COTTONWOOD -- One of two major Verde Valley Marathon races in the kicks off early this Saturday morning at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood.
The Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run and Walk events commemorate the memory of the former Cottonwood city manager, an avid runner, who died while training for a 2007 race.
Considered one the most scenic runs in Arizona, the Brian Mickelsen races combine a full-length Marathon with a half-marathon, 10K and 2-mile run.
All run fees are still at a discount through April 9 at the Parks and Recreation Office. Registration continues online at cottonwoodaz.gov/parksrec/bmm or through the mail by Friday. No registration will be accepted Thursday and Friday.
The full Marathon start time is 6 a.m. and race day registration continues for that event from 5:15-though 5:45 a.m. Other race day registration is open from 6:15 through 7 a.m. on Saturday.
The half marathon starts at 7:30 a.m. Followed by the 10 K at 7:40 and the 2 mile Fun Run at 7:50 a.m.
The races are now in their sixth year with three years at the Marathon length.
Ryan Bigalow, who coordinates the races, says work gets underway in January and February to begin rounding up the permits to cross land, organizing volunteers and marketing the event. "We can't wait until now to get that done."
"We are right where we want to be as far as registrations." As of Monday 60 are registered for the full marathon, 165-for the half marathon, 175-for the 10K. He says the two miler is running a little behind. "If we get 550 expecting 550 to 650 runners we will be thrilled."
The registrations are coming from about 20 states: many from Arizona and the West as well as some eastern states. There is a group that has registered from Dorset, in the southwest of England. There are also registrations from Ontario, Canada.
The race series is certified Marathon and Half-Marathon lengths and a qualifier for the Boston Marathon.
Bigalow says there is always a need for volunteers to help with the races and you can contact him directly to be part of the fun.