AZ Distance Classic is at 10 years in Oro Valley - Tucson Local Media: News

AZ Distance Classic is at 10 years in Oro Valley

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 4:00 am

When an event reaches its 10-year anniversary, it signifies something special. When that event continues to be hosted at the same venue year after year, it’s an accomplishment.

That’s exactly how Oro Valley town officials feel about the Arizona Distance Classic, an event hosted by M3S Sports, which is going to host the 10th annual marathon on March 23.

“First of all, we are flattered that they chose Oro Valley 10 years ago,” said Mayor Satish Hiremath. “I am equally impressed with the town’s continued commitment to keep this event and make it the success that it is.”

David Babner, president of M3S Sports, said Oro Valley was chosen for the half marathon race because of the setting. The 10th anniversary Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon will allow runners, walkers and wheelers to experience the race in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The race begins at the campus of Ventana Medical Systems, located on Innovation Park Drive, just south of Rancho Vistoso Boulevard, and takes participants west, and back on the course along Rancho Vistoso Boulevard. The course continues through a scenic neighborhood studded with saguaro cacti and surrounding picturesque Honey Bee Canyon.

Babner first looked into hosting the race in Oro Valley after receiving a call 10 years ago from John Corbett of All About Running and Walking. He wanted to explorer the possibility of hosting a world-class half marathon in Oro Valley.

Corbett, along with Gregg Forszt, who was with Ventana Medial Systems, put together a local organizing committee that included representatives from Northwest Medical Center, Splendido and the Town of Oro Valley. The rest is history.

“They were very excited to work with us to find the necessary support to launch such an amazing celebration of the active lifestyle,” Babner said. 

The annual race draws in more than 2,500 runners, with more than 20 percent of them coming from outside the state.

Oro Valley Town Manager Greg Caton said Oro Valley wins every time the event is hosted locally.

“This event has a good message, supporting the outdoor, healthy lifestyle,” Caton said. “It’s also an economic shot in the arm with the outside guests coming to town.”

Agreeing with Caton, Hiremath said its more than just a special event, it brings the town sales taxes, which in turn supports public safety, parks and funds local programs.

Babner said they have no regrets about keeping the event in Oro Valley for 10 straight years.

“Oro Valley is a world class town with remarkable residents who have taken ownership of the event,” he said. “ Our event has grown right along with the town.”

This year’s event will be held on March 23. To register visit the website at


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