Bisbee 1000–The Ultimate Stair Climb

Every year for our anniversary, October 23, my husband and I plan on doing something fun. “Fun” of course is different for everyone.

Last year, after reading up on its awesomeness, we decided that on our anniversary weekend we’d run the Bisbee 1000 stair climb race. If you’ve never heard of it, let me explain why this is something to put on your must-do list:

Bisbee, Arizona is absolutely beautiful. It’s a really small town nestled in hills and looks like one of those little villages inside of a snow globe. It almost looks fake of how perfect it is. The buildings are old school and the whole town feels like it never left the 1800’s.

Everyone is extremely friendly. Everywhere you go it seems like everyone is happy you’re there.

The food is amazing. You can’t go wrong with eating in Bisbee. I especially like Café Roka. Apparently a lot of people do—(make reservations!).

Hotel accommodations are an adventure! You can stay at The (haunted) Copper Queen Hotel or one of the many bed and breakfasts available where each one is decorated to a specific theme.

There are so many things to see and do in Bisbee. You can spend the whole day walking around looking at the many shops, galleries, and bookstores and get a workout all while you’re doing it! Bisbee was an old mining town and you can see the great big hole where copper was taken from the earth. There are even tours of the mine itself.


The race. The race is a 5k (technically 4.5 miles) where throughout the course are nine sets of stairs of various amounts that you need to climb. The first set, the Bandshell, consists of 73 steps; the Opera, 100 steps; Maxfield, 181, and so forth.

Snapshot 2013-10-16 20-35-46

You start the race excited that you’re doing something unique and different. It’s advertised as the only outdoor stair climb race in the U.S. But after the first couple of sets, you realize that this is serious business. There really is no way to prepare for running at race pace with 1000+ (1034 total) stairs sprinkled throughout the course.


But as you’re running up the stairs, you’re giving yourself a better and better view of the town. Remember, this place is beautiful. You can’t help but admire the picturesque views as you’re gasping for air.

The stairs themselves are unique. Some of them are painted, some have been tiled, some are worn down and cracked. Most of the stairs are right next to houses and as you climb, you’re cheered on by the people sitting in their porches. One was playing the banjo for the racers.

You definitely feel like you’re a part of something special when you run this race. It’s almost like you’re in a whimsical place, somewhere far, far away. Imaginary.

I like races that are unique, that have a story, that when after you run it, you become a part of that story. I’m glad I’m someone that can tell this one.


5 responses

  1. Pingback: 2013 Year in Review | hellyontherun

  2. Pingback: Friday Five: Fave Race Memories | hellyontherun

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