Grand Canyon half marathon takes Tusayan by storm

Runners take off from the starting line during the annual Grand Canyon half marathon in Tusayan May 9.  Photo/Cris Acosta

Runners take off from the starting line during the annual Grand Canyon half marathon in Tusayan May 9. Photo/Cris Acosta

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - With a slight wind chill and almost freezing temperatures, just over 1,000 runners hit the trail in the Grand Canyon half marathon May 9.

Runners began lining up at the starting line in Tusayan at 6:30 a.m. and at 7 a.m. sharp participants took off for a 13.1 mile run.

The town of Tusayan, which sits right at the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, is 6,612 feet above sea level. Runners gained 279 feet of elevation during the half marathon.

For the first three miles of the course runners ran on gravel and dirt paths followed by dusty trails which narrowed down to rock covered trails before wrapping up at the finish line on about three-quarters of a mile of pavement through the town of Tusayan.

Runners ranged in age from 10 to 72 years old and awards were presented to participants in each age group.

Miguel Angel came in with the overall winning time of one hour, 32 minutes and 35 seconds.

The Grand Canyon Half Marathon is hosted annually by Vacation Races, which aims to provide memorable running experiences. Vacation Races offeres events around the United States and at many National Parks, including Zion, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Great Smokey Mountains and Yosemite National Parks.

On April 15 Vacation Races announced its partnership with the National Park Foundation and offered the option for its participants to join the Find Your Park movement by donating to the National Park Foundation.

Additionally, Vacation Races partners with local communities to provide an overall experience for runners and their guests.

The Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, Kaibab National Forest, Tusayan Fire Department and local businesses and residents offered their time and expertise for the event. Local volunteers helped at aid stations and handed out food and water to runners during the race.

Vacation Races' next half maration is the Grand Teton half on June 6. More information about Vacation Races can be found at its website at, vacationraces.com

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