Friday, January 26, 2018

SeaWheeze Lottery Entry - What Do You Think?

SeaWheeze went to a lottery entry this year instead of the typical server-crashing first come, first served system. People had a 24 hour window to enter their email yesterday and then names were chosen and notification was given at 4 pm today. The old system was stressful but it did reward the most motivated, people who were able to block out time and have multiple devices going, or who had friends that could enter for them if they were busy. I know many, many people who were able to enter the race four, five, and six years running under that system. This year, hardly any of my friends and family got entries so far. There are numerous stories on the boards where only one or two people in a group of friends got in and, I have to say, I hardly recognize any of the names of the people who've posted they are going. I guess it's great that the race is going to get new blood but I am going to miss the yearly meet up with far-flung friends I've met through the lulu groups. I'm hoping they'll be able to get bibs by race time. I know other lottery systems, like Nike, used to allow you to register a team where if one name is chosen the whole group gets in. At least that way you have some travel buddies. Perhaps lululemon wants to consider doing something like that for next year but my vote would probably be to go back to the old system.

35 comments:

MotorBike Girl said...

I am not a fan of the lottery at all. It’s not just the hardcore Lululemon people it’s lots of randoms who just see it as another race to run. Having been active in Lulu communities for 8 years now I like to see people from that community getting to run. Also I had no issues with the previous system. Yes it did crash and was a little frustrating but I find having not control and just waiting and waiting to find out is worse. Another mistake in Lulu land in my opinion. Although I think I would be more okay with it if they introduce the team option.

Nat said...

I'm not a fan.
I was actually planning on taking the afternoon off work this year (registration opens at 1pm on the East Coast) before I found out that it was a lottery... I like to think of myself as a somewhat hardcore Lululemon person ;) I remember the days of staying up past my bedtime waiting for uploads to make sure that I didn't miss out on the item that I was stalking that particular week.
I tried to get in two years ago (sneakily) at work using one device. I wasn't successful, but knew within literally 5-6 minutes that I didn't get in. That sucked. Waiting around for over 30 hours "crossing my fingers" this year sucked even more.
Knowing that a bunch of people who would never have even considered going to the lengths that I was willing to go to got a spot in the race (some not even *liking* Lulu) is what hurts the most.
I have 2 other friends who put their names in & neither one of them got in.
I don't care for the idea of team registrations. I'm actually hoping (foolishly?) that some of the less hardcore Lululemon people who got in but whose friends didn't, give up their spots.

Anonymous said...

They found another way to alienate their long term fan base..IMHO, just another nail in the coffin!

Anonymous said...

I love the lottery system for this race. I'm not a hardcore Lululemon fan but love to run this race as a great destination race that had a beautiful course and was well organized. I guess I'm one of the "randoms seeing it as another race to run" that Motorbike Girl talked about. On the flip side, I see people going to this race strictly for the clothes and the store line up, not training, not realizing that 13.1 is a LONG way to walk or run and I find that dangerous. Or they don't even run, therefore taking away a spot from someone who was going for the race itself. To me, that's terrible.

The mad grab for clothes and line up was stupid last year. People line cutting, people skirting the limits of reflective stuff...the things that happened were kind of embarrassing the way these "adults" acted. Over clothes. Was really a turn off to me. I could care less about lining up days ahead of time. So much more to this race than the store. I didn't line up till later the morning of (3:00am) and even I thought I was crazy doing that. I could care less about the reflective pieces. Other than the shorts, the pieces are kinda ugly and I wouldn't have bought any of it anyway. To each their own I guess.

I race a lot and many races have gone to a lottery system. As this race grows, it really is the best way to do it, although I believe that one should be able to sign up with a +1 as a group or something. I know towards the end years, Nike limited the groups to 4 people max because a lot of gyms/bootcamp classes were signing up with hundreds so they put a stop to that. I'm guessing as the first year, the group thing might have been a little more than they could handle the first go-round and Lululemon's Race Director has really listened to feedback and they've been extremely proactive in changing things that don't work. Adding a group option for the future is definitely something they can do.

As far as the lottery, I got in but I think I'm gonna let it pass so someone will get my spot. I've run this race many years in a row and it's time to move on. Maybe someday i'll be back but after last year, I need a break. If I come back, it will be for the race, as it has always been for me, and I will skip the store completely.

Anonymous said...

