47th Annual TMC Saguaro: Women’s Course Record and Total Attendance Record!

Randy Accetta September 5, 2016

Thanks to all who came out to the 47th Annual TMC Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run.  A number of records were set, so let's start this recap with the press announcement we've sent out:

26-Year-Old Course Record Smashed at 47th Annual Saguaro Labor Day Run 

Tucson newcomer Katie James won Monday's TMC Saguaro Labor Day 8-Mile race in 46:39, smashing the previous course record by over a minute.  Taking the lead in the first steps and outrunning the previous two winners, the 25-year-old James ran her first four miles in 23:12 and closed the second half of the race in a similar 23:27, for an average pace of 5 minutes and 50 seconds per mile over the extremely hilly Saguaro National Park East 8-mile road.  Running comfortably, James broke the course record of 47:44 set by Stephanie Wessel 26 years ago in 1990.

Second place in the women's race went to 2014 champion Autumn Ray, in 50:39, while Amy Cole, the 2015 and 2013 winner, took third place in 51:32.

Andrew Lemoncello, won the men's race in a blistering 42:04, a mere 25 seconds off the course record set by former Pima Community College standout Craig Curley.  A former British Olympian now living in Flagstaff, the 33-year-old Lemoncello easily outdistanced the field, beating second place finisher Robert Scribner's 44:39 by over two minutes.  Third place went to last year's runner-up, Kurt Michels in 45:06.   

Over 1,500 runners, the most in the 47-year history of the race, signed up to run Tucson's oldest running race.  The event raised funds for the Friends of Saguaro National Park, Cox Charities, Child and Family Resources, and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners.


Thanks for the photos Kerry Whelan, aka Goatographer!! 

And yes, you read that correctly: over 1500 folks registered for the race, making this the largest field ever (yup, we were allowed to go over our initial limit by the Park Service).  This explains why we ran out of t-shirts -- we'll send a note with details on the next steps for both the race shirts and the Triple Crown materials.  We hope you all enjoyed receiving the finisher medals!  Thanks to Sharon Bart and the Running Shop for all the great awards, including those nifty age-group socks!!!  If you won an age-group award, please go to the Running Shop to pick it up!  Congratulations to Merry Dearmon and Kevin Tuck for winning the BEAT YOUR AGE awards in the 8-miler!!  Congratulations, too, to Yvonne Valenzuela for displaying the heart of champion!! 

The TMC Saguaro 5k winners were Chris Harrod in 20:11 and Sharon Snyder in 22:30.  Nicely done!


Special thanks to the SAR Board for all the help with the race, led by announcer extraordinaire Tim Bentley and Steve Outridge, Diane Manzini, Dari Duvall, Steve Felder, Sheryl Felde, Lucas Tyler, Gary Giese, and Don Branaman.  Of course, the National Park Service did a great job of making sure we were all safe, as did the fine crew from Rural Metro!

Special thanks to Ross Zimmerman and Emily Nottingham for allowing us the privilege of making this race the second leg of the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown!

Now, in case you're new to Tucson running, the timer for this and many other races is 8-time Saguaro 8-mile winner (and 3-time Olympic Trials marathoner) Greg Wenneborg, one of the best runners in the history of Tucson (see Greg Hanson's DailyStar column from a few years ago).

Special thanks to St. Augustine High School coach Tim Bentley and the students & parents for volunteering to hand out medals at the finish line and manage the water station at the finish line.  Thanks, too, to the cross country team from Sahuaro HS for managing the Mile 2 and Mile 4 water stops; to the group from Vision Quest for handling water stop at Mile 6; and to the great women from the Tucson Tri-Girls who did double-duty at the water stop at the 5k Mile 1 and 2 and the Mile 7 of the 8-miler -- that is a lot of water to hand out!!

Special thanks to Mulcogi Seng and Michelle Hawk for helping with the Triple Crown tent above and beyond the call of duty! 

Thanks to Sheryl Felde for coordinating the volunteers for Saguaro.  Here is the list she sent us of all the volunteers at registration and elsewhere:
Steve and Sheryl
Cindy Schnell
Marti Ackermann
Steve  and Sarah Sheldon
Judie and Ed Shyman
Noemi and Craig Mills
Craig Dabler
Maureen Cunningham
Connie Lopez
Shirley Hester 
Gary Giese
Gary Parcher
Pam Hoyt
LInda Pitney
Mulcogi Seng
Joe Faulk
Austin Grover
Linda Amperano
Don Branaman
Michelle Hawk
Diane Manzini
Steve Outridge
Lucas Tyler
Tucson Trigirls
Saguaro High School
Gisella Bonilla 
I'm sure there were more.

I owe a special thanks, too, to Tia Accetta for all of her race day duties.  As three-time winner of the 8-miler, it's tough for her to not be out there racing -- but I am certainly grateful for all of her work on the race!! 

Questions about the race?  Things you want us to do better?  Contact me at randy@runtucson.net

Thanks all! 

Randy Accetta

The Southern Arizona Roadrunners is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting health and fitness in Tucson and Southern Arizona through running and walking.

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