-Time Searchable database, available at http://www.cballtimeresults.org/. Remember, please do not apply for a "One Hundred Mile Club" guaranteed entry unless you are rejected in the lottery. One Hundred Mile Club requests received before the lottery results are posted will not be considered.

Q: What about individuals who order the Under Armour performance upgrade t-shirts, medals, carbon offsets or packet mail-outs and are not selected?

A: They will not be charged for and will not receive any additional items ordered. There will be shirts similar to the Under Armour upgrade t-shirts available for sale on the website or at the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday, so if you wish to purchase a similar item, you will have the opportunity.

Q: Is there any other way for individuals not selected to gain entry into the race?

A: You can bypass the anxiety of the lottery and help treat sick children when you sign up to become a Charity Race Entry Participant.  You can qualify as a Charity Race Entry Participant by raising $500 dollars for our official race charity, Credit Unions for Kids.  Every dollar raised for Credit Unions for Kids will be donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a network of 170 non-profit children’s hospitals located across North America.

For more information about becoming a Charity Race Entry Participant, please go to our official fundraising website at http://www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/cherryblossom/

The 2017 race marks the16th year Credit Unions have sponsored the run in support of Credit Unions for Kids and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Over $7.5 million dollars for children’s hospitals has been raised during this time. Join thousands of runners and over a hundred Credit Unions and Credit Union partners to help provide local kids with state-of-the-art care, cutting edge research and treatment for every disease and injury imaginable. Remember, all funds you raise go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital which supports your community.

Q: What about Volunteers?

A: All Volunteers for the 2017 race will receive guaranteed entries to the 2018 race.

All 2016 volunteers should have received their guaranteed entry codes by email. If you have not yet received a code , please contact Nita Roncone, our Volunteer Coordinator, at:  nita@cherryblossom.org. Individuals with guaranteed entries do not need to enter the lottery. These entries must be submitted before March 1, 2017, and they are transferable. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer for the 2017 race, visit: http://www.cherryblossom.org/generalinfo/volunteer.php.

You are eligible for a guaranteed entry as a seeded runner if you qualify. Qualifying standards for seeded runners are posted on the event website. Contact Seeded Runner Coordinator Kevin McHale at seededrunners@cherryblossom.org for details.

Q: Will there be a number transfer period again this year?

A: Yes. Individuals who find they cannot run the race after being selected will have an opportunity to transfer their numbers between February 1 and February 28, 2017. No transfers are allowed after this date.

Q: Why can’t I sell my number or give it to someone else?

A: There are several reasons this is prohibited and could result in you and the recipient of an illegal transfer being banned from the race. First, there are potentially serious medical risks if we do not know the identity of every runner in the race. If a runner is transported to the medical tent or a local hospital, it is vital for us to know the real identity of that individual. Second, switched numbers cause problems with our awards. Finally, we calculate a certain no-show rate into our overall projections of the number of runners to accept. If our calculations are off, it means we may run out of water on the course or food at the finish and be in violation of our National Park Service Permit. This could cause our permits for using the current course and staging area to be denied in the future.

Q: Can I pick up a packet for another person at the Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday?

A: Yes, as long as you bring with you to the expo site three things: the person's confirmation email, a note from the entrant (an email is fine) authorizing you to do the pickup, and identification for yourself.

Q: Anything else I should know?

A: If you still have questions, please send an email to info@cherryblossom.org and we will reply quickly. We appreciate any feedback on the lottery process once it is over.