Safford Lions 5K & 10K Community Mental Health Awareness Run set for October 24

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Chantel Pearce exudes her joy of finishing the Tri-Community Tri in 2018. For a 5K or 10K challenge, register for this year’s Community Mental Health Awareness Run set for Saturday, Oct. 24.

Staff Reports

SAFFORD – The annual Safford Lions Club 5K & 10K Community Mental Health Awareness Run will be Saturday, Oct. 24, at Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus. The 10K race will start at 8 a.m., followed by the start of the 5K race at 8:30.

The computer timed course will take racers around a 5K groomed path circling Discovery Park and will feature medals for the top three male and female competitors in each of the following age groups: 14 and under, 15-20, 21-35, 36-54, and 55 and older. Medals for the top six best costumed participates will also be awarded. All proceeds from the event will be distributed locally by the Safford Lions for mental health services.

Registration is $20 per person or $15 per person for family groups of three or more and T-shirts are included. Race day registration is $25 per person and starts at 7 a.m. Children 10 years old and younger are free.

To register, log on to Eventbrite or contact Mike Garcia at 928-432-1430 or by email at

Residents of Graham County enjoy spectacular scenery, a moderate cost of living, very good schools and medical care, a mild winter climate, and great friends.  With all the positives there are also significant problems and challenges.   More than 4 percent of Arizonans suffered from significant mental health problems, 8 percent of adolescents and adults struggled with substance abuse disorders,  and 17.4 percent drank excessively in 2015, according to Data USA. The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 11 deaths by suicide and eight drug-induced deaths in Graham County in 2017.

This is the sixth year of the Community Mental Health Awareness 5K Run in the Gila Valley.  SEABHS sponsored the 5K Run from 2013 – 2017.  

The Safford Lions, with major support from The United Way Of Graham County, Canyonlands Healthcare, Eastern Arizona College, and Farmers Insurance of Safford, is hosting the 2020 Community Mental Health Awareness 5K & 10K Run. All profits from this event will be spent locally helping uninsured and underinsured residents obtain short term crisis counseling or assisting newly diagnosed mental health care patients with their initial prescription purchase.

In addition to participating in the 5K & 10K run, walk, jog or race, donations, and sponsorships are welcomed and encouraged. Mike Garcia of the Safford Lions Club is the event director.  He can be reached at 928-432-1430 or at

The event organizers are planning for 200 participants in this year’s 5K & 10K Run. While there are numerous 5K Runs, there are relatively few 10K competitive races. With cool mornings and a pent up demand for socializing, the timing for this outdoor activity is just right. This is one of the first community events and opportunities for people to gather since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. Mask usage and social distancing prior to the race will be observed. Come and support community mental health awareness and care in Graham County,  celebrate the end of a brutal summer and join your friends at the Safford Lions 5K & 10K Community Mental Health Awareness Run.

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