With the Veritas cross-country program off and running, coach Ken McChesney is reviving a successful tradition he had at Amity by hosting a youth distance running camp next month.
The Veritas Summer Running Camp will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 8-12 at Jaquith Park.
The focus of the camp will be teaching on how to run efficiently and safely, not on logging miles.
I worry for athletes if they all of a sudden go up in mileage that they dont have the mechanical training of how to run efficiently, McChesney said. That mileage can tend to lead to injury. Things like shin splints are a big reason people dont like running. Theyre not going to run for hours.
For the first 30 minutes of each session, McChesney and fellow Veritas coach Britany Watilo will instruct campers on a basic skill or element of proper form. Afterward, the camp will break up into small groups, with members of the high school team serving as counselors and leading campers through games that will reinforce that days lesson.
For example, McChesney has a mantra, Head up, thumbs up, knees up, feet straight, that he stresses with all of his runners.
During races its one of the things I call out to the kids so that when they start getting tired and breaking down, what are the four things to pay attention to, McChesney. Well teach the kids a way to do that for each of the four things.
The camp will address racing toward the end before culminating with a race day Friday.
I think the thing that really sold it and that I loved was that the high schoolers are the counselors, McChesney said. These are kids that the younger ones just look up to. I love that the high schoolers get to work with the younger kids, too.
McChesney believes he could have as many as 16 runners on the high school team this fall, which means there could be as many as two or three athletes working with each small group.
So far, about a dozen runners have signed up, mostly from Veritas, but McChesney stressed that the camp is open to the public and hopes more people will take advantage of the resource.
The last time we had some kids come down from Portland and I wasnt exactly sure how they learned about the camp, McChesney said of the last camp in Amity. We definitely are hoping to bring in the public. We want kids to learn to love running.
Cost for the camp, which is a fundraiser for the cross-country program, is $50 per participant, with a family limit of $150. Each camper will receive a T-shirt and snacks at the end of each session.