Your internal flame: At the end of every school year, when the long trips to meets are done, exams are finished, practices become voluntary, and you have the option to enter a persistent vegetative state to watch the latest season of Stranger Things--you could keep your fire burning and sign up for some awesome running camps! These camps will get that "fire burning" and potentially make it burn even brighter!
Over the past few years, I've run year-round, and by doing so, I've met so many people with similar passions that I felt the need to share. I do a lot of things to avoid burnout, stay in top shape, and help grow my passion for the sport. In today's article, I'll hit running camps.
I've attended Brevard Distance Running Camp, UNC Nike Running Camp, Duke Nike Running Camp, and Princeton Girls Running camp. All were fantastic camps but for completely different reasons. I attended BDRC for three years, and with each year, a new love for the camp and the sport was found. It remains the largest XC camp in the nation, and it has some of the most beautiful and challenging trails in the country. They also have solid team building sessions, great speakers, the renowned ice-cold recovery creek on campus, decent food, white squirrels, a waterfall run trail, the Art Loeb Trail (known for being the hardest trail we run), a great night of entertainment at the talent show, a camp-wide dance, and an ice cream social. John's Rock run, our final trail, provides some of the best insta content available. Negatives include lack of AC in the aged dorms, decent but not outstanding food, and the slight repetitiveness that comes with three years of the camp.
UNC was well organized, with a nice campus, and air-conditioned up-to-date dorms. The trails were solid but not as nice as BDRC, but how many places have a trail where you pass multiple waterfalls. The counselors consisted of the distance team, and they were friendly and fun to run with. The food was pretty good. All facilities were top notch having both outdoor and indoor tracks, as well as fun local trails.
Duke Running Camp had one of the most beautiful campuses that I have ever visited. One could compare it to a castle in a fairytale! The dining facility is fantastic, having food for any and all cravings. The coaches and staff are some of the best in the business. The track facilities were solid, and we got to visit the basketball arena as well. Duke is one of the finest universities in the US, and it currently ranks as the #1 university for student athletes. The dorms were air conditioned and roomy. The girls in attendance were super nice and passionate about their sport, which of course made running 600m trail repeats more enjoyable. Coach Riley is awesome and her attention to detail is amazing! She has all her ducks in a row.
Lastly, the cross country team at STJ recently went to Princeton Girls Running Camp. Four girls 14-16 flying solo to New Jersey made quite the adventure. We eventually made it and joined 120 other girls. Coach Hunt and his staff were so welcoming to the "Alabama Girls." The town is amazing, and the campus is a blend of historical buildings and brand-new architecture, all of which were exactly what you would expect at Princeton. They have a nice multipurpose indoor track and a top notch outdoor facility.
The local running trails were pretty nice as well. The food itself was a 10, consisting of a build your own salad station, build your own pasta bar, and ice cream every meal! The guest speakers--Molly Huddle with her 5 consecutive USATF 10k US titles, Kara Goucher and Ashley Higgionson being retired pro athletes--were excellent and inspiring! The dorms were huge, but they didn't have AC. We were able to watch the USATF CHAMPIONSHIPS on the campus theater screen to see Emma Coburn battle it out in the 3k SC.
It's really cool to hang with 120 girls that have the same passion as you! People talk about burnout, but remember, you survive if the fire inside you burns hotter than the fire around you. Find things over the summer that light your internal fire, and you'll be faster for it!
Gone for a run,