After a two-hour delay caused by unexpected precipitation on the course, the much-anticipated Black Canyon 100K in Phoenix, Arizona, went off without a hitch on Saturday. Both the men’s and women’s competition had an outstanding roster of athletes. In an incredible time of seven hours, thirty minutes, and eighteen seconds, 2020 champion Hayden Hawks made a victorious comeback to the ultra-trail circuit, setting a new course record by two and a half minutes.
The Black Canyon 100K holds particular significance as the inaugural North American event in the recently launched World Trail Major Series, which started with the Hong Kong Ultra on January 21. All podium finishers from both the men’s and women’s categories secured coveted Golden Tickets, guaranteeing them entry into the prestigious Western States 100, scheduled for June 29 in Olympic Valley, California. The race unfolds along the Black Canyon Trail, spanning from the town of Mayer to Phoenix, featuring a net downhill course with a total elevation gain of 1,581 meters.
For Hayden Hawks, this race marked a triumphant comeback after a challenging 2023 marked by injuries culminating in knee surgery. Claiming the top position, Hawks expressed his joy post-race, stating, “It was a very special day for me. Coming back from knee surgery and being able to do what I love at the level I know I am capable of was incredible. However, this was the semifinal for me, and the championship awaits at Western States in June.”
Mexico’s Jupiter Carera Casas secured second place in 7:39:56, while Chris Myers clinched third with a time of 7:43:02. Notably, Ethan Peters of Fernie, British Columbia, emerged as the top Canadian, finishing 28th overall (27th male) in 8:52:15, followed by Reid Burrows of New Brunswick at 43rd overall (36th male) with a time of 9:31:38.
In a closely contested women’s race, Rachel Drake emerged victorious with a time of 8:47:23, just two minutes beyond Keely Henninger’s 2023 course record of 8:45:30. Becca Windell claimed second place in 8:52:46, and Lauren Puretz secured the third spot in 9:06:58. Vancouver’s Kat Drew stood out as the top Canadian woman, finishing fifth in 9:15:20, closely followed by Geneviève Asselin-Demers in sixth place (9:17:38) and Arden Young of Canmore in 11th place (9:46:37).
Reflecting on her experience, Asselin-Demers shared, “I loved my time in the desert.” Regrettably, Anne-Marie Madden of Vancouver, a potential podium contender, did not participate due to injury, despite her third-place finish in 2022 and a recent victory in the masters division at the California International Marathon in December.