Get Moving, Tucson Takes to Downtown’s Streets on Oct. 21

October 16, 2012

By Teya Vitu

Strap on your running shoes and get set for Get Moving, Tucson, that annual joyous runathon now in its 35th year.

Race day is Oct. 21, bright and early, with half-marathoners and 5K participants setting off at 7 a.m. The more leisurely 1-mile walk/run starts at a more leisurely 7:30 a.m.

Gathering time is 6 a.m.

The TMC A-Mountain Half-Marathon and Tucson Lifestyle 5K start on Court Avenue in front of the Historic Pima County Courthouse. The Cox Charities 1-Mile start is at Court and Pennington Street.

Get Moving, Tucson returns to Downtown for the sixth time at the behest of race director Randy Accetta.

“I moved it Downtown,” Accetta said. “I want to celebrate Downtown. I want to create opportunities for people to be part of Downtown. I want to create opportunities for businesses to showcase themselves.”

Accetta is also the mastermind, along with Jannie Cox, of Meet Me at Maynards, the Monday night weekly opportunity for people to be a walking part of Downtown. The average weekly turnout is 450.

Get Moving, Tucson, on the other hand, is the Southern Arizona Roadrunners second biggest event of the 20 runs they put on every year. About 1,500 to 2,000 people are expected. SAR’s biggest race is also a Downtown fixture: the Meet Me Downtown Night Run each June with 2,000 runners.

“The reason we come Downtown is I feel strongly, personally, that there needs to be a strong urban core,” Accetta said. “People now expect Downtown as the place to be. Before, they thought it was an oddity. Now it’s an expectation.”

The half-marathoners and 5K crowd will set off together, head over to Grande Avenue and Santa Cruz River Path to St. Mary’s and then return Downtown. The half-marathoners continue up A Mountain for the second year.

“This is the only urban half-marathon in Tucson,” Accetta said.

The 1-mile contingent will head west on Pennington Street, turn left on 6th Avenue, go through the underpass and come back.

“The Cox Charities 1 Mile is raising funds for Big Brothers, Big Sisters,” Accetta said. “We’re hoping to have a lot of Bigs and Littles out doing the 1-mile and 5K.”

Get Moving, Tucson is not all pounding the pavement.

“This is one of the most family friendly events we have,” Accetta said. “We have jumping castles and face painting at Jácome Plaza. I’m hoping Parks & Rec and the YMCA bring out activities.”

Entry fees are $75 for the half-marathon, $25 for the 5K and $20 for the 1-Mile.

“Logistically, it’s difficult and expensive to put on this race,” Accetta said. “I’m always recharting the course. Every year, I have to find a way to run people 13.1 miles Downtown because of the construction. The Tucson Police Department and City of Tucson and the entire civic events infrastructure are very helpful. They go out of their way to be helpful. The challenge is all the construction. Every year, it’s something small or something big.”

Get Moving, Tucson started 35 years ago as a Special Olympics Benefit at Sabino High School with no more than 400 people. Eight years ago, Cox wanted the run to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Carondelet Health Network and it got the Get Moving, Tucson name at that time. For the next two years, the run crossed town from St. Joseph’s Hospital to St. Mary’s Hospital but that proved to be logistically unpractical.