Run for the Causes

Written by Niki D'Andrea Category: Health & Fitness Issue: December 2014
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Huff and puff with a purpose at these Valley footrace fundraisers.

Some people run for fun. Some run for glory. Why not combine the two, and raise money and awareness for a good cause in the process? There’s no shortage of charity runs in the Valley, and this winter, people will flock to the finish lines and enjoy an array of unusual race day amenities, from donkey rides and DJs to chocolate fondue and rock bands, while benefitting causes from feeding the hungry to leukemia treatment and research.



P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
January 18
Runners in this blue chip event – which benefits a slew of charities, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and City of Hope – enjoy live local bands playing every mile along the course, for a total of about 60 music acts. The post-race concert headliners this year are The Wallflowers, led by Jakob Dylan (son of Bob), best-known for their 1996 hit songs “6th Avenue Heartache” and “One Headlight”;  and Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band OK Go.
Start time: 7:50 a.m.
Registration: $45 for the 10K, $115 for the half-marathon, $130 for the full marathon.
Where: The half-marathon and 10K start at University Drive near McAllister Mall in Tempe; the full marathon begins at CityScape, 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix, 602-772-3888,

Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon
December 14
Pound pavement past the giant LOVE sculpture and lush lawns of Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza at one of the oldest annual running events in Arizona. Tied to the Fiesta Bowl football game and sponsored by Runner’s Den, this race typically sees 1,500 entrants and benefits Food for the Hungry this year.
Start time: 7:30 a.m.
Registration: $23 for the 5K through Nov. 30, $26 through Dec. 13, $30 race day; $65 for the half-marathon through Nov. 30, $70 through Dec. 13, $75 race day.
Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, 75th St. and Main St., Scottsdale, 602-277-4333,


Hot Chocolate 15k
December 7
You can be like Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and sing “I’ve got a golden ticket!” at this race, where finisher medals are gold-plated faux chocolate bars made from metal alloy. Or you can just be like somebody who loves chocolate, and chow down on the “finisher mug” of chocolate fondue with dippable snacks. Hey, you just ran more than 9 miles. You earned it. And if you feel like posing for a photo with the giant inflatable chocolate bar, we’re sure the DJ bumping dance music after the race won’t judge.
Start time: 5K, 7:30 a.m; 15K, 8:15 a.m.
Registration: $44 for the 5K through Nov. 23, $49 after; $69 for the 15K through Nov. 23, $74 after. Raise at least $500 for Ronald McDonald House Charities before race day and receive free race entry.
Where: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort, 7555 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, 480-270-5000,

IMS Arizona Marathon
February 15
Any post-race party that combines donkey rides with a “Bellagio-style water feature” has our attention. This fundraiser for Integrated Medical Services, which serves a gamut of goodwill causes – including Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Arizona, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix – also includes “Momma’s Organic Market Baby & Kids Expo” at the Peoria Farmers’ Market (which features the aforementioned donkey rides), a giant water fountain heralding the end of the course, and a beer garden, where each runner receives one complimentary beer. Legs, don’t fail us now.
Start time: Full marathon, 7 a.m.; 5K and half-marathon, 7:30 a.m.
Registration: $20 for the 5K, $80 for the half-marathon, $85 for the full marathon.
Where: Full marathon takes places at Verrado Towne Center, 21029 W. Main St., Buckeye; half-marathon takes place at Surprise Recreation Campus, 15960 N. Bullard Ave., Surprise; 5K takes place at Westgate City Center AMC Theater, 6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale.