Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp
UNITE. INSPIRE. RUN.
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 or three!
Constantly seeking 'artistic perfection,' we are dedicated to annually refining the camp activity schedule and curriculum. Camper improvement- by teaching, instructing and coaching is our primary emphasis.
- 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.
- 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.
- Middle school running program with specific youth curriculum. The High School Program offers a different curriculum from the Middle School Program.
- Round trip bus transportation is available from Atlanta, Peachtree City, Johns Creek, GA
- View More Details ⟩
Camp Director Alan Drosky
Alan Drosky continues his long association with SMRC and 2018 will mark his sixth 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 23 years at Georgia Tech, and has been the head coach for women’s track & field for 19 years.View Alan 's 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.
Co-Director 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.View Travis Gower's 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.
Founder, Director Emeritus Roy Benson, Founder, Director Emeritus
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.View Roy Benson's 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 University 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.
Coach Jason Cage
Jason coached one 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 seven years at Westlake High School as the head girls cross country & track coach in Atlanta, GA.View Jason Cage's Bio ⟩
His teams won the 2009 and 2013 track & field state championships 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 seven years.
Coach Andy Carr
Andy Carr is currently the Community Cross Country & Track distance coach at Milton High School in Milton, GA. (2004-present). Milton has won multiple county titles and was crowned Boys state cross country champions in 2017 & has had multiple top-4 finishes at GA State meet for both the girl’s & boy’s programs while under Coach Carr’s tutelage. He was named 2008 Fulton County Boy's cross country Coach of the Year & 2017 Georgia High School Boys cross country Coach of the Year by USTFCCCA.View Andy Carr's Bio ⟩
Previously, Carr coached at Salem High School in 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 coached two female athletes that qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the marathon (1988), 10,000m (1988 & 2000) & 5000m (2000) & were members of USA teams at the World Cross Country Meet in 1999 & 2000. Coach Carr has been a competitive runner since 1976 running for elementary, middle and high school track & XC teams. He ran collegiately for Roanoke College where he raced 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 in the 4x800m relay, college school record-holder in the 3000m Steeplechase. Coach Carr was also Runner of the Year, Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MD)-1986, Long Distance Running Man of the Year, 2011-12 by USA Track & Field & USATFGA & the Judo Brown Award winner for Outstanding Boys High School T&F Coach by Atlanta Track Club in 2015.
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 master level USA Track & Field official since 1987 & officiated at the 2016 US Olympic Trials. Coach Carr has been a staff coach at SMRC since 2006.
Coach Frank Faykes
Frank Faykes is a retired Air Force Major General, having served 31 years in various positions at Air Force bases and the Pentagon. He's also spent 31 years as an accomplished distance runner, and has completed 20 marathons (PR 2:38), several Ultra-Marathons and numerous road races (5K PR 15:39).View Frank Faykes's Bio ⟩
Featured in Runner's World magazine at http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297--10946-0,00.html.
Coach Faykes was involved in adult camp for the past seven years as an adult camp coach and is currently a staff coach at SMRC youth camp.
Coach Bill Hackney, Director of Middle School Program
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.View Bill Hackney, Director of Middle School Program's Bio ⟩
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 twelve years.
Coach Chris Mayer
Coach Mayer is the boys and girls cross country and track and field coach at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Ga. He is a graduate of Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, Ga. and Berry College in Rome, Ga. Chris was coached in high school by Andy Christie and in college by Paul Deaton, both of whom he attributes a lot of his coaching success to. Chris has been a staff coach at SMRC since 2014 and first came to camp for the Coaching Clinic in 2013. He has been a featured speaker twice.View Chris's Bio ⟩
After graduating from Berry in 2011, Chris went home to Gwinnett and joined his HS coach at Mill Creek HS and assisted coaching the boys team. While there he was fortunate enough to experience the programs’ first XC podium finish, 2nd place, and work closely with the program leading up to the eventual 2012 XC team title. After the beginning of the 2012 season, Coach Mayer took on head coaching duties at Mountain View HS, also in Gwinnett. The stay at Mountain View was brief, and in 2013 he began coaching at The Lovett School in Atlanta.
