Welcome to Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association (NATRA LLC). Founded in fall 2001, NATRA’s mission is to promote trail running in Northern Arizona to folks of all abilities. We organize group runs of 5 to 8 miles rotating a mix of over 75 different trails on Saturday mornings whether there is rain, snow or shine! In our 22 years we have never missed a run due to Mother Nature. We only skip Saturday runs if we are hosting, sponsoring, or providing volunteers at local races. Click on "NEXT RUN" to see our calendar. Dogs are always welcome, but you must run with them on a leash - it is the law! (See attorney James Griffith's paper). If you are new to running or a seasoned veteran, come join us off-road and discover the incredible forest trails of Northern Arizona.
Contact NATRA LLC if you would like to be on our e-mail list. There is no fee to join the group, so bookmark NATRA to stay updated on the latest group run information! Happy Trails!
(Updated 9/1/2023 with 10/7 Go Big for Parkinson's Races)
Looking for a group run in Flagstaff?
Thursday Evenings (Summers Only): Route 66 Running Club, 6:15 at Run Flagstaff Store
Saturdays 10 AM: Karibu Run/Hike Club, Campbell Mesa Parking Lot
2023 Soulstice Mountain Trail Run Recap
10/15/2023: Could yesterday's Soulstice Mountain Trail Run and post-race party have been any more epic?
First congrats to all participants who survived the spectacular annular eclipse at the 24th running of Soulstice immersed in the majestic beauty of the U.S. Forest Service - Kaibab National Forest's historic Government Prairie grassland.
Ahead of the main race, runners cheered on the kid's as they survived a new tradition; The Wild Pink Flamingo Kid's Dash! And I'm happy to report that none of the kiddos were attacked by the hungry wild flamingoes lining the course.
At the start, we celebrated the memory of Soulstice runner Pete Reed, who was killed last February while voluntarily serving as a medic on a humanitarian effort to save lives in the Ukraine.
As the race and eclipse went off in spectacular fashion, legendary Flagstaff ultra runner Robert Krar jumped to the front and set the standard for our newly designed 11+ mile course in 1:08.38. 2021 Flagstaff Olympian Rachel Smith pushed Rob along throughout the eclipse as she ended up second overall, winning the women's race in 1:10.15, her third Soulstice victory!
On the masters side, Ted MacMahon won the men's division in 1:16.33, while the women were led by Colleen Lingley who dueled with Ted all race long finishing four seconds behind him in 1:16.37.
In the 10K course, Ryan Stevens won the race in 39.43 with masters winner Mark Loeffler taking second overall in 40.59.
On the women's side, our youngest runner, 18 year old Audrey Encinas smoked the 10K course in 47.54, while three-time Canadian Olympic race walker Janice McCaffrey (1992, 1996 and 2000) won the women's masters division in 56.23.
See the full results at https://www.athlinks.com/.../results/Event/1062858/Results
It was a magical race with the annular eclipse taking place at the same time. The skies eerily darkened as shadows danced throughout the race course, the temperatures noticeably dropped, and dozens of runners stopped at the aid stations using eclipse glasses to enjoy the celestial display.
As this was the 24th running, we are now starting to see a big youth movement and were thrilled that Soulstice has turned into a family affair! This year there were at least seven pairs of parents participating with their offspring, including Ron and Lucy Vollbrecht, Andy and Landyn Morris, Audrey and Laura Rayburn, Colleen and Dot Lingley, Jessica and Ansley Owen, and Emilie Sineau and her boys Luke and Max.
The wild and crazy post-race party was kicked off by local Parks musician Paul Webber and his buddy Michael from Bend, Oregon playing Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire.
And Whalen went off script per usual with his newest Soulstice challenges that will no doubt be a future tradition; the Soulstice Island hot dog eating contest which was followed by the first ever Klostermeyer Chug-a-lug, won by Michael Tharp.
The party then took a short break until reconvening Saturday evening; much thanks to Fratelli Pizza for helping pack the Pay N'Take for a second night in a row, with our runner and volunteer appreciation pizza party.
Of course the biggest winner was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff, the beneficiary of well over $10,000 as result of the Aspen Sports raffle, Soulstice shirt sponsors, and those runners who donated their Arizona Charitable Tax Credit to BBBSF (the free and guaranteed way to get into Soulstice).
Registration for the 2024, 25th annual Soulstice Mountain Trail Run opens on December 31st, and will again sell out after the April 1st lottery. Stay tuned to natra.org for all the latest details!
Special thanks to volunteers Jay Carnes, past and present Aspen Sports owners Jerry, McLaughlin, Rich and Heather Reading, race co-founder Paul Brinkmann, raffle extraordinaire emcee Waylon, Gail Hughes for her database and race day management support, my dozens of friends who volunteered as course marshals, Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll and his deputies, Guardian Medical's support, of course Jeremiah and Selena Langner for hosting the post-race party at their beautiful ranch, and finally thanks to my best man David McKee, for his artful design of the shirt and poster.