I guess in theory I don't mind the lottery. It was not stressful at all, and eliminated computer and server crashes.
Last year was my first year going and my daughter got in by logging in and getting our tickets immediately. So I have to admit though, I was a little surprised that neither my daughter or I got in! We ran together last year and it was fantastic. This year, I had the idea that maybe fewer people would try to get in, because it is late in September instead of in August, and that our chances would be ok for getting in.
Anyway, I am still holding out hope because there will be a couple more rounds of emails going out.
Did you get in?

Jonathan said...

Even though the odds will not be published you can get a good idea of what they were. 44,195 people follow the seawheeze facebook page and there is probably another 20,000 people who don't follow the facebook page entered.

Which leaves the chances of winning a race entry to be about 14% with these hypothetical numbers.

Anonymous said...

Meh after seeing the greed of the regulars at the seawheeze store, maybe it’s good that it gives a people other than scalpers and shitty flippers a chance. I do think teams are a good idea since some travel from a ways away to get to the race.

Gin said...

I like doing the new system more - it allowed me to see if friends got in before I committed - one friend and I both got in and decided to travel together. I also enjoyed not having that panic and refreshing the button a million times. However, I’m willing to admit I may be biased on the new system because I got a spot?

JAC1979 said...

I would think that ultimately, LULU wants to expand its brand reach to those outside of the die-hard first 5-6 year participants of this race. Instituting the lottery builds the brand's base of support by including more than in previous years. I'm actually surprised that they haven't added on a full marathon or 10km option to give people who want to participate in the weekend other options - and thin out demand for the 1/2.

Races that go to lotteries always face a massive backlash the first year as those who have previously gotten in get the bitter taste of not getting a bib. It will pass. It's only a race...I think if people are looking for a team race weekend, there's tons of other options (halfmarathons.net is a good place to look) in great locations. I also sense that LULU will institute a 'team' lottery like some other races big and small.

Unknown said...

I applaud the change and that is coming from a girl who got in all four previous years she tried. I think it is much more fair. I know a lot of people who had multiple devices going, etc and did not luck out other years. This year at least people can say they had a shot regardless of their technology (computer, internet, etc).
So many races have lotteries now. Running is getting bigger and bigger.
As for the group thing, I totally agree with a plus one option (even though that cuts the lottery numbers in half) but if they do general group thing, people are going to band together and make HUGE teams to up their chances and therefore, leave the single runners out.
I actually feel bad for lulu - it is hands down my fav half but they can so many complains no matter what they do.
I don’t know many race organizers who would put so much work into a race - improvements and changes every year. Yet every year they get so many complaints from people who didn’t get what they wanted.
Personally, I’d to see some runners make it because of time because that would help me out but I know that would never happen.
They will never please everybody!

Anonymous said...

I think the lottery is a step in the right direction, though agree that they should include a team option. It is nice that the organizers give a chance to those of us who can't, for work or other reasons, count on being there exactly at the right moment to register. The lottery worked for me and I'm in, though if I hadn't been lucky, I'd be fine with that, too. I guess I am one of those "randoms" that MotorBike Girl referred to, but I don't quite get why SeaWheeze should be some exclusive club for just the select hardcore few. It is great that all of us have a chance to enjoy the experience, whether we are hardcore Lulu addicts or just like wearing the clothes. I'm a runner and am excited to race, but am also looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

Anonymous said...

The lottery system is fine for me. I found the timeline more stressful generally because of the additional waiting. What I really wish is that Lulu would ditch their legacy program and treat all of the runners equally.

LuluAddict said...

I think two things need to happen to make the lottery better - 1) offer a team option or at least be able to buddy with one person so you don't have to travel alone/have someone to split hotel costs with. And, 2) have people give credit card info as part of the entry, which is then charged when your name is picked, like Nike used to do. I've heard that since this race only required an email some people used the emails of relatives and friends to increase their chances and then, when one of the emails got in, changed the name to their own instead of the one tied to the entry email. A credit card that is charged immediately upon being chosen also prevents people who just signed up on a whim to see if they could get in, which is what I think happened for this lottery.

@Jonathan - Hmm, 14% would be 67,000+ entries. That might be a bit high but the anecdotal reports on the SW FB group and my other lulu groups of who got in vs. who tried supports something around a 20% success rate.

@JAC1979 - There definitely seem to be a lot of first timers reporting they got into the race this year.

@Unknown - racing is actually contracting. Disney has had trouble filling their races the last few years. They used to be like SeaWheeze, where you'd have to start refreshing seconds before it opened and have multiple devices open, selling out in 20 minutes but their last few half marathons had spots open for weeks, if not at race time. However, they also priced themselves out of the market a bit imo - their halves cost $200+ after fees.

http://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2016/07/11/drop-marathon-numbers-reflects-national-trend/86701630/

As for complaining about races, that happens in every race.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:32 am - yes, I got in.