Since at Lovett he has coached athletes to 14 individual XC and distance track titles, as well as assisted in back to back team titles for both the girls track and XC teams in 2014 and 2015. Under Coach Mayer’s guidance, athletes have reached the Nike Cross Country Nationals(NXN) and Brooks PR Invitational. Several of his athletes have gone on to run for Colleges and Universities at the highest level. Coach Mayer’s greatest goal is to continue to grow the love of the sport and the community; This sport and its people have given him so much, that he hopes to pass that experience to someone else.
Coach Becky Megesi, Camp Administrator
One of the top middle distance runners in Tech history, Becky Megesi enters her 15th year as an assistant for the Yellow Jackets cross country and track & field teams. Coach Megesi primarily works with the distance runners, as well as the cross country teams for both the men and women programs. Additionally, she handles many administrative functions as well as being in charge of recruiting the women's distance events.View Becky Megesi, Camp Administrator's Bio ⟩
In 2012, Megesi was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletics Hall of Fame.
As a student-athlete at Tech, Megesi 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 unit to a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
Megesi also qualified for the Outdoor NCAA Championship meets in both 1999 and 2000 in the 800.
In 1998, she became the third Tech individual qualifier for the NCAA Cross Country Championship in Lawrence, Kan.
She would go on to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800 meters in 2000.
Megesi won ACC Championships in the 1500 in both 1998 and 1999, and earned all-ACC honors six times during her career. She currently holds the school records in the outdoor 800 (2:04.63), the indoor DMR (11:21.48), and the outdoor 4x800m relay (8:56.94).
She earned a bachelor's degree in management from Georgia Tech in 2001. Coach Megesi has been a staff member at SMRC for twelve years, and this is her fifth year as camp administrator.
Coach Eric Nelson
Eric Nelson has been coaching since 1993 at Pensacola Catholic HS, and 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.View Eric Nelson's Bio ⟩
Individual accomplishments include running in high school 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.
Coach Dunn Neugebauer
Dunn Neugebauer has been a part of SMRC since 2004; he is currently the co-head cross country coach and assistant track coach at Holy Innocents', where he has been for the last 11 years. His boys' cross country team has made six straight trips to state; the girls five. This past fall, his girls were second in Georgia in Class A - Private.View Dunn Neugebauer's Bio ⟩
Besides coaching, he is also an author - one of his books "Funny Conversations With God" - is available on Amazon. He is also the author of many essays on running, including some on SMRC.
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 Jesse Norman
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).View Jesse Norman's Bio ⟩
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.
Coach Tom Orehowsky
Tom Orehowsky coached at Manatee High cross country beginning in 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.View Tom Orehowsky's Bio ⟩
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.
Staff Tara Peterson, ATC
Tara Peterson is currently working as a professor in the Athletic Training Program at Western Carolina University. She moved into the position after working for three and a half years as the assistant athletic trainer at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine.View Tara Peterson, ATC's Bio ⟩
Previously she worked as 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 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 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 Certified Athletic Trainer for the past six summers.
Coach Joe Robinson
Coach Robinson has over 20 years experience coaching distance runners; individuals, youth and high school where he continues to be successful at the county, region and state level.View Joe Robinson's Bio ⟩
Personally, he has over 40 years of running experience, and competed in distances of 800M and up. Coach Robinson has run 26 marathons and three ultra-marathons. This will be Coach Robinson’s sixth year as a staff coach at SMRC.
Coach Kellie Ruse
lKellie Ruse coached XC/track at Marist High School for 13 years. During that time, Coach Ruse had been honored by ATC for XC Coach 10 times for state championship teams/athletes.View Kellie Ruse's Bio ⟩
The 2010 XC season concluded with both the Marist boys and girls teams winning the AAAA State championship. While at Marist, Coach Ruse has seen 17 XC state championships and numerous individual 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.s
Coach Ruse has been a staff coach for 12 years and was previously one of the associate directors for six years.
Coach Mandy Ryan
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.View Mandy Ryan's Bio ⟩
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 three years.
