Day 4: Swimming, Plank Contests and Mr. and Mrs. Stowe

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Pictured Above: the winners of the Mr. and Mrs. Stowe Pageant.

Wednesday morning became notorious as the most controversial run at Stowe this year. Every uninjured camper was expected to participate in the “Mandatory Morning Run,” which was met with some skepticism by the campers upon finding out that this run would be commencing at 7 AM. Although inflammatory Tweets and derisive Snapchats were making the rounds on social media outlets, the campers got up and dutifully got in some solid mileage. After this run through the trails and some breakfast, the camp was divided into groups which rotated around the Round Hearth while the counselors held seminars explaining different aspects of running. Some of these topics included overcoming adversity, transitioning to college, the importance of nutrition, how running can help you post-collegiately and in the professional world, and a series of bizarre anecdotes related to Valentine’s Day and prom related misadventures as told by Palmer. Since the groups were smaller, these sessions were a bit more intimate and more dictated by a Q&A type format.

After the speeches, we had a light lunch before splitting the groups by gender. The girls headed to the pool, while the guys stayed at the Round Hearth. At the Round Heart, the campers had three stations, one which focused on foam rolling, one on yoga, and one on general strength and hip mobility. At the pool, we were worked on aqua jogging, which is a great way to cross-train or to get in aerobic work if you are injured. After about an hour and a half, the groups switched. Though this part of the day is a bit stressful for the counselors as it involves a lot of proverbial balls in the air with the switching of the busses, plus having to repeat the same activities for multiple different groups, it was quite popular with the campers. We also had a pushup and plank contest. In the plank contest, Ashley F. won with a stunning time of 9:18. This was especially noteworthy because, as the contest began, it started downpouring outside, creating an epic and cinematic feel. Ashley had a better time than everyone in camp, including the boys. In the pushup contest, Gilmar B. continued his reign of dominance, winning for the second straight year.

Following the conclusion of the afternoon activities, the campers listened to a speech from co-director Fran Cusick on long runs. Coach Cusick, though a huge advocate of the long run, reminded the campers about the importance of being smart when running long, as many young runners get swept up in the moment and select a distance that is too long for them to handle, leading to injuries down the road. To view the presentation, click here: The Value of the Long Run

After this and a big dinner, one of the most celebrated traditions at Stowe Running Camp kicked off: the Mr. and Mrs. Stowe pageant. This year was a fantastic display of talent, showmanship, and wit and a huge shoutout goes out to all of the contestants who took part, as well as to Leah Miller, for putting it together. Kudos as well to Palmer and Courtney R., who did a fantastic job as MCs. This was an event which featured a number of performances that it would be impossible to do justice to via this blog. Some of the highlights were Gwen B’s excellent impersonation of Co-Director Fran Cusick, Hunter M’s inspirational speech, Rachel M and Emma H’s “resume runners” skit, James R’s mind-blowing magic trick, and Brad G’s bizarre, performance art-esque downing of 14 creams with his hype-man Abhi stoically looking on. The most stunning performance and, in this writer’s opinion, the single best performance ever seen at Stowe Running Camp, was a stirring performance of Vance Joy’s “Riptide” with Sarah R. on ukulele and eventual Mrs. Stowe winner Grace R. on vocals. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the girls stripped the usually up-beat song down to a more melancholy and reflective version.
The eventual winners were Grace R, with Emily P as runner up on the girls side and Brad G. with Hunter Miller as the runner up on the guys’ side. This is a cliche, but the real winners were the audience who got to enjoy the awesome and oftentimes hysterical performances of these brave souls willing to get up in front of 70 people with minimal preparation but a lot of heart.

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The motley crew of contestants assembles before the judges.

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