What's a running camp got to do with it?

This has already been a big year but the creation of a running camp, I think, is going to be what makes it great. I’ve always wanted to create a running camp of my own as I thought it would just be awesome. I’ve had some of the most impactful events at other running camps like Steens Mountain Running Camp and to be able to do thattakes something special. That’s also why I didn’t just want to create a week of guided trail running either. I had to think long and hard about why, or what, this running camp was going to do and how it would be of value to the runners.

 That backdrop is just, meh. Mt Shasta creating the ambiance of magnificence at MaxKingTRC.

That backdrop is just, meh. Mt Shasta creating the ambiance of magnificence at MaxKingTRC.

 Youth campers finding out what it means to take in the world around them on Cresent Mountain

Youth campers finding out what it means to take in the world around them on Cresent Mountain

 

A week of guided trail running is great but I’ve always felt like a “running camp” needs to teach and inform the participants so that they come away with more experience than they came in with. There’s a lot of information that you can impart to another runner if you have the experience and years of training, running, and studying behind you. Just look at any magazine and you’ll see there are hundreds of articles on everything from how to run to why you should run to what you should be eating. Lots of info there and you can read all about it. But, the unique thing about a camp is that you are face to face and in an environment where your undivided focus can be on practicing what you’re learning.  

 Couldn't ask for a better classroom. Youth getting a geology lesson inside an ancient shield volcano from Forest Service Biologist Monty.

Couldn't ask for a better classroom. Youth getting a geology lesson inside an ancient shield volcano from Forest Service Biologist Monty.

 

Creating an itinerary that requires you not only to learn new topics but to practice them in order to really understand their impact was difficult. I think we took the best lessons from trail running and put as much content into a week as we possibly could and created something truly special.  We applied the practical lessons of safety and navigation to the more intangible benefits of the spiritual side of just being present on a mountain top at sunset and connecting to nature.  You can tell someone that building and maintaining trail is a lot of work, but when you actually participate in a day of trail maintenance you truly come to understand that the trails we enjoy took years of labor to create.   Feeling the deep impact and absorbing these lessons can only come through active participation and practice that we’ve packaged together into our week of camp.  Connecting with nature doesn’t come through reading words on a page but from feeling the dirt and rock under your feet.

 Pickin em up, puttin em down.

Pickin em up, puttin em down.

 

We’ve now hosted both a youth camp and an adult camp and all of our campers came away feeling like the camp was helpful to them as runners of the wild and are more comfortable getting outside on new trails and experiencing new areas they may not have been comfortable in before. That’s a huge accomplishment after a week and I’m very proud that our team has had such a profound impact.

 

To give campers a full experience I have a great team that fills in the gaps where my experience ends. Without other perspectives and help, your ability to present a lesson is very limited and I’m lucky there were others willing to help complete the character of the camp. The added expertise of our staff, Kari, Sarah, Aaron, JP, Joe, and Callie is what created a fulfilling experience for our campers and helped to exceed their expectations. As nutrition is a key component of a healthy lifestyle, our work wouldn’t be complete without an exceptional menu of fresh organic foods expertly prepared by our Chefs Melanie and Steve.   Of course, epic locations like the Cascades or Mt Shasta don’t hurt either.

 How would you spend your evenings with 15 new friends? 

How would you spend your evenings with 15 new friends? 

 

We’ve been fortunate to have great help from sponsors to outfit and provide support where campers need it most. Through help from Salomon, Swiftwick Socks, Gu Energy Labs,  Flora, and Ultrarunning Magazine we’ve been able to ensure that our campers have access during the week to the best products available for trail running. There are numerous other people we've worked with to help bring this project to fruition and we couldn't have done it without them either; Footzone, Central Oregon Running Klub, US Forest Service, Tillamook Burn Trail Run, Bend Broadband, and many others. 

 Thanks sponsors. I think they liked the new swag. 

Thanks sponsors. I think they liked the new swag. 

 

We’re all looking forward to continuing to further the experience of trail runners into the next year with two more camps, both an adult and youth camp. We’ve been looking at similarly epic locations around the Northwest to give you the best possible environment to learn and practice new skills and connect with nature to the fullest extent possible.  We hope you’ll join us next year for an unforgettable experience.

WWW.MAXKINGTRC.COM

2017 Camp dates coming soon. Youth camp in June, Adult Camp in September. 

Why would I send my kid to the Max King TRC?

Since announcing the Max King TRC, I’ve had a few great conversations with parents and potential campers about the camp.  There have been a lot of questions about mileage, pace, extent of the wilderness/trail focus. In talking with Max about it, we thought it would be helpful to share that information more broadly, so that you have a better idea of what camp is and is not. Sound good? Hope so.  Here you go:

 

 

Do we have a cook yet? Are they cool? Will there be enough food? Yes, we have a “chef”. Her name is Melanie Mangin. She used to own Pilot Butte Drive In restaurant in Bend, OR. She has catered lots of events and throws the best parties around. She is excited to design a nourishing menu based on healthy fueling to keep us all energized and happy all week. And yes, there will be plenty of food to eat. We will be helping to make sure everyone gets enough proper nutrition…and a few treats too.

 

Where do campers sleep at camp? Campers will be sleeping in a camp building with multiple dorm style rooms.  Campers will have a shared room with at least one other camper. You can request a roommate if you and a buddy are coming to camp together. If not, don’t worry. Everyone coming is great. Who knows, your roommate may become your life long BFF.

 

Are there showers with hot water? Yes, there are showers. Yes, the water is hot. How cool is that!

 

How many miles will we run? We will be running/hiking a total of about 50 miles. Many of those miles will come on our “Long Day” (see the note below). These miles are to be comfortable miles. These runs will be well supported by camp staff. Paces will vary, which is great. We will have coaches covering each of the pace ranges. The group will have opportunities to come together as a whole, while not putting undue stress on any runner. All of the runs have been designed with a specific purpose (technical skill development, exposure to beautiful area, forest education, etc.). What they are not are competitive miles. We want to foster a cohesive group atmosphere.  There will be no racing amongst campers, unless it is a specific coach led activity (i.e. orienteering competition). Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to race when you are back at home.

 

Are you trying to kill us with the “long day”. How can I possibly run 20+ miles in one day? The “long day” sounds intimidating since the mileage is greater, but it is really more of an experience than it is a run. The day will be broken into segments of hiking, run/walking, and running. The focus is on demonstrating grit and perseverance, not on running a marathon. It will be one of the best parts of camp, and yes, you can get through it.

 

There is a wide age span for camp. Will that be awkward? Come on. You can get along with anyone, right? We were going to keep the age range smaller, but then had requests from both ends of the spectrum, and decided we didn’t want to limit the opportunity to participate for those ready for the experience. Multiple ages will keep it diverse and interesting. And we think it will be great.

 

Is this trail thing for real, or just a gimmick to get me to sign up? Nope, the trail thing is not a gimmick. The camp is really about 50% running and 50% trail/nature/wilderness education, experience and adventure. You will come out of camp with new technical running knowledge (form, nutrition, techniques, etc.) and with a better understanding of map reading, compass use, wilderness survival, trail maintenance, forest conservation, and more.  Yes, we agree. This is really two awesome camps combined into one!

A Different Kind of Running Camp

I've always felt like a camp should be more than just doing the same thing you could do on your own. It should be a learning experience where you take something away from the time you have at camp. Each day you glean a little more knowledge than you had before from the counsellors, coaches, and leadership and ultimately leave with a greater understanding of the activity you went to camp for, in this case, running. It's not to say that the experience of making new lifelong friends or running new trails shouldn't be a richly rewarding aspect of camp but the knowledge of the camp directors and teachers should tip the balance from "that was a great week with good friends" to "that was sooo worth it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat".

This camp is made for high school athletes that like running through the woods. If you've gotten a taste of off road running through cross country, but never really connected with track and field, this camp is for you. You know who you are. Maybe you're just looking to add a little more adventure to your run or be more confident out on the trails. This camp is for you.

 

Max and Kari