Today I thought it would be interesting to bring in Dallas Stevens and Renee Stevens to talk about the Tucson Trail Runners and some of the areas they explore. If you have spent any time around a trail race or run you have probably had the opportunity to meet these two amazing people. While they are great runners they are even better people who really believe in bringing the community together and making trail running fun for everyone from the beginner to the crazy ultra addict. Just reading the introduction into their club and some of the events they put on will make you start to question what you have been waiting for. For many of us that are training for a 50 or 100 mile mountainous race we immediately think of training in Northern Arizona but mixing in Southern Arizona training is what we are missing. Yes it is cooler in Flagstaff but if you are on top of the Catalina’s and over 9000 feet of elevation you are going to get the chance to get a little bit of cold weather training, some heat training and elevation. So enjoy the blog by Dallas and Renee two of Southern Arizona’s best Ultra Runners and learn about a whole new area. Make sure you check out their websites listed at the bottom and let’s all get down there and do some running. I will be asking them to write on occasion to talk about upcoming events they have going on and getting some Tucson Trail Maps for anyone interested. I will update my “Trails I like” section as more and more come in…Jay
TTR has a rich history in Southern Arizona. Ken Young started this series in 1978 when he moved to Tucson from Colorado. Various runners have administered the series over the years since that time. Dallas and Renee Stevens have recently taken over the series in its 34th year.
Our group holds informal runs from September through June each year on the trails in the mountains surrounding Tucson. These mountains ranges are primarily the Santa Catalinas, Rincons, Santa Ritas, Tortolitas, and the Tucson Mountains. Two of our most popular runs in the Santa Catalinas are Bear Canyon Loop and Mt Lemmon Ascent (9157’ elev.), both which begin in Sabino Canyon. One of our long standing members, Gene Joseph, has run Bear Canyon loop 482 times and has coined our slogan, Long Live TTR!
We typically access the Rincons via Douglas Springs Trail. Runs out there include Cowhead Saddle, Mica Mountain and Tanque Verde Loop. The first run of the New Year is always in the Tucson Mountains running Wasson Peak. When the Coronado Forest was closed this past summer, this area remained open and we were typically running in triple digits but – it was running on trails!
The Santa Ritas offer Mt Wrightson (9453’ elev.) and Mt Hopkins. One of the last runs of our season is the ‘Multiple Wrightson Massacre’, whereby TTRs attempt as many ascents of Wrightson as possible in one day. With each 10 mile round trip having over 4,000 feet elevation gain, this is an excellent way to train for mountain 100 mile races. We enjoy our trails down here in Tucson and are thrilled when runners from other parts of the country come and visit us to share in our love for running trails.
Each year, a schedule of group runs is created by the series administrators and finalized at the annual group potluck. TTR members volunteer to be RDs (Run Directors) for each run, with others volunteering for aid stations or vehicle support if required. There are no fees to join TTR, although RDs usually buy a few refreshments for runners to have at aid stations or the end of the run. All of the runs are held on Sundays, typically starting at 7am. Runners sign in before the run, providing contact information in the event of an emergency situation.
Notable recent accomplishments of TTR:
- Jane Larkindale – 1st female at San Diego 100, Zane Grey 50, & Sedona 50K
- Julie Arter – holding 10 year course record at Avalon 50 until 2011
- Sarah Dasher – 1st female Old Pueblo 50
- Chase Duarte – completing Angeles Crest 100
- Chris Avery – completing Wasatch 100
- Chris Fall and Jerry Riddick – completing Pine to Palm 100
- Bruce Gungle has completed 3 successful Badwater races
2011 was also a difficult year coming away from the January 8th shootings in which long standing TTR member Ross Zimmerman lost his son Gabe, who was one of Gabrielle Giffords’ aids. The town of Tucson, The Southern Arizona Roadrunners (SAR), and TTR rallied around Ross and his family. SAR created the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown consisting of three races and the turnout was phenomenal. On January 7th, 2012 (the day before the shooting anniversary), a community-wide event will take place called BEYOND – Commemorate*Celebrate*Commit. TTR will be hosting various trail runs out at Sabino Canyon in honor of the event.
A popular ultra in our neck of the woods is Old Pueblo 50 down near Sonoita in the Santa Ritas. 90% of TTRs are either running or volunteering in this race – very similar to what we saw with Javelina this year.
Blog roll for TTR:
Renee – http://www.pinkcorker.blogspot.com/
Chase – http://www.trailsofglory.blogspot.com/
scout – http://scout-bbnd.blogspot.com/
Over the last few years, there has been more interaction between the Phoenix and Tucson area runners – out of town guests are always welcome on our runs. Our schedule isn’t publicly posted, but if you’re ever coming down to the Tucson area, feel free to contact Dallas and Renee Stevens to come out for a run or for run information. They can be reached at dallas.stevens2010 at gmail.com or pinkcorker at gmail.com. The TTR website is at: http://www.ttraz.net/