Saguaro Half Marathon Review and Tips

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Near Tucson, Saguaro National Park is well known for its iconic giant cacti and breathtaking desert landscape. Home to Hohokam petroglyphs as well as a wide array of wildlife, it’s also one of the premier places for hiking enthusiasts.

Are you up for an exciting challenge that’s sure to raise the pulse? Look no further: this exclusive race may just be what’s needed!


The Saguaro Half Marathon is an international destination race offering an innovative blend of pavement and technical trails, running through Sonoran Desert near Saguaro National Park. Half of the course consists of pavement while half is comprised of technical trails; therefore it should only be attempted by experienced runners on uneven ground.

This course weaves its way through Tucson Mountain Park, just below Saguaro National Park, before ending at Old Tucson Movie Studio where many classic westerns were shot. Rated at four out of five difficulty, this challenging route is suitable for experienced runners looking for a new challenge; all participants receive four hours to finish this event and there are six aid stations with water, electrolytes, snacks and other necessities along the route.


The Saguaro Half Marathon offers runners an extraordinary combination of road and trail running that takes them through Tucson Mountain Park outside western Tucson. The course includes both pavement and technical trails for half of its distance; making this race perfect for either beginner trail runners looking for their first experience, as well as veteran trail runners looking for new challenges in unfamiliar terrain. Runners have four hours to complete their course so there’s ample opportunity to soak in the sights while taking advantage of special offers from sponsors in their Virtual Swag Bag!

The trail portion of the course starts with a gradual ascent on Golden Gate Trail through desert vegetation such as cacti and other plants, offering 300′ in elevation changes between miles two and six. Next up comes Ringtail/Cougar Trail for two more miles of steady climbing through dense brush before finally ending at Old Tucson Movie Studio on South Kinney Road pavement with minimal elevation changes.

Running enthusiasts should expect an exciting and challenging course consisting of pavement and technical trails, so trail shoes will be necessary to tackle this course successfully. Training on uneven terrain should also help prepare runners for what awaits them on this course.

Vacation Races’ National Park Series destination races visit iconic national parks across the United States. To learn more and see if one might be right for you, visit their website.

Contrary to its name, the REVEL Mt Lemmon Limited Edition half marathon does not take place within Canyonlands National Park itself, but near Moab in Utah. The course provides scenic road and trail running that offers stunning views over Red Rock Canyonlands and Moab Valley.

Pre-Race Info

The Saguaro Half Marathon is an intense yet highly rewarding point-to-point race that winds along the eastern border of Glacier National Park. From prairies at its base to breathtaking views of Two Medicine Lake during miles 5-8, runners won’t help but fall in love with this course.

While most of the race will take place on pavement, its final 3.1 miles include technical trails and single track. If you live somewhere with limited trail runs nearby, training on uneven terrain might be required; but your efforts will be rewarded by stunning vistas at every turn!

This event offers unforgettable memories and early registration is highly advised to secure a spot. With limited spaces, early registration should take place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!

Vacation Races can help you meet all of your running goals – whether they be your first half marathon or breaking 3-hour mark! Simply check our 2024 calendar of events, select an event near you and click the “claim spot” button below! Additionally, sort by race date, member rating and reviews to gain an insider perspective for each race you consider; and let us know immediately if anything needs correcting! We pride ourselves in providing accurate race data – please notify us if there’s anything amiss with what’s presented! We take great pride in providing accurate race data – should anything arise that needs correcting let us know immediately so we can correct it as quickly as possible!

Post-Race Party

Race organizers guarantee an abundant assortment of event swag and post-race food, plus beer garden music performances, elite runners, and much more after this run. Registration has proven popular in previous years – be sure to register quickly to avoid missing out! This event has sold out rapidly.

This challenging hybrid road and trail race takes place in Tucson Mountain Park, located adjacent to Saguaro National Park. The course includes technical trail running alongside numerous large Saguaro cacti. Runners have four hours to finish their run. Six aid stations will be set up along the course offering water, electrolytes and other essential supplies, with the finish line located at Old Tucson Movie Studio where many classic westerns were shot.

This race presents some steep hills and elevation gains, as well as scenic views that are well worth your effort. Plus, the post-race party provides the perfect chance to celebrate all your hard work! Before beginning training for any race it is wise to use the RunGuides Running Pace Calculator; this tool will enable you to understand if you can keep pace with fast-paced elite runners or whether changes should be made in race strategy.

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