ARR Desert Classic Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Saturday, January 28, 2023 • Surprise, AZ • Course Map

Note: The 2023 race consists of a half marathon and 5K.

Set to mark its 29th annual running this year, the Desert Classic Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K takes runners on a long, mostly straightaway course just to the north of Arizona’s White Tank Mountain Regional Park, a 30,000-acre park filled with rugged, rocky, mountainous terrain and which lies to the west of the Phoenix metro area.

For runners in the half marathon — which is organized by the Arizona Road Racers running club — the course follows an out-and-back route over a paved highway road leading west from the city of Surprise, with ample views of the majestic mountain scenery in all directions around, as well as the thrill of running through a true arid, desert climate.

The race starts and finishes at Riverboat Village in Surprise (at 18300 West Bell Road), and the half marathon takes runners solely along the Sun Valley Parkway for 6.55 miles to the turnaround point, where runners then begin the trek back to the start following the course they have just run. It’s a long, gradual uphill to the half-way point, followed by a long, gradual downhill in the second half.

Runners in the full marathon who wish may choose to start as early as 6:00 AM — to do so, please notify the race director before the day of the race. For more information, contact the Arizona Road Racers at the website shown below.

White Tank Mountains Regional Park. (Photo by Jan Pauw/flickr)

White Tank Mountains Regional Park. (Photo by Jan Pauw/flickr)

Race Weather & Climate

With temperatures during January that average between 41°F and 68°F, the city of Surprise (located about 40 miles northwest of Phoenix) experiences moderately warm to mild and cool weather in the winter. The area is also mostly a dry climate, with just over an inch of rainfall for the month.

On the day of the race (Jan. 28), the average low is 42°F and the average high is 69°F.

Course Map

See the ARR Desert Classic Half Marathon course map here.

Starting Time

  • 7:30 AM – half marathon
  • 8:15 AM – 5K


  • $50 – $55 for the half marathon
  • $26 – $30 for the 5K
  • discounts available for ARR members


To sign up for the winter 2023 running of Surprise’s ARR Desert Classic Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K or 5K race, register online at here.

Official Race Website


Ever run in the ARR Desert Classic Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments box below.

See more races in: January, Arizona

2 comments… add one
  • Jessica January 28, 2017, 9:45 am

    While I appreciate the ideals of these such races,is it absolutely necessary to start the races right behind houses. Our entire household was woken up before the sun was even up prior to 7AM. My husband works late nights as a police officer and had not even been alseep 5 hours. My small children came running into my room. In the future you should consider starting the race father down the road so your announcements and loud horn aren’t right behind someone’s house. Perhaps on the other side of the dam would be more considerate of others not involved in the race. As I sit typing this at 7:45am the music is blaring over my tv. Rude!!

  • Linda November 23, 2014, 11:45 pm

    What is the price for the 5-k run? Only listed is the price for the marathon


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