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Mon, Nov. 29

Grand Canyon Half Marathon returns Nov. 6

Runners take off from the starting line during a previous Grand Canyon half marathon in Tusayan.  Photo/Cris Acosta

Runners take off from the starting line during a previous Grand Canyon half marathon in Tusayan. Photo/Cris Acosta

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The third annual Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon and 5K comes to Tusayan Nov. 6, complete with a pancake breakfast fundraiser that morning at 7 a.m. at the IMAX Theater to raise funds for the Tusayan Fire District.

The half-marathon is a joint partnership between the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and Run Tucson

“Run Tucson is a company down here in Tucson,” Randy Accetta said. “We spun out of a nonprofit running club about 10 years ago and so we’ve been putting on charity-based running races and coaching runners for about 20 some odd years in different formats and we were asked three years ago by the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce to take over a defunct race and help bring tourists to the area.”

Grand Canyon Half Marathon and 5K

Fri., Nov. 5, 5 p.m.- 7 p.m. Registration and packet pickup at IMAX Theater in Tusayan.

Sat., Nov. 6, 7 a.m. Tusayan Fire District Pancake Breakfast inside the IMAX. Adults $8 --children 12 and under $5

7 a.m. -9 a.m - race check-in and packet pickup at the IMAX Theater.

7:30 a.m. - Half-Marathon trickle start opens

9 a.m. - Half-marathon prize money and RRCA State Championship start, start line closes.

9:15 a.m. - 5k Fun Run Start

1 p.m. - Timing at the finish line closes.

The 13.1 mile course starts at the IMAX parking lot crosses onto Forest Service Road #2607 with the last mile taking place on the Arizona Trail. The course has an ascent of 556 feet and water is set up at mile markers 4, 8 and 11.5—meanwhile the 5K route will follow Route 328. Neither course enters Grand Canyon National Park; however racers are encouraged to enjoy their public lands afterwards.

According to Accetta, 540 people have signed up for this year’s event, but people can still sign up for the race up until the morning of. However, Run Tucson can’t promise more shirts and medals for participants until after the race because interest this year has outpaced the amount ordered.

The half-marathon has also been named the Road Runners Club of America Arizona State Half-Marathon Championship. In addition to prize money for top runners, there are state championship medals and recognition for open runners in different age categories, including those over 40, 50 and 60.

Additionally, this year’s event will have a “trickle start” which means runners can start the course anytime of their choosing between 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. However, all runners interested in competing for prize money are required to start at 9 a.m.

The trickle start is part of the event’s COVID-19 safety measures along with a request for social distancing and supplemental face coverings available for those who forget theirs, according to Accetta.

“When we had last year’s (race) we were so prepared and we are just basically following the same guidelines this year,” said Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce board member Stoney Ward. “We worked with the fire department and they help as far as dividing the area off because we have separate areas for runners to register.”

The Grand Canyon Food Pantry has also been designated the new beneficiary of the half-marathon. So far $700 has been raised for the pantry. One of the other goals for future years is to secure sponsorships for operations and beneficiary funding, especially considering that last year’s race operated at a $5,000 loss, according to Accetta.

“Our long term goal is to help (the food pantry) raise $30,000 for Canyon area employees and families who are in need,” he said. “So if we can get our outside visitors to help raise funds and give Tusayan outside visitors we’re doing something pretty cool.”

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