Run Crazy Horse is one of the most well known races in South Dakota. It takes runners around the massive in-progress rock sculpture – the Crazy Horse Memorial. The race is only minutes away from Mount Rushmore. It is easy to make this race into a fun long weekend vacation! We should note that the weather can vary this time of year, so we saw some small snow flurries. This did not impact our overall opinion of the race and we thought the Race Director and team did a great job keeping us informed of any potential changes!
Run Crazy Horse Half Marathon
Prior to the race start, runners could either park at the finish line area and take a bus to the start or select to take a bus at the end of the race. We opted to get the bus portion over with early. This was the far superior choice as we were able to use the Crazy Horse Memorial Visitor Center to stay warm and relax before the race. There was no waiting around for hours, we sat and chatted with friends until about 15 minutes before the race start. All of the runners orderly filed outside and we self-seated ourselves by projected pace.
Many races play a rendition of the National Anthem prior to the race start. Since this race was rich with Native American Culture, we had the amazing opportunity to start with a traditional Native American drum performance. It was the absolute highlight to our race experience.
The first 3 miles or so do have some hills, but even we couldn’t complain. They were not outrageous and being so close to the start it was extremely manageable. The hills were totally worth it for the ability to get up close to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Since it is an active sculpture in progress, the race goes into areas typically closed off to the public during explosive work!
The remaining 10 miles were on the George S Mickelson trail, a nicely paved trail spanning 109 through the Black Hills of South Dakota. The views were serene and time passed quickly as we ran through so much natural beauty! This also means the course is completely closed to traffic, a major perk for us. The point to point race ended in the downtown Hill City area which made this hometown race have a big city feel with spectators cheering along the edges!
Run Crazy Horse Runner Perks
The community really supports this race and there were a variety of vendors present at the pre-race expo. The expo was in downtown Hill City at the local Boys and Girls Club. The first 100 runners also received free wool socks from Darn Tough at the Granite Sports running store. Full disclosure, we didn’t pack wool socks and totally needed these!
At the finish line, we received unique custom made medals! These unique medals really embraced the vibe and overall feel of the race. With so many medals, we like having something that will stand out on the racks! Another big perk was free beer at the local bar, the Bumpin’ Buffalo. Our costumes were a huge hit there!
Traveling to Hill City, South Dakota
For the more rural states, runners are often skeptical on how they can be affordable or are worried about finding accommodations. We spent four days in South Dakota, but the trip could easily be done in three for a long weekend. We flew into RAP, a small airport in Rapid City, SD. This was a short drive from Hill City, the host city for the race and where we stayed.
There are a variety of accommodations in Hill City, including name brand hotels you are already likely familiar with. There are also restaurants, grocery stores, and tons of fantastic breweries and wineries. We also spent a day over in Rapid City to enjoy their offerings as well. Everything we have mentioned is within a short drive of Mount Rushmore. It is totally worth the small parking fee to take pictures and enjoy this amazing work of art!
There is no question that this race should be your South Dakota race with an optional long weekend getaway. It is definitely not as challenging to book travel and accommodations as we had originally feared and seeing Mount Rushmore was a great goal off the bucket list! Being from Florida, seeing snow was really the icing on the cake for the whole trip! Run Crazy Horse is a fantastic choice for your South Dakota Half Marathon and a fun vacation!