TMC Meet Me Downtown 5K Night Run/walk Serves As First Stop of Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown

May 28, 2014

by James J. Jefferies

Tucson, and the surrounding loveliness of the Sonoran Desert, is a global destination for nature-lovers and fitness addicts of every stripe. For a good nine months out of the year, it’s the perfect place for runners and outdoor types to enjoy our warm weather and chase their favorite pursuits. As for the other three months, well, that’s when the hardy native Tucsonans make it a point to wake up at 5am and attack their favorite routes.

The kids burst headlong into last year's children's run.

The kids burst headlong into last year’s children’s run.

On the eve of our season of soaring mercury, Tucson Medical Center is sponsoring the Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run/Walk, an event which will serve as the first leg of the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown, a three-race series which celebrates the life and passions of the aide to former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Gabe Zimmerman lost his life during the tragic events of January 8th, 2011, but his love for Southern Arizona and outdoor fitness activities lives on. Every year, $10 from each Triple Crown event entry goes towards one of Gabe’s favorite charities, Child and Family Resources.

“This really began as just a way to throw a party for Downtown Tucson,” said Randy Accetta, chief organizer of the Meet Me Downtown 5k. Nearly eight years later, the race, as well as the supporting array of businesses, restaurants, nonprofits, and merchants have really grown by leaps and bounds. It’s a success story that truly mirrors the environment it inhabits.

More than 3,000 participants are expected to meet Downtown for this exciting 8th Annual edition of Arizona’s largest local 5k, offering more than $4,000 in potential prizes to teams and individuals. Individual runners can win as much as $1,050 provided they crush existing records and their teams perform similarly.

Runners are coming in from all over the US and Mexico (from 22 different states), and from as far away as American Samoa and New York. This event also serves as a National Championship 5k event for the Road Runners Club of America! The main event, the 5k race, will begin at 7pm at 200 S. Sixth Avenue, with the starting line directly between Armory Park and Tucson Children’s Museum.

More than 3,000 participants are expected for this year's event!

More than 3,000 participants are expected for this year’s event!

And even if you’re not a running aficionado, there’s a lot to see and do for spectators in conjunction with the actual race, including a pre-race Wine and Cheese at The Running Shop (on Friday, May 30th), a Beer Garden, the Hotel Congress After-Party, the FitKidz Children’s Mile with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, and more! There’s an enormous spate of details available on registration for all the various events, and the window for individual race registration closes on May 30th.

If that wasn’t enough to draw you for a terrific night out, there’s also a load of post-race discounts available for participants at a number of Downtown establishments, such as Thunder Canyon Brewery, Proper, Hotel Congress, and Maynard’s. Bring your bib number and your appetite (which will no doubt be fired up from shredding the pavement). It’s also great to know that a large chunk of the entry fees will be going to a spate of Tucson charities, who last year received nearly $25K from this event.

It all promises to be an entertaining evening of athletic excellence, delightfully cold beer, and the kind of energetic hospitality Downtown Tucson is known for. The TMC Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run/Walk is sponsored by Tucson Medical Center, and organized by Run Tucson and the Southern Arizona Roadrunners. For more, check out the event page here.