The finisher coaster medals were delivered yesterday!
Hello again to the folks who have registered for the 2022 Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and 5k. We're 6 weeks out, so we wanted to send updated information on the event, including details on local discounts, the weekend schedule, and advice on the course itself.

Before we dig in, here are four quick items:

First, shameless self-promotion, with links to two running articles featuring our Run Tucson coaching team:
1) Our training group was recently featured by Stephanie Thurrott and the Today Show's fitness experts, with advice on running form here:

2) We were also recently highlighted in Lauren David's piece on about Skyrunning, the sport of high altitude mountain running. The Grand Canyon race is at about 7,000 feet, so some of the advice here may be useful . . .

Second, pre-race pasta dinner: Our friends at the IMAX Theater in Tusayan are offering an All-You-Can-Eat Special on Friday, November 4th from 5-7pm:
Pasta - Penne Marinara
Pizza - cheese & pepperoni
Green Salad
$15 per person

Third, local discounts: please visit the Grand Canyon Chamber and Visitor's Bureau -- they've put together a list of discounts on a host of tourism activities here:

Fourth, Red Feather Lodge: Steps from the start/finish line, the Red Feather Lodge is offering a pricing special for all participants, but you need to call them at (928) 638-2414.

Over the coming weeks we'll send more race updates, training advice, information on race prizes, travel advice, and other items that we hope will enhance your trip to the Grand Canyon region.

Of course, if you have any questions, track us down and we'll try to get it taken care of! (Randy is heading out on a two-week Himalayan adventure so he will have limited email access over the coming weeks, but you can write to Tia if you need anything in the meantime.)

See you in November,

Randy and Tia Accetta, Race Directors

This is the fourth year we've produced the event and we're super-excited about continuing to work with the Town of Tusayan and the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce to bring runners and walkers to the beautiful Kaibab Plateau and South Rim area.
The Weekend Schedule
Tentative 2022 Weekend Schedule, details may be modified
Friday, November 4, 2022
5:00 - 6:30 pm Packet Pickup and Last-Minute Registration at IMAX Theater, 450 AZ-64, Tusayan, AZ 86023
Our team of volunteers will be on hand in the lobby to help you pick up your race materials, including race number, race shirt, a copy of the course map, and (if you ordered it) your National Park Pass.
YES: you can pick up for your friends and family; this is a small race, so no ID needed
YES: we have unisex and women's sizing in the t-shirt
YES: all shirts are first-come, first-served in terms of sizing
YES: Friday is a great time to snag your stuff so you don't have to worry on race morning!
NO: you cannot pick up your finisher's medal before finishing the race – you gotta’ do the race on Saturday!

5:00 - 7:00 pm All-You-Can-Eat Pasta Dinner at IMAX, $15

Saturday, November 5, 2022
7:00 AM Tusayan Fire District Pancake Breakfast starting at 7 am outside the IMAX

7:00-9:00 AM Packet Pickup and Race Check-in at IMAX Theater

7:30 AM Half Marathon trickle start opens, with ongoing trickle start - start is on sidewalk in front of IMAX
  • All Half-Marathon walkers and Walk/Run folks are asked to start at 7:30. 
  • All age-group awards are chip timed, so you can start whenever you want.
  • Permits and insurance do not allow for dogs and other animals on the course.
  • While we appreciate the value of running with head-phones, we request that you do not run with headphones on.
  • While we support adaptive athletics, the half marathon course is not suited for chair athletes. 
  • The 5k course has a paved section that is chair-capable, but the dirt road portion will be difficult to navigate for chair athletes.

8:30 AM Half Marathon Prize Money Start -- start line closes.
NOTE: all prize money is gun-timed at the 8:30 am start, so all prize money recipients must start at 8:30 am. Prize money details here.

8:45 AM 5k Fun Run/Walk Starts

9:30 Ongoing: post-race snacks courtesy at finish line and beer garden at IMAX.
Grab-bag of Run Tucson shirts for sale $5 apiece.

