Taking fun seriously in Marana

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By D. Tyrell McGirt - Interim Parks and Rec Director

The Town of Marana places an emphasis on recreation. It is one of the key components of our Strategic Plan, and is something we feel is critical to a vital community. 

We have invested in our parks and other recreational amenities, and have created a parks and recreation department that is second to none. Our goal is to provide diverse recreational opportunities that create economic benefits and a healthy lifestyle. 

As we enter the fall, we have a number of exciting events and programs to offer our residents who are interested in having fun, while also staying healthy.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, we will host our second Marana Game Day Cornhole Tournament. The event takes the best aspects of tailgating. Like a good tailgate party, our event will have food, games, comradery and even a few adult beverages.

The centerpiece of the event is the Cornhole Tournament, also known as beanbag toss. Dubbed a lawn game, it has found great popularity at tailgates and barbecues. The object of the game is to toss a beanbag, or a bag of corn, into a hole on an angled, rectangular platform.


Fifty two-person teams will compete for the championship, so there is a lot of pride on the line for the bragging rights as best cornhole players in Marana. 

This year we are moving the event to the Pines Golf Club, which is better equipped for both watching college football games and for serving beer.

All call for fall: With the new season comes a whole new crop of programs from Marana Parks and Recreation. This year, we are offering some old favorites, as well as a number of new programs.

Sports are a major component of what our parks and rec department does, and they try to offer activities for all ages and skill level. We recently began offering once-a-week Open Gyms for basketball and volleyball at the Leman Academy. These open gyms allow players to get out and play, whether it is just for a bit of exercise, or to improve their skills for an upcoming season. 

Our pee wee soccer just began, with 100 percent of the slots now filled. Early registration is underway for our equally popular flag football leagues, which provide a great taste of the gridiron for Marana’s young athletes. 

We are trying to expose young athletes to a variety of sports and activities. We have golf lessons, including our Itty Bitty Open Golf for our youngest newcomers to the sport. There are tennis lessons, lacrosse clinics to introduce one of the fastest growing sports to the community and Steve Berry’s Martial Arts Academy, which is open to those as young as six and as old as 96. 

Got a little competitive streak in you? We have some events that might just scratch that itch. Our Dirt Dash at the Wild Burro is a challenging trail run. We invite hikers and runners alike to test themselves with a grueling 14.8K race on a one-of-a-kind single-track course. If you can handle it, this race will force you through massive elevation gains, extreme downhills and several technical sections.

Prefer to view the world from a bicycle? Then Marana’s 28-mile stage of the El Tour de Tucson might be the ride for you. For the second straight year, we are hosting a leg of the El Tour. The later start time and shorter distances are perfect for riders who want to get a taste of the premier cycling event, whether they are new to the sport or just want a shorter ride. Take a detour after the event, and check out some of our many local attractions. Learn more by visiting DiscoverMarana.org.

It may be a few months out, but our annual Turkey Trot 5K/10K race is coming up. The race is a great way to burn some calories in anticipation of Thanksgiving feasts. 

We currently offer monthly guided hikes of the Tortolitas, and we will soon offer guided horseback rides, giving our residents two ways to enjoy the beauty of the mountains. 

Recreation is important to a healthy community, and, as you can tell, we take having fun very seriously in Marana. 

A version of this Town Message appeared in the Marana News.