This is the time of year when Tucson really starts to get moving. The temperatures drop a notch, and from running races to charity walks to El Tour, there is an event for everyone.
Some groups make it easy to get in shape.
For example, if you're one of the 7,000-plus folks getting ready for the famed University Medical Center El Tour de Tucson on Nov. 19, you can join the University of Arizona Medical Center Cycling Clinics Program. The program offers participants training rides, informational clinics, mentoring, encouragement and a jersey - all with the goal of promoting the health of the community in general and fostering a good El Tour experience.
The program started a few years ago with about 10 riders. In 2010, more than 300 people signed up. "We want to nudge the guy or girl next door who might want to get back to their own wellness activity," says Rob Bailey, director of the University of Arizona Medical Center Wellness Center. "It's also a great workplace program, and we're happy to work with companies or organizations on getting a group involved."
The clinics begin Sept. 25. The eight-week program costs $80, while the four-week program costs $40. If you're interested, contact Rob Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or 940-2998.
Another training group happy to give you a nudge is the Better Than Ever fundraising program with the University of Arizona Cancer Center. BTE, as it's known, provides walking, running and bike-riding training programs targeting the novice enthusiast (but certainly welcome to advanced participants).
Now in its 12th year and with programs in Green Valley, Phoenix and Tucson, BTE provides weekly group training schedules, and educational lectures and social events to help participants get in shape for their chosen event. Participants are asked to raise between $100 and $250 toward the Arizona Cancer Center.
This fall, BTE bike-riding participants are training for El Tour de Tucson, doing either the 40-mile or the 67-mile route. Runners and walkers are training for two events: the CATwalk 10K run/walk at the University of Arizona on Oct. 23 and the Tucson Half-Marathon, a 13.1 mile run/walk on Dec. 11.
For information, see azcc.arizona.edu/outreach/bte or call 626-7177.
Speaking of half-marathons, the free weekly Meet Me at Maynards social run and walk provides a weekly training run to prepare people for the Oct. 9 TMC Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon, which features "A" Mountain (and a companion 5K). Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities meet at Maynards Market at the Old Train Depot (400 N. Toole Ave.) every Monday night at 5:30. A hearty group of 30 to 40 runners heads west on Congress Street and then up "A" Mountain.
Whether you ride or run, jog or walk, there's something for everyone in town, so get out and get moving, Tucson.
Randy Accetta is the race director for the TMC Get Moving Tucson Half-Marathon. Randy once raced up a 17,000-foot mountain while doing a story for Runner's World. Accetta competed in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A certified running coach by the Road Runners Club of America, by day he teaches at the University of Arizona.