NOTE: Beer Garden Details -- thanks to Grand Canyon Brewery for donating their locally-made beer. All runners receive two free beer pours. Must have your race number -- we'll mark your race number for each pour. All other pours are $5 apiece.

11:30 AM (or so) Half Marathon and 5k Awards at Finish Line

NOTE: All half marathoners need to be through mile 11.5 by 11:30 am.*
*Course closure times are tentative depending on weather and safety conditions.
* Remember to start early if you're worried about the deadlines

1:00 PM Timing at finish line closes, beer garden begins to break down, closing of event site

4th Annual World's Best Fire Department Pancake Breakfast - tentative plan
  • Tusayan Fire District Pancake Breakfast starting at 7 am outside the IMAX
  • Come out and show your support for the Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and Tusayan Fire.
  • Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, fruit, and coffee
  • Adults $8 Kids (12 and under) $5
  • Proceeds support Tusayan Fire District

The Course
Course Overview: The Half-Marathon course is a clockwise loop, designed to put the demanding sections of the race early, when you're more chipper. The race will will start at the IMAX parking lot, and head south on the sidewalk on the west side of Highway 64 before crossing onto the bike path of Long Jim Loop for another couple of hundred yards, before you head south onto the dirt roads of the Kaibab National Forest. 

The next 3-4 miles are on Forest Service Road #2607, which will be pretty rugged, with a bunch of "rolling uphill" and some challenging footing (see the photo from near Mile 3). This section is fun to run but it may feel a bit slow.

From approximately Mile 4-8 the trail smooths out and drops in a "rolling downhill" manner -- the footing is easier and you can probably get in a nice little rhythm, especially once you get onto Forest Service Road 2604. 

Near Mile 7.5 you'll go under the historic railroad tracks, then go under them again near Mile 8-- it's a fun little figure-S of a section. Mile 9-11 winds through what is called the Coconino Wash, with pretty smooth footing and some especially nice forested views. 

Mile 11-12 is mostly on the well-travelled dirt road #328, with some significant downhill -- there'll be some hills, but you should be able to make good time at this portion of the course. 

From approximately Mile 12 to the finish you will be on a paved multi-use path, part of which is the famed Arizona Trail. You can run on the pavement, but there is also dirt alongside if you favor the softer surface. This is a rolling downhill section that should give you a pretty quick finish to the finish line with nice shade and the chance to push pace a bit.

The Half-Marathon course is almost exactly 13.1 miles (but may be long by as much as .1 or .2 -- hard to tell with the different measuring devices). The maps we've included come from MayMyRun, which says this:

This is a 13.19 mi route in . The route has a total ascent of 555.58 ft and has a maximum elevation of 6,729.3 ft. 

The 5k Route: the 5k will be an out and back on multi-use path and Road #328. Our goal is to make this family-friendly, so it is perfect for running with a jogging-stroller and for children and others. Road #328 is open to vehicles, so keep an eye out.

Water and Aid Stations: We want you to be self-sufficient on the race course, but our plan is to have plenty of people on the course to support you. We'll have water and Gatorade at at least three spots (probably near Mile 4, Mile 8, and just before Mile 12. We'll have plenty of food and water at the finish line, with support from the Tusayan Fire Department, Coconino County Sheriff, and others as needed. We'll give more details on this over the coming weeks.
Near Mile 3 climbing one of the rugged early sections.
Near Mile 7.5, cruising under the historic Grand Canyon Rail tracks
Near Mile 12, with about a mile of paved and mostly downhill to the finish.
Training Implications: Fartlek Workouts
we sent this in an earlier email, but if you're new to trail running, this may be useful
As you can tell from this course description, you'll have some chances to run pretty fast, but you'll also have plenty of trail sections where the footing is a bit tricky. 

If you're an experienced runner, you may already know how to prepare for a trail half at altitude. But if you're new to this sort of stuff, you might consider some fartlek workouts at variable paces.

Indeed, in my work teaching run coaching for the Road Runners Club of America, we talk a lot about the value of fartlek.

