by Brad Poole
If you're looking for something to do Sunday, you might try getting off the couch and pounding some pavement for a good cause in the Arizona Distance Classic in Oro Valley.
Touted as the most scenic race event in Arizona, the Distance Classic winds through the Catalina Mountain foothills and includes something for pretty much everyone: a short kids run (for ages 9-14) sponsored by Oro Valley Parks and Recreation, 5k run/walk sponsored by Northwest Medical Center, quarter and half marathons and a 1 mile Champions Walk (for folks 65 and older). There is also a wheelchair division.
The race benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a non-profit that aims to fund a search for cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma; the Angola project, a local non-profit that is raising money to build a school in Angola; and the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation, which has given more than $250,000 mostly to local charities including Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona and Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.
Every entrant gets a shirt — even in the kid's run, which only costs $5 — and a finisher's medal. A VIP upgrade entitles you to free pre-race breakfast and a race jacket in addition to the shirt. There will be free yoga and stretching before the race and free massages and snacks at the finish, and numerous vendors will be on hand for the race day expo. This is the ninth year for the USA Track and Field sanctioned race, which draws more than 2,000 participants.
If you're into celebrity sighting, you might look for Jessica Delfs, a Tucsonan who lost more than 200 pounds after becoming a contestant on NBC's The Biggest Loser. She's running the quarter marathon.
Here's the schedule and prices - there is no race-day registration:
6 a.m. - Stretch and yoga time (free). Limber up before you run. You'll thank yourself.
6:55 a.m. - Wheelchair half marathon ($80 through March 21; $85 thereafter)
7 a.m. - Half marathon ($80 through March 21; $85 thereafter)
7 a.m. - Quarter marathon ($55 through March 21, $65 thereafter)
7:15 a.m. - 5k run/walk ($45 through March 21; $50 thereafter)
10 a.m. - Kids fun run for ages 14 and under ($5; race-day registration until 8 a.m.)
All divisions start and end at Ventana Medical Systems, 1910 Innovation Park Drive in Oro Valley. For more information, see www.ArizonaDistanceClassic.com.