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