Does your alarm clock work?

If you’ve run into me recently, you’ve probably heard about a book I’m publishing this summer with Julie Hammonds, celebrating Flagstaff’s obsession with the Imogene Pass Run.

Heck, about 70 of you contributed to the stories that make up “To Imogene, a Flagstaff Love Letter: One town’s long-distance romance with an iconic trail run.”

You’ll soon be hearing a heckuva lot more about it — the cover, the book launch party, support and sponsor options, our new publishing company... and did I mention the book launch party?

The book contains many surprises big and small. Sure, I’m biased, but the creativity, quality and vulnerability of writing by the Flagstaff running community has been a revelation. I’m confident the end result will be beautiful, profound and entertaining, something for you and Flagstaff to be proud of.

I’m presenting about the Flagstaff–Imogene love affair and this book project at the Sport Literature Association conference in June, where I’ll emphasize the unique qualities of this relationship and how it led to an equally unique book. I can’t wait to share the research, the conversations and the process that brought us to this point.

But first things first. Who wants to break a record? Because if you’re in, I can think of no better year for Flagstaff to set a new record for most residents from one city completing the Imogene Pass Run.

“To Imogene, a Flagstaff Love Letter” includes a chart proving how long and complete Flagstaff’s participation dominance at Imogene really is. I won’t tell you the length of that streak, nor the number of participants Flagstaff had in its biggest year (so far!). You can preorder the book today and be among the first to find out, later this summer. But I will tell you Flagstaff could break its own participation record with more than 200 finishers — note that we’re talking finishers, not entrants.

Flagstaff’s showing each year at Imogene is already to be envied by all who spend Imogene Pass Run weekend in Ouray and Telluride. But let’s give those folks just one more reason to be impressed.

I realize this pep talk is pitting each of us against all the rest. If you and your credit card are not ready at 6 a.m. Mountain time (5 a.m. Arizona time) this Saturday, June 1, you will likely have to wait until next year. The race sells out in mere minutes.

But we’re a community that looks out for each other. Let’s get more Flagstaffians than we dreamed possible to the start line... and finish line. Call your friends and running buddies, and make sure you’ve got the AM/PM setting straight and your ringer on full volume when you go to bed Friday night. Then, spend the summer on the hardest trails you can find, preparing body and mind for the challenge that is Imogene.

When you’re thumbing through this book on the streets of Telluride Sept. 7, you’ll have even greater appreciation of the stories and perspectives you and your neighbors shared in its pages.

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Myles Schrag is co-founder of Soulstice Publishing (soulsticepublishing.com) and co-editor of its first book project, “To Imogene, a Flagstaff Love Letter.”

Coordinating editor Julie Hammonds welcomes columns, news tips and ideas by email at runner@juliehammonds.com or on Twitter @highcountry_run.


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