Home Events - SAR - Southern Arizona Roadrunners Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler

Saguaro National Park Labor Day 8-Miler

Monday, September 4, 2023 (Labor Day)

Event Description:

The Original Saguaro!  This is the only Saguaro race that takes place within the actual-factual cactus forest of Saguaro National Park.  Stunning views, iconic imagery, and a course that will blow you away!


WE NEED YOUR HELP! To volunteer, please click HERE

Five Saguaro Updates on September 3rd:

  1. Click here all race day information with updated details on the weekend schedule, directions, parking, awards, and more.  
  2. Remaining race shirts will be available at The Running Shop starting Wednesday, September 6th.
  3. All race results will be posted to www.roadrunnerracetiming.com after the race.  
  4. If you received an age group award but didn’t pick it up at the race, you can visit the Running Shop at 3055 North Campbell Avenue in September to snag your award.  
  5. Unfortunately, there is no in-person registration on race day, so all registration is now closed for the 2023 Saguaro event.  However, the next events on the Southern Arizona Roadrunner calendar include the September 10th TMC Tucson 10k and 5k and the Sabino Canyon One Mile FitKidz Classic, a free event for children under 12, held on Saturday, September 23rd.

September 1 Update and Final Email to participants and stakeholders: Please click HERE to see this  email and all the details!

August 29 Update: Please see the race registration page for all race weekend news, including updates on the schedule, parking, packet pickup and more.  https://runsignup.com/Race/AZ/Tucson/SaguaroNationalParkLaborDay8Miler5k

August 23 Update: Labor Day Weekend Sale at Race Sponsor The Running Shop

The Running Shop is offering a special Labor Day Sale, from August 31 – September 4 (regular hours, but on the 4th, they’ll be open from 10am – 2pm). Deals: Take an extra 10% off sale shoes, with 20% off all apparel and 50% off all sale apparel.

August 22 Registration Update: about 75 slots remain.  The National Park Service caps the race at 750 participants combined in the 5k and the 8-miler.

There is no race day registration, so please sign up early to guarantee your spot!  We’ve ordered 750 race shirts with the unique 2023 race logo, so be sure to come to packet pick up early to get the sizing you want.

Here’s an update on the post-race goodies:

·       SKRATCH Labs refreshing and tasty hydration

·       New energy gels from Tucson-based BREAKAWAY ENERGY

·       Texas Roadhouse goodies and giveaways

·       Salty and sweet carb-based snacks from TMC

·       DJ CLINT spinning the tunes

The 2023 edition will be the 52nd Annual Saguaro National Park Labor Day Run, with an 8-mile run and a 5k run/walk.  One of the few races actually taking place in a National Park, the Saguaro Labor Day Run is a regional tradition, with awards, prize money, and commemorative souvenirs.  Produced by the Southern Arizona Roadrunners, whose original founders created the race back in 1971. 

The 8 Miler is part of The Running Shop/Mizuno SAR Grand Prix series.

Race Morning Timeline:

5:00 am – 5:45 am: packet pickup.  All shirt sizing is first-come, first-served. NOTE: There is no in-person registration in Saguaro National Park on race day.

5:30 am: 8-Mile Walk Start.  Anyone can do the early start, but all early-starters are not eligible for awards

6:00 am: 8-Mile Run Start. This is the Open Start for all runners.  You must start at 6:00 am to be eligible for age group, overall awards, and Grand Prix points

6:05 am: 5k Run/Walk Start.  The 5k event begins after the 8-mile start, at about 6:05 am.  All 5k participants start at the same time.

8:00 am: Awards begin, most likely starting with 5k then 8-miler afterwards

9:00 am: Route closes, with National Park Service reserving the right to pick up late-finish athletes, depending on safety concerns

9:30 am: Approximate time when the Park opens to all vehicle traffic

NOTE: Race sponsor The Running Shop will be open from 10am – 2pm on Labor Day Monday.  Any remaining race shirts will be available at the Running Shop (3055 North Campbell Avenue) through the end of September.

