Camp goes to X-Tremes to create memorable running experience

| 22 Jul 2014 | 03:36

Running, running and more running at X-Treme Camp. The youth running camp goes above and beyond for campers by offering coaches with impressive resumes and speakers that include nationally ranked runners and even an Olympian.

"I've spoken at this camp most years, and enjoy coming back," said Irish Olympian Marcus O'Sullivan.

His message to the campers isn't just about his running success: it's about life stories and lessons learned along the way to his victories. O'Sullivan, who now coaches at Villaova University, illustrates the sacrifice and determination that go along with the road to victory.

Then there's Tom Fleming. He's won the prestigious New York City Marathon multiple times and is a well-known high school coach. He speaks to the campers in a clinic style the Wednesday of X-Treme Camp mapping out training strategies and underscoring his message with his Boston Marathon training motto: "Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win."

In other words, put in the work if you want to reach your goals.

Getting started
Founded in 2000, the camp was originally held at Swartswood State Park.

"We moved it to Lodestar Park several years ago for it's fantastic training venues and terrain," said one of the directors, Al Siuta, of Sparta.

The parks combination of wooded trails, grassy fields, paved paths and hills make it ideal for a running camp.

Former High Point High School running phenom, Sarah DiSanza, is another camp speaker who talks on the kids' level to underscore the importance of preparation, hydration and nutrition. Justin Sheid, a former stand out at Pope John High and Georgetown University who now tears up the local road-racing scene is another presenter.

"This camp is great and shows the kids the necessity of that pivotal summer training," Sheid said.

Sheid tells training stories from his past and encourages the kids to never give up on their goals.

"One of the magical things about the camp is the friends these kids foster," Siuta said. "They come to X-Treme Running Camp from all over the tri-state area and many different schools, yet when they see each other in competition, they have this great bond they've formed during camp week."

Kittatinny Regional High School cross country captain, Katie Maio, says, "It was so neat to be at State Sectionals and see runners I'd met at X-Treme Running Camp."

Camp form analyst, Janice Morra, PT, OCS, CSCS, said, "The kids have a great attitude and really get into learning new things about the sport."

Morra has more than 30 years of experience in the field of orthopedic and sports physical therapy, and specializes in treatment techniques and evidence based practice for high level outcomes.

High School coaching expert, Sean Robinson, who coaches at Morris Hills High School, comes to camp to talk about training and preparation.

"You are here because you want to be the best you can be," he tells the campers.

Running advice
Renowned running author and coach, Mark Will-Weber comes in from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to discuss race tactics.

One of his favorite points of motivation during a race is to encourage the kids, "When you think you're too tired, just make deals with yourself like... 'I'm going to run as hard as I can to that red barn along the course'... and after you reach the red barn, tell yourself, 'I'm going to catch that guy up ahead of me,' and then, 'gee, it's not that far to the finish, I'm going to kick it in.'"

Former National 10-mile and 10-K champion Mike Mykytok, is another X-Treme Camp speaker who tells stories including not letting the weather impair training.

"If it snows, it's all about learning the snow plow route," he says, "Be ready with your running shoes on, and when the plow comes by, follow it and it'll clear the way for you."

Motivator Cornell Thomas, the director of Crossroads Basketball, will kick off the camp speakers on Aug. 4.

"Like the title of Thomas' book, 'The Power of Positivity,' that's exactly what X-Treme Running Camp aims to do — show the kids the many physical and mental positives of the sport of running," Siuta said.

The camp is open to middle and high school runners as well as those who want to get in shape for other fall sports. It includes endurance, bio-mechanics, team building, training strategies and ways to think "outside the box" with training, injury prevention, overall core and body strength building, racing techniques and the power of believing in yourself and striving to reach your potential.