Party of a two-day series of running events hosted by Yuma's Troop 8054 of the Boy Scouts of America, the Fortuna Mine Trail Half Marathon takes runners on an out-and-back loop course through the Yuma foothills just south of the city, with gorgeous views of the Gila Mountains all around and even a stretch that winds through the Fortuna Mine.
The race takes runners through the area known as the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, which is used by air force and Marine Corps pilots to make bombing test runs in planes like the A-10 and F-16 as well as the F-18s and AV-8B Harrier from nearby bases including Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Luke Air Force Base. No need to worry, though -- those missions take place far away from where runners will trek through the hills for the race!
Runners will encounter sandy, dusty hills and trails as well as plenty of sunshine along the roads and trails that make up the 13.1-mile route for the Fortuna Mine Trail race, which is named for the historic mine of the same name that lies about 21 miles southeast of Yuma. First discovered in the early 1890s, the Fortuna Mine was (quite literally) a gold mine that yielded more than 120,000 ounces of gold in its first productive period, which lasted until about the early 1900s. It's been mined several times since then, but its glory days as an active mine are now history.
From the starting line for the half marathon, which lies just over five miles south of the Fortuna Foothills area, runners first head southeast along the road known as the Cam Del Diablo. The road takes them for about the first three and a half miles of the course, after which they venture off the road and onto the trails that wind through the foothills for the next three miles, until they meet up again with the established road and turn right to head north along the road.
The course remains flat around the mid-way point of the race, and stays that way between mile markers 7 and 9, and then begins a gradual uphill climb over the next two miles as runners make their way along the trails back up toward the Cam Del Diablo road. Once there, they then head northwest along the road until they return to the starting line area for the half marathon finish. The race begins at 8:00 AM Arizona Mountain Time, and runners may register on the day of the race starting at 7:00 AM.
The 13.1-mile course features several different terrains, ranging from hard-packed dirt to sand, to rough, rocky roads, race organizers say, adding that the views are spectacular, taking you right past 200-year-old Saguaro and Ocotillo cactus. Because the event is held in a remote area, they add, runners will need to either be shuttled to and from the parking area or they will need to drive a high clearance vehicle (such as a truck or SUV) -- four-wheel drive is not required. They also ask that runners arrive early and allow 20 minutes to travel from the entrance to the starting & finish line.
Weather & Climate
Located in the state's southwestern corner, just over 180 miles southwest of Phoenix and about 170 miles east of San Diego, Calif., Yuma typically sees far milder weather in the fall than in the summer, when temperatures regularly reach triple digits. In November, the city's average monthly temperatures range between 77°F and 52°F -- on the day of the race (Nov. 20), the average high is 75°F and the average low is 51°F -- while rainfall is rare, averaging just over a tenth of an inch for the month.
$45 for the half marathon, if registered by August 20, 2011
$55 between Aug. 21 - November 18
$65 on the day of the race
To reserve your spot in the fall 2011 running of Yuma's Fortuna Mine Trail Half Marathon, register
online at Active.com.
Half Marathon Course Map
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