RunSedona half-marathon and races will close Dry Creek Road
AS SEEN IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
January 11, 2019
In this new year we are gearing up for RunSedona, which was formerly known as the Sedona Marathon Event. The event will be held on Saturday, February 2, with runners taking to the road at 8:00am (an hour earlier than last year). You may be wondering why we changed the name. Across the nation, marathon distance participation has been declining and that has been the same case for our event. The Marathon distance made up less than 10% of the total field on race day each year. The Marathon distance also requires about four more aid stations and adds about four more hours to the day. So, with all this in mind, we decided to drop the 26.2 distance and focus on our fastest growing groups, the half marathon (13.1) and the 10K distances. The name RunSedona also adequately encompasses all three race distances that are offered, the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K.
Among the many events which make Sedona such a fun place to live, work, play and visit, I think RunSedona is extra-special. The run along scenic Dry Creek Road showcases the natural beauty of Sedona like no other event and is unmatched for bringing visitors and residents together. But as in life, great things don’t come without some consequences and in 2019, there’s a big change, one that, quite frankly, keeps me up at night. Because of the size of the event, the safety agencies involved have required the closure of Dry Creek Road for a period of time on race day. While we’ve never had an accident during the race, we certainly want to do everything we can to make runner safety the top priority. Last year, Dry Creek Road was closed for a short period of time only to Thunder Mountain where access was open one-way towards Enchantment. This year, all of Dry Creek Road to Boynton Canyon intersection will be closed to traffic for a few hours starting at 7:30am, then one lane will re-open towards Enchantment Resort between 9:30 – 11:30am and full access will resume around noon.
We know that this road closure will have a negative impact on the residents in this area, as well as impact the visitors who want to access trails on Dry Creek Road and tour operators who conduct tours in this area.
We also know that locals love this event and the participants who travel from all over the country – and the world – bring a tremendous economic impact to our community. This year, we can anticipate about 3,000 runners will participate.
Last year, the top finishers in the men’s and women’s races were three Sedonans, 15 Arizonans from other communities, four out-of-state residents and two international visitors — including Women’s Marathon winner Mamiko Berger of Saipan. Hundreds of Sedonans ran, walked or jogged with people from 48 states and ten countries – 2,800 people in all.
RunSedona also supercharges our economy during an otherwise quiet February. Run-related visitors spent more than $3.3 million in 2018, staying at our hotels while hiking, dining, shopping and enjoying the sights. Visiting runners, their friends, and families often stay overnight and are attuned to Sedona ethos of environmental respect and personal well-being. They tend to become Sedona ambassadors among like-minded friends back home and are likely to visit again – a perfect fit for the ‘less is more’ demographic we work to attract.
Events like this are an interesting example of trying to achieve a sense of balance between resident quality of life and economic vitality. It’s a fun, healthy, community event that has great economic benefit to the community, but it’s an inconvenience for about five hours on race day. I’d like to know what you think about it. Please share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, police and emergency personnel will be on call as usual for any emergencies and will have complete access to the affected areas. If residents are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 as you would usually do. Safety is the number one priority on race day.
Also, if you haven’t seen the action of the event, please plan on joining us on Feb 2. It’s truly a fulfilling experience to see people of all ages cross the finish line with their arms out-stretched with smiles and a sense of accomplishment. If you plan to attend, a free shuttle service will pick you up at several locations and drop you near the starting line concourse. If you park at Red Rock High School or at the Cultural Park, expect a 15-minute walk to the starting area. There is also a free shuttle sponsored by Pink Jeep Tours giving free rides to and from parking areas to the concourse.
I’m looking forward to an exciting day and look forward to hearing your thoughts about this.
–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO