Brian Mickelsen Memorial Half Marathon

Saturday, April 13, 2019 • Cottonwood, AZ • Course Map

From its beginnings as a 10K and 2-mile race back in the early 1990s to its expansion in recent years to include a full marathon and half marathon, the race honors this community’s beloved city manager, who passed away suddenly on a training run in 2007 with a race that welcomes several hundred runners each year.

The race unfolds along out-and-back course through this small city in central Arizona that lies about a two-hour drive north from Phoenix on the way to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon, a small city of just over 11,000 residents that originally got its name from the plentiful cottonwood trees that grow along the banks of the Verde River, which flows around the northern and eastern edges of town.

Located between the nearby towns of Prescott and Sedona, the city boasts dramatic scenery, from mountains to red- and orange-colored mesas and buttes that surround it on all sides.

Runners start the out-and-back course for the full marathon and the half marathon at Cottonwood’s Riverfront Park, which lies just off Main Street and North 10th Street, just south of the Verde River.

From there, the course takes runners first through the historic district known as Old Town — Cottonwood is sometimes called “the Old Town city,” and its history dates back to its beginnings as a small farming community in 1879 — where runners will make their way past homes, retail shops, galleries and the “Old Town” downtown, whose Main Street is framed by wide-open blue skies and mountains off in the distance.

Next, runners make their way north roughly in parallel with the winding Verde River toward the Tuzigoot National Monument, where visitors can explore the ancient village settlement (also called a pueblo) left behind by the Sinagua tribe. Estimated to have been built in about 1000 C.E.

The 42-acre pueblo was vacated by the Sinagua around 1400, and even today has more than 110 intact rooms, many of which are made up of two and sometimes three stories each. Runners head into the grounds of the Tuzigoot monument and follow the trails along Pecks Lake, and then head onto the trails that take them southward out of Tuzigoot and south toward Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

The next stretch of the race takes runners into this park — which, as legend has it, got its name from the children of the family who purchased the ranch, who identified the ranch as they one they liked when they noticed a dead horse lying on the side of the road next to it — for the next three miles, along an out-and-back that takes them around the two small lakes near its eastern end.

Once they make their way around those, and then make a final out-and-back loop around the trails near the entrance to the park, the race then heads back south along North 10th Street to Riverfront Park for the race finish.

Race Weather & Climate

Nestled along the Verde River in central Arizona, about 50 miles southwest of Flagstaff and roughly 100 miles north of Phoenix, Cottonwood typically sees cool to mild and sometimes fairly warm weather in April, a month that has brought record temperatures here as low as 26 degrees (in 1983) and as high as 98 degrees (in 1986).

On race day (April 13), the average low is 45ºF and the average high is 78ºF.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 6:00 AM – full marathon
  • 7:30 AM – half marathon
  • 7:40 AM – 10K
  • 7:50 AM – 2-mile


  • $40 – $70 for the half marathon
  • $60 – $90 for the full marathon
  • $25 – $50 for the 10K
  • $20 – $30 for the 2 mile


To reserve your spot in any of the race distances at the 2019 running of Cottonwood’s Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run/Walk, visit the event website below.

Official Race Website


Ever run in the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Run/Walk? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: April, Arizona

4 comments… add one
  • Mike Bosco April 16, 2019, 10:23 am

    can you tell me how I can get a picture of getting my 1st place medal for my age group

  • Denise April 9, 2017, 10:28 am

    I drove up race morning from Scottsdale (quick, easy drive). This was a well organized race. It was not overly crowded, easy to access the parking and start line. The course had two hills, some trail running and overall a great course. The registration fee was very affordable. I will be back!

  • Kimm Brown March 31, 2016, 6:21 pm

    I signed up for the half marathon on April 16th but can’t find my email! Do I need it?
    Kimm Brown

  • Robin January 16, 2016, 8:03 pm

    Loved the scenic course, limited crowds and easy parking–close to course. Friendly folks at frequent water stops. Have been telling lots of friends about this fun race who hadn’t heard of it.


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