Updated: Mar 7, 2020
Why go to a running camp? I remember my parents asking me that the first time I wanted to go. Like most, they figured that you can run anywhere, why would you need to go spend a week in the middle of the Poconos to become a better runner. Well, after that first week away, I knew exactly why you go to running camp.
In the last 10 years, I have missed one year of running camp. From 2008-2010 I was a camper, 2011-14 a counselor, 2016 a coach and in 2017-18 a co-founder. Over those 10 years, I’ve gotten more than I could have ever imagined out of my camp experiences. I met and listened to some of the greatest coaches in NJ history (now some of them work at Radix), I got to talk with Olympians and US champs, ( we had one at Radix last year, Robby Andrews), and I made lifelong friends from other teams ( two guys I went to camp with ended up being college teammates and lifelong friends). I do not hesitate to say that running camp was and still is the greatest week of my summer.
Camp is great for a simple reason, the people. It’s legends like Mr. Heath, the winningest Coach in NJ history, who help to confirm that hard work and determination always pay off! Mentors like Coach Stowe who inspire you to chase your dreams, as she chases her own. But, most importantly, it is runners like YOU who come up for a week to become better versions of yourselves!
Camp is a week of forging friendships and creating team bonds that last a lifetime. Any team that goes to camp comes out stronger and better for it. There is something so special about living with your teammates for that week. You grow closer together and become accountable to your goals in a new way. Each day, you wake up early to share the experience of crushing miles. At night, you create and solidify your goals for the next season often talking about them long into the night. This type of bonding happens best when you spend time away on a singular mission with your teammates.
On top of that, you get to learn from other teams and athletes. Often, we only look to ourselves and teammates for inspiration and motivation. BUT, the best teams and individuals always keep their eyes and ears open to those around them. They see what other teams and athletes do better and they learn and adapt. In my opinion, there is no better place to learn from others than at camp. You get to interact with other amazing athletes and coaches every single day. You get to pick each others’ brains to see how the other greats in the area train, sleep, eat, and compete. And, in the end, everyone leaves better for it!
So, please go to a running camp this summer. Have the week of a lifetime with your teammates, friends, and fellow runners. You’ll be happy you did in November.