The city of Buckeye is gearing up for its fifth annual marathon, set to take place on Saturday, December 8.
The marathon, which begins in the Sun City Festival community and ends at Buckeye Airport, is not limited to just Buckeye residents, according to event coordinator Miranda Gomez.
Typically, a thousand racers participate in the marathon. At last year’s event, roughly 50 percent of the racers hailed from Buckeye, while 30 percent were not from the area but were still Arizona residents. The other 20 percent of the runners were from out of state or out of country. Gomez said there were 26 different states and three different countries represented last year.
Because the marathon is certified by USA Track and Field, runners have the chance to qualify for the National Qualifier and Boston Marathon while racing in Buckeye. Qualifying times are broken into divisions based on age group and gender, but Gomez said racers have qualified for the Boston Marathon at the Buckeye event.
“Our race is unique for people around the country in a few different ways,” Gomez said. “First thing is, it’s in December, where running temperatures are ideal here, and most other places around the country it’s not. It’s a good one for people to come out to and run in the snow somewhere that’s nice.”
Not only is the weather ideal, but the course is a favorable one to run. Gomez said it’s flat and typically all downhill. There is over 600 feet of elevation lost during the 26-mile trek, so it’s eyed as a steady path.
And if you’re not a marathon runner, don’t worry. The city of Buckeye prides itself on putting on an event that pertains to everyone. “We have a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon, but then on site we also do an obstacle course that’s just kind of fun. We do that with CrossFit Fury in Goodyear where we put up different-sized obstacles,” Gomez said.
When the city first started the race five years ago, it was in response to the Let’s Move! initiative started by then-First Lady Michelle Obama, a foundation aimed at reducing childhood obesity. “Everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies,” the Let’s Move! website reads.
“What we started with is something to get people active, but what we do is, all of the proceeds of this race support our scholarship fund for the city,” Gomez said. The money raised from participants goes toward the Buckeye Youth Council Scholarship Fund, allowing children to partake in recreational activities in the city.
With the marathon weeks away, the city of Buckeye is also seeking volunteer help. Volunteers are needed to assist with the check-in process, staffing water stations and tending to the obstacle course, handing out medals and more.
Further questions regarding volunteering can be directed to Adam Melle at 623-349-6350 or email@example.com.