The Soulstice Mountain Trail Run was originally conceived when William Ring, Wiley Addis, and Paul Brinkmann returned home from the Imogene Pass Run believing it could be Flagstaff's version of the famous run from Ouray to Telluride.
First directed by Bill Ring's Soulstice Racing Company with $500 sponsorship from the Pay n' Take in 1997 and again in 2001, Soulstice is a high-altitude footrace is held on forest service roads and trails with course elevations between 7900 and 8800 feet.
In 2002, NATRA LLC took over the event and added a 6 mile "Short Course" to encourage beginners to try competitive trail running. The race is limited to 225 entrants, and since 2003, has been a sellout.
Entry is done through a lottery system held on April 1st.
In Spring 2011, Runners World listed Soulstice as one of the top 32 trail races in the United States, and calling it "one of the best post race parties anywhere." Today the race could not happen without the generous support of the Pay n' Take, Aspen Sports, David McKee, Fratelli's Pizza, Run Flagstaff, Coconino Amateur Radio Club, Northern Arizona University's Recreation Management Program students, and NATRA's many friends who continue to volunteer every year. The race is permitted by the Coconino National Forest and most recently raised $16,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Flagstaff mentoring programs.
This year as a result of COVID-19, runners can run the course distances anywhere between October 1st and October 16th or run the on course race during that time period as well. Runners often face adverse conditions, with snow periodically on upper reaches of the course, and has been held in torrential rains and the tail end of a tornado even flipped over a tent!
Description of 2020 Virtual courses: The big change is the short course which will be a 6.4 mile loop following the Arizona Trail west to the Dog Food trail, then up to the pipeline road, then up Old Weatherford Road, next contouring downhill on Forest Road 6273 until turning right on the Secret Trail back to Schultz Pass Road. Long Course runners will follow their usual first loop on the pipeline road; however they will turn west (right) on the Arizona Trail on their first loop downhill ascent and then follow the new short course back to the Arizona Trail to Weatherford Trail and then go around Schultz Tank to the finish for a 12 mile distance.