The term "fartlek" is traditionally attributed to the Swedish coach Gosta Holmer -- it means "speed play" or "playing with speed." The idea is that you can run as fast as you want, then go as slow as you want. This "go as you please" workout can be modified for any fitness level, so you can run super-fast, then go super-slow, then run moderately fast, and still go super-slow, and so on.

Jeff Galloway's famed "run/walk" protocols make use of this fartlek-type workout: walk a bit, run a bit, walk a bit, run a bit.

So, again, for the newbies on this list, perhaps consider a workout like this:

Jog 15 minutes, and take some time to stretch and activate your running muscles

Do a 30 minute total effort: 1 minute at a quick and speedy pace followed by 1 minute at a slow jog pace. Do this 1-minute-on and 1-minute-off for a total of 15 fast repetitions, or 30 minutes total.

Jog another 15 minutes or so. This basic workout will take about an hour and can be squeezed into a mid-week run.

If you're in good shape and experienced, you'll be able to extend the speed bouts and do the workout on a trail to simulate race conditions -- and maybe extend variations on your weekend long run.

The goal is to teach your body to shift gears, playing with speed so that you can vary between running faster than comfortable and settling back into at a comfortable recovery pace.

The terrain on the Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon course lends itself to variable pace running, so this workout will prepare you to take advantage of what the course gives you.

NOTE for 5k: if you're doing the 5k, you can do the same basic workout, but with less effort. A 10-minute warmup, 5 sets of 1 minute on, 1 minute off, then a 10 minute cooldown. This 30-minute workout will prepare you for the 3 miles on race day!

Another Benefit: This type of peppy workout that puts you in cardiorespiratory stress has the advantage of teaching your body to adapt to anaerobic stress-- which may help you with the altitude on race day.

OK -- that's more than enough. We'll send more info as we get closer to race day!
Run Tucson, who are you, anyway?
A few years ago we at Run Tucson were contacted by Laura Chastain, then the head of the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce. Even though we live in Southern Arizona, she asked us to help produce this event in early November as a way to support local businesses in Northern Arizona by bringing runners and walkers to the South Rim area. Laura has moved on from the Chamber, but we've had a great time working with the Chamber, the Town of Tusayan, the Kaibab National Forest, the Tusayan Fire Department, and others in the region.

Now, you may ask, who is Run Tucson? Run Tucson is headed up by a husband-wife team located in Tucson, where we're raising a 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter. As life-long runners, we produce races in Tucson and coach runners in Tucson and around the country.

Raised in Walla Walla, WA, Tia ran cross country and track at the University of Idaho. She is an RRCA Certified coach with an M.A. in Education. She currently coaches runners from around the country via online coaching, while also heading up our Tucson based training group called The Workout Group. Tia has run a couple of 2:48 marathons and hopes to run the Grand Canyon Half this year.

For the past 11 years Randy has been the Director of Coaching Education for the RRCA, heading up their nationally-renowned coaching certification program. Years ago he was the Director of Programs at the well-known Craftsbury Running Camp and was the Arizona coach for Team in Training. He also teaches at the University of Arizona, where he was named the Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year in 2021-2022. Sadly, as a runner, he has slowed down considerably since running a 2:19 marathon a long, long time ago.

We work with national running community leaders like the RRCA, Ashworth Awards, Leslie Jordan Designs, Road Race Management, Peloton, and others.

Our local mission at Run Tucson is to make Tucson a better place to live through running -- our national mission is to inspire happy lives through running. Thus, this opportunity to help produce the Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon fits our passion perfectly -- we can improve a local community while providing an inspirational event for the national running community!

We'll add you to our emailing list so you can see the events we put on -- we'll give all of you discounts to our home-town races just to give you another reason to travel to Arizona!
Tia and son Aric at the Grand Canyon in a May snowstorm, after checking out the Half-Marathon course a few years ago.
Randy and daughter Anabelle at the Kaibab Trail at the South Rim a couple of years ago.
For information about our events, the RRCA, and The Workout Group, contact Randy Accetta
(520) 991-0733
For information about in-person, online, or group coaching, contact contact Tia Accetta.