Hello to the Run Tucson community!

To start 2023, we want to introduce you to Ross Zimmerman, a long-time Tucson runner and community leader.

Below, you'll find his Runner Profile Q&A. Below that you'll see a listing of this coming week's free BEYOND-Tucson health and wellness events, and then a calendar of upcoming regional events.

Ross helped found the Tucson Trail Runners, commonly known as TTR. With long-time friend Gene Joseph, Ross picked up from founder Ken Young and Bob Deeran's TTR efforts, and helped manage TTR for over 25 years.

Ross was a pretty talented runner back in the day, doing the Bear Canyon trail loop in under 2 hours, a very impressive achievement. In addition to other activities, he currently runs, hikes, bikes, and elliptigoes regularly.

Following the passing of his son, Gabe, Ross helped found BEYOND-Tucson, now a well-known non-profit devoted to improving the health and well-being of our community. Indeed, Ross has been instrumental in helping continue the Meet Me at Maynard's events, sponsored by TMC and hosted by BEYOND-Tucson. Thanks to Ross, Julia Strange at TMC , Michelle Crow, Daniela Diamonte and the crew at BEYOND, ours is a healthier community!

As you'll see below, Ross puts his PhD training to work in most everything he does, with diligent record-keeping and a meticulous accounting of the sources for his information. He is also a prolific writer, with an easily-accessible chronicle here: https://ross-zimmerman.medium.com/

Ross has been instrumental in our Run Tucson events. Not only did he help create the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown to honor his son, Gabe, but he also suggested Pima Community College as the site of the TMC Tucson 10k and put together the relationships that led to the TMC Earth Day 5k at the Biosphere 2.

As you can probably tell, we at Run Tucson admire Ross and the entire Zimmerman clan a great deal. We are delighted to introduce him in the below Q&A.

Randy and Tia Accetta
Runner Profile: Ross Zimmerman
Name: Ross Zimmerman

Age: I became 70 recently. I decided to start running more.

Profession -- what have you done and do you do for a living?
I studied termites for my Ph.D. in Entomology. I consider myself mostly an evolutionary biologist. However, I pursued a 33 year career in computing, most notably 17 years (2000-2017) as the senior network designer for Pima Community College. Now I’m a Designated Campus Colleague in the UA College of Education and the Dept. of Entomology. I’m helping known entomologists with computer stuff, like redoing the Insect Collection website using Drupal (https://uaic.arizona.edu/).

Two truths and a lie
I started running marathons and further in 1978.
I’m not biomechanically suited to running.
I completed the Death Ride on 6 occasions (https://deathride.com/)

When and why did you start running?
I ran with my dad and a grad student in middle school, then didn’t do it again until I was in grad school at Indiana University. I started running to lose a little weight on an indoor track, 10 laps to the mile. My first wife’s mom gave me Jim Fixx’s The Complete Book of Running for Christmas 1977 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Fixx). I realized you didn’t have to be an olympic athlete to run marathons, so I decided to train for one, the Marathon Marathon in Terre Haute IN. It didn’t go well. My second marathon was the Fiesta Bowl Marathon in 1979, 2:36:40, still my PR. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve run the marathon distance or further since. I now know that Jim Fixx’s premature demise due to heart disease at age 52 could probably have been prevented if he had known how to eat properly. You can’t outrun a bad diet (https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/15/967.long).

SIDE NOTE FROM RANDY: It was interesting to read this because Jim Fixx's book was the first book about running that I ever read -- and in college, Jim's son John was my teammate and cross country captain. John has been a life-long friend . . .

What is one of your favorite Tucson-area running locations?
There are a number of trails I like. Since we live in the NE part of the basin and our time to drive is limited, we tend to do trails nearby. One we’ve done a lot in the past year is Camino Loma Alta trail. I’ve used feet and bikes.