Event Beneficiaries: Friends of Saguaro National Park

Fees and Registration:

Register Online for 2023: HERE

Mail-In Registration form: HERE

Registration Pricing:

Both 8-mile and 5k have the same price
$30 through Dec 31, 2022

$35 – Jan 1 – May 31, 2023

$40 – June 1 – July 31, 2023

$50 – August 1 – Aug 31, 2023

*SAR members receive a 10% discount automatically

**Provide your National Park Service number to receive an additional $5 off

Packet Pickup Info:

  • Saturday, September 2nd, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Running Shop, 3055 North Campbell Ave.
    • Shirt sizing is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Yes, you can pick up the number and shirt for other people; please be mindful of the crowds.
    • Registration on September 2nd via cash or check
    • Yes, the Running Shop is holding their annual Labor Day sale, with discounts on sale shoes, sale apparel, and regular apparel.
  • Monday, September 4th, 5:00am – 5:45am – At the race site, Saguaro National Park East, 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail Rd, Visitor Center Parking Lot

Course Info:

8-Mile Course: The loop 8 miler goes clockwise from the Visitor Center through the beautiful cactus forest at Saguaro National Park East in the foothills of the scenic Rincon Mountains.  The paved course is hilly, with stunning views of the iconic Sonoran Desert, including a vista overlooking the entire Tucson basin.  The water stops for the 8-Miler will be at approximately 3 and 7 miles.  Please bring your own water and hydration as needed.

5k Course: Out-and-back on paved rolling hills. The 5k participants stay to the right as they head into the Park on Cactus Forest Drive, then follow the chalk-arrows and turn right to head down the hill to the Javelina Picnic Grounds past the Freeman Homestead Trail. You’ll turn around at the Turn-Around sign before you hit the picnic grounds, then reverse your route to the finish line. Please stay on the right coming back to the finish line. There will be a water stop with volunteers from the Tucson TriGirls at the Cactus Forest Trailhead, approximately the 1 and 2 marks in the 5k.


The 8M has awards for the top 3 finishers in 5 year age groups, and the 5K in 10 year age groups.

All participants receive a race t-shirt.

Safety Guidelines & Protocols:

We continue to monitor relevant information and consult with public health guidelines appropriate for Pima County and will ensure that all race day activities are compliant with recommendations and best practices.


Rolling start, with start/finish line chip timing by Roadrunner Race Timing


Weather: most likely in the high 70’s at the start, rising to triple digits later in the day.

Headphones: headphones are discouraged; please be mindful of other athletes, rattlesnakes, and Park Rangers.

Strollers:  The 5k is fine for strollers but the 8-miler is probably not a great idea for pushing a young child, with lots of steep up-and-downs and the possibility of high heat for the child in the last few miles of the race once the sun comes out.

Chair Athletes: The 5k would be moderately challenging for chair athletes, while the 8-miler is a demanding course with downhills possible dangerous for chair athletes.

Pets Not Allowed: We love pets but they cannot be on the grounds of Saguaro National Park East between 5am – 9am.  Service animals are excepted.  See here for details on NPS pet policies.

Parking: The National Park Service and Pima County Department of Transportation are both great friends of this race, but they’re worried about public safety on the roads near the Park, so please drive slowly as you approach the National Park, watch for cyclists, and watch for your fellow pedestrians. Please follow the posted rules and be safe. 

·       Please consider car-pooling to reduce the vehicle footprint on the roadways. A drop-off section is located in front of the entrance.

·       Parking is available on the sides of the roads, on Freeman, Old Spanish Trail, and Escalante.

·       There is NO parking in the National Park.

·       Do not park in driveways, do not park near hydrants, do not block traffic.

·       Here’s what the National Park Service has said: “please pay attention to the NO PARKING signs along Old Spanish Trail! We’d rather not have to cite and tow folks who are blocking sight lines and bike lanes…” 

There will be 12 ACE portojohns in the NPS parking lot near the starting line, so please allow enough time to use the restroom before you begin the race. There will be one portjohn on the 8-mile course near, near the overlook near Mile 4.

Please do NOT use the desert as a bathroom. Rattlesnakes and cactus may do some damage — plus the NPS will fine you!


    Sep 04 2023


    5:00 am - 9:00 am


    Saguaro National Park (East)
    Tucson, Arizona


    Randy Accetta