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SUNDAY FEATURE: Even in a pandemic, Flagstaff stays a draw – Arizona Each day Solar

Still, Dutcher has hope. He says he likes Flagstaff and, under different circumstances, would be enjoying himself.

“I don’t regret it,” he said. “Now, if I could go back to March and know what was going to happen, I don’t know if I’d do it, but I don’t regret it.  The people here are awesome, say hi back to you. If I can, I’m going to stay in the area.”

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Julia Kohnen, professional runner

Life was pretty darn amazing for Julia Kohnen early last spring.

At 28, living in the St. Louis suburbs, she had a rewarding corporate career with Panera Bread. And, while training early in the morning before work, she surprised many, perhaps even herself, by finishing 10th in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in late February. What’s more, after the race, her longtime boyfriend, Tyler Griffey, popped the question.

Now, nine months later, much has changed.

Kohnen has taken the plunge and is running professionally for NAZ Elite, living in Flagstaff with teammate Danielle Shanahan and counting the days until Griffey, and her two dogs, will make the trip to Flagstaff in January to join her.

This is Kohnen’s shot at the big time and, after some soul searching, she decided it was time to make running a priority. She has shown remarkable acuity quickly in the sport, having only competed after a college career as a soccer player at the University of Southern Indiana. Unsponsored, she won the 2019 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 29 seconds and improved to 2:30:43 on a hilly Trials course in Atlanta.

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