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As we cross the finish line for 2018, it’s time to look back at another big year of distance running in the high country.

I’ll admit up front that this annual roundup will be incomplete. If I missed a big story, send me an email. I also hope this list will spark happy memories of your own running year, and maybe even help you set some resolutions for 2019. Let’s get started …

ULTRARUNNING FEATS

Rob Krar notched a heroic win at the Leadville 100 after major knee surgery. Jim Walmsley broke the Western States 100 record by more than 16 minutes. Grand Canyon FKTs fell to Taylor Nowlin, Jim Walmsley, Tim Freriks and Eric Senseman.

PROS ON THE ROAD

Stephanie Bruce won her first national title at the USATF 10K championships; Aliphine Tuliamuk and Sara Hall took second and third. At the USATF Half Marathon Championships, Tuliamuk earned her eighth overall national title. Kellyn Taylor won two big marathons, Grandma’s and the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll. Scott Smith was sixth in Boston. Scott Fauble notched a lifetime best at the New York City Marathon, finishing seventh. Bruce rounded out a superlative year when she took 11th in New York City and second in the US Marathon Championships.

YOUTH

Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona turned 10, Kids Run Flagstaff welcomed new coaches and Flagstaff ROAM hosted twice-weekly workouts. There were 32 Flagstaff-based participants at the USATF National Junior Olympics cross country meet, and most finished in the top 100 of their age group. Flagstaff ROAM runner and Coconino High School senior Woodlyn Smith took a third All-American honor. Micah Stanton, a senior at Northland Prep, earned an All-American, sixth-place finish. He runs for Flagstaff ROAM and the Northland Prep Spartans boys team that won its second straight Division IV state title. The Flagstaff Eagles teams each secured a fourth straight Division II state championship. The Page Sand Devils boys won their fifth straight Division III team title. About 500 runners and 70 teams took part in the Northern Arizona Middle School XC Championships.

NOT TRIVIAL AT ALL

A trivia night hosted by Northern Arizona Elite took in $3,000 for We Run Strong, which selected the Hopi High School cross country program as recipient.

RECREATION

NATRA continued its 17-year streak, notching 850 group runs without a cancellation no matter the weather. Will Drexler and Stephanie Hunt were first-time overall champs of the Flagstaff Summer Series. Michelle Wesson and Mark Thurston won long course titles in the Salomon Flagstaff Mountain Trail Series, while Tom Viskocil won his fifth straight and eighth overall sprint title. The Soulstice Mountain Trail Run featured its first non-Flagstaff-based long course winner, Adam Dalton. Janie Bohn was the first woman to be outright winner on the Soulstice sprint course. Runners took on stinging wasps at Soulstice to set a fundraising record of $16,037 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff. Records also fell at the Downtown Mile, which saw more than 600 participants July 4. A prerace party and athlete panel July 3 saw big attendance. Team Run Flagstaff grew to nearly 300 members who took part in the team’s Tuesday-night workouts, social events and educational workshops.

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THREE-PEAT!

The men’s cross-country team at NAU brought home its third straight NCAA national title, a record that surely merits community recognition via permanent signage, right?

IN OTHER COMMUNITY NEWS

I took charge of this column in May when Myles Schrag stepped down after five years in the editor’s chair. At the end of June, our running community celebrated the birth of little Norman to Vince and Sarah Sherry, owners of Run Flagstaff. Soon after, we mourned the loss of Arizona Daily Sun editor Randy Wilson, a cherished supporter of the running community and longtime champion of this column.

We’ve now completed another 52 weeks of columns from more than 22 contributors. Secure your place in running history by sending in a column or idea in 2019, the year High Country Running turns 10.

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High Country Running exists to engage and nurture the running community throughout northern Arizona. Email your ideas to Julie at runner@juliehammonds.com, or follow the column on Twitter @highcountry_run.

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