Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp Asheville, North Carolina

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Unmatched summer training and top quality coaching define the Smoky Mountain Running Camp. Immerse yourself in running, new friends and fun evening activities for a week or two! REGISTER TODAY! WE ARE CLOSE TO SELLING OUT ALL SESSIONS.

Constantly seeking 'artistic perfection,' Coach Benson is dedicated to annually refining the camp activity schedule and curriculum. 

Camper improvement- by teaching, instructing and coaching is our primary emphasis. 

Highlights Include

  • Celebrating our 42nd year!
  • Top notch high school and college coaching.
  • Comprehensive running camp experience: featuring daily runs in the National Forest, informative breakout sessions and talks given by nationally recognized guest speakers.
  • Video taping with personal form analysis.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) Cross Country Class is offered during all camp sessions for those elite runners who desire college level instruction about the Art & Science of Running.
  • Superior facilities: beautiful campus surroundings, state-of-the-art track facility and new Wellness Center.
  • Coaches are encouraged to accompany their cross country teams and attend the Coaches Workshop covering the latest in training and racing techniques. The workshop runs concurrently with the youth camp session. The Coaches Workshop runs July 13-18 session only.
  • Fun evening recreational activities planned.
  • Middle school running program with specific youth curriculum is offered July 13-18. The High School Program offers a different curriculum from the Middle School Program.
  • Round trip bus transportation is available from Atlanta, Peachtree City, Pensacola, Maryland and Delaware.

Located at the University of North Carolina- Asheville, in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, the camp is one of the oldest in the country.  Campers stay in air conditioned dorms, in suite style living accommodations- two bedrooms/one bath with living room.  Four runners per suite.  Microwave and refrigerator are availbe in each suite.  

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp operates on National Forest System Lands and are authorized under Special Use Permit by the Pisgah Natinal Forest.  

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp is open to any and all entrants.

Meet your coaching staff
Camp Director

Alan Drosky

Alan Drosky continues his long association with SMRC and 2014 will mark his second year as Camp Director. In 1982, he attended as a camper, and in subsequent years has served in a variety of roles at camp, from junior counselor to staff coach and guest speaker, to camp administrator and co-director.

Drosky also has been the head coach of the men's and women's cross country teams for 22 years at Georgia Tech, and has been the head coach for women’s track & field for 18 years.

Read Full Bio

During his cross country tenure, Drosky has coached three NCAA All-Americans and eight individual NCAA qualifiers.  In addition, he has had 37 All-South Region selections and 15 All-ACC performers.

In his career, Drosky has coached his track & field athletes to three NCAA national titles, one USATF national title, and his athletes have earned 65 NCAA All-American honors, 64 ACC championships and 142 All-ACC accolades.

In 2001, Drosky was named South Region Cross Country Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track Coaches Association. He also earned ACC Coach of the Year honors for indoor track in 1999 and 2002.

Drosky is recognized as one of the most outstanding distance performers in Tech history. He competed on the Yellow Jackets' cross country and track and field teams from 1985-87, serving as captain three times. In addition, Drosky earned All-America honors twice at the NCAA Championships, finishing sixth in the indoor mile in 1986 and 12th in the outdoor 1500 meters in `87. He was also crowned 1987 Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the indoor mile.

Following his distinguished career, Drosky was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.


Travis Gower

Coach Gower started coaching in Georgia in 2002 after graduating from the University of Georgia.  Until 2008, Coach Gower led the McEachern High School cross country and track & field programs that included a number of great teams and individuals.  During Coach Gower’s time at McEachern, his teams earned two state titles in track & field as well as numerous podium finishes and a total of ten region titles for cross country and track.  Individually he coached numerous athletes to county, region, and state titles as well as a couple of All-Americans and a Footlocker Cross Country two-time finalist.  In 2008, Coach Gower took the job at Walton High School and continues to have success there.  At Walton, Coach Gower lead teams to two state cross country championships as well as the school’s first state title in track & field.  Coach Gower has had numerous athletes achieve all-state, all-metro, and all-county teams in both cross country and track as well as sending athletes to run at colleges from NAIA schools to Division I powerhouses.

Read Full Bio

Coach Gower has been a part of the Smoky Mountain Running Camp since 1993 when he was first a camper.  Since that time he has been a camper, JCIT, JC, Staff Coach and is now co-director of the camp.  Coach Gower has even convinced his wife, Mandy Ryan, to help him coach cross country and to attend camp as a staff coach as well. 

Before becoming a coach, Coach Gower was a cross country and track athlete for both McEachern High School and the University of Georgia.  His father, Lee Gower, is also a hall-of-fame coach who worked at Walton, McEachern, Auburn University, and of course, the Smoky Mountain Running Camp. 

Coach Gower teaches World and U.S. History at Walton and is still active in running and triathlon today.  He has competed in the Houston Marathon, Boston Marathon, and completed a Half-Ironman so far in his career.  He and his wife currently live in Atlanta, Georgia.


Roy Benson, Founder

Roy T. Benson, MPE, C.F.I., is an exercise scientist and distance running coach.
He earned a Master's Degree in PE with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Florida.

Read Full Bio

Since 1976, he has held a national certification as a Fitness Instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine. He has presented several hundred professional papers and lectures for academic and popular audiences.

He currently serves as a Special Contributor for Running Times magazine with a monthly readership of over 250,000 serious runners. His newest book "Heart Rate Training" will be published by Human Kinetics in the Spring of 2011.

Coach Benson ran competitively for over 45 years with personal bests of 1:52.7
for 800 meters and 4:19.8 for the mile. As a master's runner, he ran 36:06 for 10k, 17:22 for 5k, 4:52 for the mile and qualified for the Boston marathon with a 3:09:05 PR at age 40.

He coached at the U of Florida from 1969 to 1979 as head X-C coach for seven years and head T & F coach for three years. For 16 years, 1993 to 2008, he served as Community Coach at Marist School (a 2A size private school) in Atlanta where his girls and boys teams won 16 state class 4A X-C championships and individual runners won a total of 20 state titles in x-c and track.

He founded and has directed the Smoky Mountain Running Camp for 40 years.


Noel Breger

Delaware Military Academy
Noel coaches at the Delaware Military Academy 2007 - present (three top five finishes).  He also coaches the indoor track team since 2008.  Previously, Breger coached at Archmere Academy 1991 - 2007, winning eight state titles.  He received Coach of the Year awards in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2010. Breger ran cross country in high school and at Washington College where he was team captain.    Coach Breger has been a staff coach at SMRC for eight years.


Jason Cage

Jason coached 1 year at Saint Thomas Aquinas in Louisiana as the Cross Country Assistant Coach and won the 2002 Cross Country State Championship. Coach Cage has also been coaching for 7 years at Westlake High School  as the Head Girls Cross Country & Track Coach in Atlanta, GA.  His teams won the 2009 and 2013 Track & Field State Championship and he was selected as the 2009 5A and 2013 6A Track & Field Coach of the year in Georgia. Coach Cage  has been a Staff Coach for the past 6  years.


Andy Carr

Milton High School
Carr coaches at Milton High School, Milton, GA. 2004-Present.  Milton has won multiple county titles and had top-10 finishes at GA State meet while under Coach Carr’s tutelage.  He was named 2008 Fulton County Boy's Coach of the Year.
Previously, he coached at Salem High School, Salem, VA, where the girls finished seventh in VA 1985 state meet. In 1986, he coached at Einsten HS in Kensington, MD where two athletes qualified for the Maryland state meet in track.
Coach Carr has been a competitive runner since 1976 running for elementary, middle and high school track & XC teams. Ran collegiately for Roanoke College where he ran in two national championship meets in XC. A veteran road racer and marathoner, he has run 15 marathons and three ultra-marathons. He ran the 100th Boston Marathon in 1996.  Outstanding performances include: sixth in HS state meet, 4x800 relay, College school record-holder in the 3000m Steeplechase. Runner of the Year, Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MD)-1986, Long Distance Running Man of the Year, 2011-12 USA Track & Field Georgia.  Currently, Carr works full-time for the Atlanta Track Club (since 1999) and part-time for USA Track & Field (since 2006) as its long distance running record-keeper.  He has served as a national level USA Track & Field official since 1987. Coach Carr has been a staff coach at SMRC for eight years.


Jerry Crockett

Dr. Jerry Crockett, a retired professor from Oklahoma State University in the area of physiological ecology, is in his fifth season as a volunteer assistant coach.  He has served as Director of Extension for the College of Arts and Sciences for 10 years and was a Dean at the University of Idaho from 1967-68. Crockett attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University on a basketball scholarship and played AAU basketball for several years. His interest in track started as a coach at Higgins High School in Higgins, Texas in 1951. While playing AAU basketball for the Conoco Oilers, he directed the state AAU junior track meet.  During his tenure at OSU, he became a master’s distance runner, setting many state records and winning several national championships. He was elected to the Oklahoma Distance Running Hall of Fame. In 1976, he became an aide to Coach Ralph Tate in the OSU track and field and cross country program until his retirement.

He served in various state and national positions with the USA Track and Field governing body and retired in 2005 as the chair of the Long Distance Running Division which oversees all distance running (track, road running, cross country, mountain, ultra and trail running) in the U.S. and coordinates the selection of all national teams.

Crockett currently serves as director of the coaching clinics for Roy Benson’s Nike Running Camps and with Benson created the syllabus for RRCA coaching Certifications.


Christine Dahlhauser

Coached at Pope High School  since 2007 as Head XC/Assistant Track Coach. In 2013, Coach Dahlhauser’s boy’s XC team was Region Champions and finished 3rd in AAAAA.   Here distance runners were also pivotal in the 2012 Track and Field 3rd place team finish.  She was a member of Missouri High School State Championship Cross Country Team. Missouri State High School 3200m State Champion, Missouri State High School Cross Country Championships Runner-up, 4yr letterman XC and Track at Warrensburg High School in Missouri. Ran XC and Track at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO. Indoor NAIA National Qualifier 4 x 800m relay. Transferred to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS. NJCAA National Cross Country Championships Qualifier, NJCAA National Indoor Track and Field Championships Qualifier 4 x 800m relay. 
Coach Dahlhauser has been a Staff Coach at for 5 years.


Eric Daughtery

Union Grove High School
Daugherty coaches cross-country and track at Union Grove High School (2003-Present). Both boys' and girls' cross-country teams have been ranked top 10 in the state multiple seasons. Coach Daugherty's teams have won nine Henry County cross-country championships and five region championships (2003-Present). Over 20 runners have earned scholarships to DI and DII schools over this time period. Recognized as Henry County Track and Field Coach of the Year 2009 and Union Grove High School Coach of the Year 2008 and 2009.   Coach Daugherty has been a staff coach for five years.


Frank Faykes

A Retired Air Force Major General, having served 31 years in various positions at Air Force bases and the Pentagon.  31 years as an accomplished distance runner. Completed 20 marathons (PR 2:38), several Ultra-Marathons and numerous road races. (5K PR 15:39). Featured in Runner's World magazine at,7120,s6-243-297--10946-0,00.html   Coach Faykes was involved in adult camp for the past 7 years as an adult camp coach and is currently a  staff coach at SMRC youth camp.


Bill Hackney

Kell High School
Coach Hackney is the director of the SMRC Middle School Program.  He is currently the distance coach at Kell High School and was the director and head coach of the Walton Youth Track program in Marietta, GA.  Coach Hackney coached for eight years as a youth coach and  eight  years as a high school coach, as well as offering private coaching for adults for over 20 years.  While at Kell, he coached the distance runners on the 2008 Track and Field region championship team and the 2009 XC region championship team.   He also coached JP Hackney to 2007 State Runner in AAAAA XC and was selected Cobb Co-Coach of the Year 2009.  He has had at least one athlete be offered either a Division 1 or Division 2 XC scholarship in each of his eight years as coach at Kell.  Coach Hackney ran XC and track in high school, has completed 22 marathons, numerous road races and triathlons.  Coach Hackney has also been interviewed for several articles related to adult and youth running for various running publications.  Coach Hackney coached two years at Coach Benson’s Brevard camp and has been a Staff Coach at SMRC for the past ten years.


Brad Hendrickson

Blessed Trinity High School
Coach Hendrickson has been fortunate to help guide many athletes and teams to success in their running careers.  Through his four years at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School, one year at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, and six years at Dunwoody High School, his teams have won multiple county and region team championships in cross country and track and field; most notable three cross country team state titles.  Coach Hendrickson enjoys “running as a lifelong sport” and encourages his athletes to do the same.  He has completed 14 marathons and six half ironman triathlons.  He has been a staff coach for 11 years and attended two years as a high school camper.


Becky Megesi

Georgia Tech
One of the top middle distance runners in Georgia Tech history, Becky Megesi enters her 12th year as an assistant for the Jackets cross country and track teams. She primarily works with the distance runners as well as the cross country teams for both men and women. Additionally, she handles many administrative functions as well as being in charge of recruiting the women's distance events. Megesi, a recent inductee into the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame, is a two-time All-American.  She garnered All-America honors in the 1500 meters, finishing eighth at the 1999 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Boise, Idaho. She again earned All-America honors in 2000, anchoring Tech's distance medley relay to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Megesi also qualified for the outdoor NCAA meets in 1999 and 2000 in the 800. In 1998, she became the third Tech individual qualifier for the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Lawrence, Kan. In 2000, Megesi was a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800 meters.

Megesi won ACC Championships in the 1500 in 1998 and 1999, earning All-ACC honors six times during her career. She currently holds school records in the outdoor 800 (2:04.63), the indoor DMR (11:21.48), and the outdoor 4x800m relay (8:56.94).

Coach Megesi has been an staff at SMRC for nine years,  and this is her second year as camp administrator.


Eric Nelson

Pensacola Catholic High School

Coaching since 1993 at Pensacola Catholic HS, became head coach in 1998, coaching both boys and girls XC and track and field teams.  Accolades include Pensacola News Journal XC Coach of the Year, four times, as well as many district and regional team titles. 
Individual accomplishments include running in HS in North Easton, Mass. - PR of 13:08 (2.7 course), ran four years on scholarship at the University of West Florida, qualified for two NAIA national XC meets and three NAIA national marathons, 25th in Collegiate National Marathon (NAIA) Abbotsford, BC 1991 and being 44th in the USATF Men's 15k Championships 1992. Coach Nelson has been a staff coach for five years at SMRC.


Dunn Neugebauer

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School
Neugebauer has served for eight years as head coach at Holy Innocents'.  He has coached numerous region championship teams and athletes.  Dunn considers his biggest "award" in coaching has been, and will continue to be, his bond with the runners.
As a high school athlete, Coach Neugebauer was a two sport state champion in tennis and track (2 - mile). He played collegiate tennis at Berry College (#1 singles for four years) where he was selected as the team MVP.  Coach Neugebauer has been a staff coach for 10 years.


Jess Norman

University of North Carolina, Asheville
Coach Norman has been coaching cross country at the collegiate level for eight years (two years at Western Carolina University & five years at UNC Asheville). Previously he coached high school athletes for two years before joining the collegiate ranks.  During that time he developed the first state qualifier in school history (Robbinsville High School), a three time All State Performer, and All Conference Performers at Western Carolina University and UNC Asheville, along with improving the men's distance program at UNC Asheville from last place in the Big South Conference to a top five program.  One of his female athletes at UNC Asheville has also set the school record for freshman at the 6k distance.  He was named 2011 Big South Conference Women's Coach of the Year.
As an athlete, he was a five time 3A state champion in high school (2 x cross country, 2 x 3200m and 1 x 1600m) and was an all state performer eleven times during his high school career.  He is the Fuquay-Varina High School record holder (cross country, 1600m, 3200m, 4 x 800m). He went on to Western Carolina University where he set the freshman record during cross country (25:33 - 8k) and went on to be an All-Conference performer during outdoor track in the 10k (third place finish).  His junior year he won the Southern Conference cross country championships with a time of 24:48 and was the first, and so far only, cross country individual champion in school history.
This will be Coach Norman’s fourth year as a staff coach at SMRC.


Tom Orehowsky

Manatee High School

Coached at Manatee High Cross Country since 1976, Manatee/Sarasota Co. Coach Orehowsky was Coach of the Year - 5xBoys, 4xGirls four SMRC campers who were Florida State 1600 Champions, two were XC runner-ups, FHSAA Track & Field official, RRCA Southeast Region Volunteer of Year 2004, RRCA National Volunteer of the Year 2008 - Rod Steele Award Winner. 

Coach Orehowsky has been a pivotal part of camp for the past 21 years.  He is the hydration specialist for camp and also coordinates all transportation for campers and coaches.


Tara Peterson

Western Carolina University 

Peterson is currently working as a professor in the Athletic Training Program at Western Carolina University. She moved into that position after working for the last three and a half years as the assistant athletic trainer at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.  Previously she worked as an assistant athletic trainer and assistant professor at Barton College in Wilson, NC, and as the head athletic trainer at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL.  Her other clinical experiences include working  as an assistant athletic trainer in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, and with the Minnesota Lynx for the 2007 season. Also, for the past eight years she has worked as part of the medical staff for the USA Field Hockey National Festival. After growing up in Bristol, CT, Tara earned her Bachelor’s in Athletic Training from University of New England in 2005 where she was a member of the women’s basketball team, and her Masters in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology from the University of Florida in 2007.

Tara has served as the camp Athletic Trainer for the past six summers.


Jessica Raby

Georgia Tech
Women's cross country & track coach at Georgia State University for 14 years and volunteer cross country & track coach at Georgia Tech for two and a half years. Women's XC Coach of the Year for the Atlantic Sun Conference in '98 & '00 and for the CAA in '06 & '07. Coached seven XC conference Runners of the Year and four XC Rookies of the Year as well as four NCAA qualifiers. Competed in track her senior year in high school and in XC at Georgia State where she was selected All-Conference for three seasons. Coach Raby was a camper at Coach Benson's running camp and this will be her seventh year as a staff coach.


Joe Robinson

Etowah High School
Coach Robinson has over 20 years experience coaching distance runners; individuals, youth and high school where he continuous to be successful at the county, region and state level. Personally he has over 40 years of running experience where he  competed in distances of  800M and up.  Coach Robinson has run 26  marathons and three ultra-marathons.  This will be Coach Robinson’s fifth year as a staff coach at SMRC.


Kellie Ruse

Boulder High School

Coached XC/track at Marist High School for 13 years. During that time Coach Ruse has been honored by ATC for XC Coach 10 times for state championship teams/athletes. The 2010 XC season concluded with both the Marist boys and girls team winning the AAAA State Championship. While at Marist, Coach Eyre has seen 17 XC state championships and numerous individuals state championships in track & field. Coach Ruse was recently selected as the head coach at Boulder High School.  Coach Ruse was also a highly successful athlete: High School (Bishop Kenny, Jacksonville, FL) (440, 880), College (Berry College) (400m Hurdles, 800), Post-Collegiate, Masters (1500m). NAIA All-American 4x800 (Berry College); World Masters – sixth Place (1500m 40-44 Age Group), USATF Masters Outdoor National 1500m Champion (40-44 Age Group); Runner up @ Masters Outdoor and Indoor 40-45 AG. Coach Ruse has been a staff coach for 12 years and was previously one of the associate directors for six years.


Mandy Ryan

Walton High School

Coach Ryan has been an assistant cross country coach at Walton since 2009.  She is also the varsity head coach of the Lady Raiders lacrosse team since 2003.  She was the head lacrosse coach at Roswell and North Springs before moving to Walton (her alma mater).  She began her lacrosse career at the University of Georgia where she played club lacrosse.  After graduation from UGA with a degree in Biology, she became a girl’s lacrosse official and president of the Southeastern Women’s Lacrosse League.  Coach Ryan was a certified EMT-Intermediate prior to earning her Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education from Georgia State University.  She is also a competitive triathlete who enjoys training with her husband Travis Gower.  Mandy has been a staff coach for two years.


Jason Scott

Harrison High School
Scott has coached XC and track at Harrison High School for 17 years.  During his tenure at Harrison, he has coached numerous region team and individual region champions and led the Hoyas to the 2000 & 2001 AAAAA girls state cross country championships and state runner ups in 2005 and 2011. As an athlete, Coach Scott competed for four years in XC and wrestling and two years track at Douglas County High School.  He competed in XC for three years and two years college indoor/outdoor track at the University of Georgia.  While at UGA, he was a two time SEC academic honor role.  Coach Scott is a 2X Ironman Triathlon finisher with a PR of 10 hours and 41 min.  He has qualified for the Boston Marathon in each of his three attempts and will compete in the 2013 race this year. This will be Coach Scott’s 15th year at camp as a staff coach and running group coordinator.


Ike Seals

Coached as the Head Girls Cross Country Coach (1997 – Present) and Head Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach 1998 – 1999 at Riverwood High School,     He was recognized 4X Girls Region 5AAA Track Coach of the Year,  4X Boys Region 5AAA Track Coach of the Year, 2X Fulton County Cross Country Coach of the Year,  Girls Cross Country Team Qualified for State Meet Championship 10 out of 11 years and his team has placed 6 times.  2007 Atlanta Track Club Paul Koshewa Award for Outstanding Dedication Women’s Coach.  As an athlete Coach Seals competed at East High School, Cleveland, Ohio where he was a 3 sport letterman.  Coach Seals played football at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio and has been a competitive track athlete for a number of years.  Coach Seals has been a Staff Coach at SMRC for 6 years.


Kent Simmons

Harrison High School
Simmons has coached XC for the past 18 years at Harrison High School. He served as assistant coach for eight years having coached one individual cross country state champion and two team state championships.   He is now in his eighth year as co-head coach, having coached one individual xc state champion.  His teams have won eight region championships and have two state runner-up finishes. Simmons was named Cobb County Coach of the Year for Girls XC in 2003 and 2005.  He ran track in high school and was a 2X State qualifier in the 300 hurdles. He has been running for 17 years and has completed two marathons as well as numerous other races at various distances.
Coach Simmons has been a staff coach at SMRC for nine years.


Kati Smallwood

Greenbrier High School
Began her XC coaching career in 1993 at Harlem High school in the Augusta, she then transferred to Lakeside (Evans) in 1994 where she coached XC and Track.   In fall of 1996 Greenbrier HS opened and she has been the track and cross country coach there ever since.  Some of Coach Smallwood’s accomplishments include: coached region champion team 1993, At Lakeside she won the  region championships in XC for both boys and girls, at GHS the XC boys team has won region from 1996-2000, 2002-2009, and in 2004 they were runner up at state while also having the individual state champion, girls region champions 1996-2007.  Bridget Lyons on her team in 2004-2005 and she has gone on to win the SEC 10,000m while at the University of Georgia.  another graduate, LaShawn Butler competed in the Olympic Trials in 2012 in the 200M after three stellar years with Arkansas University.   As a high school athlete Coach Smallwood began running in ninth grade at Ridgeview HS in 1979 where her team won state three years.  Her PR at the state meet at Waterworks was 11:44 and holds the sophomore XC record.  She ran two years of track high school and ran summer track for the Red Runners under the highly respected Coach Red Smith.   After college she began running again recreationally and has enjoyed competing in 5K, 10K and half marathons. Coach Smallwood started coming to SMRC in 2005 and served as a staff coach until 2008 when she was promoted to one of the associate directors.


Bart Smith

Thornville Sheridan High School

Has coached at Sheridan for five years and previously coached for three years at Lancaster High School in Ohio.  Coach Smith has led five athletes to All-Ohio status.  His girls cross country teams have won their conference championship the last five years and have won their District title three times now.  The girl’s team finished a school high eighth place at the Ohio State Championships. 
Smith was an All-State 800 and 1600 runner and continued his running career at Division 2 Ashland University.  A camper in 1998 and 1999 Coach Smith has been a member of the SMRC staff for five years now. 

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Jimmy Sorrells

Flowery Branch High School

He has been the only cross country coach at Flowery Branch High School in Flowery Branch, Georgia since the school opened in 2002. In 2008, Coach Sorrells took over the track program. Since Flowery Branch opened, the boys program has only placed outside the top ten once at the State meet, in its inaugural year they placed 11th.  The boys program has reached the podium six straight years including State Titles in 2008, 2009, and 2011. The girls program has reached the podium three out the last four years including the runner-up performance in 2011. In his inaugural year as a track coach, the boys were runners-up at track.
Coach Sorrells has had numerous athletes place in the top ten at state in cross country and several medalists in track at state. He has coached state track champions in discus, shot put, high jump, pole vault, 400 meters, and 800 meters. Erika Rucker is currently running collegiately at South Carolina. Erika was a double state champion her senior year in the 400 and 800. After her freshman year of South Carolina Erika place third in the world in the 400 meters for USATF juniors. She also medaled gold in the World’s for the 4 X 400 meter relay. Also at South Carolina is pole vaulter Austin Eckenroth, who under Sorrells was ATC’s Field Event Athlete of the year.
As an athlete, Sorrells ran at University of West Georgia. He capped off his career at West Georgia as the Gulf South Conference’s individual champion in cross country, the school’s first All-American in Cross Country, and school record holder for 10k cross country at 29:43. In 2001,  Sorrells was inducted to the West Georgia’s athletic Hall of Fame.


Claud Spinks

Eagle’s Landing High School
Spinks has coached for eight years at Eagle's Landing High School as head cross country coach and head track coach, where he also serves as the athletic director.  He has been the Region Coach of the Year five times, 2009 Region Athletic Director of the Year and his  cross country/track teams have finished in the top 10 at the state meets 19 times and top-five nine times. He has coached multiple state champions, national champions and an Olympic qualifier. Over 50 of his athletes have signed college cross country or track scholarships. Coach Spinks has been a staff coach at SMRC for seven years.


Al Stasko

Blessed Trinity High School
Stasko has coached for eleven years at Blessed Trinity High School XC, track and basketball.  While at Blessed Trinity, his XC team has won two state AA championships and one AAA title.  Coach Stasko was named Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2005 by the Atlanta Track Club. He ran Track, XC and played basketball in high school for 4 years. He continues to be an accomplished runner and has run 25 marathons.  Coach Stasko has been a staff coach for the past ten years.


Clayton Tillery

West Forsyth High School

Coached 1997-2001 at Escambia HS, Pensacola Florida,  2001-2006 South Forsyth HS, Cumming GA. and 2006-present at West Forsyth HS Cumming GA  Coach Tillery has coached two 800m State Champions and 1 HS All American athlete. 
Coach Tillery competed at University of West Florida  and currently competes  for PT Solutions Endurance Team out of Atlanta GA   He was a two time USAT triathlon All American. Four time honorable mention,  six time national qualifier.  2010 Ironman Louisville finisher and most recently 2011 Gulf Coast Triathlon Half Ironman Champion.
Coach  Tillery has been at SMRC for 12 years as a staff coach which includes 2 years as a staff director.  In addition to is staff duties he  also coordinates the video analysis portion of SMRC.


Jeff Townsend

West Forsyth High School                                                                      Coached as an Assistant Coach for 2 years at Wheeler for both track and Cross and has been Head Coach for the last 6 of the Cross team and was Head Coach of Track for 4 years. As an athlete Coach Townsend ran  4 years of XC in high school, 3 years of indoor and 4 years of outdoor track. Indoor and outdoor, he ran the 4X800, mile, and 2 mile while in High School and was selected as Runner of the Year and MVP his Senior season.  He ran 2 years at a junior college in Maryland and 2 at Mars Hill College in NC.   Coach Townsend has been a Staff Coach for 7 years.


Everett Whiteside

Booker T. Washington High School
Whiteside has coached as the head XC/track coach at Booker T. Washington High School since 1994.   He has coached 20 athletes to collegiate scholarship signings, named Pensacola News Journal Cross-Country Coach of the Year five times, and regional cross-country team champion two times, district cross-country team champion six times, Escambia-Santa Rosa County team champion 11 times.  Everett has coached 13 All-State performers in cross-country, coached five state champions in cross-country and track and field, coached 21 All-State performers in track and field, and regional track team champion.                                                                                                               
Additional accomplishments include district track team champion six times, 2004 state cross-country team champion, 2004 FHSAA Class 3A state cross-country Coach of the Year.  As an athlete Coach Whiteside has numerous accolades including: 2010 USATF National Masters Track and Field champion 10,000 meters 33:05.33 and USATF National Masters Track and Field All-American 5,000 meters 15:47.63, Mt. Vernon Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame, two-time Running Journal Grand Prix Champion, 2002, ranked eighth in US for 15k (45:12), 2001 ranked 23rd final US list for ½ marathon (1:05:16). 1999 Elite finish at Peachtree Road Race (largest road race in US) - 21st (30:50 2nd American), Elite finisher (top 50) at Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA: 1993, 1997, 1998, and 1999, University of Alabama Track and cross-country four year letterman 1988-94 . Illinois IHSA top ten all-time major meet wins cross-country (16).  Illinois IHSA All-State performer in cross-country (1987-88).  Coach Whiteside has been a staff coach for 13 years.


Tom Williams

University of North Georgia
Coach Williams is currently head women's cross country coach at the University of North Georgia, recently retired from Walton High School.
He has coached track and cross country for 26 Years, 24 years on the high school level and two years at the University of North Georgia. While at Lassiter High School and Walton High School, Coach Williams has been a Region Coach of the Year 35 times and has been the State Coach of the Year two times. Coach Williams was recently inducted into the Georgia Track/ XC Hall of Fame. Coach Williams has been a SMRC staff coach for the over 25 years.

Learn more about Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp

Celebrating our 42nd year!

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp puts great emphasis on teaching runners the wisdom of the hard/easy training philosophy developed by the late, great U of Oregon coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. To implement the Bowerman philosophy, we use Coach Roy Benson's Effort Based Training Program to allow the whole camp to run the same appropriate effort while allowing each group to train at their individualized paces based on their current fitness, over-all ability and general goals. The instruction is serious, the training is right for this time of the summer and there will be opportunities to make new friends from all over the Southeast, the USA and maybe even with someone from Europe, South American or Asia. We welcome your presence.  

Past Camper Highlights:

Jackie Areson, SMRC camp alumna and 2010 featured speaker, recently set a PR for the women's 5,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational.  Her time of 15 minutes 18.31 seconds puts her in contention for one of the favorites at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon  in June.  (A time that bettered the Olympic A standard)  Areson is one of four winners of the Pre Challenge letter jacket winners in the combined 78 year history of the Smoky Mountain and Green Mountain Running Camps.

2012 Outstanding Speakers:

Session 1 Graduation Speaker:  Kelsey Tainish.  Motivational speaker.  Read about Kelsey, a cancer survivor who copes with paralysis and lives life to the fullest.  

Session 2 Featured Speaker:  Sam Martinez.  Sam is a champion master runner, business owner and a private coach in Macon, Georgia.  Coach Martinez has been advising Grace Tinkey, a SMRC five year camper and a four time Footlocker finalist.

Sessions 2 and 3 Featured Speaker:  John L. Parker.  John was University of Florida record holder in the mile, SEC mile champion,  USTAFF nationall steeplechase champion and the author of "Once A Runner," the greatest novel ever written about distance running.

Session 2 Graduation Speaker:  Vista Beasley.  Vista is a camp alumna and former all-time favorite Smoky Mouintain Camp Recreation Director and now PhD candidate in Sports Psychology at FSU.  Vista is an Emory University graduate, a former Captain in the U.S. Air Force and former agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Vanderbilt University Head Track & Field/ Cross Country Coach Steve Keith.  Coach Keith's women's x-c team was 2011 SEC champions and placed 6th at the NCAA's.  Session 3, July 25.


Oklahoma State Coach Dave Smith:  Coach Smith coached German Fernandez who won the 2009 NCAA title in the 1,500 meters and was the Big 12 individual cross country champion. 

Matt McCue: Author of An Honorable Run, McCue, an un-recruited University of Colorado runner, was a walk-on athlete who willed himself to become part of a championship team led by the legendary Coach Mark Wetmore from 2001-2005.

McCue ran in the middle of a herd that was led by future Olympians and American Record holders, Jorge Torres and Dathan Ritzenhein. Only one person believed he’d succeed, the underdog himself.    

His story takes a lonely trail and makes it full with insight and humility.  McCue speaks for boys and girls chasing their dreams on the prairies, in small towns and on our forgotten urban streets. He gives voice to the contender who wakes at 5 a.m. when the wind is knocking on a sub-freezing door. 

Our Advanced Placement (AP) Cross Country Class:

The AP Class is offered during all camp sessions for those elite runners who desire college level instruction about the Art & Science of Running. Sign-up details will be available at registration. No advanced sign-up is required. 

Middle School Program: July 13-18 only  

We have modified our high school program and created a separate curriculum and activity schedule that will be offered concurrently with the high school schedule. We feel extremely confident that this will provide a satisfying experience for these younger runners.

This is an instructional camp and not a week of "normal" training. The middle school runners will be running twice a day, but it will be instructional based running. Think of a playing lesson with a golf pro. The intent is not necessarily to shoot your best round but to gain insight and knowledge on how to be your best over time.

Pre-Existing Conditions:

The Smoky Mountain Running Camp offers an extremely challenging athletic training program. Running on wild forest trails offers pitfalls, challenges and wild life. Please DO NOT come to camp if you have any pre-existing injuries, are not completely healthy and ready to run a minimum of 20-25 miles during camp.

We discourage campers with bee sting allergies from attending our program. If you choose to attend, you must carry an epinephrine pen at all times and understand that on some of our trails, if anything goes wrong, we cannot get you to medical help within the half hour. Please study the waiver carefully.

Coaches Workshops:  July 13-18 only

Coaches are encouraged to accompany their cross country teams and attend the Coaches Workshop covering the latest in training and racing techniques. The workshop runs concurrently with the youth camp session.  

**Our operations on National Forest System Lands are authorized under Special Use Permit by the Pisgah National Forest

Sample Daily Schedule

  • 7:00am Breakfast
  • 8:30am Guest speaker in auditorium
  • 9:45am Group Run in National Forest
  • 11:30am Lunch in campus cafeteria
  • 12:30pm Free time
  • 1:00pm Trainer available
  • 1:30pm Video analysis by groups
  • 2:45pm Breakout sessions of varying topics
  • 4:00pm Learn-by-Doing at campus track in groups
  • 5:00pm Dinner in campus cafeteria
  • 6:00pm Free time
  • 6:15pm Trainer available
  • 7:00pm Recreation Activities directed by Rec Staff
  • 10:00pm Curfew
  • 10:30pm Lights out!

Camp Check-in & Check-out Details:

  • Check-in: 12:00-3:00pm at the Highsmith Student Center
  • Check-out: 12:00-1:00pm at the Highsmith Student Center


  • Sessions 1 & 3: 14 and up, coed, all skills levels.  
  • Session 2:  Entering 6th grade and up, coed, all skill levels.


High School runners stay in Mills Hall, air conditioned. Middle School runners stay in Founders Hall, air conditioned. Campers stay four to a suite, two bedrooms, one bath with living room.  

Stay-Over Session Option:

If you are attending two weeks of camp the cost for the weekend stay‐over is $150 for housing and meals. Campers eat in the dining hall for all meals except for Saturday dinner. Campers, with a signed permission slip, travel to the local mall, watch a movie and have dinner. Campers are supervised & transported in school vans to and from the mall. We recommend bringing $40 extra spending money for movie, meals and entertainment.

Extra Activities:  

There is a camp dance each week, plus nightly skits, games, scavenger hunt and sand volleyball.



Asheville North Carolina Airport  (20 mins from campus).  Airport pick-ups will be available for $20 each way. 

  • Preferred Flight Arrival: 10:00 – 11:00 am Sunday
  • Preferred Flight Departure: 2:00 – 3:00 pm Friday

2014 Bus Information 

Atlanta Area Buses:   Call 800-645-3226 to reserve your seat on the bus!  The buses sell out, sign up early, don't miss the bus!

MARIST SCHOOL:  Bus transportation is available to and from the Marist School, Atlanta, area each week. Seats are limited, sign up early! Round trip price $95 (price subject to change based on increased fuel charges). Campers wishing to travel one way will be placed on a "wait list." Priority is given to round trip riders.  For more details and to make reservations please call US Sports (800-645-3226).  A fuel surcharge may be added, based on fuel costs at the time of camp.

Bus leaves from the Marist School, Atlanta on Sunday at 10am.  You must be checked in for the bus by 9:30am.  Return trip: Bus will arrive back at Marist at 4pm.

PEACHTREE CITY:  We have added a bus from Peachtree City, GA, for session 2:  July 13-18.   Pick up is at the Oak Grove Elementary School.  Seats are limited, sign up early! Round trip price $105 (price subject to change based on increased fuel charges). Campers wishing to travel one way will be placed on a "wait list." Priority is given to round trip riders.  For more details and to make reservations please call US Sports (800-645-3226).  A fuel surcharge may be added, based on fuel costs at the time of camp.

Bus leaves from the Oak Grove Elementary School on Sunday at 10am.  You must be checked in for the bus by 9:30am.  Return trip: Bus will arrive back to school at 4pm.

JOHN'S CREEK: We have added a bus from Duluth, GA (John's Creek) for session 3 only: July 20-25. Pick up is at Northview High School. Seats are close to selling out, don't delay! Round trip price $95 (price subject to change based on increased fuel charges). Campers wishing to travel one way will be placed on a "wait list".  Priority is given to round trip riders.  For more details and to make reservations please call US Sports (800-645-3226).  A fuel surcharge may be added, based on fuel costs at the time of camp.

Bus leaves from Northview High School on Sunday at 11am. You must be checked in for the bus by 10:30am. Return bus will arrive back to school at approximately 3:15pm.

Pensacola, FL Bus:

Round trip bus service will be available to those travelling from the Florida, Alabama or Mississippi area from Pensacola, FL for Week 1 ONLY- July 6-11.

Campers are welcome to contact Coach Eric Nelson:

Delaware/ Baltimore/ D.C./Richmond

Traveling from the Delaware, Baltimore, DC or Richmond area?  We have round trip bus service running for the July 6-11 session.  

1st Stop:  Departing Saturday, July 5, 8 AM, from the I-95 rest stop south of Wilmington, 5 minutes north of the Maryland state line.  Campers return on Friday, July 11 at approximately 10PM. Cost is $190 round trip.

2nd Stop:  Departing Saturday, July 5, 9AM, from the I-95 Chesapeake House rest stop, about 10 minutes north of the Harbor Tunnel.  Campers return on Friday, July 11 at approximately 9PM. Cost is $190 round trip.

3rd Stop:  Departing Saturday, July 5, approximately 11AM, from the I-95 Ladysmith Safety Rest Area South in Virginia, at mile marker 107. Any questions about this location please follow this link .Campers return on Friday, July 11 at approximately 7PM. Cost is $175 round trip.

Call 800-645-3226 to reserve your spot.  Space is limited. 

Sample SMRC Daily Presentations and Recreation:

Sample Monday
Morning Speaker
How is your form?
Smoky Mountain Running Camp Director, Alan Drosky, describes how core strength and flexibility will improve your biomechanics.  Georgia Tech Coach Becky Megesi showed varying exercises for hip flexor, psoas,  gluts, adductors and overall core stability.

Today campers have the opportunity to attend the following afternoon breakout sessions:
1.   Recovery for Exercise    Coach Mike Caldwell
2.   Stretching for Success   Joe Robinson
3.   The Little Things in Running  Tom Williams
4.   Speed: True Speed Development for Distance Athletes  Jesse Norman
5.   The Psychological side of Running” Eric Nelson

Evening Recreation activities
Campers had the opportunity to visit the Jus' Running store in Asheville for nice deals on NIKE apparel.
As always the scavenger hunt was a BIG success with a few guest appearances by a lost raccoon.  Pictures are posted on the SMRC Facebook page and team results will be announced at the awards presentation on Thursday evening with the winners receiving great NIKE gear.

Sample Tuesday
Morning Guest Speaker
After a great introduction, SMRC was treated to a question and answer session presented by NIKE with Lisa Koll.  Koll is a 4 time Big 12, 10,000 outdoor Champion.  As a senior at Iowa State, Koll was the first athlete since 1996 to win both the 5000 and 10,000 in the NCAA championships. Koll is the American collegiate record holder in the 10,000 in 31:18. After graduation from college, Koll continues to run professionally under  Coach Jerry Schmacher of the  Oregon Track Club Elite/Portland where she currently has Pr’s of 14:55 in the 5000 and 31:18 for the 10,000.  Check out a recent article about her in running times.

Afternoon Breakout sessions:
1.  Core Training     Joe Robinson
2.  10 Commandments for a Successful Season  Art Scuibba
3.  Peaking and Tapering    Tom Williams
4.  Sports Nutrition     Emma Bussard
5.  Recruitment and Transitioning to college running Junior Counselors

Evening Activities
Tuesday evening campers had numerous opportunities for FUN!!!  The Recreation Directors had signs, played card games in the Lobby and had a trivia at the auditorium.  The winners of the trivia night will receive cool NIKE products on Thursday night at the awards night.

Read camper reviews


  • 5/5.
Overall improvement, overall fun!

The camp teaches runners how to improve in many different areas, such as biomechanics, training, diet, and injury prevention.  I really enjoyed the overall experience. The classes were educational and the speakers inspiring. The runs we're pretty challenging and I loved the locations, the beautiful trails and creeks.  It had a good combination of learning and recreation.  I am coming back!


  • 5/5.
Fantastic experience!

The SMRC is a fantastic experience.  The trails are beautiful and you learn a lot.  Also, this camp provided inspiration for me to become a better runner.  Being with a huge group of other dedicated runners made me feel like I was in the right place. I loved it.  Camp made running fun and brought me to  the next level with great instruction.  I can’t wait to start my XC season!

Parent of Camper

  • 5/5.
Dedicated son!

My son returned home with new enthusiasm and understanding of running. He now sees that putting in the miles will help him and that running can lead to opportunities beyond high school.  You balanced the running aspect with the educational aspect. You give him information that he can use to train and develop as a runner. Many don’t get that in their high school setting. He also got to run in a beautiful part of our country!

Past Camper

  • 4/5.

The Smoky Mtn. Running Camp is a fantastic experience.  The trails are beautiful and you learn a lot.  Also, this camp provided inspiration for me to become a better runner.  Being with a huge group of other dedicated runners made me feel like I was in the right place. I loved it.

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Motivating and fun!

The SMRC motivated and inspired me to get better, as well as help me to enjoy the entire experience of running!!  They also have fun activities planned to keep our minds on having fun and not taking ourselves so seriously when we run. I need help on mental relaxation when I race and to remember that running is fun so I can do better in racing.  I even met two girls from Canada my age who roomed  with us and now we are all good friends! I am coming back for the next three years, until I can't anymore, can't wait!

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Coming back!!

SMRC was a great experience.  The trail running was challenging, but lots of fun. The staff was great and taught me a lot about form and pacing.  They are amazing at teaching people how to become a better runner, they know how to have fun and make camp enjoyable, but also are serious about running. I loved all the activities at night and all the breakouts and morning lectures! I can't wait to go back next year.


  • 5/5.
All around great experience!

I was put in the perfect group and I felt the runs were challenging yet I was capable of doing them.  The paths we ran on were amazing.  I liked the breakout sessions a lot.  Also I liked that the staff were young and you could relate to them. They also made you laugh, which was good.  Buzzard Bait is a great way to end the camp too!  The Smoky Mtn Running Camp  is just an all around great running camp that is a great experience.

Past Camper

  • 4/5.
Best week of the summer!

The SM Camp was the best week of the summer! It was amazing to meet other kids and counselors who have the same passion for running as I do. You do an excellent job of fostering a feeling of home and togetherness with other athletes. I learned a great number of things about running and will for sure return next year.

Parent of Camper

  • 5/5.
Camp is a Must

This was our daughter's first experience at any camp as a rising senior and she loved Smoky Mountain Running Camp. The coaches were open and friendly and easy to talk to. She loved the instruction, lessons and video analysis which gave her a visual of how she can improve. Being with new students/runners of other schools allowed for new friendships which have continued after being home. Overall a wonderful, safe, friendly environment for personal growth both athletically and emotionally.

Parent of a Camper

  • 5/5.
Great Time!

I would really recommend this camp for any dedicated runner! My daughter has enjoyed her time at camp for all the years she has been coming.  She has given tips that she learned from camp to all of her coaches.  She has had excellent seasons of XC and track after camp each year. I could not ask for a better camp to send my daughter to. Thank you Nike for putting your name on a great camp and to all of the staff that have been invovled for these past two years. We are aleady looking forward to next year.

Parent of Camper

  • 5/5.
Very impressed

My son had a fantastic time!  He learned about everything from nutrition to strategy to pacing.  In addition he had a great time and made lots of friends he is looking forward to seeing at races this year. I was VERY impressed with communications from the camp before, during and after.  Everyone was friendly, proactive, and positive.  My son's bus had a flat on the way home and the camp called me several times to keep me updated and not worried. A great job by all. We will be back.

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Inspirational camp

I would like to recommend Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp to anyone who runs on a high school XC  team. There is a place for everyone in the camp to run. Even people who think that they might be "too slow," they have a false accusation because they will find runners equivalent to their speed. Although Nike SMRC is only about a week long, they provide you with the information you need to succeed for the entire season and even information beneficial for you to keep with you as you continue running. It is a very inspirational camp, as far as success goes. My teammates and I even travel all of the way from Illinois to come down to the camp. If you are reading this, I recommend coming to camp!

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Met many new lifelong friends

I came to this camp not knowing anybody and unsure of how good this camp was actually going to be. By the first day I had met many new lifelong friends. The coaching staff was excellent and so were the workouts. Overall this camp was amazing and I am most definitely going to be returning again next year and will bring along some teammates.

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Encouraging environment

At first, I was a little intimidated as a beginning runner, but my coach and peers helped me adjust and my confidence grew day by day. SMRC provides a great encouraging environment for runners at every level. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned senior, SMRC is fun, educational, and inspirational.

Grandparent of camper

  • 5/5.
Look forward to next summer

My granddaughter had an amazing experience! She runs 5ks locally but has not had any type of track training -she loves to run and does well - the running camp, coaching & overall experience of being with others who share her passion, took her to a new level of self awareness! Thank you!  We look forward to next summer!

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Beautiful trails

Nike Smoky Running Camp is my favorite place on earth! Not only is it extremely fun, it is a great learning experience where you're surrounded by knowledgeable and many talented runners. It is an awesome experience to spend a whole week in the beautiful trails of North Carolina. The activities that happen at camp are also very fun and the friendship made is everlasting.

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Amazing for runners of all abilities

Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp is an amazing camp for runners of all abilities! This running camp teaches you so much and gets you really pumped for the cross country season. With awesome speakers and great breakout sessions, you learn so much about the sport in just a week! At Smoky Mt Running Camp, you can meet new friends, have a blast with the activities, and really grow as a runner! This camp leaves you at the end of the week wishing you could stay longer! It's an awesome experience and I strongly recommend it to all runners! If you don't go to Nike Running Camp, you're definitely missing out!

Past Camper

  • 5/5.
Awesome coaches and new friends

Nike Running Camp was AMAZING! It was without a doubt the best running experience I have ever had. I've never been so excited to get up at 7am to go for a run and be able to enjoy it with awesome coaches and new friends! I'm already so excited for next year.

Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp Alan Drosky, Camp Director One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina 28801


Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp
  • 5/5.
18 Reviews

Click any image to enlarge and launch gallery.

Camp Schedule & Fees

2015 camp dates and prices coming soon. Please bookmark this page or call 1-800-645-3226.

For additional camp information and dates call us at 1-800-NIKE-CAMP we would be happy to help you.