46th TMC Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler and 5k Walk/Run

Monday, September 7, 2015
Race Info
Course Info
Race Info

Registration for the 46th Annual TMC Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run is now open. The race is capped at 900 in the 8-miler and 400 in the 5k.

This scenic course and the post-race festivities truly embrace the spirit of the old Southwest, making the 46th Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run a regional favorite. Our rolling 8-mile and 5k courses loop through the rugged cactus forest in the foothills of the scenic Rincon Mountains at Saguaro National Park East. This event has been featured as a Runner’s World Race of the Month.  Prize money, gift certificates, age group awards, and nifty super-cool t-shirt -- plus bragging rights for doing all those hills . . . 

Produced by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners with help from more than 100 volunteers, the 2015 TMC Saguaro Labor Day will raise over $10,000 for local organizations, including Saguaro National Park, Friends of Saguaro National Park, and Child and Family Resources.  


Saguaro is the second race in the 2015 Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown (including June's TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run/Walk and October's TMC Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon and 5k). Please note, $10 from each Triple Crown entry will be donated to Gabe’s favorite non-profit, Child and Family Resources.  Additional Tucson-based organizations will receive a portion of the proceeds from the individual events. To donate directly to Child and Family Resources, click here.  To donate directly to the Gabe Zimmerman Memorial Fund established by Child and Family Resources, click here to go to their PayPal site.

2015 Event Weekend Schedule 

Saturday, September 5

10:00am - 2:00pm T-shirt and Packet Pickup at The Running Shop (3055 North Campbell)

YES: You can change your race distance -- simply tell the volunteers on hand.

YES: This will be crowded. Please be in a good mood and please be nice to the volunteers who are giving up their Saturday to help out.

YES: T-shirt sizing is first-come, first-served, so get there early to get your first choice! We do NOT guarantee that every runner will get the exact size that they want.  
YES: You can pick up the shirt and number of someone else, but please be respectful of the people in line and don't spend a year-and-a-half trying to figure out if the t-shirt is the perfect size.
Triple Crown: we will have a Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown tent on race day, where you can pick up your 2015 Run Tucson Triple Crown shirt.


Monday, September 7

Parking Details

PLEASE CAR POOL!  The National Park Service is creating a DROP Zone. You can drop off a car-load of runners in front of Saguaro East, then go park. Participants can park on Old Spanish Trail, Freeman Road, and Escalante.  Please obey traffic laws and don't park in driveways. Please be sure that you don't block the bicycle lanes -- keep your wheels to the outside of the road so that bike traffic is not impaired.  Please keep an eye out for bike riders and be sure to share the road.

The Arizona Rangers and the National Park Service will direct traffic and assist with parking as needed.  The Pima County Department of Transportation is monitoring the race to ensure that we are complying with safety and legal regulations.  Due to the popularity of this race, authorities are considering requiring us require shuttle buses instead of allowing street parking -- please be smart, kind, and thoughtful when coming to the race this year so that we do not have to do a shuttle in future years!

Remember, the later you arrive, the farther away from the starting line you will have to park.  Do not bring pets to the event - and do not leave them in your car!!    


5:15-6:00 AM 

Shirt and number pick-up at Saguaro Park East Maintenance Yard.  Go up the park road and turn right to the maintenance yard. There is no race day registration, only number/shirt pick-up.  

You can pick up your Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown shirt at the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown tent. 

6:00 am 

Visitor Center opens, with free giveaways, raffles, discounts, and air conditioning.


8-milers line up at front, by flagpole.  All 5k line up behind them.  In both races, please line up in order of your expected racing pace: 5-minutes/mile at the front; 6-minutes/mile behind them, then 7-minutes per mile, and so forth.A few words from the National Park Service, Ross Zimmerman and the Zimmerman family, and Julia Strange from TMC.  


