This race is harder than you think it is. To be honest, the Black Hills don't look all that intimidating. They ain't the high Rockies of Colorado. There aren't any 14,000 foot peaks (hell, the high point of South Dakota is barely half that). But the Centennial Trail is RELENTLESS. If we had a dollar for every time somebody said, "That was way harder than I thought it would be", we could retire from race directing and spend the rest of our days drinking beer on a beach in Hawaii. The finish rate for the 100 typically hovers around 35-40%. Whereas much of the elevation gain at other 100s such as Leadville and Bighorn occurs in a few big climbs, the gain at Black Hills is accumulated in a bunch of small chunks. To make a boxing analogy, it’s like taking a few big uppercuts to the chin versus a bunch of body shots. Both will eventually put you on the mat if you’re not prepared.
The race takes place the last weekend of June each year, the same weekend as Western States (yes, we did that on purpose). Trying to predict the weather in June in South Dakota is like trying to capture a unicorn. We've damn near seen it all...from 100 degrees and bone dry to pouring rain with raging creek crossings to marble-size hail. No snow yet, but it wouldn't shock us.
Moral of the story is, come prepared. The Centennial Trail and the Black Hills are beautiful, but they will chew you up and spit you out at a moment's notice if you take them lightly.
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