I've known about Wharf to Wharf for a long time, but I don't think it was until last year that I learned enough about it to realize that it was kind of this crazy historic beach party thing that people fight to get into.
I also think this was right after Boston, when, after having finally achieved a big goal I'd been after for a while, I was feeling sort of adrift in terms of what big goals I wanted to chase next. Box-checking goals such as running a certain distance in every state, every continent, running all the marathon majors, etc. have never appealed to me; I wanted something performance-based, but I was also feeling really done with double-digit races for a while. The short fast stuff was calling to me, so when I heard about this top 100 business and looked up past race results, I thought, You know what, why not chase this for a while.
Of course, "Top 100" means there's not a particular time cutoff; it just depends on who shows up and how fast they are, and there tend to be a lot of really fast people! (Also it's gun time, not chip time, so if you're not in the elite corral, you need to be right up at the front of corral 1 to even have a chance.)
Looking at past years' results, the cutoff had usually been somewhere between ~6:50-7:00 pace, which, depending on the year, has been somewhere in the 5K-8K pace range for me. Meaning to snag even the 100th spot I'd need to run six miles faster than I've ever run six miles in my life, but not by all that much. Unlikely? Yes. Completely and utterly beyond the range of possibility? No.
So I decided, what the heck. I've got one year to become a beast at short-course racing, let's get in the gym and out on the track and do this.