Arizona Distance Classic

March 15, 2020

Oro Valley, Arizona

Awesome age group awards!

Race Feedback

Give us your feedback on the Arizona Distance Classic!

We want to know your story. Please note that we may send your story along to the media. Tell us about your experience!

The Valley of Gold Half Marathon was the best-run race we have ever participated in—and we’ve been in quite a few! Thank you for this race that is in such a beautiful place, at a wonderful time of year, with fabulous support on the course and an opportunity to buy VIP privileges (porta potties with no lines is an excellent concept).


Just had to send you note thanking you for putting on another great event! It’s wonderful to have a race to help folks train for that you KNOW is going to be well-run and enjoyable — for all. I’m confident that all our runners — no matter how fast — will be treated great and given top notch support all along the way.

Keep up the great (hard) work!

—Jeanne and Pete

Awesome race! You guys did an AMAZING job planning this race. I am from Chicago and we all know what happens when races are poorly planned and race directors don’t want to take responsibility for errors made. I can say with all honestly EVERYONE on your staff was friendly and helpful. The race course was well marked mile-for-mile and the water stops were perfectly placed.

I am new to running and only started training 6 months ago; I can tell you that I had a great experience with my first half marathon and am proud have run yours! This motivates me to run another and another. Great Job to all!

—R. Snarski

Arizona Distance Classic-2007 — What a day a year ago. A 73 year old Father and his two sons, ages 49 and 51 respectively, decide to run in the 5k. My father who in his 40s ran 3 hour marathons had decided at his doctors urging to get back to running to lose weight and control his high blood pressure. I had been running for a year and my 49 year old brother started training about 6 months before the race. We gathered in Tucson for a week of bonding and building anticipation of a great family run. The day couldn’t have gone any better. The weather was Arizona blue skies and warm and kept us loose and limber for a great race. My Dad finished first in his age group, my brother and I finished second in our respective age groups. We giggled like little kids when the results were posted and shared jumping high fives (well as high as we could jump which was mostly toe raises). Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a better story. We had so much fun we couldn’t shut up about the experience and literally drove our families crazy in talking about the race and the experience of the Arizona Distance Classic.

Arizona Distance Classic-2008 — What a difference a year makes! My brother and I ran side by side and finished the ½ marathon together in 1:52:46 which is a PR for me thanks to my brother, who ran his slowest ½ but kept me going for 13.1 miles on a beautiful course on a perfect day for running. The non stop talking about our race experience a year ago triggered a latent running gene in the Jones family. All in all, 10 members of the Jones and extended family ran in the 2008 Arizona Distance Classic. My niece and her husband ran their second race ever by running the ½ marathon and attained their goal of a 2:16:00 finish. My wife and her brother ran their first 5k ever and both finished third in their respective age divisions. My sister ran with my Dad in the 5k and as usual my Dad finished a race near the top of the pack by finishing second in his age group. My sister in law and nephew walked the 5k together. What a day, what an experience, what a moment when you have the opportunity to cross a finish line with a loved one and share the moment of attaining a goal after months of preparation and training in the snow, ice and cold.

On a side note, my thanks to the woman who was passing out the candy at the 9½ mile mark during the ½ marathon. The jolt of sugar was exactly what I needed. If I had any energy left after the race I would have run back and kissed her. What a great touch to a great race. Also, thanks to the volunteers at the start and finish and the water stations. They were awesome.

Thank you for making the Jones Reunion in Oro Valley a roaring success.

Carpe Diem, Carpe Viam (seize the day, seize the road)

—Barry Jones

Wow! This was my first race longer than a 5k. The course was extremely difficult, but the experience was remarkable. Everyone was there to finish with an iron will. The support and positive atmosphere is why I will do this race every year. Now I know I have the ability to train for a marathon and finish. I am looking forward to a lifetime of races to come.

🙂 Richelle Rogers

I started walking the 2008 Arizona Classic Half Marathon with tears in my eyes.

But before I explain why—some background and history. I walked my lst marathon in 2007 at the age of 60 with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. They teach normal non-athletic folks how to do these events, and these non-athletic folks in return raise money for a great cause. I had such a wonderful time with such a great group of people that I’ve been at it ever since. For the record, that is 1 marathon, 1 staged marathon (thanks to John and Jenny and David on a terrific Alaskan cruise called the Great Alaskan Maritime Marathon), 6 half-marathons, and an assortment of 5k events. I nearly always wear my purple Team in Training jersey because you meet the nicest folks and make “new best friends” along the way in these events. After all, walkers “do it slower, take longer, and finish with a smile on their faces!”