How about around the world -- anyplace super-special to you?
My wife Pam Golden and I have been going to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley for years. We did Double Crossings at the Grand Canyon twice (I’ve done 10 total.). We’ve done marathons and century bike rides at Death Valley. In 1997, I told aid station staff at the 18 mile mark of the EnviroSports DV Titus Canyon Marathon to tell Pam if she caught me I would marry her. Now that I can’t run properly, we go to DV where we can start at the bottom (https://medium.com/@ross-zimmerman/the-racetrack-4355790d31d9). Gabe and I ran across the Grand Canyon together on 2 occasions (Well, he actually left me behind…). He was a good all around athlete who tended to do whatever activity his friends and family wanted to try.

What is your favorite Tucson-area race and why?
These days there is the not one single race, but rather the Gabe Z Triple Crown. I never had a favorite road race, although the best one is probably Saguaro Loop.

What is one of your favorite workouts and why?
I don’t have a favorite. On most weekdays, I do 40 minutes or so of exercises, stretches, and weights then do a short run (or bike ride in warmer months) in the neighborhood. On Sundays we go out for 2-3 hours on various routes in our part of town.

What is your least favorite workout and why?
I started doing the exercises and stretches for my back, which prevents me from running properly. It helps, albeit not enough. I started the weights because [grandson] Colin is getting bigger and I’m getting older. I would just run if I could...

What groups, if any, do you run with? How can people contact them?
I don’t anymore. I was the co-administrator, with Gene Joseph, of the Tucson Trail Runners for about 28 years (https://www.ttraz.net/about-ttr/40-years-on-foot). I handed that off to Mike Duer and his lieutenants John Mollenhour, Angela Greynolds Woodall, and Stephen Woodall in 2018. They’ve done a great job, improving on our work. TTR is on Facebook.

Tell us about a run, a race, or a training cycle that did not go well. Did you learn anything from that experience?
There were several, but perhaps the most memorial was the Grand Canyon Double Crossing (42 miles on South and North Kaibab Trails) in the 1980s in which I misjudged the heat in early October, became dehydrated, and couldn’t make the second climb out on South Kaibab. I was lying down ever few hundred yards. I trotted back down to Phantom Ranch and was lucky a couple offered me a bunk in their cabin. I spent the evening trying to get my stomach to cooperate so I could rehydrate. I hiked out the following morning.

What is your favorite race distance? Do you have any advice on how to train for that type of race?
I can’t race these days. When I could, I preferred trails. My best distance was probably in the range of the distance of Bear Canyon Loop, i.e. 15-20 miles (https://youtu.be/IO6sJnHORnw). 

Learning how to race on trails for shorter distances like Bear revolves around practicing where to put your feet and not falling down. My first Bear took over 3 hours. Second one ~2:45 with a friend who knew where to put his feet. I thought to myself “this is fun, but I’m not going to be good at it.” The next time we did it in 2:18, then on race day when Ken Young was directing the trail runs as races (https://www.ttraz.net/about-ttr/the-origin), I ran a 1:59.

Advice for trail running
We have more trails around the Tucson Basin than any other metropolitan area in the U.S. They’re all distances and difficulties (https://www.beyond-tucson.org/programs/hiking-program). Get out and try them. TTR is always happy to welcome new folks.

Advice for how to use running to be happily married
Pam (Golden) and I met through running. We like getting out and about together. We used to be fairly evenly matched, but have adjusted as we’ve aged. She still runs well for her age. (Randy note: umm, actually, Pam crushes it, regularly winning age groups in races, including winning the Whiskey Row Marathon four times overall!)

Advice for running as we get older
Not really. I’m a poor role model, since my biomechanical faults caused by an infant operation curtailed my running career. My physical therapist Corrine has commented (more than once…) that she’s surprised I kept running OK into my 40s. I guess adjust to reality as your body changes. I started bikes in 2003, which spared my back, helped my knees, and allowed me to do advanced endurance efforts in my 50s. Gabe’s death in 2011 affected my activities quite a bit. Alternating bikes and feet has been helpful. As I mentioned above, I’ve started running more since turning 70 recently, even if it’s very slow, as long as my back cooperates. We’ll see if I get back on bikes come spring. I shifted to a low carb diet in 2012, which has helped with a lot of things (https://medium.com/@ross-zimmerman/keto-the-first-seven-years-c0fed1799f10). Mike Duer can comment on the running performance benefits of low carb.

