Overall Rating
Overall Rating (35 Reviews)
4.9
(35 Ratings)(35 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
4.9
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4.6
The Saguaro Half Marathon is a stunning race with gorgeous views of the Tucson Mountains as you run through the Sonoran desert. The race starts and finishes at Old Tucson- an American movie studio and theme park area located west of Tucson, Arizona. Run through the Sonoran desert on this … MORE
Local Weather (Feb 19):
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H (°F) 73 75 50 65 57
L (°F) 37 47 34 45 47
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Recent reviews

    marissabeck001 FIRST-TIMER '21

    The first half of the race is trail and you are surrounded by desert landscape including saguaro cactus--so beautiful! The trail is relatively easy but there are rolling hills and … MORE

    The first half of the race is trail and you are surrounded by desert landscape including saguaro cactus–so beautiful! The trail is relatively easy but there are rolling hills and a few lose rocks to watch out for. The second part of the race is road, and it is a little hillier but not super hard.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    ssabol1562 FIRST-TIMER '21

    The crew at Vacation Races hits it out of the park again. Despite being thrown a few Covid curveballs and having to split the race into two separate days, they … MORE

    The crew at Vacation Races hits it out of the park again. Despite being thrown a few Covid curveballs and having to split the race into two separate days, they hit it out of the park with a beautiful race that ran through trails surrounded by cacti of all types and then a road surrounded by amazing views the rest of the way.

    The only thing I hope that they change next year is to run the course in the opposite direction to allow runners to use the road part to spread out a little bit before getting to the trail. This year there was only 3/4 of a mile to the trail and even with smaller starting groups, we were bunched up. With minimal passing room (thanks to cacti on both sides of the trail), I think some runners were pushed faster than they were comfortable going leading to some falls.

    A note on the trail section: it is somewhat technical. Besides the cacti (watch out for the evil cholla!), there were a lot of ankle killer rocks that you had to watch for. If you have never run a trail race before, you might want to get some experience on them before you try this race.

    Overall though you can’t beat Vacation Races for their pre and post race hype and overall atmosphere not to mention the best finishers medals in the business. Even with Covid restrictions they put on a great event!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    domino76 FIRST-TIMER '21

    What a beautiful fun course. Vacation races picked a good one with this hybrid trial & road half marathon. It really felt like you were running inside the trails of … MORE

    What a beautiful fun course. Vacation races picked a good one with this hybrid trial & road half marathon. It really felt like you were running inside the trails of the National Park. Very pretty and fun, not a easy course & you will not get a PB. Swag of course read amazing shirt and medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    apetriceks FIRST-TIMER '21

    Great mix of desert and rolling road The desert run had various dips and small rocks, but based on wave starts the trail was never crowded. Due to time of … MORE

    Great mix of desert and rolling road

    The desert run had various dips and small rocks, but based on wave starts the trail was never crowded. Due to time of year , the run was cool weather – 50-65 degrees.

    Having road at 2nd half made the run easier , and the small hills added some small challenge, but nothing large.

    Very well organized during pandemic , and had a small run feel due to waves. Can see this would be even more fun when the post run activities are more lively.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    4
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    This race was very well organized, with great communication by the directors (especially regarding COVID times). The course was absolutely beautiful, and while hillier than expected, I will definitely run … MORE

    This race was very well organized, with great communication by the directors (especially regarding COVID times). The course was absolutely beautiful, and while hillier than expected, I will definitely run it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    Very scenic run when ran right at sunrise. The trail portion isn't too technical, so you can run it in road shoes. I really enjoyed it, the low humidity makes … MORE

    Very scenic run when ran right at sunrise. The trail portion isn’t too technical, so you can run it in road shoes. I really enjoyed it, the low humidity makes it a lot easier to run compared to the midwest

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    flmike777 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Great weather 39f to start.. I went no shirt💪🏻.. 1st 6 miles through the trails and single track easy enough on road shoes.. Water/gel stations well placed.. quality of swag … MORE

    Great weather 39f to start.. I went no shirt💪🏻.. 1st 6 miles through the trails and single track easy enough on road shoes.. Water/gel stations well placed.. quality of swag excellent.. views great!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    mdlutz REPEAT RUNNER '21

    As a mid-50 year old I loved this course. Part trail part road. The road helped improve my time. The environment was beautiful. We got to packet pick up early … MORE

