Sharing the Passion- A Day at the Shore Running Experience Camp

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2016 team picture.JPG2016 Shore Running Camp team picture, photo by Jeff Benjamin

This is a story of one of the camps that inspire runners young and old to take the next step in our sport. We thank Jeff Benjamin for this story, and look forward to his piece on the 2017 camp.

Sharing the Passion- A Day at the Shore Running Experience Camp- by Jeff Benjamin

When one thinks of the Jersey Shore, you are sure to connect with some of those stereotypes seen on reality TV. Yet, the state of New Jersey, led by Robby Andrews, Donn Cabral, Jeff Porter, Marielle Hall, Ajee' Wilson, Christina Epps, Keturah Orji, Nia Ali, English Gardner and High School sensation Sydney McLaughlin, boasted the second largest Olympic Teack and Field contingent going to Rio. So it should come as no surprise that quality running camps for youth and high schoolers take place in the state throughout the summer.

Combining the grass-roots level with world-class links at the same camp can also be quite a challenge as well. But, the Shore Running Experience Camp, headquartered at Monmouth University, seems to blend these qualities in quite smoothly.

Headed by Monmouth Head Coach Joe Compagni, the camp tries to service the needs of all facets of the sport with their diverse group of over 109 campers. "We try to show the kids the various ideas which can bring about success," said Compagni, who has coached Monmouth for over 20 years. With sponsorship help from Saucony and ElliptiGO, Compagni has also brought in the New Jersey/New York Track Club as well.

Travis Mahoney.JPGTravis Mahoney speaking about the steeplechase and providing hurdle drills, photo by Jeff Benjamin

Speakers last year included Ashley Higginson, Mike Rutt, and Head Coach Frank "Gags" Gagliano, while NJ/NY stalwarts Ford Palmer, Travis Mahoney, Emily Ritter, and Nicole Traynor serve as counsellors as well.

Other staffers include XC Coach Geoff Harrison (who also checks each campers' gait analysis), Shore Regional Coach Mel Ullmeyer and Rob DeFillipis, who throughout the years has been an outstanding runner and Coach in New Jersey. DeFillipis, who also owns "Runners High" Stores in New Jersey, brings a positive intensity to the kids as well.

"You must develop goals," he told a group assembled during one of the various "stations" of knowledge spread throughout the campus. "Then you have to decide how to prepare for it, and be willing to make that commitment."

The overnight camp also consists of training runs over some of the states' well-known courses, such as Holmdel Park and and the Hartshorne Woods. Yoga sessions, Core work, Pool work, and stretching sessions take place throughout the day as well.

But it's not all work, as evidenced by a scavenger hunt and steeple barrier jumps, which was led by Mahoney and was completed over a generously low height steeple hurdle!

Jeff Caron .JPGJeff Caron, showing an athlete how to use Ellipigo, photo by Jeff Benjamin

Another fun event for the kids was the arrival of Jeff Caron. Caron, a big supporter of the Sport, took time to bring out his ElliptiGOs for all to try on the Monmouth track. Caron, who's also the man behind the Sir Walter Miler Track event taking place at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, challenged the campers to ride on the ElliptiGO for at least 1 lap. Then, demonstrating his ability on his product, Caron took on a few of the kids and, although starting out slowly, beat them with a time of around 46 seconds, a good time but not the quality of Michael Johnson!

Without a doubt, the passion for the Sport was prevalent throughout the camp.

Perhaps an interesting display of this passion was presented by the new Monmouth Assistant Coach Emily Lewis. An alumni of Clemson, Lewis (who has run in the 17 minute range for 5K) does not seem to be looking to break into the highest level of competition. But her passion has launched her into another venture. "I'd like to learn about coaching on the collegiate level," she said. "I really love the Sport." For someone who started out in South Carolina, then Clemson, and now onto New Jersey definitely shows commitment towards that passion, a quality which was truly integral in the Shore Running Experience Camp.


Jeff Caron .JPGJeff Caron getting the ElliptiGO ready, photo by Jeff Benjamin

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