I love this time of year because I get to write about one of the most fun-filled events in our community.

On Sunday, Oro Valley will once again invite the world to join us in the Arizona Distance Classic.

For those of you who are new to the area or unfamiliar with our town's signature race, it is an annual run/walk that starts at the Ventana Medical Systems complex in Rancho Vistoso, at 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive.

One of the nice things about the event is that it is early on a Sunday morning so you can get back to the family before the morning is even over.

The experience starts for Deb and me as we drive to the event from our home and make a right onto Tangerine Road heading east to Innovation Park Drive. We drive headlong into the magnificent Catalinas, with its full expanse in front of us.

Even though upward of 2,000 people from all over the world are at the event, parking is not a problem. The folks from Ventana are very generous in volunteering their time and parking lot to the event.

Folks start to gather at the starting line by 6:30 for a 7 a.m. start. Lively music greets them, and there is an abundant supply of modern, clean portable restrooms with hand sanitizers.

Next comes my favorite part as the race gets ready to start and the national anthem plays.

Each year it astonishes me that the anthem comes to a resounding crescendo just as the sun rises over the mountains. The energy that the anthem and sunrise provide lends unique inspiration for a great race.

David Babner, the race director from M3S Sports, makes sure that all levels of racers, from highly competitive half-marathoners to folks who want to just stroll for a mile, all feel comfortable.

My favorite part of the start of the race is to admire the wheelchair racers as they get into their racing equipment, their arms bulging with muscles, ready for the challenges ahead.

They sure make Deb and me appreciate all that can be accomplished with strong will and passion.

Deb and I have always walked in the 5K race and enjoy seeing many of the same people and families each year. So come out and enjoy a great event that is a healthy one, too!

See you at the race!

Enjoy the journey,


On StarNet: Read Bob Oro's recent columns at azstarnet.com/boboro

If you go

• What: Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon and 5K.

• When: Sunday beginning with a 6 a.m. pre-run yoga stretch and centering exercise, followed by runs and walks at staggered times until the last one, which starts at 10:30 a.m.; go to arizonadistanceclassic.com/raceinfo.shtml for times and races.

• Where: Ventana Medical Systems Inc., 1910 E. Innovation Park Drive.

• Cost and registration: Go to arizonadistanceclassic.com for details.

E-mail Bob Oro at northwest@azstarnet.com