75 miles was the price to get into the Mountaineer’s cross country camp this year. The summer mileage requirement was increased from last year with a week less to achieve the goal but the Mountaineers rose to the challenge. Head coach Mary Williams is particularly impressed by the freshmen runners who get out over the summer without ever having run before. Sophomore Emily Callaghan led the team in mileage with 90 miles complete prior to departure.
18 of the 25 team members set out for South Branch, MI to spend some time working out and growing as a team. The team camp is a highlight of the year for attendees. From Wednesday evening to Sunday morning, the team ran up to 24 miles including continuous runs, quarter mile repeats, strength training, and a 5k time trial. In between morning and evening workouts, the team spent time in theory sessions, learning about motivation, the rules of the sport, proper nutrition, and more. They talked about some of the great cross country runners, including a team favorite: Steve Prefontaine. Afternoon sessions focused on team building with team challenges and activities.
Coach shared her reflections on camp. “The entire nature of the camp is fun and demanding. The team sets their goals and expectations when we arrive. We review those goals and expectations each morning when we begin with prayer before the morning workout. Each night, each girls shares her high and low from the day; we review our goals and expectations; set new goals for the next day; and end the day with prayer before our fun night activity. Watching a new group of girls come together, get to know each other, push themselves, show real improvement, and come out the other end as a team is what camp is all about for me.”
The runners share their reflections about the camp at the closing bonfire every year, sharing what they learned about a teammate as well as what they learned about themselves. They also share what they love about camp and what they would change about camp. The majority would change early morning wake-ups. Despite the challenge, the team shared that what they loved is the five mile run and the team building Olympics.