Loop Lottery FAQ

<< Back to main Loop FAQ

We have put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the lottery system. If you read through this FAQ and find you have a question that is not covered here, please get in touch via our contact form. If you have questions about the Loop not related to the Lottery, check our main FAQ list here.

Race entry fee is $40 and includes county parking fee of $10. Race T-shirts are optional and cost is +$20 including credit card fee. You will be charged immediately upon selection if you are selected in the lottery. If you participated in the Lottery last year you know exactly what will happen since we have not changed anything.

For more information about the Loop Lottery, click below:

To Register for The Loop Lottery, click below:

(Loop Lottery Opens Friday, January 9th, 2015)

Q: Can you explain the lottery process?

A: Sure!

1.) Runners sign up for lottery as if they were signing up for the Loop. Runners enter a secure registration processing website run by RaceIt.com and enter their name, age, gender, email address, address, shirt size (if desired) and credit card number (Note: credit card will be authorized but not charged unless the runner is selected in the lottery. See below for details.)

2.) If runners are in a group they also enter the group name on the entry form (see below for group information in this FAQ).

3.) Lottery period closes (lottery will be open for 4 days).

4.) You can check to make sure you are signed up for the Loop Lottery here: https://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=30270

5.) Approximately 2 days after the close of the Loop Lottery, we draw the names for the lottery and notify RaceIt of the lottery winners.

6.) RaceIt charges the credit card and at the same time notifies the runners via email that they won a spot in the lottery.

7.) RaceIt notifies the runners who were not chosen via email that they were not picked in the lottery.

8.) RaceIt has (or will have, once the lottery is finished) a searchable list of runners who were picked in the lottery up at their website which will be available AFTER notifications go out (for 2015 that will be after January 17th, 2015).

Make sense? We hope so!

Q: Do you have a list of people signed up for the Loop Lottery?

A: Check this searchable List of Lottery Entrants (check after lottery has begun): https://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=30270

Q: I didn’t get an email about my selection in the Loop Lottery, was I picked?

A: Check this searchable List of Runners picked for the 2015 Loop:
https://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=30271.
(Note: there won’t be anyone on this list until after the lottery drawing is made after January 16th, 2015.)

Q: Why don’t you run the lottery for two weeks or a month?

A: The purpose of the Loop Lottery is twofold:

  • First, it eliminates the rush to sign up to a limited event. We had two years of trouble with open registrations and cannot go back to that system.
  • Second, it allows everyone who is interested time to sign up and get a fair shot at running in the Loop.

After running the Loop Lottery for several years, we determined that 4 days is a long enough period for everyone to sign up for the lottery (or have a friend or family member do it for them.) The four day lottery period includes a weekend and two weekdays so there is plenty of time to sign up. Any longer and it is too drawn out and credit card issues start cropping up (cancellations, expirations, etc.) that complicate the lottery drawing process.

During the four day signup period, we post reminders to our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+) but do not remind runners again via email.

Q: Can I sign up for the Loop Lottery now in [August | September | October| November | December]? 

A: No. We do this with a short lottery window close to the drawing date based on the registration company’s experience (and our experience) with lotteries. The reason is since we take credit card information to validate the cards we have to do it very close to the actual drawing. If we had a big months-long time gap between entry and drawing then a certain number of entrant credit cards would expire before we had a chance to charge them for the entry fee. Also a bunch more people would forget they signed up and block the charge (this happens in a few cases already even with the very short window we have — the dispute charges and time involved in resolving is very expensive for us). This way creates less work for us and less hassle for runners yet still has the same result.

If you are on the Leatherman Harrier’s email list you will get a note before the Loop Lottery opens in January.

Q: Why did you move to a lottery system?

A: Some history — In 2007, open registration closed in 3 months. (Pretty laid back, but it was a bit of a surprise for us and the runners who got shut out.) In 2008 it closed 34 days after opening (whoa, things are getting interesting). In 2009: capacity filled in 16 hours (wait, what?). In 2010 the registration system blew up (aaaaaaah! want to register but can’t! Evil computers!), was partially restored in an hour (do we have a pulse?), ran agonizingly slowly when it was restored (come on, just take my registration), and still sold out in 3 hours (yikes!). In 2011 we split the registration into open and lottery sections. The 500 open registration spots filled in just over 20 minutes (are you sensing a pattern here?). After the 2011 open registration ended, we took an additional 1,100 lottery registrations and awarded the remaining 700 spots to those that won the drawing.

