Run Crazy Horse Marathon draws hundreds to the Black Hills

CUSTER COUNTY, S.D. – Hundreds of runners were out on Saturday morning in near-freezing temperatures for the Run Crazy Horse Marathon.

For some of the runners at the marathon, running is a hobby. For others, it’s a lifestyle. Around 1,700 people woke up at the crack of dawn and warmed up at the base of Crazy Horse Memorial.

The marathon brings hundreds of people from across the world and from other countries like Canada, Norway and even South Africa. People of all ages ran, jogged and walked the 26 miles through the Black Hills.

For many of the runners, it’s a marathon unlike any other.

“You’re on the trail and are amazed by all the beauty, and folks say it’s one of the most incredible marathons they’ve ever had,” said Nicole Craig, one of the volunteers.

The marathon starts at the Crazy Horse Memorial and goes along the George S. Mickleson Trail, then ends in downtown Hill City.

Everyone out there had their own reason to run. For some, it was to stay in shape.

“She broke her tailbone in April, and I had double foot surgery a year ago, so we’re still out here doing it,” said Nikki Gikan, one of the runners.

Others use the marathon as an opportunity to conquer personal goals. Leo Tyska, who traveled to Crazy Horse from Chicago, Illinois, has a goal to run a marathon in every state. South Dakota is his 41st. When he’s done with the states, his sights are set up north.

“Maybe I do a tour of the providences in Canada,” Tyska said. “The world is a playground. It’s fun.”

But whether the athletes were running, jogging or walking across the finish line, there was no shortage of fanfare and support.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News