Thanks as always to our major sponsors Aspen Sports Flagstaff, Flagstaff Law Group, Fratelli Pizza, Super Salve, Squirrel's Nut Butter, Biff's Bagels, Dr. Amber Randall, Run Flagstaff, Grand Canyon Adventures, Pay 'N Take, Skratch Labs, The Physio Shop, Weld Like A Girl, Performance Recovery Bodywork - Jim Truncali and SweatVac Performance Wear.
The only question is, how will we top this year's race?
10/11/2022: Nearly 200 runners and Kid’s dashers enjoyed the wild expansive views of the Kaibab National Forest’s Government Prairie.
Despite the change in venue, the top of the leaderboard was Soulstice deja vu all over again. In the 10.3 mile long course, Chris Gomez won his record 6th overall title since his first in 2011, in a blazing 1:01.03 while not far behind (and 3rd overall) was Olympian Rachel Smith who ran a 1:05.52. Will Drexler (4th overall) defended his master’s title for the sixth straight year in 1:06.01 while Valerie Cross took her first women’s master’s division in 1:17.01. Dylan Quinn won our first ever non-binary division in 1:27.18.
In the short course, John Dailey defended his title by racing the 5.5 mile out and back course in 36.59 not far ahead of second place overall, Eric Bohn won his first master’s title in 37.53. On the women’s side, Janie Goldsworthy (3rd overall) also defended her title in 43.01 while Grace Daiy took the master’s title in 47.02.
The race was followed by an epic party at the Langner Ranch with another Aspen Sports post-race raffle, the Pay N’ Take party and our first ever live music featuring guitarist Paul Webber.
However, the biggest winners were all the kids that benefit from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff mentoring programs. Thanks to our many shirt sponsors, the Aspen Sports Raffle and runners who guaranteed themselves a spot in the race by donating their Arizona Charitable Tax credit of $400 to BBBSF, the 25th anniversary Soulstice Mountain Trail Run raised over $15,000 to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
Getting into Soulstice will be even more competitive as we have 134 legacy runners who are guaranteed entry. Next year the race is on October 14th with registration opening on New Year’s Eve and with the limited 225 spots to be determined by our April 1st lottery. Make sure you enter early or guarantee your entry by taking the 2022 Arizona Tax Credit (which you get back as a line item credit!) and we will see you October 14th.
10/10/2021: Congratulations to the 169 participants at the 22nd running of the Soulstice Mountain Trail Run. Results can be found on Athlinks.com. It was a picture perfect fall day for our return to the traditional course after the changes required by the Museum Fire in 2019 and of course holding the race virtually last year.
The king of Soulstice, Chris Gomez, captured his fifth overall Long Course title in 1:16.59, with his wins now spanning a decade races (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2021). On the women's side Team Run Flagstaff coach Leah Rosenfeld won her first title in 1:27.39 and most notably joins the ranks of Sara Wagner (2012), and Soulstice record holder David Sinclair (2017) who have won both the Imogene Pass Run and Soulstice in the same year (the races are held 4 weeks apart). As most of you know Soulstice was inspired by the Imogene Pass Run, making it Flagstaff's hometown version of the famous grueling Colorado race. On the Master's side, Will Drexler won his 5th straight title in 1:21.08 while Dawn Greenwalt took her first victory in 1:35.40.
Janet Bain won her incredible 10th overall Sprint Course title since 2008 in 56.55 while John Dailey took the men's race in 48.45. On the Master's side, Mackenzie Lurie took her first title in 59.35, with 61 year old Tom Viskocil winning his fourth title in 58.20. Tom is also the first 60+ age division to win the Sprint Course.
Not to be outdone, Soulstice also had its first two 80 year olds in the Sprint course; Flagstaff running guru Nat White who finished in 1:16.13 AND Marilaine Jones who finished in 2:30.52 These are likely records to stand for some time to come.
Special thanks to the dozens of volunteers and especially Jay Carnes, Scott Miller, Jen Hammond and Grant Dunstan who organized the superlative epic Pay n' Take post-race party that seemed to go on forever this year.
A very special shout out to Aspen Sports new owners Rich and Heather Reading alongside former store partners Jerry Mclaughlin and Dave Barnett; their amazing raffle coupled with the generosity of runners broke a new Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff fundraising record of $5714! Including the runners who raced Soulstice for free by donating their $400 Arizona State Charitable Tax Credit to BBBSF, Soulstice once again raised just over $15,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff mentoring programs.
Also thanks to Biff's Bagels for the mountain of bagels and Fratelli's Pizza who sponsored the Saturday evening feast at the Pay n' Take.
The 23rd running of the Soulstice Mountain Trail Run will take place on October 8, 2022, with registration for the lottery opening on January 1st!
4/6/2021: NATRA group runs are back! Click on next run for all the details. We restart on 4/10 at 8 AM at the Thorpe Bark Park for a run up on Observatory Mesa.