In 2012 we changed to a full lottery for ALL entry spots. It worked well — with no rush or computer glitches. We received around 1,700 entries for around 1,250 spots. Pretty good odds of selection – but a massive reduction in angst from both runners and organizers. In 2013 and 2014 we followed the same Loop Lottery process and all went well with about a 75% selection rate for entries. We are sticking with the Loop Lottery for the foreseeable future.

Q: I never got the notification email from the lottery — was I selected? Was my credit card charged? Why didn’t I get an email?

A: You should get a Lottery Confirmation Email right after you sign up for the lottery.

If you DON’T get a Lottery Confirmation Email, contact us right away. Your confirmation email might be trapped in a spam filter, it may have a typo in your email address, or you may have left your lottery registration incomplete.

When the lottery selections have been made, we will send out all notifications via email within a day.

For those who won a spot, RaceIt will charge your credit card upon selection as stated in the lottery registration form.

If you haven’t gotten your selection email, use the search fields on this page to look up your registrationhttps://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=30271. If you search and find your name on this listing then you are registered for the 2015 Loop – you can even have the search page send you a new confirmation email by clicking the button labeled “Resend Confirmation” and typing in your name and birthdate.

If you don’t find your name in this list — and the lottery selections have been made — then you were not picked in the Loop Lottery. We are very sorry.

We are not sure why a few emails may not reach runners (possibly spam filters, corporate blocks, deleted accidentally, job change, email typo, etc?) but if you search and find your name in the above link under “Leatherman’s Loop 2015then you are all set.

Q: Is there a charge to enter the lottery?

A: There is NO CHARGE for entering the lottery.  BUT — we do require a credit card authorization for the lottery entry since that makes the lottery draw and registration a single step (i.e. as soon as you are selected in the lottery, your card is charged). This greatly simplifies the registration since we do not have to send out a round of “you won” emails that runners then have to remember to click on to sign up AGAIN to pay for their registration. It is also one of several ways the registration system spots possible duplicate entries.

Note that a charge/chargeback transaction may appear on your credit card transcript. This is used by the registration company to determine if the card number you entered was valid with no typos. The dollar amount of these transactions should net to $0 for the validation check.

Here is the explanation from RaceIt:

· Step 1 – Lotto registrant’s card is authorized (not charged) for $1.00 to ensure it is a valid card in good account standing (i.e. not rejected).  This authorization is similar to what a restaurant or gas station places on your card until the full amount is billed at a later date.

· Step 2 – Winners are charged the full amount of their cart based on any variable options that may have been chosen (i.e. shirt purchase).

· Step 3 – Authorization, or “hold” for the $1.00 is removed after approx. 10 days (if not sooner – dependent on the card issuing bank) for all lotto participants.

Q: What will happen if I am selected for the lottery? How will I know?

A: You will be notified via email of your selection and your credit card will be charged right away. We ask for your credit card information up front in order to secure a spot in the lottery. At the same time we ask for authorization to charge your credit card if you are picked in the lottery. We also have a searchable list of lottery winners available online at the registration provider. For 2015 this is here: https://www.raceit.com/Register/registrantSearch.aspx?event=30271

Q: What are the odds of getting in?

A: It will depend on the number of runners who register for the lottery. For example, in 2011 we had a total of around 1,700 registrations for around 1,250 spots. That is around a 75% acceptance rate — pretty favorable. However, If the number of entries goes up, the odds will go down. Conversely, if we get the same number of entrants as spots then everyone gets in! ;-)

[GROUP ENTRY QUESTION] 

Q: I want to sign up for the lottery but don’t want to run if my friends/group/family are not also selected. Can you accommodate us? 

A: YES – but read below carefully about our group entry process — it is “all or none” in the group get in when signed up as a group.

