This Saturday, at 9 a.m. sharp a horn blast at Bisbee’s Iron Man statue releases the frontrunners of 1300 entrants up the first staircase of nine in the 4.5-mile course of the 31st Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb. This famed, annual event is always held on the third Saturday in October.
Many stair-climbers and spectators show up in their Halloween finery, which is good since there’s a Red Carpet Parade with a costume contest and prizes near the start line from 8-8:30 a.m.
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.
Using a lot of volunteer power, 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.
Bisbee history and what to wear
Established in 1902, Bisbee is built along the slopes of Tombstone Canyon in the heart of the Mule Mountains in Arizona’s most southeasterly county of Cochise. At 5300 feet (1600 meters) elevation, Bisbee is the southernmost mile-high city in the U.S.
This weekend’s October forecast calls for mid-50 mornings to highs in the 70s, with some possibility for rain. Runners, walkers, and spectators alike should dress in layers and drink water at regular intervals. It’s not so late in the season that you can forgo slathering on sunscreen and donning a hat.
Mark your calendars
Register to participate in next year’s 32nd Annual Bisbee 1000 event when this year’s race ends. Registration opens at 1:00 p.m. at the finish line. The 2022 race slots sold out on April 6!
Bisbee 1000 Start/Finish location: 201 Tombstone Canyon Road, Bisbee, AZ 85603
Bisbee 1000 is presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit, Bisbee Vogue, Inc. Its grand sponsor is Pioneer Title Agency.