Hello to the registrants of the TMC Tucson 10k. Randy Accetta here, with another follow-up note about the TMC Tucson 10k.
You no doubt saw all the speeding Pima County Sheriff’s Department vehicles on Anklam just as you were heading out on the race route. It was probably pretty scary to see so many flashing lights — it was certainly scary for me down at the finish line!
Fortunately, the incident to which they were responding had nothing to do with our race and everything turned out fine, but we wanted to direct you to the September 20th Daily Star article that describes in some detail what happened.
The article has more details, but in brief, a few moments after the race began, a 911 call came in about a man shooting a gun and perhaps involved in a kidnap situation near Gates Pass, just a couple of miles from the race course.
Off-duty Pima County Sheriff Sgt. Derek Tyra was our event Incident Commander, managing a team of Pima County Sheriff officers who handled road closures and basic event safety. At the race start, Sgt. Tyra was stationed on Anklam Road, about 1.6 miles into the 10k race, tasked with ensuring road safety as the runners and walkers navigated the turn-around at the 1.55 mile mark.
Moments after the race began, his radio picked up the emergency call about the active shooter situation. A few minutes later based on information passed to him by the team of off-duty Sheriff deputies stationed at the 3-mile mark, Sgt. Tyra located the speeding vehicle as it drove past our 5k turn-around point.
Sgt. Tyra followed the vehicle and within a half-mile had pulled the vehicle over and swiftly apprehended the shooting suspect.
As we said in the Daily Star article, it’s pretty clear that Sgt. Trya is a hero, and we’re grateful to the full complement of Pima County Sheriff Deputies who arrived on scene to handle the situation.
As you know, the TMC Tucson 10k is part of the Gabe Zimmerman Triple Crown and raises funds for the BEYOND-Tucson Foundation, a non-profit founded in the wake of the 2011 shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, in which Gabe and others were murdered.
Sgt. Tyra told me this is just an ordinary part of his job, but the fact that he led the arrest on a shooting perpetrator on the day that we were running to celebrate the life of a shooting victim, Gabe Zimmerman, is actually pretty extraordinary.
Now, this seems like a good opportunity to remind you of some of the ways we try to ensure runner safety at the events we at Run Tucson produce with SAR.
Because our mission is to make Tucson better through running, our courses highlight some of the most engaging and visible elements of our community.
In addition to this first-time event on the public roads at the western edge of Tucson, we work with SAR to produce events in the desert of Old Tucson Studios, on the roads of Saguaro National Park, and in Downtown urban environments.
1) Depending on the location of the event, we always receive appropriate permits from agencies such as the City of Tucson, City of Tucson Parks and Rec, City of Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff, Pima County Department of Transportation, Pima County Parks, Arizona Department of Transportation, and the National Park Service.
2) Depending on the location of the event, we hire Pima County Sheriff Deputies, City of Tucson Police, National Park Rangers, and others to provide route safety.
3) We also hire approved barricade companies to set up the race and parking barricading, all in compliance with the appropriate governing agencies.
4) We’ve been working with Rural Metro, AMR, and Drexel Heights FD to provide dedicated ambulances on site. Our colleagues at Tucson Fire are always involved with City permitting, but we have not yet had to call on them for ambulance support.
We cannot solve for every future situation, but we work hard to ensure that contingencies are prepared for.
Finally, you should know how helpful our local agencies are.
Some people complain about public servants and bureaucracy, but I’ll share with you that every single person I have worked with at the City of Tucson, Pima County, the National Park, ADOT, and elsewhere is dedicated to ensuring public safety and public recreation.
I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of our local officials who enable us to produce these running events.
Thank you for being part of our running community — if you have any questions, please contact me directly.
Randy Accetta, co-founder, Run Tucson
Past-President, Southern Arizona Roadrunners