    As a mid-50 year old I loved this course. Part trail part road. The road helped improve my time. The environment was beautiful. We got to packet pick up early and had no trouble getting merchandise and race bibs. Folks were friendly and helpful. The medals are fabulous and the shirts with all runners names are the bomb.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    alex.stolarow1 FIRST-TIMER '21

    VR always puts on an amazing race but this one stood out as one of my favorite thus far of the 7 VR series races I've run. The Sonoran desert … MORE

    VR always puts on an amazing race but this one stood out as one of my favorite thus far of the 7 VR series races I’ve run. The Sonoran desert scenery was amazing from start to finish. Running here, I felt immersed in its beauty. The course was challenging and technical at times but rewarding. As far swag goes and course support, it’s top notch! Well organized!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    Beccjam23 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Vacation Races put on another great race! Drive through packet pickup was easy. Plenty of parking on race day. Great job keeping us separated due to COVID restrictions. Plenty of … MORE

    Vacation Races put on another great race! Drive through packet pickup was easy. Plenty of parking on race day. Great job keeping us separated due to COVID restrictions. Plenty of aid stations. Stunning views on the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sbellestri2 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Vacation Races always puts on a world class experience for runners and makes the whole experience a lot of fun. The course itself was 60/40 road/trail and full of rolling … MORE

    Vacation Races always puts on a world class experience for runners and makes the whole experience a lot of fun. The course itself was 60/40 road/trail and full of rolling hills. Trail part was moderate with some steep hills and full of loose rocks. Definitely would be a problem for non experienced trail runners but overall a very fun portion of the race. Highly recommended!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    stephcis11 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    I was kind of skeptical with the covid race restrictions, but it went smoothly. We got to start earlier than our assigned start time, which I was grateful for because … MORE

    I was kind of skeptical with the covid race restrictions, but it went smoothly. We got to start earlier than our assigned start time, which I was grateful for because I’m not used to the heat. The trail part of the course was definitely my favorite! I wish there had been more, even though it was difficult to pass sometimes. The pavement portion was also neat. It was a bit tougher than I had anticipated, and didn’t finish in my goal time, but I loved every minute of it! Vacation Races did such a great job at executing this race with their restrictions. I am very impressed with this organization, especially because of the way they waited for all runners. Online it says there is a 4 hour time limit, but they left the finish line open for much longer than that. My mother, who had been suffering from kidney pains all week before the race, and was participating in her second half marathon, was afraid she wouldn’t make it in time. She took about 5 and a half hours and when they came in the race staff welcomed them in with excitement! To me that was actually the best part because I knew how much finishing meant to my mother. I would do this race again and I will definitely sign up for more vacation races! Thank you for the great work you all did!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Kassie REPEAT RUNNER '21

    Was super excited for the race! Love Tucson & VR & thankful for all the hard work. Sadly i fell hard early in the race & didn't finish. Staff/medics were … MORE

    Was super excited for the race! Love Tucson & VR & thankful for all the hard work. Sadly i fell hard early in the race & didn’t finish. Staff/medics were fabulous. Brett ran to me from the lot when he got the call & stayed the whole time, helped me walk & organized help. My HERO! Thank you to the many runners who stopped to help, offer band-aids, first aid & encouragement as i was crushed i couldn’t finish. My heart is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support & love from the running community. A special thank you & love to Gabi P, my sweet angel. My boyfriend & i def plan to come back next year to finish the race, with knee pads!! Thank you VR, I enjoyed my past races and look forward to others. VR truly does have amazing staff & I appreciated all the communication & info leading up to the race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    johnmallonee FIRST-TIMER '21

    It was exciting and rewarding to complete my third Vacation Races (VR) event out in the desert. I recommend VR races and recommend the Saguaro next year with some qualifications. … MORE

    It was exciting and rewarding to complete my third Vacation Races (VR) event out in the desert. I recommend VR races and recommend the Saguaro next year with some qualifications. I am glad that I was able to participate in this inaugural event.

    VR worked relentlessly to to keep runners informed through difficult challenges to pull this one off. Local impacts from the pandemic threatened to cancel the race, but they were able to navigate an extremely difficult situation and still stage the event. The communication was excellent and effective.