Anonymous said...

It’s a race. Open to all. Lots of people just want to get out and run, not buy the clothes. I think this is a good move.

Nat said...

I have heard that some people using multiple email addresses who got chosen more than once were also offering up their "extra" spots to people.
It would be nice if Lululemon would cross-reference the emails & names used to enter the lottery with the emails & names used to actually register (and disqualify those that do not match up). I'm not exactly sure how feasible that would be though...

Anonymous said...

I have never run Seawheeze but it sounds like a well-organized race in a beautiful location. That makes me want to join in. Reading the stuff about people who seem to go just to buy the clothes prevents me from trying to get in. Is this a race or a shopping experience? And let's be truthful--no real runner wears the gear of a race she did not run.

I think the lottery is a good idea. If, as has been suggested, non hardcore Lululemon people are getting in, they are likely to be exposed to a great experience and associate it with the Lululemon brand. And buy it. And talk it up. None of that sounds bad! Remember, this is an ordinary mall brand, not something super exclusive that only a secret club has access to.

LuluAddict said...

@Nat - I heard that, too. Supposedly there is a team cross checking names. They should have just required a credit card up front that was charged as soon as your name was pulled. No asking if you want in, just assume you entered because you were going no matter what. That would eliminate a lot of the "I'll see if I get in and then decide" crowd. The other issue is I think they encouraged sign ups just for the shorts this year. You can request a refund towards summer and get all but $30 of your money back. In previous years if you wanted the shorts it would cost you the full registration fee.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 11:45 pm - it was open to all before. People sign up mostly to see their friends on an annual basis not shop. I mean, lots of people shop but the people who sign up only to shop are not that numerous. Last year's results showed 9778 finishers in a race of ~10,000 entries. That's a pretty high percentage of finishers/bibs sold. My husband has worked a few Disneyland races and he tells me that 15% of bibs never get picked up.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 5:50 pm - It's a really run race and a beautiful course, well worth trying at least once. If you're not into buying the clothes you don't have to and it won't impinge on your weekend at all. Last year they had an online store a couple of weeks before the event where you could buy a couple of things which I think was a really great idea. I hope they are doing the early store again this year.

Anonymous said...

@Luluaddict - did you make it in as part of the legacy program? I am hoping you did!

Nat said...

LLA: Agree about the sign up for the 30$ shorts this year. I'm assuming this will mean an increase in the number of 100$ + registration shorts on ebay this summer!
Seriously though, they should charge the full amount if a person keeps the shorts & give them the option of returning them (at the person's own expense)
if they are in NWT condition if the person needs to drop out of the race for whatever reason.
I like that there are no transfers this year though. Transfers were selling for up to 300-400$ on ebay last year. Without the shorts, of course!

sylvs said...

I think the lottery is a great idea. it's the most fair as I remember last year, people were having difficulty with the website not being able to handle that many users. I know New York marathon does lottery because of the amount of people that are interested and it just seems the most fair to everyone. it's true that if you're going with a group of people, they might not all be able to get in, but when you're registering, the same thing happens because people were having trouble signing up with the computers anyways. I'm not doing it this year because they changed the date and my kids are in school at this time, but maybe sometime in the future. (FYI, I've done four of the last six seawheeze)

Anonymous said...

@ Unknown 5:54 -

When races do a lottery and allow groups, one ONE name tied to the group is entered so the chances are the same, they don't put the names of everyone in the whole group into the lottery draw. Also, Nike had a 4 person limit to their groups the last few years to keep the 100+ bootcamp groups from taking a bunch of spots when drawn. I believe group entries were drawn separate and had a number limit as well that once met, they'd then draw singles and you couldn't enter both, you had to enter either group or individual. At least that's how Nike did it so it can be done.

@LuluAddict - the ONLY reason Disney races no longer sell out in 40 minutes or less is the price. That last price hike took a lot of people out and they finally hit that threshold of when people finally say "that's too much for THAT race". Also, generally, Race Directors expect a 20% no show rate. That's normal and SW is no different and falls right in along the expected no show rate for a race, so that's nothing unusual.

LuluAddict said...

@Nat - interesting about transfers being on eBay. There is a fairly large SeaWheeze facebook group where people sold their transfers to others in the group at face value. My sister used one for her youngest last year.

