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Downtown Tucson's October "Rundown": Walks, Runs, & Nonprofit Friends with Benefits

by Kai Parmenter

With the long-awaited departure of scorching temperatures, the Old Pueblo has once again transformed from summer survival mode to bustling city, full of opportunities to exercise and have fun outdoors in our gorgeous desert environment. Tucson has always been a thriving community for runners and walkers of all kinds, with plenty of events on the horizon now that the weather has cooled off. Read on for a full "rundown" of benefit runs and walks in Downtown for October 2016. (See what we did there?)

The second weekend of October is absolutely packed with events. First up is the Color Vibe 5K Run on Saturday, October 8th. Founded in 2012, Color Vibe has become a national sensation, with over 300 events and one million participants so far. Runners are blasted with various colors at stations set up along the course, culminating in a huge, multihued dance party at the finish line.

Made from cornstarch, the color powder is safe, non-toxic and completely biodegradable. You don’t have to run the course, either—the whole point is to have fun! Better still, kids 12 and under can participate for free, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Hope Animal Shelter right here in Tucson. What more could you ask for? The party starts at 9 a.m. at the Tucson Convention Center, at 260 S. Church Ave.

If you’re itching for more after Saturday’s Color Vibe 5K, there will be not one, but two benefit walks the following day, Sunday, October 9th. 2016 marks the 28th annual AIDSWALK Tucson, the proceeds of which go directly to the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Registration will open at 7 a.m., followed by a Fun Run and Walk Opening Ceremonies at 8 a.m. The Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Joel D. Valdez Library, at 101 N. Stone Avenue, with a Quilt Opening Ceremony to follow at 10 a.m.

Alternately, the Make A Wish foundation will host their annual Walk For Wishes at the University of Arizona Mall that same morning. The Walk For Wishes is a family-friendly event. Registration is completely free, and will include pre and post-walk games and activities, including a surprise reveal, where one lucky wish kid will find out their wish is being granted. Participants who raise $100 or more will also receive an event T-shirt. Walk For Wishes starts at 8 a.m., and will close out around 11 a.m. after a medal ceremony.

Those searching for even more good karma and outdoor fun can join in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, October 16th. Participants can walk or run the 3.5-mile course in this noncompetitive event, though teams are welcome. Proceeds will help fund breast cancer research, life-saving education and patient services. Rain or shine, the walk begins at 8 a.m. at the Kino Sports Complex, at 2500 E. Ajo Way. Remember to wear pink!

Capping it all off is the TMC Get Moving Tucson, a massive two day experience taking place over Halloween weekend. The event will kick off Saturday morning with three back-to-back runs, beginning with the Tucson Lifestyle 5K Run/Walk at 7:30 a.m., which is open to all. Next up is a 5K for participants and families of TMC’s youth development program Girls on The Run at 8:30 a.m. There’s even a run for the younger crowd, with the Fitkidz Free One Mile for children under 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Sunday is the big event: the A-Mountain Half-Marathon, which, with over 2,000 participants each year, is the largest urban half-marathon in Tucson. Start tart time is 7 a.m. Better stretch beforehand.

Get Moving Tucson is an inclusive affair, a weekend festival in celebration of running, community and our wonderful city. According to Race Director Randy Accetta, this is the first year the event will span multiple days, and will include cash prizes, age-specific awards, costume contests, live music, a jumping castle and raffle giveaways. Proceeds from the event will fund local charities, including Children and Family Resources, Reid Park Zoo, Team Hoyt Arizona and Southern Arizona Roadrunners.