Prepare your soul for what will likely be the most beautiful and wild races your will ever run!
Wonderland Running is thrilled, honored, and humbled to announce the third year of the Dark Divide Trail Races this August 2032. The Dark Divide 100 Miler, with 30,000 feet of gain, will take place Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5, starting and finishing at the Cispus Learning Center. On Sunday, August 6, we will be holding the Dark Divide 50K with 9,000 feet of gain, and 17 Mile Fun Run with 4,000 feet of gain,, also starting and finishing at the Cispus Learning Center. These races take place in the vast, rugged, and remote 70,000 acre Dark Divide Roadless Area. Expect to travel on steep technical trails with very long stretches in between aid stations. Also expect to run in one of the most stunningly beautiful places you will ever run.
The Dark Divide Trail Races will take you to seldom-traveled places that are unspeakably beautiful, soul-stirringly remote, and uncommonly rugged, in the heart of the Washington Cascades. Located in the center of Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, the Dark Divide is a land of deep, solitary valleys filled with centuries-old trees; stunning, serrated sub-alpine ridges that are painted by wildflowers and punctuated by peaks; wild streams tumbling unfettered over waterfalls into sparkling pools; viewscapes that feel like you can touch Pahto (Mount Adams), Tahoma (Mount Rainier), and Loowit (Mount Saint Helens) with your fingers… and a treasure of glimpses into the world as it once was.
We are grateful to be hosting the start/finish and race headquarters at Cispus Learning Center near Randle, WA. These full facilities have plenty of parking and camping available for runners, right at the doorstep of the Dark Divide.
These races take place upon ancestral lands taken from the Cowlitz and Yakama peoples, who have lived here and cared for these lands for over 10,000 years. Wonderland Running fully supports and respects the restoration of rights of indigenous peoples from whom these lands were taken.
100 Miler Race Qualifications
There will NOT be any formal qualifying requirements for the 2023 Dark Divide 100 Miler. With that being stated, please read this entire section before registering. I cannot reiterate enough that this is NOT AT ALL ANYTHING CLOSE TO A BEGINNER LEVEL ULTRAMARATHON. If you have not completed a difficult trail race 50 miles or longer or otherwise successfully completed a lengthy and demanding endurance/wilderness endeavor (e.g. fastpacking, mountaineering, through-hiking), then this race is NOT AT ALL a good fit for you.
With all that stated, many people ~myself included~ have come to mountain 100 milers through a great diversity of experiences. It is not my place nor my interest to evaluate nor judge that path. If you register for the Dark Divide 100 Miler, I will trust you and your belief that you can finish this event. Once again, I cannot reiterate enough that this is NOT AT ALL ANYTHING CLOSE TO A BEGINNER LEVEL ULTRAMARATHON. We want very much for you to have a successful event. While you will have a generous 48 hour cutoff, do not underestimate how challenging this course is. For many of you, it will be the hardest thing you have ever done.
100 Miler - Pacers
Here are the Dark Divide 100 Miler pacer rules:
Pacers are allowed at Wright Meadow Aid Station (Mile 51.6). This is the earliest location in the race where a pacer may be picked up. Due to the remote backcountry nature of this race, your pacer must remain with you until at least the Juniper Ridge Aid Station at Mile 93.7. You may choose to swap pacers at Juniper Ridge Aid Station (Mile 93.7), though at this point you are on a gentle downhill dirt road with only 7 miles left. You are limited to one pacer at a time. Also remember, it is almost two hours on remote and sometimes rough forest service roads from Cispus Learning Center to the Quartz Creek Aid Station. Please take this into account when planning your pacing and race support logistics.
Please read and understand the following Dark Divide 100 Miler pacer requirements:
Pacers MUST check in with their runner during race check-in. Pacers will sign a waiver and be assigned a PACER bib.
Pacers must remain with their runners at all times.
Pacers may not mule or otherwise take/give supplies except at aid stations.
Pacers must abide by all course rules and permitting agency requirements. Runners may be disqualified from the Dark Divide 100 Miler if their pacers do not abide by all course rules and permitting agency requirements.
100 Miler Volunteer Service Requirements
There is a volunteer service requirement for the 2023 Dark Divide 100 Miler. Recreation in our wild spaces and natural areas can and does have significant and sometimes damaging impacts on the places we explore and love. These impacts have become greatly magnified by the growth of our sport, the growth of outdoor recreation in general, and the ever present and often careless influence of social media. Please consider volunteering in one of the activities below:
Local time: 2:01 PM
Habitat restoration (e.g. native plantings, invasive species removal, watershed enhancement projects, natural area clean-up).
Trail building, repair, or restoration.
Volunteer activities that enable inclusivity and access to outdoor activities and opportunities for underrepresented groups and/or children.
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for doing your part in making the Dark Divide 100 Miler a safe, welcoming, inclusive, and rewarding experience for yourself, other runners, volunteers, search & rescue, and race staff. Thank you for doing your part to help preserve and protect our wild spaces, and helping others to do the same.