12/31/2020: NATRA 2020 Year End Report
11/1/2019: The 15th Annual Salomon Flagstaff Mountain Trail Champions have been calculated and congratulations to Missy Verhaeghe (4 hrs:30 min 43 sec) and Mark Loeffler (4 hrs 3 min.16 sec) for having the fastest combined times at Gaspin in the Aspen 15K, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff Half Marathon, and the new Soulstice Long Course (12 miles). Tom Viskocil (2:07.42) won his sixth straight "not so" sprint course title and his 9th overall while Brenda Geise won her first women's title in 2:42.45 . Overall winners gain free entry into the Series next year (nearly $200 value), and Long Course winners get $150 Salomon Shoe certificates and Not So Sprint course winners get $135 hydration running packs. We had a record number of finishers (12), and thanks to Salomon all have won prizes! Next year register for all three races (Gaspin and BBBSF are included in the Flagstaff Summer Series pacakage) and NATRA will track your times. See the History of Champions Page.
October 12th 20th Running of Soulstice Recap
196 Soulstice runners had a picture perfect day to take on the new 8 and 12 mile courses. See Sam McManis' race story is in the Daily Sun. Race results are posted at Soulstice 2019 Results. Thanks to race photographer Staci Whitman we have hundreds of free downloadable photos on our Google Photography page.
As most know, first due to logging and then the Museum Fire, we had to make multiple drastic changes to the course. You can read my Soulstice Abides column in the Arizona Daily Sun about what was by far the most challenging of all my 18 years directing the race.
While the new courses had less climbing, they were every bit as challenging on runners with the added lengths. There were more falls and blood left on the course than ever before, but not one bee sting. On the 12 mile long course, Olympian Janet Cherobon-Bawcom in her first Soulstice smoked the new course in 1:26.34 and Mike Popejoy became a Soulstice two-time winner breezing through the race in 1:14.50. On the master's side, Sara Wagner won in 1:38.15 while Will Drexler claimed the men's title in 1:24.05. Run Flagstaff's Vince Sherry won this year's innaugural "not so short" 8 mile course in 58.32 while Janet Bain won her 9th overall title in 1:01.08. On the master's side Megan Gavin won the women's title in 1:04.47 and Geordie Beck won the men's side in 1:03.27.
We also broke a record with 33 non-competitive early 7 AM starters for both long and not so short course runners who wanted to maximize their time at the post-race party!
As most of you know, the big winner of Soulstice is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff mentoring programs. The Aspen Sports raffle eclipsed last year’s record by nearly $100, raising $5405. Arizona Tax Credit entries, other donations, and sponsorships brought the overall total once again to over $15,000! As a Big Brother in the Williams School based mentoring programs this money goes a long way towards helping kids succeed across Northern Arizona.
The real Soulstice heroes of course are the volunteers who pitch in every year. Special thanks to Stephanie Gerst and Ryan Porter who marked the long course and Jerry McLaughlin and Captain Jim for marking the not-so-short course. The new owners of the Pay n'Take Eddie and Dan for carrying on the legendary post-race party and chef Ryan Dee's pot of early morning spicy green chili poached eggs; Keri Postlewait for Biff's Bagels; David McKee in absentia for his behind the scene Soulstice ideas and antics; Coconino County Sheriff Jim Coffey for traffic control on Schultz Pass Road; Kevin Lehto, Amber Adams and the Flagstaff Ranger District for permitting the event and maintaining our amazing trails; Guardian Medical; Aid Station support provided by Aaron Devine's Parks and Recreation class led by Matt Ryan, Jill Navran, Kim Alessi, Mark James, Steve Pulos, Sam McManis, and Theresa Dowell’s timing team. A big shout out to our annual Shirt Sponsors Brent Schepper of Fratelli's Pizza, the Pay n’Take, Flag, Sweatvac, Salomon, and Aspen Sports. In addition, kudos to Aspen Sport’s Jerry McLaughlin, Dave Barnett and their amazing band of raffle specialists including Waylon who saved my voice and helped raise over $5400 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff. Also thanks to Run Flagstaff for throwing in some great certificates. To anyone I’ve forgotten; know your support was priceless as well. And of course kudso to my wife Diana who every September and October tolerates and successfully negotiates the rat maze of boxes filled with swag, shirts, hats, and Sousltice supplies.
And of course thanks to the runners for bringing so much positive energy to Soulstice. I hope you all made lots of new running friends and reconnected with old ones. Next year's race will be October 10th, so mark your calendars when the lottery opens January 1st and closes March 31st. We will once again offer up to 25 Arizona Tax Credit spots to guarantee entry in Soulstice prior to lottery. Remember, if you take the Arizona Tax Credit of $400 per person, or $800 per couple, you get that all back from the state after April 15th. If you itemize on your federal return, you are basically getting paid to run Soulstice!
Happy Trails to all.
Best, Neil W.