Lake Champlain Women’s Running Camp
Every summer thousands of children pack a few light clothes and their sneakers, and head off to a beautiful country setting for the carefree life of summer camp. Don’t you ever fantasize that you could do the same?
Posted Monday, 19 May, 2008
Go to a place free from traffic jams and e-mail, where the most taxing decision after your morning run is whether to swim now and paddle later, or the other way around. A place where your most pressing responsibility is to choose between locally grown strawberries on your pancakes or fresh maple syrup from this year’s crop.
Fortunately for us women, there is such a place, and there’s one other part that makes it the perfect “take-me-away” vacation. It’s a place for women who like to run—who just like to do it, or share it with others, or learn more about it. It’s the Lake Champlain Women’s Running Camp, in Vergennes, Vermont, and this year it is held June 8-14, 2008. This grown-up running camp is organized by the folks at RunVermont, the same group that grew the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon into one of the premier running events in the Northeast.
The Lake Champlain Women’s Running Camp was the beautiful brainchild of local VT runners, and was founded 5 years ago. The camp is located at the Basin Harbor Club, on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, about 20 miles south of Burlington and west of Montpelier. The secluded club sits on about 700 relatively flat acres sandwiched between the Adirondacks across the lake in the west and the Green mountains to the east.
Like many of the traditional girls and boys camps in New England, the Basin Harbor Club has a rich and long family history, with five-star polished charm you would expect to find in a northern New England summer resort. The club consists of a lodge and cottages, communal dining, tennis, golf course, spa, and other amenities.
Campers at the Women’s Running Camp have various reasons for wanting to go. Some just like to run with others and don’t get that opportunity because of a hectic work or family schedule. They enjoy the camaraderie that the camp allows. Others have wanted to kick-start a stalled running habit, and need the coaching and counseling that is part of the week. Many runners are new to the sport, or just want to take their running to the next level, perhaps to the intermediate level. Some campers are there with lofty goals, such as break 22 minutes for a 5K or to find their inner athlete. But a common bond for all campers—whether she is age 20 or 60—is to exercise, relax, and have fun. All campers receive one on one nutrition counseling, training plans, fitness guidance and so much more.
In addition to the daily group runs on the private roads and shady trails of the surrounding area, several workshops and lectures are held throughout the week. Sessions designed to improve running performance include stretching, core strengthening, track work, and aquatic running. There are lectures on topics such as healthy running, sports psychology, and injury prevention from various experts and coaches.
The camp enrollment is limited to 30 participants, and the staff-to-camper ratio is about 5 to 1, so there is plenty of individualized attention. For example, an individual nutrition counseling session helps with all-round health awareness. Other fun activities include yoga sessions, kayaking, hiking, and—of course—some simple beach “down-time.”
For most campers, the week culminates in the 5K Basin Harbor Race, when the friendships made during the week become evident. As teammates finish, they run back onto the course to support their fellow runners. This is one place to discover or re-discover the joy of running, in a setting that may just leave you asking for—well, s’more.