Saguaro Half Marathon
February 18, 2023
Run through the Sonoran desert on this beautiful trail outside of western Tucson. This course is a hybrid between road and trail, taking you through the secluded Tucson Mountain Park, just below the Saguaro NP West. You'll head down Kinney Rd before you hop on the Golden Gate Trail through lush desert landscape.
This year, you'll finish at Old Tucson Movie Studio where dozens of classic westerns were filmed.
Expo & Bib Pickup
Travel to Saguaro
From any direction, make your way to Interstate-10 and head towards Tucson. Once in the area, take 1-10 to South Tucson. Turn onto I-19 toward Hwy 86 and then turn onto Kinney Road.
Old Tucson itself will be closed to the public during the event, but we will use their parking lots and have the finish line within the movie set!
201 Kinney Road
Visit Tucson is a great resource to find lodging and dining in the area. We also have special rates and options below for our runners.
Additional Hotel Options
We've partnered with Booking.com to search for the best hotel options in the area. Click below to search!
Saguaro National Park
We realize that the races in this series are out of the way for most runners, and it may be the only time that you visit these breathtaking areas. One of our biggest desires is that you walk away from this event having fully experienced what the region has to offer.
While in the area we encourage you to continue the adventure and spend time in the parks!
Note: You are responsible for your safety if you attempt to participate in any of these activities. Always check the weather before starting a hike, and speak with a park or forest ranger for updated information regarding trail conditions, closures, and permits.
Join the Saguaro Explorer Club for inspiration on hikes and activities during your trip! We want you to have as broad or as deep of an experience of our National Parks and their surrounding areas as possible. We have created a scavenger hunt made up of all kinds of adventures and experiences you can have here at Saguaro.
The challenge consists of activities that fit into 6 categories: History, Hiking, Explore, Food/Dining, Education, and Stewardship.
Each activity is worth points towards a Saguaro Explorer badge, with more points earned for completing tougher activities. Whether you have an afternoon or a week at the park, you should be able to plan an amazing itinerary with these suggestions straight from the Vacation Races team.
Here's how to become an Explorer:
- Install the free Spark Challenges app
- Sign-up using the same email address you used to register for the race
- Join the Explorer Club challenge for your park and start completing activities
- Earn at least 1,500 points within 7-days of the race and you’ll earn a special in-app achievement. Use the VREXPLORERCLUB to win a free badge!
Run With Us at Saguaro
Run Saguaro Before It's in the Vault
This event didn't make the cut for our 2024 season and is heading to the vault. While the Saguaro Half might make a comeback down the road, we encourage interested runners to sign up for the 2023 event.
To give you more time to plan, we've extended the regular registration period through October 30th at 11:59pm MT.
Saguaro Half Marathon Bibs | $149
Join us as we race through cactus forests and right into a Western movie set!
This event is now in the late registration period.
Don't want to miss a price jump? Sign up for email updates be start line ready!
Get to Know Your Course
New 2023 Finish Line!
For the 2023 event, you'll reach the finish line THROUGH Old Tucson, right down Main Street where dozens of classic westerns were filmed! Can we get a Yee-haw?!
Course Map & Elevation
We have an updated course and movie set finish line in 2023!
Rough dirt trail and dry heat. Be sure to hydrate well!
We recommend training on dirt trails with uneven ground.
Aid Stations (Bring your own cup!)
All aid stations are cup-free so remember to bring your own hydration solution or request a FREE Nathan reusable cup when you register.
Expect about 4 aid stations on the course near mile 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 12 (Exact locations vary).A medic will be stationed typically at the aid station at or near mile 9. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more.
Cups are not provided on course to help reduce waste.
We plan to mark the course thoroughly. That being said, we recommend downloading the GPX file before the race so that you have offline map access on your device.
- Offline map data coming soon -
Terrain at Saguaro
You'll be on a wide paved road to start the course
This terrain will have packed dirt, loose rocks, and uneven ground. Pay special attention to avoid falls while on course!
Passing will be tricky while on trail. Please be mindful of others and let them know when you need to pass.
Cacti: Our Prickly Friends!
We're running through a cactus forest here, so stay cautious as you navigate the course. Give cholla cacti (pictured left) some extra distance, as their spines are difficult to remove.
Fundraise for your chosen race and your registration fee could be waived. All funds go to Wander Project to support efforts in and around the communities that host our events.
New this year, YOU choose whether the funds you raise support a WP community partner or an organization that matters to you!
Volunteer with Us!
Our amazing volunteers help runners at the race expo, finish line, merch tent, and beyond! Join us for a 3-4hr shift and earn a $50 or $100 credit towards a future race.
Pro-tip: Volunteer at the expo and run the next day OR ask a friend to volunteer and "gift" you the credit (or use it themselves!)
