First and foremost, be aware that this course is probably harder than you think it is. Being located at relatively low elevation in South Dakota tends to create the impression that the course can’t be that difficult. The most common quote heard at the finish line of the inaugural race was “that was way harder than I thought it would be”. The finish rates for the 100 mile race in our first two years were 35% and 40%. Granted, many DNFs can be attributed to weather conditions (hot years tend to drive the finish rate down significantly), but the course takes its toll too. Several runners have described it as harder than Leadville. We won’t make that claim ourselves, but we do know that the Black Hills 100 is not easy. On paper, Black Hills actually has slightly more elevation gain than Leadville, although Leadville takes place at about double the altitude. Whereas much of the elevation gain at other difficult 100s such as Leadville and Bighorn occurs in a few big climbs, the gain at Black Hills is accumulated in a bunch of smaller chunks that eventually take their toll. The thing about our course that gets folks is in trouble is that it's basically all runable, under normal conditions. There are very few climbs where you're like, damn, I better hike this. But all that running when you should probably be hiking eventually adds up and by mile 40-50 you realize you done screwed up. Overall, we think that Black Hills falls somewhere in the middle challenge-wise as far as western 100s go. It's certainly more difficult than entry-level races such as Lean Horse or Rocky Raccoon and is certainly less difficult than a graduate level race such as Hardrock. Of course, direct comparisons are difficult because so many factors come into play for any one race, but based on feedback and personal experience, we would rate the difficulty of the Black Hills 100 course as similar to races such as Leadville, Western States or Bighorn. If you feel you are prepared for the challenge, then you are more than welcome to come join us!
First and foremost, let's be brutally honest with you: our 100 mile course is really closer to 106. Could we shorten it? Yeah. But it sets up so nicely running from Sturgis to Silver City and back. So, 106 it is. The race begins and ends at the City Park in Sturgis. The first mile follows the paved city bike path east to the Fort Meade trailhead. From there, the course takes to the Centennial Trail (Trail #89), which is mostly singletrack trail with some short sections of old logging roads and a 13 mile stretch of ATV trail thrown in. First and last mile are on paved bike path; the rest is dirt. The last few miles before the turnaround are on the Deerfield Trail (Trail #40), a beautiful stretch of singletrack that will drop you down to the halfway point at Silver City, where you'll turn and retrace your steps back to Sturgis. The 100M race has 8 aid stations along the way, 7 of which are visited twice. Runners may leave drop bags at three trailheads: Elk Creek (miles 19/87), Dalton Lake (32/74) and Silver City (53).
The 50 mile race follows the back half of the 100 mile course, starting in Silver City and running back to Sturgis. Runners will be bused up to Silver City bright and early Saturday morning and will run back down the Deerfield and Centennial trails to Sturgis. 50 milers will have 7 aid stations along the way with drop bags at Dalton Lake (mile 21) and Elk Creek (34).
The 50K course will start up the road from the Dalton Lake Trailhead. You'll get a brief chance to stretch your legs and spread out along the road before hitting the Centennial at Dalton Lake and heading north to Sturgis. Buses will be available to transport runners from Sturgis to the start in the morning.
The 30K race is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of trail/ultra running without having to tackle 50+ miles. Buses will transport 30Kers from Sturgis to the start line on Saturday morning. The 30K will start along Runkle Road, about 1/2 mile above the Elk Creek trailhead. The course follows Runkle Road to the trailhead, where it joins the Centennial and heads north to the finish in Sturgis. The 30K course includes 3 aid stations.
These events are held under special use permit with the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which share management responsibility for the trails we use. Please be courteous of the trails (i.e., no littering) and help us to maintain our good standing with these agencies.
Disclaimer: All elevation data was generated with an online mapping program, using data from our GPS tracks of the course. Commercial GPS units are notoriously bad at calculating elevation gain/loss. Therefore, these numbers should not be taken too seriously, but we constantly get asked what they are, so here ya go....
Gain - 16,779
Loss - 16,779
Gain - 6,700
Loss - 8,390
Gain - 2,363
Loss - 4,641
Gain - 3,891
Loss - 5,100
THURSDAY, JUNE 27th
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM: 100 Mile Packet Pickup ~ Sturgis RV Park & Campground ~ *There will not be a formal pre-race meeting; if you have questions please ask at packet pickup.
1:00 PM to 7:00 PM: 100 Milers, please leave your drop bags at the Sturgis RV Park & Campground by 7:00 PM Thursday.
FRIDAY, JUNE 28th
9:00 AM to 9:55 AM: 100 Mile Check-in – City Park. You MUST check-in on race day so we know for sure you’re on the course!!!
10:00 AM: 100 Mile Start – City Park
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM: 30K/50K/50M Packet Pickup – Sturgis RV Park & Campground. *There will not be a formal pre-race meeting; if you have questions please ask at packet pickup.
1:00 PM to 6:00 PM: 50M/50K Runners, please leave your drop bags at the Sturgis RV Park & Campground. No drop bags for 30K.
SATURDAY, JUNE 29th
4:00 AM: 50 Mile Bus Leaves Woodle Field parking lot, adjacent to City Park.
5:00 AM to 5:55 AM: 50 Mile Check-in – Silver City Community Hall
6:00 AM: 50 Mile Start – Silver City Community Hall
6:00 AM: 50K Bus Leaves Woodle Field parking long, adjacent to City Park.
7:00 AM to 7:55 AM: 50K Check-in – Dalton Lake Road
8:00 AM: 50K Start – Dalton Lake Road
8:00 AM: 30K Bus Leaves Woodle Field parking lot, adjacent to City Park.
8:00 AM to 8:55 AM: 30K Check-in – Elk Creek (Half mile before trailhead on Runkle Rd.)
9:00 AM: 30K Start – Elk Creek (Half mile before trailhead on Runkle Rd.)
8:00 PM: Final Cutoff for All Events
ALL EVENTS FINISH AT THE STURGIS CITY PARK ADJACENT TO WOODLE FIELD
Local time: 3:13 AM
$225 (Early Bird) Sep. 1- Dec. 31
$250 Jan. 1 – March 31
$275 April 1 – June 22
50M (Same dates as 100m)
50K (Same dates as 100m)
30K (Same dates as 100m)