  • Put the name of your group in the “group” field in the lottery registration form. We will assume that all groups with the same name are “all or none” so pick a unique name and make sure your fellow runners know the name before signing up.
  • Groups can be as small as two people — it is up to you.
  • You can combine as many people into a group as you want by entering the group name in the group field when registering for the lottery. We have had groups of 30+ runners sign up.
  • If you forget to put a group name in and want to add it BEFORE the lottery drawing, contact us immediately via email with your name and the name of the group you want to be part of.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If some runners in your group don’t put the group name in and the group gets in but the individual runner does not, we can’t let the unfortunate runner in as part of the group after the lottery drawing.
  • ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: If you register your group/family/friends on one credit card transaction, this will be an “all or none” group by default since once the credit card is authorized for a dollar amount, we can’t change that amount (that is a credit card company rule put there for a good reason: it prevents people from charging you more than you signed off on).
    • In other words, if you register yourself and your spouse and a friend on one credit card transaction, we will either pick all three of you or none of the three (“all or none”) in the lottery.
  • We will not attempt to match up anyone in different transactions unless they have a matching group name entered.
  • YET ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: Entering as a group does not increase or decrease your chances of being picked in the lottery when compared to individual entry.
  • Click below to see what the “group entry” question looks like

Q: How will you deal with the possibility of multiple entries by runners trying to increase their odds of being picked (i.e. “Stuffing the Ballot Box”)?

A: To date this has not been a problem — but we have various ways to deal with it if it becomes one. It is fairly easy to check for duplicates before we do the lottery selection since we can see everyone’s name in the lottery.

We will start with sorting the list by last name and looking for obvious dupes. Then we will proceed to other checks the registration company has available that match likely dupes in other less obvious ways (they have done this before and know the potential ways this can happen).

We realize honest mistakes can be made — and these are the only cases we have seen. For example, one spouse registers a couple and then the other spouse registers the same couple a day or so later not realizing they were already entered. Another example is a person registering a team and adding the same person twice by mistake rather than another member of their team/group. We will address each case individually before the lottery selection is made.

In cases of obvious and continuous abuse (which we do not expect and have never seen) we will notify the runner and eliminate the runner from the lottery, effectively banning them from the event. We don’t expect to ever have to do this.

All we are really trying to do is to keep a runner from being charged twice for entry into the Loop. If a runner happens to enter twice by mistake — and we don’t catch it for some reason — and then they get picked twice (pretty unlikely, but it did happen to one runner over the last 3 years lottery selections) we will fix it. We don’t think the other stuff will happen — but we are prepared for it if it does.

Q: I was rejected by the lottery last year, does that increase my odds for this year?

A: No*. Everyone has the same odds each year. Trying to keep track of everyone’s status over the years is complicated and conflicts with our desire to keep things as simple as possible. Please contact us if you have had any registration problems with this year’s lottery BEFORE the drawing.

*We may make exceptions to this for a given year if we feel it will not greatly complicate the lottery process for the next year. If you did NOT get picked in the 2014 Loop Lottery, we can offer you a guaranteed spot in the 2015 Loop if you register for the 2015 Lottery. This offer does not carry over indefinitely nor will it apply if you forget to sign up for the 2015 lottery. Depending on how many entrants we get for 2015 may or may not be extended for the 2016 Loop.

Q: I have run the loop for [X] years… This is not fair! How can you do this to me?

A: No easy answer to that. We feel your pain. We have always accommodated our longtime runners. IF you are one of these — please contact us for assistance.

If you don’t make it in via the lottery we encourage you to volunteer at the Loop to be part of the day and support friends and family. Plus there are pre-Loop course checks in the sundays leading up to the Loop that draw increasing interest each year (in 2013 over 60 different runners did the full course on the sundays before the Loop).

There are lots of other trail races out there (Run the Farm!). We encourage you to get out with a local running group as well. NY Trail Running Meetup group is a large and growing group that runners post events and group run meetups!

Q: Why are there multiple charges on my credit card? Who is “Competitor Group Inc” in Virginia? Are they related to RaceIt?

The Competitor Group Inc are the merchant “gateway processor” that RaceIt uses. The Merchant Gateway shows the account owner’s name temporarily on credit card accounts during the authorization period only.  The double charges are the card verification step and reversal (negative charge) to verify the card when you enter the lottery. They should cancel each other out.