Self-Promotion: is there something cool we should know about you?
Some of you may have read the book Born to Run. The book described the Tarahumara runners' exploits in the 1994 Leadville 100, but said nothing regarding the 1993 edition, the first year a Tarahumara runner won. Rick Fisher asked us if the runners he brought up from Mexico could use the 1992-1993 TTR run series to train for American ultras. Gene and I said sure. I ended up pacing one runner, Antonio, in Leadville 1993 (http://www.nutritionequation.org/sources/born-to-run/).

The truth about your two truths and a lie
I attempted the Death Ride 6 times. I finished all 5 passes twice. The other 4 times I was a 4 pass failure; however, Pam completed all 5 passes 3 times.
Ross leading the Brave Bull Run in 1978 or 1979, photo by Emily Nottingham
Ross saying some words at the morning edition of the TMC Meet Me Downtown Night Run two years ago
Ross and Pam at the Gabe Zimmerman Trail Head
This Week's BEYOND Events
As regular readers know, we at Run Tucson have a warm place in our heart for the local non-profit, BEYOND-Tucson.

This weekend begins a series of free BEYOND-Tucson events to engage a range of ages and audiences in health and wellness events throughout our region, including these:
Saturday, January 7th
Sunday, January 8th
Monday, January 9th
Wednesday, January 11th
Saturday, January 14th

TMC Old Tucson Trail Run

DATE: TBD - but now perhaps in February 2023
We're trying to bring back the popular TMC Sunrise at Old Tucson 4-Mile and 1-Mile Trail Run.

We've proposed a series of dates to new management and they're considering a February date. We keep saying this, but we'll let you know more when we know more . . .

Details TBD
TMC Earth Day 5k Run/Walk at the Biosphere 2

Saturday Morning, April 22
We're comin' back to the Biosphere 2 for the TMC Earth Day 5k!

We had so much fun up in Oracle that we're heading back to the northern foothills of the Catalina Mountains to celebrate Earth Day, 2023.

Souvenir shirt, souvenir medal, free entry into the world-famous Biosphere 2, and more festivities for the whole family.

This will be our only event at the Biosphere 2 in 2023.

TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run + Festival of Miles

Saturday Night, May 27, 2023
Make plans for Memorial Day Weekend and the 17th Annual TMC Night Run/Walk and Festival of Miles

Staged at Armory Park and the Children's Museum in the heart of Downtown Tucson.

Adults will like the beer garden, live music, Cirque Roots, food truck roundup, and after-party at Hotel Congress.

Families will like the free entry to the SAR FitKidz Mile, the free High School Mile, the free entry to the Children's Museum, jumping castles, roving magician, and more!

Speedsters will like the prize money, age group awards, and RRCA West Regional Championships awards.

Festival of Miles includes the Open Mile, Free High School Mile, and Free SAR FitKidz Mile

This will be the first-race of the three-race Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown, raising funds for the BEYOND-Tucson Foundation. Additional Beneficiaries include the Children's Museum, Educational Enrichment Foundation, Greater Tucson Leadership, and Cox Charities.

The TMC 5k is part of the SAR's 2023 Running Shop Grand Prix.

Team discount of $5 off once five members join the team.

2023 Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown, presented by TMC
We continue to be grateful for the support of Ross Zimmerman, Emily Nottingham, and the entire Zimmerman family, allowing us to celebrate Gabe through these events.

