Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler/5k

Mon September 2, 2024 Tucson, AZ 85730 US Directions
52 years and counting: the only race in the actual Saguaro National Park!
Countdown to Race Day


Saguaro 8-Miler

$25 6:00AM MST - 9:00AM MST Price increases after October 31, 2023 at 11:59pm MST

Saguaro 5k Run/Walk

$25 6:05AM MST - 9:00AM MST
351 spots left. Price increases after October 31, 2023 at 11:59pm MST

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Saguaro National Park East
3693 S. Old Spanish Trail Rd
Tucson, AZ US 85730


Registration open for the 2024 edition. The Original Saguaro!  This is the only Saguaro race that takes place within the actual-factual cactus forest of Saguaro National Park.  Stunning views, iconic imagery, and a course that will blow you away! The 2024 edition will be the 53rd Annual Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run, with an 8-mile run and a 5k run/walk.  


One of the few races actually taking place in a National Park, the Saguaro Labor Day Run is a regional tradition, with awards, prize money, and commemorative souvenirs.  Produced by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, whose original founders created the race back in 1971. 


September 13, 2023 Updates:

1) Click here for the updated post-race report to participants, including details on awards, results, and more.  For now we have run out of t-shirts -- we are trying to get more but we're not sure if it's possible yet.  
2) Click here for a nifty video put together by Saguaro National Park Ranger Cam Juarez 
3) We have opened registration for 2024 with low pricing through the end of October 2023.


2024 Planned Schedule


Saturday, August 31, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Packet pickup at the Running Shop, 3055 North Campbell Ave.  Shirt sizing is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Yes, you can pick up the number and shirt for other people; please be mindful of the crowds.
Yes, there is race day registration, cash or check only.  Those who register after the 750 cap will be asked to pick up their shirt at the SAR tent after the race.
Registration in person via cash or check
Yes, the Running Shop is holding their annual Labor Day sale, with discounts on sale shoes, sale apparel, and regular apparel.  

Race Day Monday, September 2nd

Race Location: Saguaro National Park East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail Rd, Visitor Center Parking Lot

5:00 am - 5:45 am: packet pickup.  All shirt sizing is first-come, first-served.

NOTE: There is no in-person registration in Saguaro National Park on race day.

5:30 am: 8-Mile Walk Start.  This early start is for walkers only.  Early-starters are not eligible for awards. 

If you need to change your distance, you must check-in with the timer at the start line timing tent.


6:00 am: 8-Mile Run Start. This is the Open Start for all runners.  You must start at 6:00 am to be eligible for age group, overall awards, and Grand Prix points


6:05 am: 5k Run/Walk Start.  The 5k event begins after the 8-mile start, at about 6:05 am.  All 5k participants start at the same time.


8:00 am: Awards begin, most likely starting with 5k then 8-miler afterwards


9:00 am: Route closes, with National Park Service reserving the right to pick up late-finish athletes, depending on safety concerns


9:30 am: Approximate time when the Park opens to all vehicle traffic

NOTE: Race sponsor The Running Shop will be open from 10am - 2pm on Labor Day Monday.  Any remaining race shirts will be available at the Running Shop (3055 North Campbell Avenue) through the end of September. 



8-Mile Course: The loop 8 miler goes clockwise from the Visitor Center through the beautiful cactus forest at Saguaro National Park East in the foothills of the scenic Rincon Mountains.  The paved course is hilly, with stunning views of the iconic Sonoran Desert, including a vista overlooking the entire Tucson basin.  The water stops for the 8-Miler will be at approximately 3 and 7 miles.  Please bring your own water and hydration as needed.


5k Course: Out-and-back on paved rolling hills. The 5k participants stay to the right as they head into the Park on Cactus Forest Drive, then follow the chalk-arrows and turn right to head down the hill to the Javelina Picnic Grounds past the Freeman Homestead Trail. You'll turn around at the Turn-Around sign before you hit the picnic grounds, then reverse your route to the finish line. Please stay on the right coming back to the finish line.

5k Water Stops: There will be a water stop with volunteers from the Tucson TriGirls at the Cactus Forest Trailhead, approximately the 1 and 2 marks in the 5k.




Volunteers: If you're interested in helping out, check out the volunteer link here for packet pickup on Saturday, September 2 and for race-day activities on Monday, September 4

Weather: most likely in the high 70's at the start, rising to triple digits later in the day.

Headphones: headphones are discouraged; please be mindful of other athletes, rattlesnakes, and Park Rangers.

Strollers:  The 5k is fine for strollers but the 8-miler is probably not a great idea for pushing a young child, with lots of steep up-and-downs and the possibility of high heat for the child in the last few miles of the race once the sun comes out.

Chair Athletes: The 5k would be moderately challenging for chair athletes, while the 8-miler is a demanding course with downhills possible dangerous for chair athletes. 

Pets Not Allowed: We love pets but they cannot be on the grounds of Saguaro National Park East between 5am - 9am.  Service animals are excepted.  See here for details on NPS pet policies.

Parking: The National Park Service and Pima County Department of Transportation are both great friends of this race, but they're worried about public safety on the roads near the Park, so please drive slowly as you approach the National Park, watch for cyclists, and watch for your fellow pedestrians. Please follow the posted rules and be safe. 

  • Please consider car-pooling to reduce the vehicle footprint on the roadways. A drop-off section is located in front of the entrance.

  • Parking is available on the sides of the roads, on Freeman, Old Spanish Trail, and Escalante.

  • There is NO parking in the National Park.

  • Do not park in driveways, do not park near hydrants, do not block traffic.

  • Here's what the National Park Service has said: "please pay attention to the NO PARKING signs along Old Spanish Trail! We'd rather not have to cite and tow folks who are blocking sight lines and bike lanes..." 

Bathrooms: There will be 12 ACE portojohns in the NPS parking lot near the starting line, so please allow enough time to use the restroom before you begin the race. There will be one portjohn on the 8-mile course near, near the overlook near Mile 4.

Please do NOT use the desert as a bathroom. Rattlesnakes and cactus may do some damage -- plus the NPS will fine you!



  • The National Park Service: 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 hard-copy entry form or your online registration.

  • Friends of Saguaro: This year's event will donate funds to the Friends of Saguaro. Friends of Saguaro National Park: Our mission is to help the public discover Saguaro, protect Saguaro, and support Saguaro.

  • Southern Arizona Roadrunners: This event raises operating funds for SAR and income for the Children's Fitness Fund, an award-based program supporting youth fitness in and around Tucson.

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, please contact the race director at


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