Nike Smoky Mountain Running Camp
UNITE. INSPIRE. RUN.
Unmatched summer training and top quality coaching define the 2019 Smoky Mountain Running Camp. Immerse yourself in running, new friends and fun evening activities for a week or two or three in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina!
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.
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 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.
Celebrating our 47th 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Highsmith Center.
- Check-out: 12:00-1:00pm. Campers check out on dorm floor with staff. Luggage is in Highsmith Center.
*NOTE: Founders Drive is not available, so campers and staff will have to carry items from upper Mills parking down to Founders. Due to the construction, it may be up to a quarter mile walk to the dorm from parking, so pack as light!
- 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 Mills and Founders Hall, all air conditioned. In Mills, campers stay in suite-style rooms, living rooms, 2 bedrooms with one bath, shared. In Founders, 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 are 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 14-19 session. Cost is $110 round trip.
Northview High School, Johns Creek, GA. July 21-26 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 Questions & Answers
When and where will the check-in and check-out take place for the 2019 Smoky Mountain Running Camp?
All campers check in to camp between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Highsmith Student Center on Sunday, first day of camp. Follow the signs on campus to registration.
After a closing /graduation speaker, check out takes place on Friday, the last day of camp. Parents are invited to the graduation ceremony, held in Lipinsky Hall, starting at 10:30 a.m.
How are runners placed in their running groups?
The SMRC staff has created a formula that determines running groups. Groups are based on a combination of recent mileage, season best 5k, geographic location, and long runs. A change in groups can be accommodated if staff members leading those groups feel it is needed.
What happens if it starts to rain during camp?
All campers receive their full running program each day weather permitting. In the threat of severe weather, we adjust our schedule for the outdoor training runs.
What are some of the evening activities that are planned for the campers?
Fun and exciting after evening activities are an important part of the SMRC experience and are carefully planned by the staff. Evening activities include a talent show, a scavenger hunt, outdoor volleyball games, corn hole, camp dance, ultimate Frisbee, and more.
What is available for sale at the Fleet Feet Store?
The latest and greatest of Nike Running gear is offered for sale, including items only available at SMRC. In addition, Nike allows campers to test the latest Nike shoes on their trail runs each day.
How and when will I receive my registration packet with important camp details?
Well before the start of your camp (at least 3 weeks), you will receive a Registration Packet which will include all the important details about camp: directions to camp, when to arrive, what to pack/ bring, camp address (for mail) and key camp phone numbers and the Medical/ Release form, etc.
Does the Health & Release Form need to be signed by a doctor?
Our Health & Release Form does not require a doctor’s signature. This form is required to be filled out accurately, signed by the parent (guardian), and brought with you to the first day of camp.
Does the UNCA Dining Services accommodate special dietary needs?
Campers dine at the campus cafeteria which offers a variety of different meal options that are sure to accommodate most campers’ dietary needs. There are many food stations offered, from Juice Bar, Make your own Omeleteand stir fry stations, and unlimited salad bar. In the case that a camper possesses extreme dietary restrictions, please reach out to UNCA’s Dining Services to make the proper accommodations.
Are the campers supervised throughout the camp?
Yes, campers are supervised by the coaches and staff. Staff members reside in the same dorms as the campers and provide supervision during instruction, dining times, evening activities, and in the dorm. All staff members complete criminal and sex offender background checks before working the camp.
Does SMRC offer transportation to and from Asheville?
Yes! We offer transportation to and from the Asheville Regional Airport for $20 each way. We also have chartered buses to and from the Greater Atlanta area each week. Buses are scheduled each week to and from the Marist School. We also run a bus to and from Peachtree City one week and to and from Johns Creek the next. Call the office to reserve your seat, don't miss the bus! There is a charge for the bus trip.
Can I come to camp alone or do I have to be a member of a team?
SMRC welcomes individual campers and teams. If you come to camp by yourself, we place you in a dorm room with another single camper, similar in age. It's a great place to meet new friends who share your enthusiasm for the sport and to have FUN!
How many campers are placed in a dorm and do you accommodate roommate requests? Does the dorm have AC?
Campers stay 2 per room (doubles) with another two athletes in an adjoining sweet. The dorms are air-conditioned. When you register for the camp, you have an option to submit a roommate request. If you would like to add a roommate request after registering for a camp, please feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We accommodate all roommate requests, made 2 weeks before the start of camp. Campers who do not submit a roommate request will be placed in a room with another camper of the same gender and of similar age.
Is it possible to add an extra week if my child wants to extend his stay? Is there a weekend stay-over option?
Double your training! Double your fun. Campers may register for multiple sessions if space is available. Weekend stayovers for in between sessions are available for an additional fee of $150.
Does SMRC have medical personnel on staff?
We have a certified athletic training on-staff and a doctor on-call at all times in case of a training injury or medical ailment/emergency.
Is swimming offered at camp?
During evening recreation hours, the university pool is open for swimming. A life guard is on duty and staff members are also there for supervision.
How many miles will we run each day?
Athletes will run twice a day. Once in the morning at the North Carolina Arboretum and Warren Wilson College trails and once in the afternoon at the UNC-A track. The morning run is more of a distance run and the afternoon track session is an opportunity to work on specific training paces. Actual distances vary based on runners mileage and ability.
What is the cancellation policy?
Hopefully, you will not have to cancel, but if you must, please do so early so that those on the waiting list can be notified.
For those who have Cancellation Protection:
Cancellation Protection entitles you to a full refund of camp fees (deposit or full payment) if you cancel for any reason before June
1st. Please note: $50 Cancellation Protection fee is non-refundable.
If you cancel after June 1st, 2019, we will issue you a camp voucher for all camp fees paid, valid through 2020. Your camp voucher is transferable to family and may be used for any Nike Running Camp.
For those who do not have Cancellation Protection:
If you have to cancel, for any reason, we will issue you a Nike Running Camp voucher for all camp fees paid, valid through
2020. Your camp voucher is transferable to a family member and may be used for any Nike Running Camps. Cash refunds will
be given only with the purchase of Cancellation Protection and who cancel on time.
Camp ReviewsSubmit a review
Life Lessons Learned
I am a junior at Auburn University, studying public relations & marketing. Last week, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I came across a picture posted by Nike SMRC and it was of me running with my group from camp in 2014. It made me reflect on my time at camp in high school and how it shaped me into being a captain for my high school's XC team and how I continue to use the lessons I learned in camp to run half-marathons and keep myself strong. SMRC didn't just teach me how to be a successful runner, but it taught me how to be successful every day through learning about leadership, determination, well-being and being responsible for my actions.
— Camper, Rachel0
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!
— CT, Parent 20170
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 20170
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., 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., Camper 2016
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., Camper 2016
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2015
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., Camper 2014
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., Camper 2014
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., Camper 2014
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 2014
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., Camper 2013
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., Camper 2013
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., Camper 2013
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., Camper 2013
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., Camper 2012
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 2012
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 2012
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 2012
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., Camper 2011
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., Camper 2011
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., Camper 2011
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 2010
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., Camper 2010
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., Camper 2009
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., Camper 2009
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., Camper 2016
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., Camper 2009
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., Camper 2008
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., Camper 2008
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 2008
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., Camper 2007
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., Camper 2007
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., Camper 2007
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., Camper 2007