The Catalina Highway will be home to the first Mount Lemmon Marathon on Sunday.
Race organizers call this 26.2-mile race the toughest road marathon in the world. Runners from all over the United States will make their way to Tucson to tackle the mountain race, which starts at the base and finishes in Summerhaven. The half-marathon will begin partway up the mountain and conclude at the same spot. The highway will remain open during the duration of both races.
The Star recently talked with Laszlo Otvos, the owner and president of Sunday's Mount Lemmon Marathon:
Have you reached the goal of 2,500 runners in the field?
A: Right now we have a little over 1,200 people so half of what we expected, but I think it's great because it will be safer and more manageable. I'm excited about this because about half of the runners are from Tucson while the other half are coming from all over the United States. There is still room to sign up, so if Tucson is your backyard please come join us for this great race.
Have there been any difficulties setting up the course?
A: No, not really, everything has been great. The actual course has been easy due to the general turns and intersections. Trying to figure out the transportation and how to make it safe has probably been the most difficult thing so far. I've been working with the county and forest service to make sure everything is safe for everyone involved.
What does it mean to have running icon Bart Yasso competing in this event?
A: (Yasso) is a living running legend, and the fact that he is supporting this event and actually attending the event means a lot to me personally and to the city of Tucson. I think its great he sees the Mount Lemmon Marathon as a challenging adventure considering he has raced in events all over the world.
Are you concerned about the weather and accidents along the course?
A: The event is going to happen rain or shine. Obviously if it is raining or lightning we will have to make adjustments but the forecast is for wonderful warm weather. We have four medical stations throughout the course and eight ambulances so basically you will have a medical staff every two miles.
• What: Mount Lemmon Marathon
• Where: Up the Catalina Highway
• When: 6 a.m. Sunday