The Sedona Marathon, which returns Feb. 1 at 9 a.m., continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Last year, the Coconino National Forest gave the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the marathon’s organizers, the green light to grow the number of racers by 20 percent every year, says Jennifer Wesselhoff, president/CEO of the chamber. “Of course, we would never let the event get out of hand,” says Jennifer. “We want to maintain the intimacy and charm that has made the Sedona Marathon such a coveted event. But every year we have more people turn out. Last year we had 2,500 participants, and we’re already on track to increase that number this year.”
The ninth annual event includes 5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon races. All races begin and end on Navoti Drive behind the Verde Valley Medical Center in West Sedona, but the course for this year’s 5K has been altered to include the Kachina subdivision off Dry Creek Road. That means 5K runners will have a few more hills to tackle, says Jennifer. Join organizers for practice runs on Jan. 4, 11 and 18 at 9 a.m. and experience the course before race day.
On Jan. 31, the all-you-can-eat pasta dinner will return, but it will be held at multiple restaurants this year in order to keep up with demand, says Jennifer. Check the marathon’s website for details. On that same day, racers can pick up their packets and check out the Sedona Marathon Event Expo at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (336 SR 179) from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. An awards ceremony takes place at the start/finish line on the day of the race; enjoy a post-race party at Olde Sedona Family Restaurant Bar & Grill (1405 SR 89A in West Sedona) in the late afternoon.
Registration is still open for all races. As a reminder, no pets are allowed and strollers are only permitted on the 5K route. For more information, visit www.sedonamarathon.com or call 928-204-1123. – Erika Ayn Finch