Quick Info

Race Details

Date: September 22, 2018
Location: Keystone, SD
Start Time: 6:30am –10:30am
Weather: 73° / 52°F

Course Type: Point-to-point
Stroller friendly? Yes
Disability friendly? Yes
Dogs allowed? No
View the Race Guide here!

September 21, 2018, 1–6pm
(bib pickup available until 7pm)
Ghost Canyon Dude Ranch

Bib & Packet Pickup
Expo pickup recommended. Other options.

Registration Periods & Pricing

Early: $99* Dec. 15 – Mar. 11
Regular:  $119* Mar. 12 – July 1
Late: $139* July 2 – Race Expo
*Price reflects a $10 inaugural year discount.

Refund Policy
Refunds available during Early Registration (no fee) and Regular Registration ($10 fee). 

Deferral, Race Transfer, and Bib Transfer available during all registration periods ($20 fee).

Travel & Other Info

Fly Into
Rapid City (RAP) - 40 min.
Sioux Falls (FSD) - 5 hrs.
Denver (DEN) - 6 hrs.

Driving Directions
Google Maps Directions

Keystone, South Dakota
Details >

The Course

The race will start in Keystone, SD on the road, and will gain about 200 feet in the first mile as you climb up towards Mount Rushmore. This is a challenging course with lots of gorgeous views of Mount Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills. The first 10 miles are on pavement and the last 3 miles are on a dirt road.

The finish line will be on the front lawn of Ghost Canyon Dude Ranch where you'll find a beer garden, hot food, and an excellent place to sit back and be happy you don’t have to climb that mountain any more. You are going to love this course!

We'll have parking at both the start and finish, with shuttles taking any runners who parked at the start back to their cars after the race. We'll have more details about race day logistics and the course shortly!

Half Marathon Aid Stations

At our road half marathons our aid stations typically start at mile 3 and are every other mile after that with a bonus aid station around mile 12. They are not always right at the mile marker so check your race guide to find out where they will be exactly. Our 5K races typically have a single aid station midway through the race. 

You can find toilets, water, Go Gnarly electrolyte drink and Honey Stinger gels at every aid station. Usually around mile 7 and 11 we'll have cut fruit and bananas. 

At every aid station we'll have basic first aid supplies, and we normally station our EMT's near mile 7. 

Our road half marathons and 5Ks are cup-free. That means we will not have disposable cups available for you to use. When you register you will have the option to receive a free hydrapouch with your registration or you can use you own hydration system. 


We are pleased to share a FREE half marathon training program customized for this course to help you prepare. We've teamed up with Active at Altitude as the Official Training Partner to offer 2 levels of training: 

  • Beginner program (16 weeks)
  • Intermediate program (12 weeks)

These programs are free and are sent via e-newsletter every 4 weeks. 

Bib & Packet Pickup

Bib Pickup » You have 3 options for picking up your bib:

1. Pickup at the expo (recommended)
2. Pickup at the start line
3. Mailed 2 weeks before the race ($20 fee)

Bring Your Own Bag » In our ongoing effort to eliminate waste we encourage you to bring your own bag to hold your bib, race shirt, and any goodies you pick up at the race exp.

Race Shirts » If you're unhappy with the fit of your race shirt, or couldn't order the size you wanted we'll host a shirt exchange at the finish line on race day. Note that sizes and quantities will be limited.

The Expo

The expo will take place at the Ghost Canyon Dude Ranch on Friday, September 21st and go from 1pm-6pm with bib pickup until 7pm. At the expo you can pick up your bib, race shirt, and other gear. Plan to stay awhile, cook a s'more, and shop our other vendors and sponsors!

Traveling to Mount Rushmore

Where to Stay

Keystone, SD is going to be the best place to stay during your visit to Rushmore. Our race start is in Keystone and it's close to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park! Find lodging here.

Where to Fly

Your closest option by far is going to be Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP), which is only 40 minutes away from Keystone! You can also fly into Sioux Falls Regional Airport (FSD), but expect a 5 hour drive. Denver International Airport (DEN) is another option, which is going to be a 6 hour drive.

Driving to the Race

Race HQ will be in Keystone, SD. 

The race expo and finish line will be located at Ghost Canyon Dude Ranch. If you’re using Google Maps or Apple Maps to navigate there they’ll try to take you down a private road. Use this link instead.

Instead of turning at Oak Meadows Rd. continue on Playhouse Rd. until you get to Ghost Canyon Rd. and take a left. Follow that until you get to the ranch.


We've partnered with Booking.com to search for the best hotel options in the area. Check them out below!