8-miler start; 5k runners cheer


5k Run/Walk start; spectators cheer (note, all under-10 children need to have a waiver submitted - parents can do this at registration)

7:00 and ongoing

Post-race snacks are provided by Tucson Medical Center, with drinks by Muscle Milk, Eternal Spring Water, Culligan Water, ice by WaterMart. 

8:30 (approx) 

Children's Dash, presented by Craig Dabler Jewelers.  This is a free, playful 100 - 200 yard dash with no special awards.  No need to sign up ahead of time.  Waivers will need to be signed this year -- we'll handle that at the start of the Children's Dash.  Meet at starting line.

The National Park Service reserves the right to pick up any participants still on the course starting at 9:00 am.  

9:00 (approx) 
Begin Spirit of Rob Bell Award, Raffle Prizes, and Race Awards, courtesy of The Running Shop

The race starting area will be crowded, so please line up according to expected pace per mile, with 5-minute milers at the front of the line.

No dogs are allowed, so please don't bring the pooch!  For safety sake, strollers are OK in the 5k, but not the 8-miler.  Wheelchair athletes are welcome -- but please no bikes, roller blades or anything else with wheels. Headphones are discouraged - if you must wear them, please leave one ear free for safety.  Culligan has donated plenty of refreshing water, with aid stations at approximately 2, 4, 6, and 7 miles.  Thanks to Sahuaro High School for handling 2, 4, and 6, and the Tucson Tri-Girls for handling the 7-mile mark and the 5k turn-around.  St. Augustine High School Cross Country team will also be on the course, and we'll also have the Ham Radio Society of Tucson on course, plus a dedicated ambulance from Rural Metro at the finish line.  Muscle Milk and Eternal Spring Water will be available at the finish, as will snacks from TMC.  Thanks to Waste Management, we have more port-o-johns than ever before, including one around the 4 mile mark. Please do not use the desert to relieve yourself: the Park Service may fine you - and a snake may bite you!!

After the race, visit with The Running Shop, the National Park Service, Friends of Saguaro National Park, and other event partners. 

The Park Service will also have two areas to visit, so check them out - cool skulls, skins and other fun things. . . .

Questions?  Email or call Randy Accetta, SAR race director at  520-991-0733

Date and Time

Race Start: 6:30 a.m.

Race Awards

The Saguaro National Park 8-miler is the RRCA State 8-Mile Championship and part of SAR's 2015 Running Shop Desert Grand Prix. 

Thanks to the Running Shop for providing gift certificates (gc) -- we'll have more details in a bit.

PRIZE MONEY FOR COURSE RECORDS: $200 for first man and first woman who sets a new course record in the 8-mile.

Women's Course Record: Stephanie Wessel 47:44 (1990)  

Men's Course Record: Craig Curley 41:39 (2008) 

Additional Details

Special recognition
The Spirit of Rob Bell Award recognizing the Tucson-area runner most exhibiting Rob Bell’s enthusiasm for running will be awarded at the starting line before the race. Presented by Performance Footwear. Click here for more information on the Rob Bell Award, including nomination information.

Park along Old Spanish Trail & Freeman Road. Please don’t block driveways or bike paths. Carpooling is strongly recommended. The earlier you arrive, the shorter your warm-up jog!

Park Fee
The National Park Service has been gracious about allowing us access to the beautiful park. The Park Service asks that all participants pay the standard $5 entry fee to the park. This amount will go directly to the National Parks Service. If you buy an annual pass to the national parks (or are under 16 years of age), this fee will be waived if you provide your permit number on your entry form. For information on an annual park pass, see visit this page, or visit any national park and inquire at entry. Race entry fees also include labor cost of additional park rangers required for the event.

Race Hotels

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch Looking for a place to spend Sunday night? Award-winning guest ranch, Tanque Verde Ranch, is offering all Saguaro participants a discounted week-end, single-night, or all-inclusive package.  Contact LeighAnn at 520-731-5562.


