Hello to the folks who have registered for the November 6th Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and 5k!

We've been super-busy producing the first-ever running event at the world-renowned Biosphere 2, but now we're putting together all the details for our event next weekend in the Kaibab National Forest near the South Rim. Read below for the schedule, details on the course, what to pack, tourism ideas, and more.

But first, two items:
1) Click here to see the list of race registrants as of today, October 26th on our homepage at www.runtucson.net. If you want to change your distance, please email us at randy@runtucson.net.

2) If anyone wants to volunteer, we still have slots for course monitors, handing out finish line medals, registration, and more. Click here to check out the volunteer sign-up sheet.

OK -- that's enough for now. Read on for all sorts of race details and if you have any questions after reading everything, please feel free to send us a note and we'll try to get it taken care of!

See you next week!

Randy & Tia, + Sandy, Doreen, Michelle, Georgia, and the crew

Randy Accetta, RRCA Certified Race Director and Director of Coaching Education
Tia Accetta, RRCA Certified Coach
Planned Race Weekend Schedule
The Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon is a joint partnership between the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and Run Tucson, the premier running and coaching company in Arizona. Special thanks to the folks from the Kaibab National Forest, the town of Tusayan, and the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce for helping prepare for the event. 

Friday, November 5, 2021
5-7 pm Packet Pickup and Last-Minute Registration at IMAX Theater, 450 AZ-64, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Saturday, November 6, 2021
7:00 AM Pancake Breakfast inside IMAX -- see below
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
9:00 AM: Half Marathon Prize Money and RRCA State Championship Start, start line closes.
9:15 AM: 5k Fun Run Start
12:00 PM: All half marathoners need to be through mile 10 by noon.*
1:00 PM: Timing at finish line closes.
2:00 PM: Breakdown of event site begins. 
*Course closure times are tentative depending on weather and safety conditions.

Pancake Breakfast Saturday Morning
Tusayan Fire District will host a fundraising Pancake Breakfast on Saturday morning, November 6, 2021 starting at 7 am inside the IMAX
Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, fruit, and coffee
Adults $8 Kids (12 and under) $5
Proceeds support Tusayan Fire District

A NOTE ON THE HALF MARATHON START: This year, we will do what has been called a "trickle start," where the timing mat is open and you can just show up and start whenever you'd like within the 7:30 am - 9:00 am window. All athletes who want to be eligible for prize money must start at 9:00 am.

Those of you who will take more than 2 hours, please consider starting as early as possible.

The 5k will be a group start at 9:15, after the half-marathon starting line closes.
What To Do & Where To Stay
What Else To Do:
After the race, you can relax on a sightseeing tour by vehicle, air, bicycle, or mule. Check out this link for possible tours: https://grandcanyoncvb.org/what-to-do/grand-canyon-tours

Our family (including grandma from Durango and the two kids up from Tucson) and some members of our Workout Group in Tucson will probably hike and/or run one of the trails at the South Rim on Sunday morning. 

For an easy recovery run, you may enjoy the flatter Rim Trail alongside the edge of the South Rim. The Bright Angel Trail is well-regarded as a tourist-friendly trail, while the Kaibab Trail is more rugged and steep, with no water available. Please remember that all trails into the Canyon are arduous and potentially dangerous, so we recommend that you take all precaution when running in and near the Grand Canyon.

You can find more information on nearby Grand Canyon National Park options here https://grandcanyoncvb.org/national-park-area-info and here https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hiking-for-fitness.htm.

Where To Stay - Six Hotels/Motels in Tusayan:
Red Feather Lodge - yep RP's legacy is still open an operated by the family. This remodeled family friendly option can offer all the comforts of home - enjoy a beautiful grand entrance, fully remodeled rooms, a workout room, and laundry. Our race crew is staying at the Red Feather Lodge.
 
Grand Canyon Holiday Inn Express and Suites with 30 beautiful suites. 
 
The Grand Hotel is the only 3-diamond hotel in the region and one of the few area hotels with an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. Check for safety protocols.
 
Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel beautiful rooms recently remodeled with a gorgeous atrium and an incredible mural as you enter the lobby. They also host a local favorite, The Wagon Wheel Saloon. 
 
Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn This resort style property boasts a newly renovated indoor / outdoor pool and hot tub, indoor arcade and a bowling alley. A little side note - all the photo's in the hotel are different - each hallway and every room - all tell a story about the Grand Canyon.
 
7-Mile Lodge If you decide to stay at the last minute 7-Mile Lodge is perfect - they accept same day bookings only. This cute Lodge will provide you a welcoming local feel.
 
Want to be closer to the Rim? Check availability at . . .
Maswik Lodge- Maswik is named for a Hopi Kachina who is said to guard the Grand Canyon. Originally cabins - in 1972 and 1981 the cabins where replaced with 2 story buildings. Maswik North is currently open - Maswik South is currently under construction.
 
Yavapai Lodge - The largest set of accommodations within Grand Canyon National park located just 1/2 mile from the Rim. Rooms have been recently updated and the Yavapai Tavern now has outdoor seating and on many weekends live music.
 
Thunderbird Lodge - Thunderbird is another contemporary Lodge located on the Rim. Half the rooms have partial Grand Canyon views.
Other hotels within the South Rim but currently not showing availability... keep in mind people do cancel so it may be worth checking.
 
El Tovar - This 1905 Historic property will have you staying right on the Rim. 78 rooms and history like none other!
 
Bright Angel Lodge - This 1935 landmark hotel / cabins were designed and created by the famous architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. While there be sure to check out the history of Mary Colter and the famous Fred Harvey and the Fred Harvey Girls.
 
Kachina Lodge - Kachina is a contemporary Lodge located on the Rim. Half the rooms have partial Grand Canyon views.

Goodies
The red technical long-sleeve shirt comes in a v-neck cut (shown) and a fuller unisex cut.
The medal doubles as a coaster for your future post-workout refreshments . . .
Course Overview
we'll send more maps and details in a future email
Near Mile 3 climbing one of the rugged early sections.
Near Mile 7.5, cruising under the historic Grand Canyon Railroad tracks
Near Mile 12, with about a mile of paved and mostly downhill to the finish.
Race reviews from the past two years indicate that the course is demanding but fun to run. The Half-Marathon course is a clockwise loop, designed to put the challenging 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), so it'll be 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 -- 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 largely downhill section 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 MapMyRun, which says this:

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

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 will provide water and Gatorade at approximately Mile 4, 8, and 11.5.

The Tusayan Fire Department and will be on hand at the finish line for medical support.

The 5k Route: The 5k is an out-and-back on a multi-use path and Route 328.

Our goal is to make this family-friendly, so it is perfect for running with a jogging-stroller and for children and others. There will be a water station at the turn-around 1.55 miles into the race.

Please stay to the right and watch for traffic on the dirt road.
What to Pack
At this writing, it looks like cool in the morning with warmer afternoon temperatures. Many of you are coming from low altitude locations, so it may be better to have layers available for any type of weather. When in doubt, please choose safety over performance. 

If it is hot: If race day dawns warm and sunny, please be sure to have a hat with a brim. You may wish to wear sunscreen, but much of the course is shaded by the various pine, fir, spruce, and juniper trees. On a hot day, be sure to stay hydrated with water and drinks that contain salt and electrolytes.
 
If it is cold: If race day is chilly (or worse), you should probably wear layers. Many runners like a synthetic undergarment that wicks away moisture. Be sure to have headwear of some sort, either a beanie-type hat that covers your ears, a headband that covers your ears, or at least a brimmed cap to keep your skull warm and keep sunshine at bay. You may want to consider running tights and a wind jacket that guards against a cold breeze. The race shirt is a heather-blend long-sleeve, but we recommend that you bring clothes you have worn in the past.
 
If it is wet: While it looks to be a clear day, if it is raining, sleeting, or snowing, you would be well-served wearing layers and a performance jacket that keeps moisture from leaking onto your skin and fends off the wind.

Recommended Footwear: As you can see in the photos, much of the course is on pretty rugged terrain, with rocks, roots, and hard-packed and soft dirt. Personally, we like knobby-soled trail shoes for such terrain, but you know your feet better than we do so perhaps pack a couple of pairs and decide on race day which is best for you.
 
What to Eat and Drink
We are grateful to Gatorade for donating product to this RRCA Championship event and to GU Energy labs for providing packets of their GU energy gel.

We will have aid stations at approximately Miles 4, 8, and 11.5, with water at every stop, and Gatorade at Mile 4 and Mile 11.5, and GU packets at Miles 4 and 8.

Having said that, please bring your own fuel as you need. We recommend water or sports drinks that have electrolytes and sodium, with whatever snacks you will find helpful. 
 
This race takes place at high altitude, so please be sure to hydrate in the days before traveling to Northern Arizona – and be sure to hydrate in the 24 hours before the race. We recommend drinking not just water but sports drinks and/or fruit drinks to ensure that you have sodium, sugars, and electrolytes in your system. (As you can tell, we want to guard against hyponatremia on race day, which can be caused by taking in too much water for the system to handle.)
 
Common advice is to ensure that you nourish yourself with complex carbohydrates, healthy proteins, and healthy fats (while some suggest that you ensure bringing in additional iron when running at altitude). You know your GI tract better than we do, so we will leave it to you to ensure that you have the fuels that you need. For example, one of our athletes brings sushi with him on long runs, but that may not work for all of you . . .
Public Health Protocols
COVID-19 is highly contagious and spreads primarily through respiratory droplets contained in heavy breathing, a cough, or a sneeze and the like. Our in-person charity running events are open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities, including children and older runners. 

As much as we want to see happy smiles from everyone, we respectfully request the following:
  • please wear a face covering at the race site when you cannot keep safe distance from one another . . .
  • do not attend if you're experiencing any of the symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19 or if you have not yet been vaccinated.

See Coconino County updates on public health 
More Maps
About Us
Run Tucson is headed up by a husband-wife team located in Tucson, where we're raising our son and 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 The Workout Group, a training group in Tucson originally started back in 1997 by Randy and Greg Wenneborg (who will be doing the race timing). Tia has run a couple of 2:48 marathons.

For the past 10 years Randy has been the Director of Coaching Education for the RRCA, heading up their nationally-renowned coaching certification program. Sadly, as a runner, he has slowed down considerably since running a 2:19 marathon a long, long time ago.

As race producers, we partner with many local suppliers in Tucson, but we also work closely with national running community leaders like the RRCA, Ashworth Awards, Leslie Jordan Designs, and others.

Our operations team includes Georgia, Sandy, and Michelle -- all of whom are certified running coaches. We also work extensively with Greg Wenneborg and his timing company, Roadrunner Race Timing. Greg is a three-time Olympic Trials qualifier and former college coach, so he knows his way around the sport.

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!
Randy and Tia Accetta
Photos from the October 24th TMC Get Moving Tucson, a 15k and 5k produced by Run Tucson at the renowned Biosphere 2, in Oracle, Arizona.
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.
(520)891-4369