Register for the Gabe Zimmerman Triple C and receive a special "Run Tucson" souvenir shirt, unique Gabe Z souvenir medal, and entry into three popular events:
  • May 27th TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Run/Walk
  • September 10th TMC Tucson 10k, 5k Run/Walk
  • October 22nd TMC A-Mountain Half-Marathon and 4-Mile

Thanks to TMC, $10 of every Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown registration goes to BEYOND-Tucson, one of Tucson's leading public health advocates.

Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler and 5k

Monday morning, September 4, 2023
52nd Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run

One of the only courses in the nation allowed on actual National Park land, the beautiful course rolls up and down the 8-mile paved road amid the lush Cactus Forest at the base of the Rincon Mountains.

Souvenir shirt to all registrants, plus entry into the Saguaro National Park. We at Run Tucson are proud to be the race directors for this Southern Arizona Roadrunners event.

TMC Tucson 10k and companion 5k

Sunday morning, September 10, 2023
Tucson's only fall 10k is back with a new date, now September 10, 2023!

We'll be back for the 5th annual event, on the same beautiful course among the rolling hills of the Painted Desert in the foothills of the Tucson Mountains.

All participants will receive a race shirt and souvenir medal.

This is the 2nd leg of the 2023 Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown.

TMC A-Mountain Half Marathon, 4-Miler, and Cox Family Mile

Sunday morning, October 22, 2023
We're coming back to the A!

We're working on staging the TMC A-Mountain Half-Marathon at the Mercado Annex, tucked at the base of Sentinel Peak, with a route that includes scenic A-Mountain and the speedy Santa Cruz Riverpath.

We may introduce the TMC A-Mountain 4-Miler, as well as continue with our COX Charities and SAR FitKidz Mile.

The 3rd leg of the GabeZ Triple Crown will have goodies for all race registrants: souvenir coaster medal, cool race shirt, post-race fun, and more!

The TMC Half-Marathon is part of the SAR's 2023 Running Shop Grand Prix.

Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and 5k Run/Walk

Saturday morning, November 4, 2023
5th Annual Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon Run and 5k Run/Walk

Run or walk a half-marathon or 5k in the beautiful and rugged Kaibab National Forest, just south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Souvenir race medal, colorful long sleeve shirt, race goodies, and more to commemorate your iconic journey through the trails near the South Rim.

Visitor discounts for hotels, food, and activities.

Thanks to TMC for everything it does for Southern Arizona - visit TMCNow for health care from your home

Every Monday: Meet Me at Maynard's, Hotel Congress/Maynard's Kitchen
Every Wednesday: Meet Me Wednesday's, St. Phillip's Plaza
See beyond-tucson.org for additional details.

Every Saturday: Parkrun Himmel Park

Interested in building or maintaining local trails? Think about joining or supporting the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists -- see them here.

For a detailed list of social and recreational road and mountain bike rides in the Tucson community, see Damion Alexander's list at https://bikepilgrim.com/. To subscribe to the email list, email damion@damionalexander.com and put "ride list" in the subject heading.

We've updated our runtucson.net page and the all the registration pages, but if we missed anything, please let us know!

Cheers all,

Randy and Tia Accetta
How Do I Get Off This List? You can hit the "unsubscribe" button below or you can email us at randy@runtucson.net.
Who Sends These? Run Tucson (www.RunTucson.net) is a local event production company for running/walking events in Southern Arizona. 

To promote our mission of making Tucson better through running, Run Tucson advocates for health & fitness, enhancing community engagement, and promoting the local economy. 

In addition, we make significant contributions to worthy charities, providing over $300,000 to local organizations over the years.

Our partners include the non-profit Southern Arizona Roadrunners, plus Tucson Medical Center and a host of local sponsors.

Why Am I on This List? You've participated in one of the events we've produced, either one of our charity running events in Arizona, or as part of Meet Me at Maynard's, Meet Me Wednesday's, Meet Me Downtown PHX.
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.
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We are grateful for our 25+ year friendship with SAR, one of the best running clubs in the nation.

Check out the great community programs offered by our local running club, the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.