|A few of the Phoenix Marathon committee members preview the race|
The course begins in the pristine desert of Usery Park. It will be dark when the cannon goes off. But don't let that make you nervous. There will be plenty of fires and entertainment to keep you happy and alert for your run. Brad Arnett, the race founder, has plenty of fun in store for y'all. He cuts no corners when it comes to his awesome event. Brad thinks BIG. So come ready for an exciting start.
You will run a fairly steep downhill for the first three miles of the run. Then, at mile five you'll run the longest uphill stretch of the course. The Las Sendas hill is just under two miles long. But it is a gradual slope. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. Take this uphill in stride. It will be over before you know it.
The stretch of the course between miles three and six takes you through the Las Sendas master planned community, arguably, some of the most beautiful desert landscaped homes in the East Valley. This is desert living at its finest. Look for spectators out in these neighborhoods. There may be lots of families and friends cheering on you runners.
More downhill awaits from Las Sendas until the half-marathon mark. Wave hello at our friends from Build Up Crossfit here - they have offered bathrooms and aid to those who need it. Then, you hit the orange grove corridors of Mesa. Here, you may get a whiff of the orange blossoms wafting through these citrus acres. You'll pass through miles of groves -- navels, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit. Take it all in. The citrus is ripe and ready for purchase at the Orange Patch fruit stand at 3825 E. McKellips.
A few miles on Brown Road brings you past Mountain View High School, and you'll turn into the business district of the course. The course flattens in these miles -- steering you past the 10K start, where the amazing Teri Tobin will have performed the National Anthem for the 10k racers, and into the heart of Downtown Mesa. Don't miss the new fire station on Mesa Drive and First Street.
The quaint coffee shops and downtown businesses will be open for hungry spectators and cheering families this Saturday. Tell your friends about Inside the Bungalow, on 48 N. Robson. They can grab a coffee or pastry and relax as you continue the quest for the finish line. Or enjoy the bands from Milano's Music on Main. The course chops through the historic district during these miles, where you'll run under a canopy of trees that line the medians of these old pioneer streets. This was my favorite part of the course. Plenty of cute homes to look at and admire.
The last five miles of the course weave you back to Brown Road. As you pass Westwood High School on your left, you'll see the bountiful side-yard garden owned by the Calder family on your right. They've kept that vegetable garden growing and producing for over 30 years. Tip your hat to them and say hello.
And then, folks, you're getting close. Turn right at the convenience store on Alma School and you're less than a mile away. You'll pass an awesome new fire station and then -- downhill!!! A left at Bass Pro shop drive and, pace yourself, a half-mile jaunt to the finish line. And we will be there for you! Medals, vendors, a kiddie play land, food, rest areas, all for you!
It's going to be amazing. The predicted high is 81 degrees so wear layers. We'll have trucks picking up your gear if you need to shed. There will be plenty of water/aid stations to keep you hydrated. The Boy Scouts of America, Arizona Brain Food our charity recipient, and hundreds of gracious volunteers will make this a marathon to remember.
The countdown is on! Can't wait to meet at greet you all! See you at the expo. It's gonna be great.