In 2015, we're partnering with Cox Charities to provide funds to the great folks at Friends of Saguaro National Par through Cox Charities.  Friends of Saguaro will receive a portion of race proceeds to help continue their great work of ensuring a healthy and spectacular National Park.

Other beneficiaries include the cross country programs of Sahuaro High School, as well as the SAR Children's Fitness Fund.

This is the second race in the 2015 Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown (including the May 30 TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run/Walk and the October 25 TMC Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon Event, including the A-Mountain Half-Marathon, the Tucson Lifestyle 5k and the Cox Charities One-Mile).  Click here to register online for the 2015 Triple Crown.  Please note, $10 from each Triple Crown entry will be donated to Gabe’s favorite non-profit, Child and Family Resources.  Additional Tucson-based organizations will receive a portion of the proceeds from the individual events.

To donate directly to Child and Family Resources, <a href="http://www.childfamilyresources.org/" title="click here">click here</a>.  To donate directly to the Gabe Zimmerman Memorial Fund established by Child and Family Resources, click here to go to <a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=W6utGQ_zIe-FrjokQIAXpYROj7o4Qmk2CFQXv5wrk4Yb-vTL87MTyUp2bXK&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8d5863a909c4bb5aeebb52c6e1151bdaa9" title="their PayPal site">their PayPal site</a>.

Community Partners

Title Sponsor: Tucson Medical Center.  A special thanks to Tucson Medical Center for all their support of the Southern Arizona Roadrunners and the local health and fitness community.  Due to TMC’s financial contribution, we’re able to have technical shirts for participants and we’re able to donate more funds to SAR’s Children’s Fitness Fund and other beneficiaries of this race.  Thanks TMC!!  


Call Race Director Randy Accetta 520-991-0733 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Race Fees

8 Mile Race*  

All by July 1              $35_________ 
All after July 1           $40_________
All after September 1   $50_________ (if space available)

5k Run/Walk *  Children under 10 are free with no t-shirt
All by July 1      $30_________
All after July 1   $35_________

No refunds: Please note that following industry standard there are no race refunds or transfers. The race will take place rain or shine.


  • Register online with a credit card at active.com.
  • Saturday, September 5 10:00 am - 2:00 pm: Packet pick-up at The Running Shop (3055 North Campbell Avenue). Note, while we promise shirts to every registrant, we advise you to arrive early and ensure that you receive the size you want. We cannot guarantee the perfectly fitted shirt.
  • Race day packet pick-up will be available at the park entrance 5:15 am-6:00am. Please arrive early enough to get your shirt and your race number on time!
News Course Info

Race Distances and Courses

8 miler and 5k family walk and run at Saguaro National Park East at 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail Rd.  The course is a challenging 8 mile loop with lots of rolling hills (see course profile in photo to right). Aid stations at approximately 2, 4, 6, and 7 miles provide plenty of relief with Oasis/Culligan water.  Thanks to the Tri-Girls, Santa Rita High School, and Rincon High School for helping with the aid stations!

A family-friendly 5k, on an out-and-back flatter course is also available.  Strollers are allowed in the Fun Run/Walk only, but please, no bicycles, wheelchairs, skateboards, strollers, roller-skates, or pets allowed in the 8-miler. The 8M course closes at 9:00 a.m.

IMPORTANT: Saguaro is known for its hilly course and hot temperatures—please prepare accordingly: practice hills, acclimate to the heat, bring water, wear cool clothing, and adjust your pace to account for the demands of the race.

Women's Course Record: Stephanie Wessel 47:44 (1990)  

Men's Course Record: Craig Curley 41:39 (2008) 


Saguaro National Park East at 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail Rd.  Please note: The race is at Saguaro National Park EAST!

Race Weather

Race conditions at start are typically 75 degrees or higher, humid, clear skies, and no wind.It gets hotter later in the day . . . check out Tucson’s current conditions and forecast so you’ll be prepared!


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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