@anon 7:47 am - Yeah, I thought the earlier SeaWheezes were running along a 25% ish no-show rate but the number of finishers for last year was listed at 9778 and I believe the field is somewhere around 10,100 after you add all the partner, ambassador, and VIP bibs in, so they did much better than 20%.

Disney definitely priced themselves out of sellouts and I think Disneyland added too many races to their schedule when they went to four a year. For a couple of years, I did all the DL races/challenges and I was shelling out $1200+ just for bibs and it got to be too much. However, my relatives/friends would fly in for the races so it made it hard to not sign up and join them. Plus, training year round eats into family time and then I started breaking down physically.

But racing is on the decline nationwide - see the link below. One of the runDisney DL race directors confirmed it, too, in a reddit AMA about Disneyland halting all their races. It's interesting when you start digging into it a little bit. According to the articles, a lot of racers are in their 40s and millennials aren't taking to it nearly as much. I wonder if part of the decline is what happened to my husband and me - we got really into it at the same time everyone else did, back in around 2011-ish, did a bunch of races and then started to break down physically, not to mention training time eating into family time, and the cost of bibs adding up to a nice family vacation.

http://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/2016/07/11/drop-marathon-numbers-reflects-national-trend/86701630/

On the same topic, I was thinking this morning about comments saying people only do this race for the clothes and I don't think that is necessarily true for most of the runners, particularly the ones I know who've been doing it for multiple years, especially in the earlier years of the race (2012/2013). I think if you put the entire showcase store on line a couple of weeks beforehand you'd still get a very popular, hard-to-get-into race. The whole weekend is very fun and a lot of people have kept signing up to meet up with the friends they've made through the various lululemon facebook groups. It'll be interesting to see how this year goes since quite a few of the repeats haven't gotten in yet and lots of the friend/family groups only have one or two people in the race.

Anonymous said...

I really am not a fan of the lottery at all. It was such a disappointment to not make into round 1 after being able to successfully register the past 3 years. I did make it into the race on the 2nd round. I am grateful but it is hard to be excited when so many others did not make it in who were really hoping to do so.

I have done the race solo and this will be the first year doing it with friends. Only one other person in the group has gotten into the race so far.

I have to agree that Seawheeze is so much more than just the shopping. Although I have met so many awesome people at the expo and love talking about lululemon. The whole weekend is so much fun. I love the vibe and the energy. It will be interesting to see if that changes at all for this round with the date change etc.

Anonymous said...

Flippers and people buying loads of things for other people is still going to happen unfortunately. They can still get in. Maybe the line up for the store won't be as long, maybe it will. Maybe it will start on Tuesday lol! Anyways, I didn't register for the lotto this year (would have been my 4th) since I am doing a different race event. However, I don't like it. People who were passionate about getting in took the effort to take time off , have multiple devices going, and did everything they could to increase the chances. Now you have the, meh I'll see if i get in even though I don't really care. I don't think lulu cares about this BUT be sure to put all this in your feedback when the email comes around. They do listen (as in putting measures on MASS buying last year). I agree with your ideas to make a lotto style better LuluAddict.

Stephi G said...

I am much happier with a lottery system. And I challenge that you are only dedicated to running if you can block out time and have multiple devices running. Both of these are fairly privileged tactics to use. Yes, it means people with more free time (stay at home types or those in non direct service related jobs) might not have an edge, but that is truly the only downside I see.

Anonymous said...

Came here to post exactly what Stephi G did.
Using multiple devices and blocking out time off of work doesn't mean you're more dedicated, it just means you're more privileged. Being more privileged doesn't mean you're more deserving of getting in. Yikes.

LuluAddict said...

Yes, people also used the "privileged" tactic of having friends on standby in case they couldn't get time off or through on their internet service provider. It's really amusing to see the world "privilege" thrown out as shade for a brand that charges $98 for tights, for a race that is held in a city with one of the most expensive real estate markets in North America, and the highest hotel rates in Canada. Come on, try another argument. You think the lottery made it easier for people in the lower socioeconomic strata that don't have a cell phone or a laptop to participate in the race? Getting in is half the battle, it's a pricey race to attend. Who do you think travels around to destination races? And no one said trying hard to get into a race had anything to do with being dedicated to running. Dedicated to participating in that race, for sure. Though, I think if you get in you do your best to finish and get a medal.

Anonymous said...

