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Date: Saturday, November 7th, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
Registration: on line only. Check in at Brady Park in Spearfish at 8:45 a.m.
Run: Historical Spearfish 15K
Description: Race will start part way up Spearfish Canyon at the Homestake Power Plant.
The 15 Kilo, better known as just the Kilo is back! The last time this race was held was in 1995, so this is long overdue. The very first running of this event took place in 1968 and was started by then first year Head Cross Country and Track Coach Dave Little. That first year Coach Little had inherited a cross country team dedicated to running, but they needed increased training so they could eventually complete at the District and Regional level. The season was over by that first Saturday in November in those days and he wanted to start a race in which his athletes along with other Black Hills area runners could run a Nationally recognized distance along with a decent time. Those of you who are familiar with the Spearfish South Dakota area know that a run starting in Spearfish Canyon and ending in downtown Spearfish would be perfect.
For some of Coach Littles' athletes the Kilo would be further than some members of the team had ever run before. As this race happens the first Saturday in November many High School runners would compete in this as well. The SD State HS Cross Country meet falls on the last Saturday in October so the timing was excellent to give area HS students one last race before winter would settle in. After the Kilo became more established 300+ participants was a fairly common occurrence. As I was researching the history of this event one fact caught my attention. The ages of runners has changed through the years. One of those earlier years of the Kilo the youngest runner was 14 years old, nothing much to report there, but the oldest runner that year was 44. Oh my, how things have changed!
Through the years the State of South Dakota would have two prestigious road races, the Kilo and the Jack 15 which was started in 1962 and still runs today. Hats off to the organizers of this race as they will run their course for the 58th time this year! The Kilo even made Sports Illustrated in the early seventies and was always blessed with great coverage from the Rapid City Journal. It was quite ironic though the year Sports Illustrated came out to take pictures of the event a snowstorm the night before the race would move the starting line North of Spearfish onto the old Belle Highway. This was the only year the race ran a different course but as it turned out the Sports Illustrated photographer had taken pictures the day before in the Canyon!
As the years rolled by College Cross Country schedules changed as the season would run well into November. The Kilo just didn’t fit the team anymore at Black Hills State. The District Cross Country meet would coincide the same weekend as the Kilo. At this point after organizing the race for 24 years this event had come to a cross roads. Coach Little decided to organize the event one last time as 25 years running sounds better than 24. At this point he turned over the reins and in two more short years the Kilo had run for the last time. A lot of great names ran this race through the years and it was a sad day when the first Saturday in November and Spearfish Canyon became quieter.
So this is why it’s so exciting that the Black Hills Runners club is organizing and reviving the Kilo. This race throughout the years had given out short and long sleeve shirts, and as old timers remember Coach Little was into high visibility stocking hats which are this year’s race signup incentive for the first 70 people who sign up. The stocking hats will have the retro look that you will regret not owning. The course will be almost identical as it was in the past, but with the addition of the bike paths in Spearfish the ending section will be new to everyone. The start is eight miles up the Canyon at the power plant. The race will start at 9:30 a.m. with no race day registration available, so don’t forget to preregister! Coach Little will be the official starter of the event and we hope to see you there and part of history!