The inaugural Max King Youth Trail Running Camp was a rollicking success and we at BendBroadband are happy to say we played a small part in its promising beginning.
BendBroadband proudly provided two scholarships to the first-year camp, which was held near Suttle Lake the last week of June. Fifteen teenage campers spent five days and four nights with camp organizer Max King and his staff learning the finer points of trail running.
“Camp was a huge success with good reviews all around,” King said. “A lot of very happy – and tired – kids. Everyone I talked with had a blast and are already looking forward to next year.”
Tia Hatton, a former standout runner at Mountain View who recently completed her freshman year at the University of Oregon, gave us the rundown of what made the camp such an amazing experience.
A run at sunset. Sounds nice enough. How about a run at sunset, up Hoodoo Butte, and then a starlit sprint down a summer ski slope with skree? One can’t expect much less from a group of trail runners, and that’s what we did.
It was day four of the Max King Trail Running Camp. The other runners and I had scaled two mountains the day before. While the memories of the views were there to stay, the adrenaline had long faded and it left us with sore bodies. We were all ready for a rest day. Instead, in the morning we restored a large section of trail damaged by a fire, then we were heading to Hoodoo.
As we loaded up the vans that evening, we were in sore, but good spirits. My new trail running family sang along to pop songs as it uplifted our spirits and excitement grew for our next run. During the car ride, I was able to sit and share stories with an amazing ultrarunner, Sarah Bard. Cool stuff.
When we were dropped off at Potato Hill, my stomach sank a little. The week thus far had revealed, that despite months of aqua jogging during my recent stress injury, I had lost my high level of fitness. The mountains we had been running that week had proven emblematic of the journey I needed to make to get back into shape for cross season. As we set off towards Hoodoo, I reassured myself my only competition that day was a setting sun. And I had two hours to beat that.
A gradual, winding dirt road led us through a forest. I soon realized I felt great. My aching muscles weren’t bogging me down, my lack of fitness wasn’t telling my body to walk: it finally wanted to run. As I bounded up the road, I caught up with my fellow trail runners. We decided to skip the option to walk every 60 seconds and continued running up the winding road. Emerging into a mountain meadow, we looked to our left and a steep incline stood in our way of the summit.
With legs and lungs burning, we moved up the slope. Every time I’m moving up a hill like that, I can’t stop. It’s a combination of loving the pain, and not wanting to feel the pain for longer than necessary, and the view that awaited me. I know, it doesn’t always make sense.
Once we reached the summit, we were breathing heavily, our jaws dropped. Straight ahead was Mt. Washington and the Three Sisters. Their stunning snow capped figures beamed at us. When we turned towards the way we came, we saw rolling green hills of the Willamette Valley. My two homes, Bend, and Eugene, where I attend college, were on each side of me. They are both beautiful, and I can’t say I have a favorite among the unique landscape of each. Three Fingered Jack stood ominously to the north and in the opposite direction Diamond Peak could be seen.
It’s the moments on the peaks that make running worth the grinding on the trails. We had managed to use our own two feet to escape the commercialized and often questionable society we came from. If it took us to the tops of mountains- where else could those two feet take us in the future?
As the sun started dropping in the Willamette Valley to the west, I sat alone pondering Why I run, and Why the wilderness was my favorite place to enjoy a run. I found some answers in the sky, and within myself: I love running because I love pushing my limits, I love the ability to quickly explore the beautiful nature around me. I love running for the memories it’s given me, the wonderful people I’ve met through the sport, and the tears of defeat and of triumph. My favorite thing, running in the wilderness, was all those reasons exemplified in an “arena” with no judge or onlookers. Just nature, with it’s own language, and me going to the places that satisfy my spirit within.
After the sun had disappeared, and my deep thoughts dangled in my mind, we gathered at the top of a ski run. Peaking over the side, one by one, we tumbled down the slope of skree. Really, my favorite thing about running, is that it allows me to do crazy, fun things.