Hello to the folks who have registered for the November 5th Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and 5k. Please accept this note to say that we have your registration and we're making plans for a great weekend.

You and your early-registration companions will come to the Grand Canyon from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, South Dakota, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, and Quebec.

Below you'll find details on these topics:

  • Which souvenir design do you like?
  • Lodging and friend registration discount
  • Race weekend schedule
  • Race route overview
  • Training ideas
  • Who we are

Over the coming months we'll send race updates, travel advice, and other items that we hope will enhance your experience. Of course, if you have any questions, please feel free to send us a note and we'll try to get it taken care of! You can also check out our instagram page and our (barely-used) event Facebook page.

OK -- we'll see you in a few months,

Randy & Tia, and the Run Tucson crew

Randy Accetta, RRCA Certified Race Director and Director of Coaching Education
Tia Accetta, RRCA Certified Coach
Souvenirs: tell us which design you like
Every race participant will receive a long-sleeve technical shirt, produced in partnership with Leslie Jordan Designs, out of Portland, OR. And every race participant will receive a souvenir race coaster medallion, produced in partnership with Ashworth Awards, from the Boston, MA area.

Below are three t-shirt designs we're considering for this year's shirt and medal combination. Our goal is to celebrate the majesty of the Canyon while highlighting the forested course in the Kaibab National Forest, just south of the actual South Rim.

If you want to email me with your feedback on which design you like best, please send a note to randy@runtucson.net or comment on our event Facebook page here.
Lodging and Other Discounts
Hotel Discounts: We're still working on getting a list of discounts for all sorts of activities, but if you're looking to book a hotel room, the RED FEATHER LODGE will provide 15% off for race weekend bookings. Tusayan is a small town and the Red Feather is about 200 yards from the race staging area. For now they don't have this discount set up on their webpage, but you can call them at (928) 638-2414 to book rooms.

We'll let you know as we get more local discounts in place!

Friend Race Discount: If you recommend a friend who registers for the race, we'll give both you and your friend $10 off. How it works: Tell your friends (or even people you don't know) to sign up and use the code 2022friend -- this code will give them $10 off their price for either the 5k or the half marathon. Then tell us the name of the person who signed up, and we'll use the online registration platform to give you $10 back for every new registrant.
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 4, 2022
5-7 pm Packet Pickup and Last-Minute Registration at IMAX Theater, 450 AZ-64, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Saturday, November 5, 2022
7:30- 8:15 AM, Packet Pickup and Race Check-in at IMAX Theater
Ongoing: pancake breakfast with Tusayan Fire Department
7:30 AM: Half Marathon trickle start opens, with ongoing trickle start
9:00 AM: Half Marathon Prize Money Start, start line closes.
9:15 AM: 5k Start
Ongoing at finish area: snacks, beer garden, music, and more
12:00 PM: All half marathoners need to be through mile 10 by noon.*
1:00 PM: Timing at finish line closes, award ceremony
2:00 PM: Breakdown of event site begins. 
*Course closure times are tentative depending on weather and safety conditions.

A NOTE ABOUT 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. The prize money start is 9:00 am, so all athletes who want to be eligible for prize money must start at 9:00 am.

*Those of you who will take more than 3 hours, please consider starting as early as possible.

The 5k start will be a group start at 9:15, after the half-marathon starting line closes.
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 three 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 pretty close to 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. 

The 5k Route: The 5k has been 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.

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 a couple of points on the course.

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

It sounds like many of you are experienced runners, so you 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 -- perhaps consider a workout like this:

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

Do a basic 30 minute total effort: 1 minute at a quick and speedy pace followed by 1 minute at a slow jog pace. Do this 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.

If you can do this once a week for a few weeks in a row, you'll be able to shift gears on the race course. The terrain on the course lends itself to variable pace running, so this workout will prepare you to take advantage of what the course gives you.

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.
About Us
For those who don't know us, Run Tucson is a family-owned entity, producing charity-based events in Arizona, coaching runners in person and online, and managing other running-related activities. Even though we live in Southern Arizona, we're super-psyched about putting on this event in partnership with the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Tusayan.

The Grand Canyon Chamber reached out to us a few years ago to help create a fun event that would bring runners and walkers to the South Rim area. This will be the fourth year of the race -- and it's become a highlight of our family's event calendar. One reason we like the event is that it is pretty small, probably less than 500 runners this year.

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 11 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. By day, Randy is the co-chair of the New Venture Development Program at the University of Arizona's McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.

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!
Tia and son Aric at the Grand Canyon in a 2019 May snowstorm, after checking out the Half-Marathon course
Randy and daughter Anabelle at the Grand Canyon in April 2019.
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.