Mount Lemmon Marathon

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Mount Lemmon Marathon
A section of the General Hitchcock Scenic Byway which serves as the course
LocationTucson, Arizona, United States
Event typeRoad
DistanceMarathon and half-marathon
Course recordsMarathon:
 • Men: 3:13:42
 • Women: 3:59:13
 • Men: 1:34:12
 • Women: 1:52:10

The Mount Lemmon Marathon was formerly an annual marathon that takes place in the Santa Catalina Mountains near the city of Tucson, Arizona, United States. The race started near the desert floor and ended at the village of Summerhaven near the top of Mount Lemmon. It was noted for the entire course being uphill, and had an elevation gain of over 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Local television station KVOA described the race as "the only long-distance uphill race in the U.S".[1] It had been described as the most difficult road marathon in the world.[2] Runners ran on the General Hitchcock Scenic Byway and started the race surrounded by cacti near the floor of the Sonoran Desert, and as they climbed the mountain, runners transitioned into lush pine forests near the top of the mountain at over 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level.[2] The New York Times noted that there are other difficult marathons including the Antarctic Ice Marathon which is run on snow and ice south of the Antarctic Circle, the Everest Marathon which starts at the south Everest Base Camp at an altitude of 17,590 feet (5,360 m), and the Pikes Peak Marathon which climbs over 7,700 feet (2,300 m) to the top of Pikes Peak.[2]

Some of the runners cited the challenge of running continuously uphill for 26.2 miles (42.2 km) as a reason for running the Mount Lemmon Marathon.[1][3]

The inaugural race was held on October 17, 2010. There were 394 finishers in the marathon, and 390 in the half-marathon.[4] Race organizers expected 2,500 participants covering both events.[5] Finishing in 3:13:42, the men's marathon winner, 25-year-old James Miles, was running in just his third marathon. It was his first win. The women's winner, 25-year-old Emily McGregor, was running in her first marathon and finished in 3:59:13.[2][4] The race scheduled for April 27, 2014 was canceled unexpectedly in mid March by race directors and was presumed to be defunct as a future event. The current champion of the men's marathon is Gary Gold, who won the race the in 2013, the last year it was held.

A downhill marathon and half-marathon on Mount Lemmon is scheduled to run for the first time on November 12, 2017[6].


  1. ^ a b "Mount Lemmon marathon to be run Sunday". 15 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Marc Lacey (17 October 2010). "A Finish Line With a Real High: 8,000 Feet". New York Times. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  3. ^ Nick Prevenas (19 October 2010). "Jan Miller relishes her 'uphill' battle". Green Valley Times. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Mount Lemmon Marathon and Half Marathon - Tucson". 27 October 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Mt. Lemmon race looking up". Arizona Daily Star. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  6. ^ "REVEL Mt Lemmon". REVEL Mt Lemmon. Retrieved 2017-11-11.

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