Sports Writing

I became a sports editor in May 2018, when I took over as coordinating editor of the High Country Running column in the Arizona Daily Sun. It’s a weekly column that engages and nurtures the running community throughout northern Arizona.

I came to the position through my love for trail running. As coordinating editor, I get to work with all sorts of runners, from self-proclaimed back-of-the-packers to national champions. If you have an idea or a news tip, send me an email.

In 2023, we launched a High Country Running book club for people like me: runners who love to read books about our sport. It meets in person in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The previous coordinating editor, Myles Schrag, had a marvelous book idea: to celebrate the Flagstaff running community through the lens of our town’s unique relationship with the Imogene Pass Run. Imogene is a rite of passage for Flagstaff runners and one of the top five toughest things I’ve ever done. Run in Colorado every September, it features more than 5,000 feet elevation gain as you travel from Ouray, up over Imogene Pass at 13,100 feet, then down to Telluride. Every year, Flagstaff sends more participants than any other town, including Denver.

To Imogene, a Flagstaff Love Letter includes contributions from more than 70 writers, illustrators, and photographers. Myles and I published it in 2019 under our new imprint, Soulstice Publishing. Come visit!

High Country Running

In May 2018, I became the coordinating editor of the High Country Running column in the Arizona Daily Sun.

High Country Running has been published every Sunday since May 10, 2009. It’s an essential source of local information that builds and reinforces the northern Arizona running community. Anyone can contribute, and everyone is welcome to. All topics of interest to northern Arizona runners—anything related to northern Arizona running events, locales, people, and issues—is fair game.

Here’s my first column for High Country Running, which ran before I became editor: “Mental maps and the joys of just running the T.”

This column, about ultrarunner Jim Walmsley’s win at the 2018 Western States 100, was a reader favorite: “Even bears can’t stop Jim Walmsley.”

People also liked this one, about Rob Krar’s formidable recovery from a potentially catastrophic knee injury: “A single step can change your life.”

And here are two personal columns:

If you have a story idea, news tip, or something you’d like to share, send me an email. 

High Country Running belongs to everyone who runs up here in this special place; make it your own.

~Julie Hammonds

A High Country Running Book Club

In January 2023, I launched a book club for people like me: runners who love to read running books. I announced it in High Country Running, a newspaper column I’ve coordinated for the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper since 2018.

Based on the strong preferences of the first dozen people who signed up, we plan to meet in person in Flagstaff, Arizona, and to discuss five books this year. A Zoom option is not being offered at this time.

We’ll meet in February to choose the books. Then, starting in March, we’ll meet every two months to discuss them.

I’m hoping we’ll not only read and talk about the same books, but suggest others we’ve liked, encourage each other to build reading time into our busy lives and who knows? Maybe we’ll even run loops at Buffalo Park together now and then. At least we know we’ll have a lot to talk about.

Books Under Consideration for 2023:

Note for book club members: I always recommend buying books locally or checking them out of the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library. Our local shops, Bright Side Bookshop and Bookman’s, are happy to take care of our book-buying needs. Buying directly from the publisher is also a good strategy to help the writer’s bottom line.

Bart Yasso, Erin Strout, Runner’s World Race Everything: How to Conquer Any Race at Any Distance in Any Environment and Have Fun Doing It (how to)

Frank Shorter, My Marathon: Reflections on a Gold Medal Life (memoir)

Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator), What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Japan/memoir/writing)

Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (adventure/health/science)

Lopez Lomong, Mark A. Tabb, Running for My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games (Olympics/memoir)

Des Linden, Choosing to Run (memoir)

András Kő, Laszlo Tabori, A Biography: The Legendary Story of the Great Hungarian Runner (biography)

Meb Keflezighi, Scott Douglas, Meb For Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner (how to/memoir)

Deena Kastor, “Let Your Mind Run” (memoir)

Dean Karnazes, The Road to Sparta : Retracing the Ancient Battle and Epic Run That Inspired the World’s Greatest Foot Race (history/memoir)

Scott Jurek, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness (food/memoir)

Bernd Heinrich, Why We Run (science/history/health)

Kara Goucher, Mary Pilon, The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike’s Elite Running Team (sports/topical)

Lauren Fleshman, Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man’s World (memoir/topical)

Matt Fitzgerald, Ben Rosario, Running the Dream: One Summer Living, Training, and Racing with a Team of World-Class Runners Half My Age (memoir/Flagstaff)

Adharanand Finn, “The Rise of the Ultra Runners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance” (journalism/memoir)

Scott Fauble, Ben Rosario, Inside a Marathon: An All-Access Pass to a Top-10 Finish at NYC (memoir)

Catra Corbett, Dan England, Reborn on the Run: My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons (adventure/memoir)

Amby Burfoot, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life: What 35 Years of Running Have Taught Me About Winning, Losing, Happiness, Humility, and the Human Heart (philosophy/self help)

Robin Arzón, Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger (how to)

Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run (health/fitness)

Abdi Abdirahman, Abdi’s World: The Black Cactus on Life, Running, and Fun (Olympics/memoir)