Get to Know Your Running Clubs - Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association

In this edition of Get to Know Your Running Clubs we chatted with Neil Weintraub about the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association. You’ll often find them running around the Flagstaff and Sedona area in Arizona.

Want to learn more about them? Read on!

Hi Neil! Who are you? Give us your best one line bio

Hi there! I'm the voluntary director and co-founder of Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association

Tell us a bit about the club history

In October 2001, a few members of what has now grown to become NATRA, (Because Flagstaff trail runners do it NATRAlly), became friends at a small trail race in Flagstaff At the time, the Soulstice Mountain Trail Run (a 11 mile course) stood as one of the few trail running races ever staged in Flagstaff. It was first organized in 1997 by Bill Ring of the Soulstice Racing Company with 34 entrants. Put on by NATRA since 2002, the race's 225 runner limit is reached on an April 1st lottery drawing. The race annually raises about $5000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff mentoring programs helping local children succeed.

After the 2001 race, a few runners wondered why Imogene Pass Run annually drew 200 Flagstaff runners to Colorado, but we could not get more than 35 runners to Soulstice. To bring attention to the scenic trails of Flagstaff, the Saturday group runs were born on October 27, 2001, with a fledgling group of only 6 runners. 15 years later, NATRA maintains an email list of nearly 700 runners. There is no cost for participation. We have held group runs every Saturday for 15+ years, even in wind, rain and snow (and in blizzard conditions at -15 degrees). We only cancel group runs in favor of local running races. The Saturday run is comprised of anywhere from 10 to 20 runners of varying ages and abilities and the run is anywhere from 5 to 8 miles. In short, no matter what your running capability, you are welcome and would surely have someone to run with. Anyone visiting our web page or “catching wind” of our runs is welcome to come out and join the group.Details of these runs are posted under "Next Run."

Besides the Saturday group run, NATRA also helps organize 6 special FREE fun runs for the community - New Years Day Resolution Run, Saint Patrick's Day Lap the Leprechaun 5K, July's 4 on the 4th, Flagstaff Road and Track Club's Turkey Day 2 mile Predictor Run, Winter Solstice Run (Formerly the Mayan Apocalypse 5K), and finally the Christmas Day Run.

Nice! Tell us a bit about your members, what level of runners typically run with you?

All types of runners. We have had Olympians, elites, beginning runners, and hikers/walkers join us. These are social runs followed by breakfast and coffee afterwards.

Where/when do you usually meet and run?

We meet every Saturday at various trail heads, either at 8 or 9 AM, depending on time of year.

Any cost to be a member/join?

Nope, it’s ALWAYS FREE!

Are you affiliated with any events?

Soulstice Moutain Jackie Weintraub Memorial Trail Run, Run Flagstaff Summer Series, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff Half Marathon/5K, and the Salomon Flagstaff Mountain Trail Championship Series.

Where are your favourite spots to run in/around the city?

Buffalo Park. This is Flagstaff's Central Park and it is the access to countless miles of trails in the Coconino National Forest. For starters, there is s 2 mile graded dirt loop (1/4 miles marked) with spectacular panoramic landscape views of the Coconino National Forest. Even though it is one of the few relatively flat places to run (watch out for the hill at 1.75 miles) it is still tough on visitors who may be from lower elevations with its 7100 ft absl! At the north end of the park you can access forest trails and can follow all the way to the Grand Canyon!

Any sections of the Arizona Trail, however, especially from "Aspen Corner" on Snowbowl Road north to Bismarck Lake (about 8 miles round trip) This run has spectacular views west of Kaibab National Forest and is an relatively flat trail to test elevation as most if it is above 9000 ft.

Kendrick Mountain Wilderness Trail is a 9 mile round trip and 3000 ft. climb to the Fire Lookout Tower that has one of the most beautiful views of Northern Arizona.  

Do you have any favourite races? Outside of anything that you’re affiliated with :)

I like the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 mile Ultra and Relay Race.

Anything else that we should know?

We are really just a coffee drinking club with a trail running problem! Our mottoa is NATRA, putting a little soul in your stride.

Want to learn more?

Want to connect with the Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association, or just learn a bit more about them? Check out their information below:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Find more runs around Phoenix

Looking for runs in and around Phoenix? The RunGuides Phoenix race calendar can help you find upcoming runs and running races in the area -

Published on Dec 28, 2016
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