Run on up to Sky Ranch Lodge and spend a restful night sleeping under a canopy of golden stars. Get up on Saturday, April 8 to run in the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10 K, and 2 mile races through rustically beautiful, nearby Cottonwood. The marathon and half-marathon are both USATF Certified—which means this marathon is a Boston Qualifier.
Start times range from 6 AM for the marathon to 7:50 A.M. for the two mile race.
Starting as the Verde/Mingus Blowout 10K in the 1990s, the race was renamed as a memorial for Cottonwood’s beloved city manager, Brian Mickelsen, after he suddenly passed on in 2007. Now, the race welcomes several hundred runners from around the corner as well as around the Southwest.
Cottonwood is a small city cradled in the curves of the meandering Verde River, one of the last free flowing rivers in the West. When the early settlers came to the Verde Valley, they discovered that the Cottonwood trees had roots which ran deeply enough to find water, even when there was no visible water. For this reason, the settlers made their homes under the shade of the Cottonwood trees and nestled along the banks of the Verde River.
If you run in either the full or half marathon, you will start at Riverfront Park, a little south of the Verde River. Your course will run through Old Town Cottonwood, which dates back to 1879. The route is gorgeous: you will run under a dome of wide-open blue skies and can see the majestic mountains in the distance. Next you’ll step back in time to about 1,000 C.E. when you run through the 42-acre pueblo, Tuzigoot. Vacated by one the ancient Native American tribes, the Sinagua, this ancient village settlement was inhabited until about 1400. After careful archaeological restoration, you can see more than 110 intact rooms—sometimes stacked as high as three stories each! From here, you run downhill to Dead Horse Park and then out and back to two small lakes.
On April 8, the average low is 44ºF and the average high is 77ºF. With wonderful weather and beautiful scenery, this is a great race you don’t want to miss! To either run (or walk) any of the races, you can register online at Active.com here.