So the morning of the 2008 Arizona Distance Classic, I was wearing my purple jersey, standing at the back of the line where the walkers usually gather, anticipating a really great day, and visiting with “new best friends.”

So the couple I’m talking with tell me that the woman had been in an experimental medical group funded by money raised by Team in Training of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She was a leukemia survivor. And THEN—her husband looks at me and says, “Thank you for giving me my wife.” Now you know why I started with tears in my eyes. What an amazing experience!!

—Donese Mayfield

I just wanted to let you know that my friend and I ran the AZ Distance Classic this weekend and it was amazing. Despite the looming threat of bad weather, Sunday morning turned out to be perfect running conditions and the route was absolutely beautiful thanks to the snow-covered mountains. The race was so well organized and the assistance crews were perfect — I loved the energy of the mile 12 crew (right when we needed it most.) Thank you so much for putting on such a great race and we’ll see you next year!

— Carolyn

Thanks for a great event! I almost didn’t get out of bed Sunday morning because I thought the weather would make it a horrible day, but it turned out to be sunny, cold, and crisp: perfect running weather. JBR really knows how to put on a race and I will be back next year!!!

— Lauren


Photos courtesy of

Just wanted to share my “heartfelt” thanks for all your work in pulling together this event in Tucson last weekend! I too, was a little anxious about our weather, but was determined to run by the side of a good friend who was running her 1st 1/2 marathon. We truly had a great time following your advice for no need for speed. That was the only way we would consent to running this course.

And I must say, this has been, by far, my favorite event to date, due to the comfortable amount of runners and the opportunity to have you there in person. I’ve never really felt connected to other runners in a race before as I did that morning, like I had known them forever. Just real friendly people that want to run in your runs.

We all so appreciate your work behind the scenes. That’s what I think was felt that morning. You truly wanted to do this for others to enjoy and achieve. It’s not about your name, but just you thinking of others. Like how you organized a Sat. morning run/breakfast the other day, that I regretfully missed, yet heard all about from my friend Kristen, who spared no details of her inspiring run with “The Penguin”. Woulda-coulda had I known! Wow, what an opportunity. And you set her watch! That’s so cool.

Well, just had to let you know I think you’re doing a great thing! And…I love your medals! ‘Cause it’s all about the medal! (At least that’s what my boys tell me)

— Tina

I loved this race!! Of course, the weather was perfect, but so were the route, the organization, the host hotel, the t-shirts, bibs and medals! I would like to make a shadow box with the bib and medal and wonder if I could have/buy an extra medal if there are any left.

— Michelle

Just wanted to express how much I enjoyed last Sunday’s half marathon. The rolling course was scenic and beautiful, you couldn’t ask for a better day considering the predicted forecast. The rolling course was enough to be a bit challenging but not so much that it was overwhelming. Great Job! The snow capped mountains were picture perfect, which I’m sure you arranged for race day. The race was one of the best organized races I’ve attended. This is definitely a race to be on everyone’s calendar. See ya next year. Keep waddling!

— Patrick

I had to write and say I had a blast at the Arizona Distance Classic. After a dismal racing season in ’05 I was able to set a 7 minute PR!!! The course was challenging, but beautiful and the weather could not have been better for someone from Wisconsin. Thanks to all of the volunteers — they were terrific. I will definitely run another one of your half marathons next spring.

— Suzy

Just wanted to let you know that this race was absolutely awsome! I live in Phoenix and this is the first year I ran in your race. The course was perfect with all the rolling hills and the scenery was just spectacular, especially this year with all the snow. I hope you do not change the course.

The volunteers and the water stations were so supportive and encouraging. The organization of the race overall was great. I will definitely make this race a part of my racing season every year. Oh, and of course it’s all about the medal! Thanks again for putting on such a wonderful event and inspiring us all.

— Toni


Photos courtesy of

Thanks for bringing a premier running event to Southern Arizona. Combined, my wife and I
have done 2 marathons and 11 halves. This was the best yet. The course, race crew and medals
are the best we’ve experienced anywhere.

Thank You,

— Greg and Kathy

I just want to say how nice the run was. I have completed about 10 half marathons and this
was one of the best. The medal was definitely the best I have ever got, including two
marathon medals. My son flew down from Bremerton to surprise me and run it with me. We both
had goals that the training helped us in. My son quit smoking and I lost about 25 lbs. and I
hadn’t ran a run since 2002.

We went to the Mariners the day before, and we thought with the weather and wind, it was
just going to be an achievement to finish. We were blessed of course the next day to calm
weather and a view of snow on the Catalina Mts. I thought everyone knew me calling out my name
with support. The name on the bib is a good idea.

Thanks again

— John


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