The Black Canyon Ultras by Hoka is a weekend of ultra running in Mayer, Arizona along the non-motorised Black Canyon Trail, featuring a mixture of single track, jeep roads and pieces of an old stagecoach route.
The event organises two races on the weekend of February 10-11, with the flagship 100km race commencing this year on Saturday, followed by the shorter 60km race on Sunday.
Run by Hoka, the 100km event will offer qualifying slots for the shoe company’s biggest event, the Western States Endurance Run in 2024. The top three finishers in the men and women’s race will receive a golden ticket to Western States in June.
In the case that the first, second, or third place participant is already in Western States (or decides to opt out), the automatic bid will slide to fourth place, and subsequently down to sixth place as needed (no places below sixth will be accepted).
In addition the 2024 Black Canyon 100km is a 2025 Western States 100 qualifier. Runners must complete the entire 100km distance under 17 hours in order to be eligible for the Western States Lottery.
The Black Canyon Ultras are also the second race of the 2024 World Trail Majors.
Here’s all you need to know…
Black Canyon Ultras Watch Live
The 2024 edition of the Black Canyon Ultras by Hoka should have seen the 100km event get underway from Mayer High School at 7:00am (MST) but snow storms meant that was put back to 9.30am for the elite runners, with wave two at 10am and wave three at 10.30am.
On Sunday, February 11th, the 60km event will also begin from Mayer High School, but this time there will only be one wave. The competitors will begin the race at 7:00am (MST).
To track runners in both the 100km race on Saturday and the 60km race on Sunday, click here.
To watch the live stream of the 100km race on Saturday, including the “Golden Ticket Race”, which will follow the battle to be the first three men and women across the line, simply click play on the embed below.
Black Canyon Ultras
Full start lists are available here.
The Black Canyon 100km begins at Mayer High School in Arizona and follows a historic trail used since the times of prehistoric Native American travellers and traders as it makes its way down to Emery Henderson Trailhead, taking in 1,580m of elevation gain on the way. It’s a net downhill race overall, with the second half considerably tougher than the first.
The first three miles of the route is a combination of paved and dirt roads leading out of Spring Valley. Runners then quickly connect to the Black Canyon Trail single track and remain on that for the duration of the race.
Along the trail, athletes will cross through Black Canyon and the Agua Aria river multiple times, as they run parallel to the old Black Canyon stagecoach track between Phoenix and Prescott. There are ten aid stations along the 100km route, with the first coming in Antelope Mesa (Mile 7.7) and the last before the finish at Doe Spring (Mile 58.6).
The Black Canyon 60km follows the same route as the flagship event, starting from Mayer High School, but finishing instead at Rock Springs Cafe. Along the way, there will be six available aid station.
The Black Canyon 100km has a cut off time of 20 hours from the start time, with the 60km race competitors given a 12 hour cut off time from the start.
Last year’s Black Canyon 100k was an absolute classic, with new course records for American pair Anthony Costales and Keely Henninger.
Costales had nearly five minutes to spare from British ultrarunner Tom Evans, who would go on to take the title at Western States.
This year many eyes will be on Hayden Hawks, winner of the 100 in 2020.
He had surgery last year but it sounds like training is going well and he appears the man to beat – indeed he says he’s not looking at anyone else on the start list, but just focussing on his own race.
On the women’s side we’ve got last year’s runner-up Heather Jackson (pictured) looking to go one better, though she’s already qualified for Western States.
She had a stellar 2023 with six wins, rounded off with an incredible performance at the Javelina Jundred.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to race some of the best women out there who are all going to be really gunning to get a Golden Ticket so people are going to be racing hard and I love those style of races,” said Jackson as she looked ahead to Black Canyon and revealed her targets for the race.
But it’s a seriously deep startlist, with Rachel Drake just one of a number of other big contenders. She’s switching back to trail after focussing on road marathons, most notably CIM late last year.
And also lining up is Aussie Lucy Bartholomew who had the notable distinction of featuring at both UTMB and the IRONMAN World Championship in 2023.
Black Canyon Ultras fastest times
Course Records (Point-to-point):
Men – 7:32:50 – Anthony Costales (2023)
Women – 8:45:30 – Keely Henninger (2023)
Men’s Previous Winners
2023 – Anthony Costales (USA) – 7:32:50
2022 – Trueheart Brown (USA) – 7:57:27.
2021 – Tyler Green (USA) – 8:06:33.
2020 – Hayden Hawks (USA) – 7:55:33.
2019 – Matt Daniels (USA) – 7:20:28.
2018 – Tim Freriks (USA – 8:12:06.
Women’s Previous Winners:
2023 – Keely Henninger (USA) – 8:45:30
2022 – Clare Gallagher (USA) – 9:06:21.
2021 – Brittany Peterson (USA) – 8:48:32.
2020 – Camille Herron (USA) 9:21:27.
2019 – Kaci Lickteig (USA) – 8:38:38.
2018 – Alisa Macdonald (CAN) – 8:53:33.
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