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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 25, 2016

11/3/2013 6:52:00 AM
Editorial: Verde Valley needs to expand its running event calendar

Nothing beats a good brisk run on a fall day and there was ample evidence of that during Saturday morning's Fit Kids 5K at Cottonwood's Riverfront Park.

It was the second race through Old Town Cottonwood in the past 15 days.

Other than those two events, April's Brian Mickelsen Marathon and the Loven Family Race rounds out the racing season in Cottonwood.

The rest of the Verde Valley doesn't fare much better.

Camp Verde hosted the Jason Teague Memorial 5K in 2013. Jerome has its annual Hill Climb on Labor Day weekend. Sedona has its annual marathon in February, the Turkey Trot in November and debuted a three-race summer series June through August.

And that's it for the year.

The website roadracerunner.com listed 287 running events in Arizona for 2013 and it's hardly a complete list. Most runners check and cross-check four or five different websites to plan their Arizona racing calendar.

The Verde Valley is hardly competitive with the rest of Arizona when it comes to staging running events. For many communities, running is part of their overall tourism marketing campaign. The City of Peoria, for example, hosts 11 races a year as part of the Peoria Race Series at the Rio Vista Park Complex.

Likewise, the Arizona Road Racers attracts more than 1.200 runners to each of the five events in its highly popular Summer Series.

The Verde Valley and Sedona need to duplicate the Peoria/Arizona Road Racers series template. The organization, expense and energy involved need not fall on just one community. Call it the Sedona/Verde Valley Series and have Cottonwood, Sedona, Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Jerome each commit to one or two events. Then, you award points in age/sex divisions based on order of finish in each respective division and crown an overall champion at the end of the series. Such a format was highly popular in Flagstaff in the early 1980s with the old Northland Summer Series, which was a 10-event race format with distances ranging from 5K to half-marathon.

You can bet all those Phoenix runners who slaved their way through a race every weekend during the torrid summer heat would jump at the chance to run in an extensive fall series in Sedona and the Verde Valley.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Article comment by: So... runners are bad because...traffic? Really?

If all that folks here have to do is put up with some traffic on a weekend here and there... to support their city... well that seems like a first world problem if ever there was one.

Opting for the bygone days of smelters and smoke easements seems rather shortsighted but then some people have never been known for making well informed decisions.

Posted: Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Article comment by: Doug Upp

"let's open the mines again, let's take more of our natural rescores [sic] out of the earth"

The Jerome mines are depleted. The copper from those mines has been traced all over the world. The copper in your house wiring and appliances and computer and who knows what else may consist in part of recycled copper from the Jerome mines.

Do you want to put it all back?

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013
Article comment by: Slater slater

Snowmobile races on wet pavement would be
the bomb.Thousands of patrons,national coverage,Restaurants packed,beer sales,
word of mouth across the biker nation.
Go big or get run over
Run down page springs road.Have fun

Posted: Monday, November 4, 2013
Article comment by: T.J. O'Malley

Yes @ They run they don't help, let's open the mines again, let's take more of our natural rescores out of the earth, and then maybe the hippie infested town of Jerome will completely slide into Clarkdale or better yet in a huge hole, O yea, let's open them so the poisons that they use can seep into the ground water, and then maybe that horrible Mingus mountain will be covered in mine tailings. I hate even looking at it, man it would be grate to open them again, to be able to make 40k a year, yep if we do that it will keep them people from coming here to run around, while we destroy earth.

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: Ellen Jo Roberts

Great suggestion! As a local runner who participates in local races, I always wondered why we do not have more running events here in the Verde Valley. We have such a great climate and such wonderful scenery. Ideal for runners. Despite what "They Run They Don't Help" says, I see races as a boost to the local economy, as they do attract out-of-towners and these folks do spend money.

Sure, we'd love to have better paying jobs here, too, but you're comparing apples to oranges. There is no reason to spite the running events. Besides that, it's a great leap to create 40K-a-year jobs. It's a small leap, using roads and trails we already have, volunteers and local facilities already in existence, to throw a race. It's a good direction,
As a local runner, I would for sure be interested in additional local races and I appreciate this article.

Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013
Article comment by: They Run They Don't help

They come. They run. They leave. What are they adding? I see far more negatives than positives to pushing these race circuits.
Traffic always has to be rerouted around this gang of hoofers.
Some may spend a little here on food or maybe a night's lodging, but many will just drive back to the urban insanity and not spend a dime.
Instead of pushing for sports and recreation which doesn't put long lasting money into the community area, why aren't we pushing for manufacturing, mining, tech jobs? We have room to build. We have a good road system, close enough yet not swallowed in traffic.
We need jobs that pay a min. of 40K a year, not races that bring in day trippers that spend very little. Tourism is a secondary industry. We need to be looking forward to primary industries, year round, long term and dependable.
Too bad the mines aren't still here. People would be making decent wages.

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