With a world-class ski resort (Mammoth Mountain Ski Area) and the second-largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48 (John Muir and others) off the back porch, Mammoth Lakes (pop. 7,392) was a serious contender in our "overall" category. But the city was (re)born to run: In 2001, when Team Running USA, an Olympic training group for long-distance runners, wanted to bring U.S. distance running back to its former glory, they chose Mammoth Lakes as their HQ—and later renamed themselves Mammoth Track Club.
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