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The 2023 edition will be the 52nd 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.
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. 8-Miler Water Stops will be at approximately 3, 5.5, and 7 miles in the 8-Miler. 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.
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.
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 during the event.
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 no NOT use the desert as a bathroom. Rattlesnakes and cactus may do some damage -- plus the NPS will fine you!