- 3 miles/5K, 6 miles/10K, 13.1/Half Marathon, Other
- Road Race
To begin with, as with all my race choices, date is important. The race was being held during an election year on the same weekend as the Presidential candidates being in town. Clearly not within control of the race management during the organization of the event. There may have been a number of other events that weekend as all the hotels in the area were sold out, so be certain to book your hotel early! I bring my family with me to every race and event and make long weekends, so I was sure to book a room with one of the race hotels which was not necessarily more convenient or cost effective as it turned out. There was some savings of about $20 per room, but on a weekend when everything was sold out it was nice to have a dedicated room available.
I picked up my packet the day before the race and it can be described in one word...small. There was little for purchase, deals or discussions on running. It was in a beautiful hotel reception area but not many vendors. To my pleasant surprise the local Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce was offering racers a $20 gift card for use at a number of area participants. This turned out to be a great deal for our after race lunch at a pizza place!
On race morning, the race was easy to find and parking was plenty. I arrived 40 minutes or so before the race and was able to walk around a bit as teams had tents set up. Most racers arrived about 20 minutes before race time. They announced about 2000 participants (walk, 5k, 10k and half) and the corrals formed about 15 minutes before the race start time. Corral times were broken down into 30 minute increments and the group start for 10k and half was at 7:00 am with the 5k and walkers at 7:05.
As the sun was rising it was a beautiful race with scenery. The run was a switch back at mile 6.5ish so you know the hills climbing or going down hill in one direction meant just the opposite on the way back.
Mile 1 & 2 were slight inclines the entire distance. 3 & 4 were nice down hills and 5 & 6 were flatter with minor turns and brief ups and downs. As you near the turn around point there was a notable up hill run which provided relief on the turn around, but in reverse the lengths remaining were longer and steeper uphill that was enjoyed as a downhill minutes ago. Miles 8 though 10 were taxing as the morning heated and up hill inclines. The final miles were less challenging and a good relief.
Throughout the run, there were great views of the surrounding mountains, shadows across the land as the sun rose, and the beautiful cactus all around. The elevation was not a factor but that may depend on your running habits. I run daily at an elevation of 7200' as a note.
Water stations were well placed. A few of the stations had a flavored water that was not marked in the tables and could catch you off guard if you are looking to dump a little on your head. The volunteers were encouraging and ready to support all the runners.
At the end of the race there was plenty of water and a photo op stations with your new and nicely designed medal.
I made a wonderful connection with a race group that is focused on supporting wheelchair athletes and pusher participants. My daughter has special needs and I had the opportunity to enter one race with her in her chair about a year ago. I am looking to purchase an actual running chair and connect with the group further for future races.
I would recommend the race for personal satisfaction, the scenery, and the challenge of the distances for each incline.