At 9 a.m. local time on Saturday, October 16, 2021, a horn blast at Bisbee’s Iron Man statue releases the first wave of 1500 entrants out of their metaphoric starter blocks, up the first staircase of nine in the 4.5 mile course of the 30th Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb. This annual event -- save for the pandemic-cancelled 2020 -- is always held on the third Saturday in October.
Founded by Bisbee-ite Cynthia Conroy in 1991 as a charitable fundraiser promoting healthy living in Cochise County, the Bisbee 1000 is touted as the most unique physical fitness challenge -- or friendly fitness walk -- in the country. Both runners and walkers take in some of the most scenic parts of Old Bisbee as they ascend staircases, traverse winding roads and stroll atop some of the city’s oldest granite-stacked retaining walls.
The Bisbee 1000’s overall mission is to create, promote and support initiatives that enhance the economic vitality, health and wellness of citizens in Southern Arizona. And meet its mission, it does. Any resident, frequent weekend Airbnber and business owner will tell you this is the community’s busiest, and arguably most profitable weekend of the year.
Many stair-climbers and spectators show up in their Halloween finery, which is good since there’s a Red Carpet Parade with costume contest and prizes near the start line from 8-8:30 a.m.
Rounding out the wall-to-wall Saturday fun day is the tenth annual Bisbee 1000 Craft Beer Festival. Catered by the BTC Kitchen and for the 21+ crowd - I.D. required - the festival comes alive at 2 p.m. at St. Patrick's Park Lot. There are no advanced ticket purchases. General Admission is $30, $20 for Bisbee 1000 registrants as long as you sport your entrant bib. Designated drivers get in for $10 a head. The beer, food, and music will have the joint jumping through 6 p.m.
Established in 1902, Bisbee is built along the slopes of Tombstone Canyon in the heart of the Mule Mountains situated in Arizona’s most southeasterly county of Cochise. A mile-high locale in its own right at 5300 feet (1600 meters) elevation, the weekend’s October forecast calls for mid-40 mornings to highs in the 70s. It’s not so late in the season that you can forgo slathering on the sunscreen and donning a hat.
Founder Conroy says the 2022 registrations will be limited to 1000 versus the recent 1500. The 31st Annual Bisbee 1000 Event registration for 2022 opens October 16th, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.
Bisbee 1000 is presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit, Bisbee Vogue, Inc.
Bisbee 1000 Start/Finish location: 201 Tombstone Canyon Road, Bisbee, AZ 85603