    The location for the race was picturesque and unique – where else can you run through a saguaro forest? That said, the course might not be for everyone. The roughly 6 miles of the course on a trail with plenty of rocks from small to large. As a road racer, the trail section was a definite challenge. I think it’s important to be prepared to step aside (carefully) to let others pass or possibly find ways to safely pass others yourself. The trail is generally only wide enough for one person and repeated passing is inevitable. I would also recommend taking time to enjoy the scenery and unless you’re a comfortable trail runner to have lower expectations for performance. The trail is a huge component of the race – both the draw for beauty as well as the biggest challenge. Personally, I would have preferred longer stretches of a packed dirt trail, but the desert is what it is. Lastly, being a run-walk racer doesn’t work as well on a narrow trail. It was disruptive to find places to allow others to pass safely.

    The paved part was more comfortable for me, but it had its own challenges. The two biggest challenges were the rolling hills and the seams in the macadam. Some of the hills were steep. If you find hills a challenge, be prepared to adjust your pace and possible walk breaks accordingly. The seams made for less than comfortable footing for my personal stride. Trying to avoid the bumpy seam could make it difficult to maintain a consistent feel.

    The production side of the race went smoothly for me. The bib drive-through was easy and there was plenty of volunteer support. I did get get there early which seemed to make the difference. Staging from the parking lot to start queues/corrals (due to county requirements) worked well with helpful announcing on a PA as well as on the radio in the car. All volunteers at the start and along the course were friendly and supportive. One production item that I either missed or misunderstood was the closing of a travel lane for the race. I knew that it would be closed for the race, but wasn’t aware how far ahead of race time it would be. Fortunately a road worker allowed me to thread the cones for the 2 tenths of a mile to get to the start area.

    Race swag was first rate as always. The inaugural insignia on the front and the history of the name of Tucson on the back made it extra special. Post-race hydration and nutrition were also excellent.

    I applaud Vacation Races for the series of races they offer, the race production, and their communication. I have two additional races scheduled with them as a result of their effort.

    Regarding this race, I’m glad that I did it. It was a challenge for me and I felt like I accomplished something big. That being said, I don’t plan to run the race again due to the difficulty on the trail. I’m guessing that experienced trail runners are more likely to return.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to participate in this inaugural event.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    dixieperrine REPEAT RUNNER '21

    This was a mostly up hill battle. Definitely not a run for best time. However it’s more about the beauty of the place your running through. This was one of … MORE

    This was a mostly up hill battle. Definitely not a run for best time. However it’s more about the beauty of the place your running through. This was one of my favorite vacation races thus far ❤️

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    elynied27 FIRST-TIMER '21

    If you like the challenge of having both trail and road, then this is for you! This race course had stunning views of the cactus forests, wild animals to cheer … MORE

    If you like the challenge of having both trail and road, then this is for you! This race course had stunning views of the cactus forests, wild animals to cheer you on, and perfect weather! The hydration stations of gnarly and honey stingers are one of the reasons I keep returning to this race series! This was my 5th vacation race event and will not be my last!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    nettie1125 REPEAT RUNNER '21

    I’ve ran many VR halfs before and this one did not disappoint. It was a tough course with an absolutely gorgeous views of the Saguaro. It was well put together … MORE

    I’ve ran many VR halfs before and this one did not disappoint. It was a tough course with an absolutely gorgeous views of the Saguaro. It was well put together to ensure guidelines were met. Holding the race over two days to meet Maricopa guideline was not ideal; however, it was soooo well worth it!!! Kudos to the VR staff and for holding another amazing half!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    kxkenne FIRST-TIMER '21

    The trail portion was a bit more technical than expected. Everyone was curtious when passing or being passed. This was a wonderful race to do. MORE

    The trail portion was a bit more technical than expected. Everyone was curtious when passing or being passed. This was a wonderful race to do.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    keatingme11 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Had an amazing time. It was a challenge course but had a great run. The weather was perfect. The scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills, loose gravel/rocks, cactus everywhere (watch out … MORE

    Had an amazing time. It was a challenge course but had a great run. The weather was perfect. The scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills, loose gravel/rocks, cactus everywhere (watch out for the jumping cholla), trails, and pavement. Would definitely do it again and recommend it to friends!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    08mccartney FIRST-TIMER '21

    Loved the Saguaros! The race was fun and well organized. Took my friend for her first half and it was my first trail half. We had a blast and visiting … MORE

    Loved the Saguaros! The race was fun and well organized. Took my friend for her first half and it was my first trail half. We had a blast and visiting the national park the day prior really made it a great trip.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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