Coach Jason Scott
Jason Scott has coached XC and track at Harrison High School for 17 years. During his tenure at Harrison, he has coached numerous regional teams 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.View Jason Scott's Bio ⟩
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 achieved 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 attempts. This will be Coach Scott’s 15th year at camp as a staff coach and running group coordinator.
Coach Kent Simmons
Simmons has coached XC for the past 23 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 15th year as co-head coach, having coached one individual XC state champion and numerous top 10 finishers.View Kent Simmons's Bio ⟩
His teams have won one state championship, fourteen region championships and have two state runner-up finishes. Simmons was named Cobb County Coach of the Year for Girls XC in 2003, 2005 and 2016. He ran track in high school and was a 2X State qualifier in the 300m hurdles. He has been running for 25 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 12 years.
Coach Kati Smallwood
Kati Smallwood began her cross country 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 High School opened and she has been the track and cross country coach there ever since.View Kati Smallwood's Bio ⟩
Some of Coach Smallwood’s accomplishments include: coached region champion team 1993, winning the region championships at Lakeside in XC for both boys and girls, at GHS the XC boys team has won region from 1996-1999, 2000-2009, 2003-2005, 13,14,17. In 2004 they were runner-up at state while also having the individual state champion. She also coached the girls region champions 1996-2007. Smallwood coached Bridget Lyons on her team in 2004-2005, who went 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. She still holds the sophomore XC record. She ran two years of track in 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. Recently she added triathlons to her competitive schedule. 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.
Coach Bart Smith
Bart Smith 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.View Bart Smith's Bio ⟩
His girls cross country teams have won their conference championship the last five years and have won their District title three times now. The girls team finished a school high- eighth place at the Ohio state championships.
Smith was an All-State 800m and 1600m 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.
Coach Jimmy Sorrells
Coach Sorrells 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.View Jimmy Sorrells's Bio ⟩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. 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.
Coach Claud Spinks
Over the last 15 years Coach Claud Spinks has served Eagle’s Landing High School as Athletic Director, Head Cross Country Coach and Head Track Coach. During that time his teams have won 26 region championships and he has coached dozens of individual champions. Over 100 of these athletes have gone on to compete at the collegiate level.
Coach Clayton Tillery
Clayton Tillery coached the 1997-2001 seasons at Escambia High School, Pensacola Florida, 2001-2007 South Forsyth HS, Cumming GA. and 2007-present at West Forsyth HS in Cumming, GA. Coach Tillery has coached multiple individual State Champions in Florida and Georgia in Track and XC and has had many teams finish on the podium at the GHSA State XC Championships. Coach Tillery has had numerous athletes achieve all-state, all-metro, and all-county teams in XC as well as sending athletes to run at colleges from NAIA schools to Division I.View Clayton Tillery's Bio ⟩
Coach Tillery competed at University of West Florida in XC/Track and currently competes for Multi-sport Explosion Adult Elite team out of Atlanta GA. He is a six time USAT triathlon All-American, Ironman World Championships finisher, and a top 5 age group finish at ITU World’s in 2014. Tillery is the 2017 Southeast Region Masters Long Course Triathlon Champion and 2011 Gulf Coast Triathlon Half Ironman Champion.
Coach Tillery has been at SMRC for 15 years as a staff coach which includes 5 years as a staff director. In addition to is staff duties he also coordinates the video analysis portion of SMRC. He, his wife, and two daughters, who regularly attend SMRC as campers, currently live in Cumming, GA.
Camp Director Tom Williams
Tom Williams returned as the head coach for the women's cross country team at the University of North Georgia in 2014, two years after the first season back on the map for the cross country program.View Tom Williams's Bio ⟩
Before making his way back to North Georgia, Williams coached the boys and girls cross country teams at Walton High School for 20 years. Coach Williams’ girls and boys cross country teams qualified for the State Championships in the last 12 and 14 years respectively, of his tenure.
He served as head coach of the men's and women's cross country programs at North Georgia in 2009 before both programs were discontinued.
The Walton High School legend was named GACA State Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002, and has earned GACA Region Coach of the Year honors on 12 different occasions, including at the end of last season. Williams has also garnered GACA Region Track & Field Coach of the Year honors 11 different times, while the Marietta Daily Journal has honored him with 18 different cross country and track & field awards in the last 20 years.
The Rittman, Ohio native is a graduate of Geneva College (Beaver Falls, Penn.), where he also played football and ran track. Williams earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Geneva and went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from Georgia State University and an Education Specialist from Jacksonville State University.
Celebrating our 45th 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.Show Less See More Camp Details
Previous Guest Speakers:
Carl Leivers, former coach at Emory University. Leivers currently writes for several running magazines (such at Runner’s World) and privately coaches in the Atlanta area. Alex Gibby; Three time Olympic qualifier Kathy Newberry; Bill Kenley, author of High School Runner (Freshman); Former American record-holder and NCAA Champion Coach Chris Solinsky (University of Florida); Georgia Tech Director of Nutrition Leah Thomas; Ole Miss Assistant Distance Coach Ryan Vanhoy.
Past Camper Highlights:
PREVIOUS OUTSTANDING SPEAKERS AT CAMP:
Amy Yoder Begley: Begley is an American middle and long distance runner and a US Olympian in the 10,000 meter event at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Hazel Clark: Clark is an American middle-distance runner who specializes in the 800 meters middle distance race. Clark was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 2000, 2004 and 2008. She has won six national titles and two USA Olympic trials during her career.
Mike Curcio: Curcio is in his 20th year as the head men’s and women’s xc coach and track and field distance coach at Appalachian State University.
Lance Harden: Assistant xc and t & f coach at Emory University.
Issac Presson: Presson completed his college track career for North Carolina in June. He was an All-American (13th place) in the 5,000-meter run at his final NCAA outdoor meet in Eugene, Ore. Presson ran his second sub-4:00 in August, 2014.
Leah Thomas: Thomas serves as Georgia Tech’s sports dietitian and Director of the Total Person Program.
Vanderbilt University Head T & F/ XC Coach Steve Keith: Coach Keith's women's x-c team was 2011 SEC champions and placed 6th at the NCAA's.
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.
Vista Beasley: Vista is a camp alumna and former all-time favorite Smoky Mountain 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.
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.
John L. Parker: John was University of Florida record holder in the mile, SEC mile champion, USTAFF national steeplechase champion and the author of "Once A Runner," the greatest novel ever written about distance running.
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:
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.
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 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
Camp Check-in & Check-out Details:
- Check-in: 1:00-3:00pm. First level of Ridges Parking Deck. Attached to South and West Ridge Dorms.
- Check-out: 12:00-1:00pm. Campers check out on dorm floor with staff. Luggage is stored and on first level of Ridges Parking Deck.
- High School Program: 14 and up, coed, all skills levels.
- Middle School Program: Entering 6th grade and up, coed, all skill levels.
Runners stay in South Ridge, West Ridge or Governors Hall, all air conditioned. Campers stay 2 to a room, shared bathroom with one other double room.
Key and Proxy Cards:
Please bring 2 checks to camp, payable to USSC. One for $100 (key card) and the second for $25 (meal card). Checks will not be cashed unless the camper loses the card. At the end of camp, the checks will be returned upon the return of each card.
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.
There is a camp dance each week, plus nightly skits, games, talent show, scavenger hunt, and sand volleyball.
Asheville North Carolina Airport (20 minutes 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
Buses are available from:
Marist School, Atlanta. All 3 sessions. Cost is $100 round trip.
Oak Grove Elementary School, Peachtree City. July 8-13 session. Cost is $110 round trip.
Northview High School, Johns Creek, GA. July 15-20 session. Cost is $110 round trip.
The buses sell out, sign up early, don't miss the bus! Call to reserve your seat. 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).
Sample SMRC Daily Presentations and Recreation:
How is your form?
Smoky Mountain Running Camp Director, Alan Drosky, describes how core strength and flexibility will improve your bio-mechanics. 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
2. Stretching for Success
3. The Little Things in Running
4. Speed: True Speed Development for Distance Athletes
5. The Psychological side of Running”
Evening Recreation activities
Fleet Feet operates a retail store during our camp sessions. Buy the latest and greatest in Nike gear at camp!
As always the scavenger hunt was a BIG success with a few guest appearances by a lost raccoon. Prepare with your friends/teammates: the SMRC Talent Show is always of highlight. We end the week with a camp dance on Thursday nights, complete with a DJ. 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 prizes.
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.
Afternoon Breakout sessions:
1. Core Training
2. 10 Commandments for a Successful Season
3. Peaking and Tapering
4. Sports Nutrition
5. Recruitment and Transitioning to college running
Tuesday evening campers have 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.
Sample Daily Schedule
- 7:00am Breakfast
- 8:30am Guest speaker in auditorium
- 9:45am Group run in National Forest
- 11:45am 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!
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, two bedrooms/one shared bath.
The Smoky Mountain Running Camp operates on National Forest System Lands and are authorized under Special Use Permit by the Pisgah National Forest.
The Smoky Mountain Running Camp is open to any and all entrants.
Camp ReviewsSubmit a review
Curriculum, Effort Based Trainig = Results
Camp set her up well. She has knowledge I didn’t have until I was a senior in college. Thanks to the curriculum based teaching. She loves seeing her coaches from camp, Michael Dalhauser, and is motivated by them at races. She also trains smart based on the effort based training she learned at camp. She will leave a practice and she will tell me, “Dad, I don’t know why those girls always over run the workout!” Then on Saturday she will go blow them away in races and console them after they are all down and don’t know why they didn’t run good. She also doesn’t get way down on herself if she doesn’t run well as she knows when she’s training hard and also that some days everything doesn’t come together the way you wish because of external factors. Now if I can just bottle that and force feed it to the rest of my athletes I’m in business!
— Parent/ Coach CT, Camper 2017
She loves the enthusiasm and routine of camp. She says the food and dorms are terrific. Most of all, she enjoys being with so many people who are passionate about running.
— Leigh Anne R., Parent of Camper 2017
Join the family!
This camp is family. Every minute was enjoyable and it is my favorite place on earth. I will recommend SMRC to anyone.
— Brennan s., Camper 2017
Fun and Informational
Loved the nightly activities, especially the scavenger hunt. The JCITs and JCs were also very open to talking about college running and answering any questions. Overall a very fun and informational camp.
— Melina E., Camper 2017
The counselors were so amazing, the bus rides, the beautiful runs, making new friends and seeing my old ones, everything was perfect.
— Julie, Camper 2017
Should definitely come to SMRC
You should definitely come to SMRC. I have learned so much here and had a blast doing it! If you're afraid you won't be able to keep up with people during the workouts, they split the campers up into a large number of groups so you are only running with people of your fitness level, which is really awesome. I have made so many great memories, have always felt safe on campus, and everyone there is as nice as they could be.
— Emma L., Smoky Mountain Camper '16
Always a lot of fun
I would recommend attending Nike SMRC because it is super fun, it helps you learn more about running, and you get to make new friends that share the same interest of running with you. I always look forward to Nike SMRC every year and I am always very disappointed when camp is over. I will hopefully be attending camp for 2 weeks next year as opposed to 1 week. Nike SMRC is a great way to become a better runner, make new friends, and is always a lot of fun
— Colton W., Smoky Mountain Camper '16
Highlight of summer
I look forward to SMRC every year. Each year, I get to see my SMRC family at camp and have a blast with them for a whole week. Also, the coaching instruction is great, and the trail runs are the best. Overall, SMRC is the highlight of my summer, and you should definitely consider coming next summer!
— Joshua L., Smoky Mountain Camper '16
I love camp more than any place in the world!
I have attended Nike SMRC the past three summers, and I can definitely say I have had some of the best times of my life when I have been at camp. I love camp more than any place in the world!
— Katie A., Junior Counselor In Training
Does everything right!
Honestly this camp does everything right: the runs are interesting and a great difficulty, the camp is tons of fun, with a great community and activities during down time. If you run cross country or even just run in your free time, and enjoy it, this camp is for you.
— Danny E., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
Learn how to train
I felt like Nike Running Camps focused on learning how to train like an elite distance runner. We focused on learning how to pace ourselves and what types of training runs we should be doing this summer to prepare for cross in the fall.
— Corey H., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
Best week of my life
I think one of my favorite things about Nike Running Camp is the feeling of being surrounded by runners. When I was at camp, I had one thing in common with everybody, so even if I didn't know someone that well, I automatically had a connection with them. The following is something I wrote a few days after camp ended this past year, I thought you'd like to read it. I tried running today for the first time since camp ended. To say it was treacherous would be an understatement. On my first day of camp, I was appalled at the intenseness of our runs, and how incredibly fast we seemed to zip over the track. On the second day, I swore I was going to have to stop, I was in so much pain, and I had never run so fast for so long before. But I finished. I stayed with the group and I completed that first run with my team. As the week progressed, the pain was still there, but the doubt in my mind, that I wouldn't be able to keep up or that I needed to stop, started to fade. Every Time that doubt began to creep back in my mind, I bundled up the pain coursing through my body, and I imagined everybody I was running with doing the same. I imagined us hurling that pain into the ground. It felt incredible. That's what makes running beautiful to me. The reassurance that everybody surrounding me is feeling just as much pain, and we're all fighting against it together in one battle. I think that's the hardest part about transitioning from camp, to running alone. I got so used to fighting this continuous battle with these people, who undoubtedly became my family. When that family was taken away from me, I didn't know how to handle the pain, and it got the best of me. It wasn't just the physical pain that made me start crying so much I had to stop in the middle of my run today, it was the painful truth that these indescribable bonds I had formed in a few days were taken away from me. But as soon as I stopped, I thought about everything I've learned this past week. Whether I was making friendships with people from around the country, or throwing my head back and repeating group 10's battle cry in the pacing contest, everything at camp was done whole heartedly. That's when I knew I couldn't stop in the middle of this run, for the sake of everything I had learned, I had to push through. And I did. I guess I just wanted to say thank you, for the best week of my life.
— Jay H., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
I loved my running leader. The JCITs especially served as effective leaders because they communicated with the athletes well. They were closer to our age so they could relate to the tough week of training and had fun alongside us.
— Valerie B., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
Love the breakout sessions
Out of the three years I have been at camp, I enjoyed this year’s breakout sessions the most. I especially enjoyed the breakout sessions hosted by Nike representatives as they were very informative and directed at the runners. I also enjoyed the breakouts that required activity, such as core.
— Michael W., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
The auditorium speakers really taught me a lot that I have since applied to running and other aspects of my life. The talk on Flow was particularly impactful.
— Rose P., Smoky Mountain Camper '15
Perfect combination of challenge and comfort
Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp is ALWAYS my favorite week of my entire summer. There is no better place to run, bond with my team, and learn about all things running. Some of the best memories I have shared with my cross country team happened at camp. This camp provides a great challenging experience that completely prepares any camper for their upcoming cross country season. It provides the perfect combination of challenge and comfort. I've personally never gone to any camps as a child and I could not be more grateful that I've had the opportunity to have the "camp" experience with Nike. I am constantly reminded of my love for running every time I think about camp. My summers spent at Nike are a high school memory I will remember and cherish forever.
— Christina P., Smoky Mountain Camper '14
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!
— Mary P., Smoky Mountain Camper '14
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!
— Caleb S., Smoky Mountain Camper '14
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!
— Tammy L., Parent of Smoky Mountain Camper '14
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.
— Summer H., Smoky Mountain Camper '13
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!
— Scott R., Smoky Mountain Camper '13
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.
— Kenny S., Smoky Mountain Camper '13
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.
— Louis N., Smoky Mountain Camper '13
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.
— Julia L., Smoky Mountain Camper '12
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.
— Anthony M., Parent of a Smoky Mountain Camper '12
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.
— Angel S., Parent of a Smoky Mountain Camper '12
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.
— Weston J., Parent of a Smoky Mountain Camper '12
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!
— Angela S., Smoky Mountain Camper '11
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.
— Tom S., Smoky Mountain Camper '11
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.
— Payton M., Smoky Mountain Camper '11
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!
— Mort J., Grandparent of Smoky Mountain Camper '10
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.
— Linda M., Smoky Mountain Camper '10
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!
— D.J. F., Smoky Mountain Camper '09
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.
— Quinton M., Smoky Mountain Camper '09
More connection between speakers
I much preferred staying in Mills hall as opposed to Founders due to its location and room layout. I also thought that the morning speakers in the summer of 2015 to be more interesting due to the common theme (prefontaine and the birth of Nike) that was followed throughout the whole week. I would have liked to see more connection between all of the speakers during the week
— Phillip W., Smoky Mountain Camper '16
Ideal place to spend your summer
Dear future camper, Smoky Mountain Running Camp is the ideal place to spend a couple of your summer weeks. Getting to train with people on the same level and the amazing staff is great and will help you become a better runner. The camp has helped me the past two years get to where I want to be in my running. The staff makes it feel like its one big happy family and I definitely recommend the camp.
— Ashley S., Smoky Mountain Camper '09
Wish it could have lasted longer
Dear prospective camper, My Smoky Mountain Running Camp experience was amazing! This year was my first year attending, but I felt like family amongst the friendly and enthusiastic staff and campers. I went with another teammate, yet I was able to make friends from all over the East Coast that I still talk to afterwards. I got to run on beautiful trails (and Buzzard's Bait) that challenged me without straining me too early in my training. My favorite parts of camp involved the food...and the afternoon/evening activities like the talent show, scavenger hunt, battle of sexes, pacing contest, and the dance. I also learned a lot about the sport of running and took away valuable lessons about recovery, goals, racing, mental strength, hill training, diet, and much more through breakout sessions. Overall, Smoky Mountain Running Camp was one of my best summer experiences and I wish the week could have lasted much longer. I definitely recommend this camp to any runner as I am sure you will love it, whether coming solo or with a team. I hope you chose SMRC!
— Bonnie C., Smoky Mountain Camper '08
Can't wait for next year
It's an awesome place to not only learn more about running but to meet new people. I was hesitant and nervous but now can't wait to see my season improve this year. Can't wait for next year.
— Wendy W., Smoky Mountain Camper '08
Couldn't have been more excited
As a parent, it was great to be able to follow the pictures on facebook. We always knew Colin could work hard but he still had that bit of hesitation. With the right push from his xc coach (also a Nike staff member) & his counselors at camp, he realized not only that he could do it but that others wanted it too! He even texted me 1/2 way through to thank me for sending him down. Between that and the fact that he was extremely proud of himself on that last run up buzzard bait - as parents we couldn't have been more excited for him. Without hesitation, he will be back (possibly with his brother in tow)!
— Justin H., Parent of a Smoky Mountain Camper '08
SMRC is a great camp for runners of all ages. It allows everyone to come together, to learn and train at different levels. This camp is unique, because it has a balanced amount of training, learning, and relaxation. I would recommend this camp to all runners of all ages and skills, as I had an excellent experience myself.
— Josh P., Smoky Mountain Camper '07
This camp has taught me not only how to improve my running skill to an elite level, but they also taught me a lot on how to be mentally tough and a more aggressive competitor, while also learning what my leaps and bounds are as far as pacing. I learned a lot about the other things that Nike Running Camp values such as nutrition, how to get yourself on the map and lots of other things. Just the week after SMRC, I also PR'd in the 5K with a a 17:26, which is a PR by almost 50 seconds. I would recommend this camp to almost everyone who runs, even my friends back up from the New England Region.
— A.J. S., Smoky Mountain Camper '07
Expanded my running capabilities
I came into Smoky Mountain Running Camp as an average runner and a very shy person. Throughout the week I got to know my group mates and really expanded my running capabilities. Although I am the same runner as I was before, I left SMRC with a passion for running and motivation to take all of my runs seriously. SMRC taught me to believe in myself, to not fear success, and be confident in what I am able to accomplish.
— Ashley S., Smoky Mountain Camper '07
Best week of your life
If you want to have the best week of your life then come to the Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp where they provide great coaching, great training and great trails in Asheville, North Carolina. When you leave you will have new friends, and a different look in the running culture. The only thing you will regret is not signing up for three weeks of camp.
— Ryan W., Smoky Mountain Camper '07