Contrary to a number of negative comments you might see on various websites, this is an excellent, well-run event. It's hard to believe that I even read a comment on another site that the other runners aren't friendly enough. Seriously?
Yes, you MUST ride on school buses to the start line(s). The event planners have this potential logistical nightmare down to a science. Local hotel shuttles are plentiful and bus site drop-off's for locals are easy.
Yes, it is cold at the start. And often breezy. The starting points are in the high Sonoran desert at 7:00AM in early December. If you were dumb enough to show up in shorts and a t-shirt, shame on you for not checking the weather. Don't expect the event planners to act like your mother.
Yes, these courses are LARGELY downhill, but not completely. The last 6-7 miles are fairly flat with some lengthy, moderate inclines and declines. I find it silly that many people complain that the whole event is not entirely downhill.
No, this isn't a huge venue with steep entry fees. Complaints about the expo, finish site, etc. are ridiculous. The expo is nothing fancy, but is more than adequate and is held at one of the nicest resorts in AZ. The finish line is on the grounds of a local school and it's on dirt. Get over it. And no, there aren't thousands of locals lining the course cheering you on. Get over that, too.
"Real" runners that I know appreciate this event very much. The scenery is incredible, it's well-organized, and it is fast. But if you're looking for a cushy start in warm weather and a dazzling finish site, look for another venue so the rest of us don't have to listen to your whining.