Saguaro Race Details
Come here for the nitty-gritty info of race weekend!
You have a couple of options for picking up your bib and race packets:
Option #1: Race Expo
Always the Friday before the race, the expo is your best option for on-site bib pickup.
Option #2: Race Morning (not recommended)
We will have limited race morning bib and packet pickup on race morning at the start line. Get there early!
Option #3: Shipped Before the Race ($30)
You can add a shipped bib to your registration until one month before the race by logging into RunSignup, clicking Manage Registration, and Add Ons.
Refunds: Once your package is shipped, you are officially checked in to the race and no longer qualify for our refund, deferment, or transfer options.
February 17, 2023
*Old Tucson is closed, but the race goes on! We'll meet in the parking lot for expo and race day.*
We encourage you to attend the race expo. This is your chance to see the area, pick up your bib packet, ask questions, and check out merchandise. We'll have a variety of swag from race shirts to our favorite Hydro Flasks and everything in-between. See you there!
All times listed are in MST
Check back closer to the race for a detailed race weekend schedule
Arrive early & get ready with us
We encourage runners to arrive early on race morning. Find a parking spot, grab some Summit Coffee or hot chocolate, and listen for updates from our race announcer (They're the one with the megaphone and early-bird energy)!
Lot opens: TBD
Please use AJO towards Kinney Rd. to avoid road closures. Do not use Gates Pass.
We will have plenty of parking to accommodate all of our runners! Parking for both spectators and runners will be located near the start/finish line at Old Tucson, AZ (201 Kinney Rd). Please follow signs for the entrance to the overflow lot.
Runners can be dropped off at Old Tucson in the event parking lot.
There will be signs marked for dropping-off runners. Please follow these directions, drop off your runner swiftly, and follow signs to exit the lot.
Road Closure (Saturday Morning)
On race morning, southbound traffic on Kinney Rd. towards Tucson will be closed past the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum by 5:45am.
Runners should arrive at Old Tucson via AJO to Northbound Kinney Rd to avoid this road closure.
All runners will depart back to Tucson via Gates Pass after the race.
We expect to welcome spectators at the Saguaro Half Marathon this year! Due to the prickly nature of the cactus forest, watching your runner along the course is not possible. We encourage you to wait at the finish line and use the RaceJoy app to keep track of your runner's progress (set up required before race start).
Some Spectator Etiquette:
- Only park in designated areas
- Please do not eat the runners' food or beverage
- Please remain outside of the runner recovery area (finish line) while waiting for your runner
- Give our runners your best cheers as they cross the finish line! They deserve it!
Please check back for more details as the race approaches.
As nature lovers, we are committed to keeping our events sustainable and managing negative impacts on the environment. Our goal is to send less than one bag of actual “trash” to the landfill after each event. We have managed to meet this goal at events with over 3,000 participants!
Here's how you can help us:
Single-use plastic is a huge source of waste at any public event. We have reduced that impact by making our events "cup-free".
What does that mean for you?
Coolers of Water and Gnarly Hydrate (electrolyte drink) are available at all aid stations, but cups will not be provided on course or at the finish line. In order to stay hydrated, we ask you to bring one of the following:
1. Reusable water bottle
2. Nathan reusable cup - These light-weight cups fold into a pocket or waistband. Request one when you sign up to run!
3. Hydration pack - These are refillable backpacks meant for running that allow you to access fluid via a built-in straw.
ZERO WASTE CONTAINERS
You can help us reduce trash by sorting disposable items into the appropriate container.
You’ll notice three containers at our events:
Please avoid putting organic waste and compostable items in the wrong bin. It gets gross to sort through.
Visit RunSignup for race results. Runner times are available ~20 minutes after you finish the race. Results are not official until all runners have crossed the finish line, and have been reviewed by the event director. Because our age group winners are based on chip time, it is possible to cross the finish line before someone else in your age group while still finishing with a slower time than them.
Course Record Holders
Our course record holders receive a FREE RACE ENTRY every year that their time remains the course record!
Male Overall: Darren Burr (1:24:45.64)
Female Overall: Amy Haas (1:36:52.65)
Male Masters: Adrian Herrera (1:33:07.99)
Female Masters: Caroline Sekaquaptewa (1:51:03.63)
Since we're updating the course, we'll announce all new record holders after the 2023 race.
Race photos are typically available via RunSignup the Friday following the week of the race. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album. Race photos are offered FREE to our runners!
Share your experiences with us!
Be sure to use #SaguaroHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!
Race merchandise is always available online following a race if supplies allow!
Still getting trail-ready for 2023? Join the email list.
We'll send you updates about registration opening, price jumps, and more to keep you on track!