The 2023 Black Canyon 100k kicked off in a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and while the competition in both the men’s and women’s races was hot and heavy, the temperatures remained a little lower than in previous years. This surely contributed to the fastest-ever Black Canyon 100k, which saw new course records set by both Anthony Costales and Keely Henninger.
Three men finished under Sage Canaday’s respected 2016 course record, and the first two women both came in under Brittany Peterson’s 2021 record, which was indicative of the depth of the field battling it out for Western States 100 Golden Tickets.
The Black Canyon 100k begins in Mayer, Arizona, and takes in 5,100 feet of climb and 7,000 feet of downhill on generally dry desert trails to finish at the Emery Henderson Trailhead outside of Phoenix.
2023 Black Canyon 100k Men’s Race
Anthony Costales set a 19-minute course record, finishing in 7:33. Costales placed fifth at the Black Canyon 100k last year after a difficult day and said in his finish line interview, “Last year after finishing, I did not think I was coming back. I was like, ‘I do not want to do that again!’” He said he was drawn back by the standard of competition he saw appear on the entrants list, particularly when he saw Tom Evans (U.K.) had signed up and said, “I was really excited to go and race against one of the world’s best.”
Cole Watson was the early race leader, with Evans the first to make a counterattack. Social media indicates that Evans led the race into the Black Canyon City aid station at mile 37.5, but Costales emerged from the aid station in first place, having patiently moved up through the field.
Costales was more than five minutes clear of Evans by Doe Springs, mile 58.6, having extended the gap by a minute from the previous aid station. Janosch Kowalczyk (Germany) was now just two minutes back from Evans and applying pressure, having gained four minutes on Evans in the previous seven miles.
Costales seemed to gain momentum as he powered the home stretch to finish in a record-breaking 7:33. Evans came in second in 7:37, still 15 minutes under Canaday’s course record, with Kowalczyk third in 7:40. Cole Watson made it four men under eight hours, finishing in 7:59.
Noah Dusseau was the fifth man home, just a few minutes later, in 8:02.
Costales tentatively accepted his Golden Ticket, and with Evans already having secured a place at this year’s edition of the Western States 100, the second men’s Golden Ticket fell to Kowalczyk.
2023 Black Canyon 100k Men’s Results
- Anthony Costales – 7:33
- Tom Evans (U.K.)- 7:37
- Janosch Kowalczyk (Germany) – 7:40
- Cole Watson – 7:59
- Noah Dusseau — 8:02
2023 Black Canyon 100k Women’s Race
Triathlete and track cyclist Heather Jackson is very new to the trail running world, but a lack of experience didn’t show as she was the early pacesetter in a very fast and close women’s race. She narrowly led Ida Nilsson (Sweden, lives in Norway) in second and Keely Henninger in third at mile 31.
The top three women came into the Table Mesa aid station at mile 51 within seconds of one another — this time Henninger leading, followed immediately by Jackson, with Nilsson just seconds behind. Henninger cooled off with some ice and was out first, followed by Nilsson, then Jackson. All three were ahead of course-record pace.
At Doe Springs, mile 58.6, Henninger and Jackson were just 14 seconds apart at the front, but Henninger managed to pull away in the closing miles and cruised home in 8:45, taking three minutes off Brittany Peterson’s 2021 course record and claiming the first women’s Golden Ticket. Henninger said at the finish, “That race was awesome, and I knew the course super well, and I knew what I could sustain.”
Heather Jackson, in her second trail race ever, came in second in 8:47, also under Peterson’s course record. Meghan Morgan closed out the podium in 8:53.
Anna Kacius took the women’s fourth position, and Nilsson ultimately arrived to the finish in fifth place.
As Jackson already has a spot for the 2023 Western States 100, the second Golden Ticket fell to Morgan, who accepted it decisively.
There is just one more Western States 100 Golden Ticket Race, the Canyons by UTMB 100k in Auburn, California, on April 28.
2023 Black Canyon 100k Women’s Results
- Keely Henninger — 8:45
- Heather Jackson — 8:47
- Meghan Morgan — 8:53
- Anna Kacius — 9:05
- Ida Nilsson (Sweden, lives in Norway) — 9:07