Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013
On January 5th, Saguaro National Park again joined other community partners taking part in the second annual “BEYOND: Commemorate, Celebrate, Commit” event, teaming up with the Southern Arizona Roadrunners to host a free, non-competitive five mile social run in the Tucson Mountain District.
Over 200 people participated in the run, enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery and engaging with their neighbors. This run was hosted free of any entrance or registration fees and many people came out to celebrate the healing power of the outdoors and the spirit of togetherness in our community.
The shooting tragedy that occurred on January 8, 2011, killing six people and injuring thirteen, was devastating for the Tucson community. All of us were affected, whether they knew Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the victims, or the survivors. It was a hard day for all, and certainly for the staff of Saguaro National Park.
Congresswoman Giffords and her Director of Community Outreach, Gabe Zimmerman, who was killed in the incident, had supported many of the park’s efforts on both a professional and personal level. And hearts were deeply saddened for the many others who were impacted and changed forever by that horrible day. To hear of such shocking news made us realize just how precious life is and how a community can be transformed in an instant.
For the second year, the BEYOND event was a huge community effort involving a diverse coalition of community partners from local nonprofits to local government and federal land management agencies, hosting events that included opportunities to walk, hike, run, bike, ride, be artistic, and learn new skills at more than 30 venues across the Greater Tucson area.
BEYOND’s goals are to:
- Commemorate those lost in the tragedy,
- Celebrate the spirit and connectivity of our community, and
- Commit to a stronger community through outdoor recreation and promotion of physical and mental health.
The park looks forward to participating again in next year’s BEYOND and continuing the annual tradition of celebrating life by running among saguaros.
To learn more about BEYOND, please go to www.beyond-tucson.org.