More than 5,000 people are expected to pack parks, paths and trails across the Tucson area on Saturday, Jan. 14.
They’ll gather to honor those who were killed and wounded during the Tucson shootings of Jan. 8, 2011, while celebrating the unity, strength and resolve of the community in its aftermath.
Beyond Tucson was a concept developed by Ross Zimmerman and Pam Golden, the father and stepmother of Gabe Zimmerman, the congressional aide who was killed along with five others at the Congress on Your Corner event.
Thirteen other Tucsonans, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her successor, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, were wounded in the attack by Jared Lee Loughner, a mentally ill, former college student who was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Now in it’s sixth year, the effort continues to grow. Beyond kicks off each year with a series of community-wide outdoor events all held on the second Saturday of January and it also has become a nonprofit organization that encourages staying active and engaging year-round, said Beyond director Michelle Crow.
Beyond Talks, a lecture series held throughout the year at various locations, has included topics such as healthy eating, the impact of sugar, and the science behind spending time outdoors and what it does to your brain and body, she said.
This week the nonprofit will officially launch the Beyond Challenge, an initiative to encourage starting the new year by setting health goals and staying active year round. It also encourages connecting with new friends, trying new activities, exploring their surroundings and shopping local.
Anyone can get a free challenge card by showing up at one of the 16 events slated for Saturday, or registering online at beyond-tucson.org/challenge
Sharing a goal is important because it helps people commit to living in a particular way, Crow said. Many of the people who have already registered are interested in losing weight, becoming more active or have set a particular goal like hiking the Arizona Trail.
Members can collect a stamp for each Beyond activity they participate in, and can get discounts at participating local merchants — Fleet Feet Sports Tucson, Plants for the Southwest, Summit Hut and Tucson Audubon Society Nature Shops — by showing their membership card. Beyond will send out monthly emails along with a list of activities.