I think its fair, but I also think its difficult. Its fair because they publish the rules and, as far as I can tell, they stick to the rules. They allow sub 2:30 runners in automatically. If they let all sub 3:00 runners in, there would be 3:15 runner who would be disappointed.
I do have a recommendation, however. I have applied for 4 years straight and not gotten through the lottery. It would be nice if they rewarded persistance. In other words, if you apply for x number of years and do not get in, you automatically get in the following year.
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