Ed Odeven Reporting

This feature on elite-level runners, including Olympic hopefuls, training at high altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona, appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun in May 2004.

House of runners

By Ed Odeven

You walk into the garage and amble past a pile of 20 pairs of well-used running shoes, shoes that have trodden on Flagstaff’s roads, trails and paved tracks more times than that guy used to remind us “it’s time to make the donuts.”

You head into the kitchen for a glass of water and spot a poster of Ethiopian star Kenenisa Bekele above the sink.

This is, you immediately discover, a casa of runners. Elite-level runners. And they know something many residents of this mountain city might overlook.

“Flagstaff is the best place to train in the country,” said Weldon Johnson, who served as Paula Radcliffe’s pace-setter when she set a women’s world record at the 2002 Chicago Marathon (2…

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