Race Day


4:30 AM » Parking at finish line opens/First shuttle leaves for start line
5:00 AM » Morning bib pickup begins (at starting line)
5:05 AM » First prize raffle (every 5 min. until 6:15 am)
5:30 AM » Last shuttle from the finish line departs to start line
6:15 AM » Runners line up/Last call for gear check
6:25 AM » National Anthem
6:30 AM » RACE START; first shuttle departs start line area to the finish line
8:30 AM » Last shuttle from the start line to finish line departs
9:15 AM » Award Ceremony
9:45 AM » All runners must be off Iron Mountain Road (approx. mile 10)
10:30 AM » Race time limit

Parking, Shuttles & Runner Drop-off

If you are staying in Keystone, we would encourage you to walk to the starting line. We will have a free shuttle after the race to take you from the finish back to Keystone. If you would prefer to park at the finish line, there is a free shuttle that will take you to the starting line before the race, but please get to the parking area as early possible. At the finish line- parking opens and shuttles begin loading and leaving at 4:30 am. You must be parked and loaded on the shuttle no later than 5:30 am if you want to make it to the race start on time. 

If you are not planning to stay in Keystone but wish to park near the starting line, see the map below to find where to park. A free shuttle will be running after the race to take runners back to Keystone.

If you are being dropped of in Keystone before the race, please get dropped off on Winter Street (16A) near the boardwalk.

Club Hikes & Trifecta

To help you make the most out of your visit to Mount Rushmore, we've put together some recommended Club Hikes or a Trifecta Challenge. Do these with 72 hours after the race and you can earn free Vacation Races memorabilia. 

Club Hikes:

Black Elk Peak

Crow Peak

Mt. Rushmore Trifecta:

Presidential Trail

Cathedral Spires Trail

Wildlife Loop Road

Package Pricing

Inaugural race results

Registration Periods

Early Bird: Dec. 15, 2017 – Mar. 11, 2018
Regular: Mar. 12, 2017 – Jul. 1, 2018
Late: Jul. 2 – Race Expo

Register for the

13.1 miles of gorgeous countryside and some hills for good measure. The rain held off and it was great running weather!

Kathleen Murphy
Shenandoah Half Marathon Runner
  • Jason Silver says:

    I just ran the Mt Rushmore Half and there was a tent that had the Mt Rushmore merchandise and there was additional clothing under the same tent that had designs like a wolf with mountains on its back that said “Run into the Wild”. Another shirt that said “ Not all who wander are lost”. The sizes I desired were not available at the race, I thought they may be in your online store, but I am unable to find it on the website. Could you please direct me to the vendor so I can order merchandise in my desired size? Thank you!

  • vicki says:

    Hi Vacation Races!
    I ran the Mount Rushmore half marathon. When will the race pictures be available? Thanks! Oh I LOVED THIS EVENT in every way!

    • Kaelee Clifford says:

      Hi Vicki – We’re happy to hear you enjoyed the event – we did too! Once the photos are ready, most likely on Thursday, an email with a link to the photos will be sent.

  • Debbie says:

    I just ran the Mt Rushmore Half and when I picked up my shirt for doing the race the women’s shirts ran really small and there’s no way I can wear it. I was told that yes they realize they are running small, but I couldn’t exchange it until the next day at the race. So after I finished the race I went over to see about exchanging my shirt and all that was left of the shirts was women’s small and medium which I’m guessing were probably the ones returned already due to the women’s shirts running so small. It makes you feel like if you didn’t complete the race in the first couple of hours you were stuck with a shirt that won’t be able to wear. Is there anyway a person can get it replaced? This is my first of the vacation races and very disappointed to not be able to wear the shirt especially with what we pay to do these races.

    • Kaelee Clifford says:

      Hi Debbie – Our standard policy is to have runners exchange shirts after the race so that everyone who ordered a specific size is able to pick that size up and we don’t run out. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get yours exchanged. The race shirts will be in the online store in the next few days – check here to see if there is a size that will work better for you (the men’s sizes don’t taper like the women’s do and many women prefer that cut):

  • Jonathan Kidroske says:

    Great Race! I have not seen an email with a link to the photos. Has it been sent?

  • Larry Luedke says:

    I haven’t got the link to runners photos yet for the Mont Rushmore Half Marathon. Was wondering if I could have the link sent to me. Thanks,

  • Samantha Howell-Carter says:

    Is there any way we can exchange the 2018 amount Rushmore Commemorative Names t-shirt for a larger size? They fit a bit small.

  • Donna says:

    I too ran in the Mt. Rushmore half, my second VR race. Had a superl time visiting SD, a place that was never on my radar. Like some other women in the race, my race t-shirt is too small and I didn’t get to swap it out. Hoping that VR will order some bigger sizes in ladies ( I think I would take a 2X, though in real sizing that is not my size) What realistic clothing maker makes someone who wears a size 10-12 have to buy a 2XL? While the men’s shirt may not be such a slimmer fit, everything else about it is still a mans shirt, the length of the sleeves, the neckline, the length of the entire shirt, most everything. Would love to parade around at the gym I work at in a Mt. Rushmore race-t. Hope to find them at the online store soon. Also, thinking I want to run in the Grand Canyon and/or Teton half in 2019, anyone out there (not elite runners) with some comments on comparison of the hills vs. the Mt. Rushmore run, just curious? p.s. the pics were nice though the one at the end with the sign has me a tad blurry.

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