The Black Canyon Ultras has grown into one of the premier ultra running events in North America. Playing host to nearly 1500 runners, these point-to-point 100 Km and 60 Km routes traverse the iconic Black Canyon Trail, a non-motorized national trail that features a mixture of singletrack, old jeep roads, and an old stagecoach route. The 2024 Black Canyon 100 Km is the second race on the inaugural World Trail Majors circuit and is also a Golden Ticket Race for the 2024 Western States 100 and a 2025 Western States 100 qualifier. What to expect from Black Canyon Ultras? Well, we made this pre-race report. Resume: the expectations are high!

The history behind Black Canyon Trail

The Black Canyon Trail first began as a Native American pathway linking local settlements together and providing a way to travel long distances. The official designation of the trail traces its roots to 1919, when the Department of the Interior established the route as a livestock driveway.

In 2004, the Black Canyon Trail Coalition was organized to promote and facilitate the creation and use of the Black Canyon Trail system, working with government agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, and the National Forest Service to accomplish this mission. This 80+ mile long historic National Recreational Trail provides runners, hikers, bikers, and equestrians with a world-class trail experience in a natural desert mountain setting.

Knowing the Black Canyon Ultras

Black Canyon Ultras, is based on the historic Black Canyon Trail which frequently switches between single track trail and jeep road. Gently winding its way southbound the Black Canyon Trail will provide runners with a deceivingly difficult net-downhill race course. There are a few creek crossings on the route that may or may not have water depending on recent rainfall. The temperatures typically warm up and the trail gets much more rugged in the second half, so runners need to save something for the final stretch after Black Canyon City. 100 Km runners will find most of the climbing, steep descents, and rocky technical terrain in the final miles of the course.

Serious contenders in the Women’s field

The 2024 Black Canyon 100 Km features the most competitive fields for both men and women in race history. Women to watch include:

Heather Jackson (USA, Hoka, ITRA 756) previously a professional triathlete she made an impressive debut on the Ultra running scene in 2023 winning both Javelina Jundred 100 mile and The Canyons Endurance Runs 50 Km.

Anna Kacius (USA, Impala, ITRA 717) has also won at Javelina Jundred in the 100Km and Kauai 50 mile, setting new course records at both.

Rachel Drake (USA; Nike, ITRA 783) previous winner of the Black Canyon 60 Km and just a few weeks ago, winner of the 33 Km race at Anta Hong Kong 100 Ultramarathon.

Anna McKenna (Australia, 2XU, ITRA 750) winner at Ultra-Trail Australia 2022 and 4th at Tarawera Ultramarathon and Canyons Endurance Run 100K in 2023.

Lucy Bartholomew (Australia, Salomon, ITRA 716) 10th at UTMB 2023, 3rd at Western States in 2018, winner Tarawera Ultramarathon in 2023.

Other to watch include Shea Aquilano (USA, ITRA 726), Anne-Marie Madden (Canada, Salomon, ITRA 697), Genevieve Asselin Demers (Canada, On, ITRA 684) and Tara Dower (USA, Altra/Ultraspire, ITRA 681).

The course record is currently 8:45:30 set last year by Keely Henninger.

Hot competition in the Men’s field

The men’s course record was also set last year in a time of 7:32:50 by Anthony Costales. Based on current ITRA statistics the course record could be broken again this year as some of the best USA and International runners take the start line. Our “ones to watch” include:

Peiquan You (China, Anta Guanjun, ITRA 877) 2nd Anta Hong Kong 100, the inaugural race of World Trail Majors (just three weeks ago!).

Hayden Hawks (Hoka, ITRA 906) already a winner at Black Canyon Ultras in 2020, 2nd at Western States 2022 and Tarawera Ultramarathon last year.

Eric LiPuma (Adidas Terrex, ITRA 889), 7th at the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships, in Innsbruck 2023.

Jonathan Rea (Hoka, ITRA 886) Javelina Jundred 1st 2023 and 2nd 2022, 1st Bandera 100 Km 2022, and 4th at UTMB-CCC 2023.

Cole Watson (Hoka, ITRA 883) 4th Black Canyon Ultra, winner The Canyons Endurance Runs 100 Km, and 9th at Western States, all in 2023.

Others on the hot list include: Rajpaul Pannu (Hoka Aggies, ITRA 865), Chris Myers (Salomon/Ciele, ITRA 859), Ryan Montgomery (Janji/Ultimate Direction, ITRA 852); Tim Tollefson (Craft, ITRA 830), Ryan Miller (ITRA 824), Makai Clemons (Drymax, ITRA 820), and Noah Dusseau (ITRA 811). Among others!

Social media and streaming

Web: https://aravaiparunning.com/network/blackcanyon/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackCanyonUltras/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackcanyonultras/

X/Twitter: https://twitter.com/aravaiparunning

YouTube/streaming (English and Japanese): https://www.youtube.com/@AravaipaRunning/

YouTube/streaming (English): https://www.bit.ly/WTM-Streaming

Live tracking: www.live.aravaiparunning.com

There will be live streaming of Black Canyon Ultras from 06:00 US-Mountain Time on Saturday February 10th and will conclude after the final cutoff at 04:00 US-Mountain Time on Sunday February 11th. Regular updates will be posted on social media channels. Other timings? Here you have: