Table of Contents

  1. Race Weekend Schedule
  2. Race Weekend Details: locations, weather updates, and more
  3. Public Health
  4. Tourism
  5. Course Overview
Race Weekend Schedule
Friday, November 6
Packet Pickup and Public Health Check-in, 3:00-5:00 PM.

Our team of volunteers will be on hand to help you pick up your race materials, including your race number, your race face covering, your race shirt, a copy of the course map, and other souvenirs.

YES: all participants will get their temperature taken and sign a form agreeing to public health protocols
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: you can pick up for your friends and family; this is a small race, so no ID needed
YES: please be patient with your fellow runners and please be nice to the volunteers
YES: we will have additional souvenirs for sale
YES: you can pick up your race medal before the race
YES: you must adhere to social distance protocols at the registration tent

If you or a family member would like to volunteer on Friday afternoon, click here.
Saturday, November 7
Packet Pickup and Public Health Check-in, 7:00- 8:30 AM.

If you do not see your name on this list, email us at [email protected] ASAP so that we can add you to the staging.

Please be at the staging area 10 minutes before your designated start wave is scheduled to start. Porta-john will be available for those in the waiting area. The waiting area will be limited to only the participants starting in the next wave.

Working with the permitting agency at the Kaibab National Forest, the plan is to send groups of four runners every four minutes, but we may modify on race day.

7:30 AM: Half Marathon first wave start. (Ongoing until final wave at 9:20 AM.)
8:00 AM: 5k start opens. (5K runners can start with rolling start at any time between 8:00-9:00 AM)
9:00 AM: 5K start line closes.
9:30 AM: Half Marathon start line closes.
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.

If you or a family member would like to volunteer on Saturday, click here.
Where to go on race day.
Staging Area
Half Marathon Start: On the sidewalk in front of the IMAX/ Visitor Center.

5K Start: In the gravel parking lot to the north of the IMAX/Visitor Center.

Run Tucson Tent/ Packet Pick-Up: In the southeast corner of the gravel parking lot.

First Aid Tent: The Tusayan fire department will have a tent set up in the gravel lot on Saturday.

Bathrooms: Porta-john will be along the north edge of the gravel lot. There is also a restroom inside the IMAX.
On the Course.
Aid Stations
In the Half-Marathon, we will have aid stations at approximately Miles 4 and 8, with sealed water bottles at each stop. (Please do not litter on the course!) There are no aid stations on the 5k course.

We will provide a sealed water bottle and a GU packet to every 5k and Half-Marathon runner at packet pick-up. Due to the pubic health emergency, we are asking all runners to be prepared as possible to be self-sufficient in both the 5k and the half-marathon.

Please bring your own fuel as needed. We highly recommend carrying more fuel and water (or sports drink) than what we provide if you are planning on being out on the course for 2 hours or longer.
Course Map
Everyone will receive a course map in their goodie bags at packet pick-up. Please look at it, take it with you, or take a photo of it so you have it with you on the course.
Local photographer, Terri Attridge, will be out on the course taking photos. Feel free to take your own race photos and be sure and tag @runtucson @grandcanyoncvb.
Come prepared!
According to and the Weather Channel, Friday will be beautiful but the weather on Saturday could be quite a bit cooler than expected, with a chance of rain. The temperature looks pretty good for running but come prepared with layers, including hat and gloves, for the early morning chill.
What to Pack: Many of you are coming from low altitude locations, so it may be better to overpack for a weekend at high altitude. We recommend that you pack enough clothes to have layers available for any type of weather. When in doubt, please choose safety over performance. 
If it is cold/wet: If race day is chilly and/or rainy, you should wear layers. A light weight, easy to carry, wind breaker may be a good outer layer, while a synthetic undergarment that wicks away moisture makes a good base layer. Be sure to have headwear of some sort, either a beanie-type hat that covers your ears, a headband that covers your ears, or a brimmed cap to keep your skull warm and keep sunshine at bay. 

If it is warm: Much of the course is shaded by the various pine, fir, spruce, and juniper trees, but it's helpful to have a hat with a brim and/or sunglasses, a short sleeved synthetic top that wicks moister, and carry plenty of water and an electrolyte enhanced beverage.

Remember, face coverings are required: you are required to wear a face covering at the start/finish line and when you are being passed or passing someone on the course.

Recommended Footwear: As you can see in the photos way below, some of the course is on 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.
Altitude: This race takes place at higher altitude, so please be sure to hydrate regularly a few days before traveling to Northern Arizona, not just once you've arrived. We recommend sipping water in addition to a sports drinks and/or fruit drink to ensure that you have sodium, sugars, and electrolytes in your system.
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 . . .
Your health comes first.
Our overall goal is personal wellness and public health. We know that none of us want to do a virtual race and all of us want to gather with family, friends, and others in our running community.

If you would prefer to do this as a VIRTUAL race, please email us directly at [email protected] and we will put you in the VIRTUAL category.

We ask that you skip the race if you are feeling any symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue, aches, loss of taste, and any other standard COVID symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, please stay home and get medical care . . .

And don't worry -- if you have to miss the race, we'll mail all of your 2020 race goodies and help you celebrate your own personal 5k or half marathon effort -- even if you cannot do it on the Kaibab Plateau this coming weekend.

Having said all of that, we are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience next Friday and Saturday.

Indeed, as a condition of receiving permits for the race, we are required to require that every participant follows social distance guidelines, wears a face covering pre- and post-race, receives a pre-race temperature check, and signs a standard public health document.

Please be sure to read through the public health protocols on our race registration site. Also, please check out the recent New York Times article "How to Run a Race in a Time of Surging Coronavirus" by Gretchen Reynolds. We will be following many of the protocols discussed in the article.
Other helpful information...
Local Discounts: We're grateful to the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce working with local companies to offer these discounts:

$20 off Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours. See

20% Discount with Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel -- Ask for code HM20 -- please call hotel directly for this special rate at 800-995-2521

20% discount on bike rentals with Bright Angel Bicycles. All racers who show a proof of racing (race #, race hoody shirt, medallion etc) will receive the discount. Bright Angel Bicycles 10 S. Entrance Road, Grand Canyon, AZ, 86023.

Where To Stay: The Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce website offers information on local lodging opportunities. Our race crew is staying at the Red Feather Lodge.
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:

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 and here

Awards: We're still finalizing the details, but the plan is to have a grab bag of local gifts.
Half Marathon Prizes
Top Three Overall Male and Female
Top Three in 10-year Age Groups, U20 through 60+ in both male and female categories
(no double-dipping in overall and age group)

5k Prizes
First place Male and First Place Female
First place in 10-year Age Groups, U20 through 60+
(no double-dipping in overall and age group)

Volunteers: It takes a ton of folks to put on a trail run, even a cozy one like this. Special thanks to the Tusayan community and the crew at the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce for doing a ton o' preparation work and setting up the course volunteers.

We're super happy to have some of the runners from our Tucson-based training group called "The Workout Group" on hand to help with staging, registration, and course management.

If any friends or family want to pitch in, we can provide a race buff for all volunteers! Email us at [email protected].

Social Media: You can tag the cumbersome #grandcanyontrailhalfmarathon and @runtucson and @grandcanyoncvb -- if you have other hashtags, let us know!
Weekend Goodies:
IMAX: Thanks to the IMAX Theater for providing one free ticket to an IMAX showing of The Grand Canyon experience -- click here for movie details and schedule.
Near Mile 3 climbing one of the rugged early sections.
Look for flagging to be sure you're on the course!
Near Mile 12, with a mile of paved and mostly downhill to the finish.
Half-Marathon 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 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. The route has a total ascent of 555.58 ft and has a maximum elevation of 6,729.3 ft. 

Public Health Note: the requirements of a staggered start are such that runners will be passing one another on the course. Please make every effort to pass at a distance -- swing wide and pass from a few feet away. If you pass, please pull up your face covering -- if you are being passed, please pull up your face covering.

Start: The race will follow staggered start-protocols, beginning on the sidewalk in front at the IMAX parking lot. From here, you will 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. 

Racing Advice: there is plenty of room on the dirt portions of the course, so no need to go like crazy in the first half mile. Due to the staggered start, we ask that you please be mindful of vehicles and others sharing the roadways.

Miles 2-4 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. 

Racing Advice: Be mindful of your footing on this rocky section. -- recognize that a bunch of this stretch goes uphill and be patient.

Miles 4-8 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. 

Miles 9-11 This stretch winds through what is called the Coconino Wash, with pretty smooth footing and some especially nice forested views. 

Racing Advice: take advantage of the smoother footing and the gentle downhill portions on this stretch. 

Mile 11-12 This is mostly on the well-travelled dirt road #328. The road is open to the public, so please stay to the right-hand side. 

Racing Advice: there may be some "washboard" sections on this portion of the course, so be mindful of footing. But there is some significant downhill -- you should be able to make good time at this portion of the course. 

Last Mile 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. 

Racing Advice: 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 5k Route: The 5k will be an out and back, starting at the Finish Line and heading north on the multi-use path. At approximately 8/10 of a mile the 5k course will turn left (west) and head onto the dirt road. At 1.55 miles you will see the turnaround marker and the Water Station. The “out” portion rolls gently uphill, the “back” portion is a swift and smooth drop to the finish line.  

5K Racing Advice: Enjoy the rolling uphill and gentle turns for the first mile, manage your footing on the dirt-road out-and-back, and let 'er rip on the downhill last mile to the finish!
Who We Are
Tia and son Aric at the Grand Canyon in a May snowstorm, after checking out the Half-Marathon course
Randy and daughter Anabelle at the Grand Canyon in April.
Run Tucson is headed up by a husband-wife team located in Tucson, Arizona where we're raising a 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. With a lot of help from friends and fellow 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 and is currently running to stay in shape, with no big goal on the horizon.

For the past 9 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. 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, Greenlayer Sports, 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!
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.