By: Becca DeLoache
As a 24-yr old recent college graduate, I find myself in an exciting time of life with endless possibilities. I am not married, I do not have kids, I have little to no obligations, and I am only responsible for myself. I could pursue any career path, live in any state, Heck! I could move to another country; the options are endless.
So you might ask, as a North Carolinian-raised, Georgetown-educated female, how in the world have I landed myself all the way across the country in the town of Flagstaff? Well, my passion is running. This, out of the plethora of paths I could have taken at this stage in my life, is the one I have chosen to pursue. Although last June marked the end of my collegiate eligibility, the spark and passion for this amazing sport is blazing bigger and brighter than ever. Thus, the post-collegiate running journey begins.
Choosing this path left me with an obvious decision: altitude training in Flagstaff. It is the perfect elevation, with an abundance of trails and tracks, and easy access to lower training elevations. But Flagstaff is so much more than that. After spending five weeks here last summer with some of my Georgetown teammates, I absolutely fell in love with this town. My collegiate and current coach, Mike Smith, always spoke of what an amazing place it was, but it is not something you can truly understand until you experience it for yourself.
Although I was sad to leave Georgetown and my teammates, I could not have been more excited to begin the next chapter of my life in Flagstaff. But let me tell you, what I came to discover living here (and I have only been here for two and a half weeks!) is far greater than I could have ever imagined.
Flagstaff is a runner’s PARADISE! If the amazing trails scattered throughout the town were not enough to sell you on the destination, the running community absolutely seals the deal. From the first day I arrived, I immediately felt so welcomed and embraced by the entire community. I was invited to runs, dinners, and birthday celebrations with people I have never met, but who greeted me with such warmth. Here in Flagstaff, no matter your age or background, you can find a family and a home.
As a runner in a runner’s mecca, you would think that things could not get better. Oh but they can! During my fifth year of track eligibility at Georgetown, I began my master’s degree in Sports Industry Management. With a few courses remaining, I needed to find a way to complete the degree while training. The stars aligned perfectly for me as my coach, Mike Smith, told me about Hypo2, a sports company where he previously worked. Done. I was coming to train in Flagstaff and work at Hypo2 High Performance Sport Center.
I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Hypo2 family this semester. As an athlete pursuing my own “altitude training camp,” I can truly see and understand what Hypo2 offers. I get to put my undergraduate business degree as well as my sports industry knowledge to use with a company that falls in line perfectly with what I love and what I want to do. I enjoy interacting with athletes from all over the world, where cultures and customs may be different, but are all linked by a passion for sport; a passion I said earlier, blazes bright within me. Additionally, sitting behind the front desk, I get the pleasure of meeting and greeting all the Flagstaff locals as they arrive for a chiropractic appointment, massage, or mental fitness course. It is a true joy to come into the office each day.
If you haven’t heard me say the word enough, PASSION is what Flagstaff is built upon. It is a community filled with people who are passionate not only about their own unique dreams and goals, but also have a passion and love for others. Flagstaff is a beautiful small town with fun shops and restaurants with a breathtaking backdrop of Mt. Humphrey’s, located only a short drive from the Grand Canyon and Sedona. But the glue that holds all of this together is its irreplaceable spirit of community and camaraderie.
I could not be prouder to call myself a Flagstaffian (my own made up term?! Probably!). I am not sure where I will find myself after this fall, but I can tell you, once you are here, it is near impossible to leave. It is safe to say this will not be my only semester spent in this town. As one final PSA: Anyone that gets to spend time in Flagstaff, especially training, whether for a lifetime or just a short two week camp, count yourself lucky. If you have never been, I recommend you place this town at the top of your list, because trust me, there is NO place I would rather be.