Updated TMC Half-Marathon Route Descriptions, with photos, maps, and storytelling

Randy Accetta October 26, 2017

Randy here, with another note about the race courses this weekend.  

At the risk of giving too much information, I want to share with you that I’ve had a hard time sleeping the past couple of nights.  Race week is often stressful for us, but this week has been especially hard – last night I tossed and turned all night worried about the course.  So I thought I’d write up another race route description.  As usual, it’s long – but I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to understand the various aspects of the route so that you don’t get lost and you know what you’re getting into!  Way below is the staging area map plus two full course maps, including the official USATF certification maps to give a sense of exact mile markers.

Advice on running the 2017 TMC Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon

Miles 1-3 Because we had to remove A-Mountain this year, we have had to re-measure the course for USATF certification (thanks to Lucas Tyler and Michelle Hawk for putting that together!!).  Thus, we were able got rid of the opening lap around the Downtown library and have an easier Half-Marathon start. 

This year, you’ll start at the SAR inflatable arch that marks the start/finish line, facing south on the crosswalk between the Downtown Library and the Old Courthouse.  At the start, you will take a quick left and head east on Pennington to Sixth Avenue, turn left and cross to the east side of Sixth Avenue.

You get a quick downhill drop under the rail tracks via the Sixth Avenue Underpass. Thanks to the combined efforts of XO Coffee and the Tucson Symphony, you should be motivated by some cool Halloween-themed classical music just past the rail underpass.

Take Sixth Avenue north all the way up to Second Street, turn right on Second Street and head towards the University of Arizona for a half-mile or so, then turn left on First Avenue and left again on First Street.  

This section should be fun – plenty of folks to run with, an easy uphill through the first mile, then mostly flat for a mile, then a very nice downhill all the way through the Sixth Avenue Underpass.  

Miles 2.9 or so You will cruise through the Pennington canyon, then turn onto Church.  You will stay on the outside lane as you turn from Pennington and you will cross the start/finish line mat underneath the SAR arch, heading north on Church. Our timer will include this split for you in your results.

Miles 2.9 - 3.9 From the start/finish at the Court House/Jacome Plaza, you’ll go north on Church to Sixth Street, then turn left on Sixth.  This stretch to I-10 is all a gentle downhill down towards the Santa Cruz.  Take advantage of this slight drop.  After you go under I-10 and as you approach the Santa Cruz River, you’ll want to hop onto the sidewalk that crosses the river so that you can easily take the left turn onto the Riverpath.  Again, in terms of racing, you may want to be patient on this stretch.

Miles 4-8 Once you turn south onto the Riverpath, you will head south for a bit more than 4 miles to the turn-around.  Please stay on the RIGHT SIDE of the path the whole way down.

NOTE #1:  THE LOOP The Riverpath is technically open to others – we’ve been posting signs and other social media notes to indicate that we’re running the race, but you may see walkers and others on the path.  Please stay to the RIGHT as you head south and please stay to the RIGHT as you head north after the turnaround!

NOTE #2: BATHROOMS We cannot put vehicles on the route, so we will rely on the public restroom at the River Park/Cottonwood park near mile 7 and 9.  This is about 30 yards off the course.  We will have a water stop and the Widow’s Hill Band at this location, so it’ll be easy to hop off the course and use the toilet if you need to.

NOTE #3: MUSIC  We’ve set up three bands for you on the Riverpath.

Southern Comfort Band will be with the water station near the 4 and 12 mile mark

Michael P will be near the 6 & 8 mile marks

Widow's Hill will be near the water station and bathrooms at the 7 and 9 mile marks

Thanks to the bands for waking up so early to play for you – and to Linda Whelan for coordinating this part of the race!

NOTE #4: Water Stops The Pima Community College Cross Country team is providing support at two water stops on the route.  Each stop should be in the middle of the Riverpath, so that you can get water on the way out and the way back.  One water stop is at about 4.5 and 11.5 miles; the other water stop is at about 7 and 9, near the bathrooms at the River Park/Cottonwood park.  Both Water Stops will have bands playing music, so these should be rockin’ spaces for you.

The 4+ mile section out-and-back on the Riverpath is kind of cool – it is mostly flat, but there are a number of dips that will break up the monotony.   You will dip down and up at Congress, at the Cushing street bridge, at the 5 and 11 mile mark, as you go under Starr Pass and Silverlake, as you go through a mesquite forest just north of Ajo, then again at Ajo.  Thus, I could about 7 slight dips and rises heading south and 7 again heading north.  Personally, I love this sort of thing when racing – a bit of change for my muscles and my mind.

Tia has done some workouts on this path lately, while I’ve ridden my bike (nursing a disaster of a knee injury – arrgh!!).  Here are some mediocre photos to give you a sense of the route.

Mile 8 or so and Turn-Around Once you go under the Ajo Overpass, you will come to the turn-around.  It will be marked by a big ol’ red inflatable arch, provided by Greg Wenneborg’s timing company, Roadrunner Timing.  Go through the arch and turnaround at the cones.  This will ensure that you step on the timing mat both times as you do the turn-around.  If you do not receive these timing splits, you will be disqualified from the race results, so be sure to do the turn around.

Turn-Around to Mile 12+ From the turn-around, you’ll head north on the bike path all the way until St. Mary’s again. Again, stay on the right side of the bike path the whole way. You should be feeling good along the River Path, so this is a nice place to step up the pace a bit.  There are some shady stretches and you’re getting closer to home on this primarily flat stretch.


Mile 12 - 13.1 Exiting the bike path onto St. Mary’s is a bit tricky. As you come up the hill off the bike path approaching St. Mary’s, you can either hug the pathway to the right and stay on the narrow sidewalk heading east across the Santa Cruz or you can jump down from the curb to the main roadway. If I were racing it, I would probably hop the curb, but it’s a bit high, perhaps as many as 10”, so be careful here.  As you head under the I-10, you’re about 2/3 of mile from the finish line, so it’s time to put the pedal to the metal!!  You finish with a long straight-away up Church Street.  Save some for the final kick!


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