I'm not shading the brand, I'm just shading the concept that those who use multiple devices and take time off of work (or don't work at all) are more deserving of getting in somehow, when really all that means is you have more privilege than most.
Someone who loves Vancouver and who has carefully saved up money in order to attend the race should have just as much of an opportunity to attend as someone who doesn't work and has a new laptop, an old laptop, a desktop, a new iPad, an old iPad, and at least one cell phone lined up to try and basically brute-force their way in, and now they do, so for that reason alone the lottery is the better system. (Shouldn't leave people on tenterhooks for that long, though, that's just mean.)

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with having a lot of privilege. It was either given to (general) you by life circumstances or you earned it through hard work, so there's no need to get defensive. What IS wrong is being privileged and acting like you're better or more deserving than others simply because of that privilege. Those who don't enjoy it were dealt a different set of life circumstances than you, and the "my sh doesn't stink" attitude I see among the wealthy makes me ill. If the lottery gives EVERYONE a fair go, not just those who have a bunch of money, then I'm all for it.

LuluAddict said...

@Anon 10:51 am - I guess I'm not making my point clearly enough. The way the lottery was set up this year - by not requiring payment up front & offering the ability to get a refund (and even putting your name back in the pool (!) for the late summer pick if you don't actively decline your entry) - rewarded the person who was not committed to participating in the race and greatly reduced the chances of those who do really want to go to this race. There was zero cost to see if your name got picked this year so why not enter. In previous years, it took some amount of effort to get in - blocking out time to be able to register, recruiting/coordinating with a circle of friends to help you in case you couldn't get through, using multiple devices. Based on who I am seeing getting in in these subsequent draws (and two out of three in my personal group) I suspect there were a high percentage of people who put their name in for giggles and who weren't fully committed to participating.

For next year, if the lottery is going to be used again make it one draw with payment up front and perhaps with directed transfers, where you have to find your own replacement to get a refund. Last year had a very high percentage of finishers, 9778, and I have read that only 50 bibs were not picked up, so using the directed transfer system was very successful in getting runners onto the course. I think some people are worried about scalpers but I suspect more bibs were transferred among friends/acquaintances than were sold on ebay or Craigslist. There are numerous lululemon facebook groups and there is a 6500+ FB SeaWheeze group where people only charged each other face value and runners/friends helped each other find bibs. It worked really well. I did check listings on ebay and Craigslist prior to the race and saw a number of them but it didn't seem any more than in previous years.

Anonymous said...

Well I most certainly agree with your assessment. Charging a credit card right away seems like a fair way to ensure that those who are entered into the lottery are those who care about this particular race. That is wealth-agnostic for the most part.

My issue was some of the attitude I saw in other comments. I am not wealthy and likely never will be. I don't dislike wealthy people. I DO dislike wealthy people who think that they're better, more deserving, etc. because of that wealth. I had a wealthy friend in high school whose mom gave her a $30,000 SUV when she was 16 and got her permit or whatever. Instead of feeling profoundly grateful for this amazing thing she'd been given, and having an awareness of her incredible good fortune that she had a mom with the means and willingness to do something like this, this friend told me that she "deserved" it because she got good grades. Well, so did I, so where was my brand-new car?? You know what I'm saying?
I don't think I'm being all that articulate here. I just was shocked at the blind cluelessness of some of the comments. The proverbial fish that don't know they're wet. That's all I had an issue with, and I agree with many of the comments made on how to improve the process for next year.

Anonymous said...

I think most people these days have access to a computer and a smartphone. Those items are so mainstream these days, everyone has them. But like you LLA, I don't think privilege has anything to do with it. The motivated runners who were willing to dole out the $ for an entry had the advantage under the old process. And that's fine by me. There was plenty of advance notice to request the morning or day off (which I always did).

Anyway, I was all for the lottery at first but didn't get an entry. That would have been fine, but now I am on the rollercoaster of the every other day drawings, and it is agonizing. Will my name get selected tomorrow at 4, or will I need to put my hopes on hold until the summer refund period? At least with the old system, if I didn't get in on the day of registration, I knew I wasn't in that day. And the transfer system was really seamless last year. I transferred an entry to someone, and she got her shorts and everything, for a small fee.

And I agree LLA, they should have required payment info as part of the lottery system. That would have kept the tire kickers away, and the race would have been filled with paid entries on the same day, negating the need for the subsequent drawings.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:21 pm - yeah, the drawing out of the lottery is a painful process - and, lots of shorts sizes are gone the deeper in the draw we go. On the positive side, lululemon is going to make more registration shorts (they posted on the SW FB page) so people can exchange for their size at packet pick up.