We are pleased to announce the 3rd running of the Black Canyon 100K which will take place February 13, 2016 has officially been included in the qualifier list for the 2017 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Runners wanting to use their Black Canyon 100K finish as a qualifier must finish in under 17 hours, although the overall race cutoff is set at 20 hours. This classic point to point race through desert arroyos and riparian canyons set beneath the Bradshaw Mountains north of Phoenix is quickly becoming a late winter classic in the Southwest trail running scene. Already known as a world class mountain biking destination, trail runners are now discovering the hidden gem that is the Black Canyon Trail.
Although a net downhill course, this is a beast of a course! The first half is fast and net downhill from the high desert grasslands near the old outpost town of Cordes to the start of the canyon section near Black Canyon City. From there, runners still have the majority of the race’s 7,000 feet of climbing ahead as they negotiate several (often flowing) canyon sections. On a hot desert afternoon, these precious waters offer a momentary reprieve from the relentless runnable climbing and descents. Throw in some technical, rocky sections in the last 20 miles (the oldest part of the built trail) and you have one challenging run.
The nature of the race very well mimics that of Western States with a net downhill course that features a middle section full of canyon crossings and a final quarter of the race which is quite runnable and fast.
Last year, the Black Canyon 100K joined the Montrail Ultra Cup which offered two spots in the Western States 100 to the top two male & female finishers. Western States recently announced a new footwear sponsorship agreement for 2016, effectively ending the Montrail Ultra Cup this year. However, the races featured in last year’s Montrail Ultra Cup will now be included in a new series called “Golden Ticket Races”. The same two spots available last year will again go to the top two male & female finishers. They will then punch a ticket to the 2016 Western States 100 Mile.