Stowe Running Camp 2016 Wrap Up Post

Hi Folks,

This is camp director Fran Cusick, I apologize for the delay in getting a blog up! Amazingly, the week has come and went, and it was a fantastic week. This year, the vast majority of our campers were brand new to the camp, yet from the way everyone clicked almost immediately it was like you all were long lost best friends. Some of the highlights included Olympian Ruben Sanca spending most of the week hanging out with the campers, a great tempo run on the Quiet Path in Stowe, and the scavenger hunt we did on the last day at the Trapp Family Lodge.

A couple of announcements regarding the end of camp/next year’s camp:

-If you did not get your shoes, they should be coming in by the middle of this week! There was a bit of a delay, but they were shipped out today.

-If you enjoyed Stowe Running Camp and would like to write a review/testimonial, please email it to! Based on the evaluations, it seems like people had a great time, so feel free to talk about it!

-Also, if you have any great pictures from this year, send them to the same email address! ( Who knows, you may even find your way onto the brochure!

-If you are interested in being a CIT (counselor in training) next year, please email me sometime in the winter!

-If you enjoyed the experience, make sure you come back next year and bring your friends! The more, the merrier.

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone who helped make this week so special.

We had three excellent guest speakers this year, all of whom travelled quite a distance to impart their wisdom on the campers. Coach Jason Saretsky of Harvard University, Jess Minty of Battle Road Track Club, and Ruben Sanca of Whirlaway/Brooks, thank you so much for your time! In addition, our co-director Dan Flynn was unable to spend a lot of time in Stowe as he is transitioning to a new job, but he spent Saturday and Sunday at the Round Hearth and gave a fantastic speech. (we’re all winners!)

We had a ton of CITs this year, nine to be exact, and somehow all of you were extremely helpful and willing to do pretty much anything that was asked of you, from moving the tables, to creating epic slideshows scored to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide,” to helping out with the creation of the scavenger hunt, you guys were fantastic. Yes, even our honorary CIT, Jake Grigsby was pretty helpful! The CIT’s were:

Emily Sessa, Tewksbury Memorial HS, MA

Emily Paquette, Notre Dame Academy, Tyngsboro MA

Lilly Wells, Mohawk Regional HS MA

Elisabeth Olson, Worcester State College MA

Rachel Maue, Ridgefield HS, CT

Tristan Shelgren, St. John’s Prep Danvers MA

Abhinav Pal, New Canaan HS, CT

Mike St George, New Canaan HS, CT

Jake Grigsby, New Canaan HS, CT (honorary)

The counselors, as usual, did a great job keeping everyone both safe and entertained. It says a lot about the culture of the camp that the majority of our counselors actually attended Stowe Running Camp and have made it a part of their yearly routine. So much of the success of the camp is dependent on having counselors who know what they’re doing and can create a fun atmosphere, and you guys did not disappoint. Our counselors this year were:

Leah Miller (Sarge), Lesley University Assistant Coach (formerly Brown)

Kourtney Bonsey, Regis College Head Coach

Kevin Greene, Regis College Assistant Coach

Rachel Campbell (Savanah College of Art and Design)

Peyton McGovern (Richmond University)

Eva Fandozzi (Boston University)

Spencer Lyman (Franklin and Marshall College)

Palmer Wymann (Marist College)

Joe Niski (Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

Also, a big thank you to our athletic trainer, Caitlin Ryan, who did a fantastic job all week. It was so nice to have a trainer who actually understands running the way Caitlin does.

Finally, big thanks to the staff of the Round Hearth! We appreciate your flexibility and willingness to put up with the voracious appetites and general oddness of runners.

I do hope to post more pictures and videos in the coming week, so keep an eye out for that on Facebook and Instagram. Otherwise, see you all next summer!

-Director Fran Cusick


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Day 2: Monday Funday

The day began with a pleasant jaunt through the trails at Weissner Woods located up the hill from the Round Hearth. We were all more the wiser with our trail running experience. The campers got some breakfast, then set off to gain experience in another area: speed development. Regis College assistant coach Kevin Greene led the campers through a series of drills and a 30 meter fly session where the runners worked on developing their top end speed. A quick core and plank series was also led by Leah Miller.

After food refreshments, we headed to Foster’s Swimming Hole to cool off and enjoy swimming and each other’s company. The Olympic Games continued with our first event: the water balloon toss. Team Nepal splashed their way to a gold medal victory. The next event was a full team event: the clothing relay. Each team had a series of articles of clothing that they had to put on, run across a field, and then take off and pass to their teammate. The United States thoroughly dominated the event, but the comedic highlight was seeing 13 year old Makayla attempt to run across a field in size 14 shoes.

Camp Director Fran Cusick gave a speech discussing how and why to do a tempo run. Campers learned the art of running “comfortably hard” and how critical it is to a runner’s training plan to prepare for the next day’s workout. Later in the evening, counselors hosted an optional seminar on the options of running collegiality.

This was a great day as campers began to get over their first day awkwardness and the seeds of emerging friendships were sown.

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Stowe Running Camp 2016 Day 1: Settling Into Stowe

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

Campers arrived excited and nervous for the week ahead, only to be greeted by the warm and welcoming faces of their fellow campers and staff. The first day of camp was kicked off with an introductory meeting followed by a run at the Trapp Family Lodge. Campers split into groups to explore the lodge’s vast trail network, running among pastures with cows, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and streams.

Upon arrival back at the Round Hearth, campers were greeted by co-director Dan Flynn and his new assistant, highly-qualified and experienced 5-year-old son, Luke. Dan delivered an inspiring speech about resilience and fortitude in running.

In light of Dan’s encouragement, campers prepared to take on a challenge of their own! Dinner was followed by the commencement of Stowe Running Camp’s very own Olympic Games. After splitting up into groups of 6, teams created their own flags to represent their chosen country. Combining creative talents, new friends worked together to draw a unique design. It was a fun night of team building followed by some socialization at the Round Hearth.

Then it was off to bed for the campers!

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Elisabeth Olson Testimonial

Recent Wilmington High School graduate Elisabeth Olson has been going to Stowe for the past two years and offered up a heartfelt depiction of her time at camp. Read it below:

What makes Stowe Running Camp enjoyable, and the reason why I continue to return, is the instant community that is built as soon as you walk through the doors of the Round Hearth. The genuine smiles and the kind hearts you are greeted with on the first day, and every morning after, all share the same passion: running. No matter your skill level, you are taken in and made welcome by the directors, counselors, and

campers because at the end of the day, we all have some relationship to running, and that’s all that really matters.

On a more personal note, being surrounded by dedicated runners and learning about the aspects of training and running really inspired me to set goals for myself, ultimately sparking my love for the sport. It was the following cross country season when I started to stray from “just going through the motions.” I actually became someone who put their heart into every race, striving to be better. Stowe Running Camp gave me the confidence to become serious in my running, showing me that running is much more than just a sport. It helped bring a purpose and a sense of community to running, even outside the realms of camp. After my week in Stowe I looked forward to keeping in touch with runners from other schools, some I would see at meets later in the season.

I love Stowe Running Camp because it brings together two of my most favorite things: the mountains of Vermont and the sport of running. This summer will be my third year at camp and I already cannot wait to begin packing!


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There is Still Time to Sign Up for Stowe Running Camp 2016!!

Hi everyone, hope you all are enjoying your summer vacations! Not sure if you watched but the Olympic Trials have been going on this week and there have been some highly dramatic moments. In particular, the women’s 800 meter final was a devastating one, as Alysia Montano fell and Brenda Martinez was tripped, costing both of them a chance to get to Rio. Overall though it’s been pretty inspiring to watch!

Speaking of inspiration, I wanted to put out a reminder that there is still time to sign up for Stowe Running Camp! We still have spots open and would love to add a few more runners to the mix over the next few weeks. I’ve been involved in Stowe Running Camp for the past five years and last year we had our highest numbers that I’ve seen. We don’t quite have those numbers again this year, but if you are reading this and attending; please talk to your friends! Read through previous blogs about why attending Stowe is awesome and please ask me if you have any questions. It is a wonderful week that I look forward to every year and the more people we can bring into the mix the better.

I’ll post a few more blogs as we get closer to August 7th. Happy running!

-Coach Cusick


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Why You Should Attend Stowe Running Camp Reason 4: It Allows You to Grow Your Passion As A Runner


To the uninformed, the idea of running camp is baffling. “Why would you go to a running camp?” the naysayers will exclaim, “What do you do all day, run?” While I never got a chance to go to running camp in high school, spending the past five summers as a part of the Stowe Running Camp community has cemented the importance of going to camp. And one of the things that I keep coming back to is this: it gives you a chance to grow your passion as a runner.

If you’re the type of person who would even consider going to running camp, clearly there is something about running that you like. Going to a place like Stowe gives you a chance to explore what exactly that passion is. I I make no claims that you’re going to come here and walk away as a better runner. Running is about gradual progression; no one run, day, or week makes the difference but rather it is the cumulative effect of months of this kind of work combining to make you a better runner.

What we can promise you at Stowe is a group of people who care. Not everyone will care about running in the exact same way that you do, but all are there for a specific reason. And being in a place like that, with an entire army of people who share a similar mind set, is empowering. Whether you’re the best runner on an apathetic team or a middle of the pack runner who is doing everything they can to get better at the sport or even someone who has only run for a few months but has found that it allows them to express themselves, you’re going to find a connection at Stowe. It might be a counselor, one of our guest speakers, or a peer, but I promise you, you’ll find some connection and that connection will help clarify and focus your own passion for the sport.

So ultimately, while I can’t promise that your week at Stowe will improve your 5k by 2 minutes, I can promise that it will provide you with an opportunity to grow your love of the sport. And ultimately, that’s what it’s all about. Go sign up today!

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Reason 3 Why You Should Attend Stowe Running Camp: The Camaraderie and Sense of Community.


Running camp, and camps in general, are something of an odd experience. You come into a place with a group of people that you don’t know at all and then spend a week straight living with them…and then you don’t see them again, possibly for another year. Most college teams and some high school teams as well will often take a preseason trip where they will spend a week or a few days together to become a more tight-knit group or what-have you. But running camp isn’t like that either per-se; that group of people isn’t collectively building to anything outside of the one week at camp. When the week is over, we’ll all take a picture together, say some tearful goodbyes, and then everyone goes their separate ways. You’ll see some people from camp here and there at various meets over the course of the year and stop to chat with them, but the every-day connection can only exist within that one magical week. And that’s one of the things that I enjoy so much about Stowe Running Camp: before your eyes you see a group of people come together, do some great things, and then in the blink of an eye it’s all over.

One of the things I love most about running camp is seeing different, unique people come together as one. Typically, the first day of camp is a little bit awkward. People huddle in little groups and it’s a bit quieter as people are feeling out their surroundings and coming to grips with the fact that, yes, this place is going to be their home for the next six days. As the days go on, the awkwardness starts to lift and people start to get out of their comfort zone, and by the last day the people at camp become a sort of surrogate family. No matter how many times I see it, that part of camp never gets old.

Buddhist monks create these intricate sand paintings called mandalas. They spend hours, days, even weeks building them. Then, after it has been completed, they ritualistically dismantle the entire thing, pack it up, and throw the sand into a river. To them, it symbolizes the ephemeral and transitory nature of life in general. To me, running camp is a lot like those mandalas: the experience itself is very intricate and amazing and you meet all these new people…and then, seemingly before you knew it, the week is over. But…you know that, for however brief a period of time, you were part of something special.

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