Well, that was close—as I write this Sunday afternoon, rain is lashing my windows and the tree overhead is threatening to blow onto our roof, but this morning dawned clear and bright out at Old Tucson, with a sparkling, if windy, Sunrise for almost 600 runners, walkers, and lil’ cowboys and cowgirls.
Check out the race site for a new batch of race day photos, courtesy of Cox Sports Photos – see http://www.coxsportsphotos.com over the coming days as Jim Cox uploads hundreds of race photos. Thanks to Mike Salkowski and Finn for the great Facebook photos!
The race started by the Palace Saloon on Old Tucson’s Main Street, with a hundred yards of fast downhill, followed by a quick left past the rodeo grounds, then an inner loop of town before hitting the horse trails. This year saw a huge increase in family walkers, and they scooted past the rodeo grounds just in time as the fast boys cruised down the hill after their second loop, with Catlow Shipek, James Miles, and Ian Johnson leading the way into the trails and back to the finish line.
Competing for the Running Shop/Workout Group Racing Club, Catlow announced a return to competitive racing with his overall victory, while the Running Shop’s James Miles got even with Fleet Feet Racing Team’s Ian Johnson for Ian’s recent YMCA victory.
For the women, the Workout Group’s Tia Accetta jumped out to an early lead over xterra athlete Katharina Beeler as they headed into the trails, and held on for her third straight SAR victory. Ms. Beeler held off a hard-charging Team Tri-Sport Kara Middendorf, as the two triathletes raced to second and third respectively.
For the over-40 crowd, Doug Kelley proved that he is over his broken leg of a few years ago with a decisive master’s victory, and Pam Schlottman cruised to an easy victory for the women.
Of course, not all was roses, as an email from one participant indicates: “I super enjoyed the run this weekend, despite the cactus in my nose from it (don’t ask, let’s just chalk it up to allergies).”
Some notable finishers include Matthew Zhine and Sully Sullivan, who waged a spirited duel, as both 86-year-olds duked it out over the trails, with Sully winning by a mere 12 seconds. And 77-year old Delwin Kruschke was a few yards behind the two front-runners, proving that we all have great things to look forward to! Age group awards in the four-miler can be picked up at the Running Shop at 3055 North Campbell through the end of March, 2010.
The 4-miler also included Luis Carrion, the KUAT Arizona Illustrated journalist who has done so many great pieces on running lately, including the recent piece on barefoot running (interestingly, we didn’t see a lot of bare feet out there today . . . ). Also on hand was the self-styled “Mexican Lone Ranger” (see photo on the main race webpage) who took 24th overall then hammed it up with the Old Tucson gunslingers during the awards ceremony.
The Sunrise at Old Tucson One Mile World Championship was a close affair, with Jacob Mares, Ren Johnson, Chase Schnell, Shannon Grabeau, and Jordan Chavez and brother Alex Chavez taking the top places.
As race director, I am once again humbled by the great community of runners we have here in Tucson. I was grateful to see the names of so many friends and acquaintances on the registration forms – and especially grateful to see so many names that I don’t recognize. . . . thank you for being willing to spend the day with the Southern Arizona Roadrunners!
We can’t do runs like this without great sponsor help. Marie Demarais and all the folks at Old Tucson have been super helpful, as have our media sponsors The Arizona Daily Star’s Caliente section, Clear Channel and 92.9 The Mountain, and Cox Communications. Thanks to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the International Wildlife Museum for providing the free admission passes, and thanks to Kara Middendorf for the use of the Tile Outlet truck! Tucson old-timers know that this race is an outgrowth of the fabulous Sundown at the Pass, produced by Sharon Bart and The Running Shop. The race director wishes to thank Sharon for letting us use her artwork and concept, and Kim Bourn who was Sundown race director in the early 2000’s.
A special thanks to race beneficiary the John Wayne Cancer Center – they provided a slew of great Team Duke technical t-shirts that were used as raffle prizes and bunches of Team Duke sunscreen. You can’t go wrong by sending some donation dollars to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation or joining Team Duke to race on their behalf.
Because of our participants and with the help of Tucson Medical Center, we will provide funds to the John Wayne Cancer Center and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners. Our bib numbers came from South Carolina and blank t-shirts from Phoenix, but everything else is spent here in town, from Excel Printing to Kola’s t-shirt printing to Old Tucson catering to the local folks who run poster-distribution routes. As we attract additional participants and sponsors, we look forward to growing our fundraising capabilities, too.
Of course, races like this cannot be done with gracious volunteers: Steve & Sheryl Felde, Jennifer Hardy, and Amelie Messingham volunteered at packet pick up on both Saturday and Sunday, while Sandy White, Marc Janis, Connie Lopez, Olga Kuhn, Don Branaman, and Christina Dye helped at registration. Mike Salkowski & his son, Finn, plus the whole Plassman family got roped into various duties throughout race day, too (particularly impressive as JoeP had run the Old Pueblo 50-miler the day before!)
Thanks to the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity for providing about 20 college students to help – they treated the runners like a cattle drive, keeping everyone moving in the right direction! Speaking of the right direction, over the past few months, Toby Freebourn, Lucas Tyler, and Jason Colavito got dragged out to Old Tucson to run possible variations of the course with the race director, while the night before the race Gina Nelson, John Sabatine, Steve Outridge and his 10-year-old daughter, Christina, made sure that the course was well marked for race morning. Doug Kelly, Lucas Tyler, and Mary Lasser ran the course after the race to pick up all the flagging. Thanks to Greg Wenneborg and his Pima Community College crew of Craig Curley and Joe Cuffari who coordinated the timing.
A final thanks to our new sponsor, Tucson Medical Center. TMC has provided a major boost to this race and June’s TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run, and I’m super excited about working with them to promote health and wellness throughout our region. TMC has some great ideas about how to fix up the Valentine’s Day run, so it promises to be an exciting year coming up. As race director, I should also thank my real job at the UA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship for all their support to work on this and the other races.
Changes are afoot for next year: it looks like 600 runners is all the course can handle, so perhaps next year we’ll have a few different heats: a men’s race, a women’s race, and a one-mile. Suggestions are always welcome.
On behalf of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, thank you for being part of Sunrise at Old Tucson!
—Randy Accetta, Race Director