A few registrants may see a debit/credit for the same amount ($1 authorization charge with net result of $0.00 after it expires) prior to the real charge posting.  This is normal and should only appear for a day or at the most a few days before disappearing from your statement/account.

If you have duplicate charges and it is more than a week after the lottery drawing, let us know and we will contact RaceIt to fix it right away.

The final charge will be under “RaceIt-LeathermansL” on your card statement.

Q: My credit card company rejected the charge for the lottery, will this impact my entry into the Loop? 

A: It depends. If you get it straightened out before the lottery drawing then there won’t be any problem.

If not, we will hold your spot for a limited time (up to a week) if you are picked and there is a problem with charging your card. We will try to get in touch with you during this time to let you know you are not yet registered (even though you were picked in the lottery and got an email). Once we are in touch, we will follow up with alternate payment instructions. If we can’t get in touch, we will move on to the next person in line.

How the lottery works from a credit card standpoint is the following: The registration company does an authorization for the amount of your total entry (and shirt if ordered) at the time you sign up for the lottery. When we do the drawing and  your lottery entry is picked, then the registration company charges your card for the amount that is pre-authorized.

Sometimes, your credit card company refuses a charge or the card company calls you up and says ‘Did you make this charge?’ Since you did the lottery entry a week or more before the drawing, you (or your spouse) don’t remember and might say “No I did not make that charge” and it is rejected. This happened to a few runners in past years in the lottery. It has also happened in the past during regular open registration so it is not unique to the lottery.

If this happens we will contact you and advise you either to call the credit card company to re-authorize, or use a different card.

Q: Why do you charge runners upon winning a spot rather than email them they had won a spot and allow them to register “for real” after then?

A: Bottom line: We assume if you are signing up for the lottery that you want to run the Loop. That is a pretty fair assumption we think… Being selected should make you happy ;) — not upset that you weren’t given an option to say “no thanks” after you won a spot.

There is a checkbox on the entry form that notifies all entrants of exactly what will happen upon lottery selection. A lottery entry cannot be made without checking “I agree” to these terms. If you have a problem with this then you should not enter the lottery. Unfortunately that’s the only way to enter the Loop.

Why not use a two step winning-notification-payment method? A lottery with a two-step process is not ideal. Why not? It introduces factors that increase complexity by about 2-3x on the registration volunteers and our registration provider. Making it a two step process also opens up a HUGE possibility of missed emails that will cause no end of problems when runners who won a spot — but do not get our emails for whatever reason — come back to us a month later wanting to sign up. Based on our experience, emails are fundamentally unreliable.

Our one step way avoids this issue completely. If you happen to miss your winning or losing notification email you are in no worse shape a week or so later when you realize this. Either 1.) your spot is all set with no action needed from you — or 2.) you didn’t get picked.

You do need to check back at the Loop website to see if you won a spot in the Loop Lottery if you don’t get the email.

If you are concerned about your credit card security, we understand! The Leatherman’s Loop volunteers do not ever see the credit card numbers. All payment details are processed directly by our registration provider, RaceIt, who must comply with stringent PCI credit card processing standards or risk heavy fines and possibly be barred from processing cards. RaceIt has been in the event management business since 2004 and we have worked with them since 2010.

If you have ideas for a better way to do Loop registration we’re all ears.

Q: Are there any ways other than the Loop Lottery to get into the Loop?

A: In the past we have provided a very small number of entries to selected non-profit organizations in surrounding communities to use in “Silent Auction” type fundraising events.

We have provided these to several local elementary school PTAs, the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a local pre-school, and several other charity organizations in the last few years. The spots have always sold for more than the entry price to the Loop but auction winners are guaranteed entry.

Any money raised by these auctions goes directly to the non-profit hosting the auction and winners are instructed to contact us to get their registration entered. If you are holding a fundraiser and would like to talk with us about a donation of loop registrations for use in local fundraising, please contact us. We say local since beyond a certain radius the Loop is not as well known generally and may not get the interest a more local event would.

Have a question that is not addressed here? Contact us!

 

<< Back to main Loop FAQ