Picture: Peyton McGovern (center) with Phillips Andover teammates and fellow Stowe campers Michaela Jones and Grace Rademacher.
Note from Coach Cusick: Peyton McGovern has been coming to Stowe for the past four summers and in that time has become one of the best runners in Massachusetts and in the region at large. This fall, she will attend Division I Richmond University. Beyond her athletic prowess, though, Peyton has been a great member of the SRC community because of how she brings people together. The time she takes to interact with all different campers and counselors has been amazing to watch over these four years. Below, she shares some thoughts on her time here:
When I was in eighth grade, I began to run more competitively and started to think about attending a running camp before high school to hone my skills and to meet other members of the running community. As a fairly inexperienced runner I did not know much, but my dad heard great things about Stowe Running Camp, so I decided to sign up. Since my first camp experience in 2012, I have returned to Stowe every summer. I guess you could say that I am addicted to SRC! There are so many things that I love about Stowe but in order to keep this concise, I will narrow it down to my favorite aspects of the camp: the community atmosphere, the Round Hearth itself and the long run on the last day.
With so many runners in one place I am always amazed at how supportive and uncompetitive the SRC atmosphere is. I think in order to attain the most success in running, it is crucial to be surrounded by people who build you up and challenge you rather than those who try to assert their status over you. Stowe running camp does this perfectly and I am always thankful for how welcoming and constructive the Stowe Running camp family is. Part of the reason, Stowe’s community is so strong has to do with the other activities we do outside of running. At Stowe Running Camp, the counselors work hard to plan activities that engage the runners as a group and help form long term bonds that extend beyond training. Along the same vein, the location of the camp at the Round Hearth is a key factor in creating such a strong sense of community. The owners are incredibly friendly and go above and beyond to provide excellent service for the campers.
While the ski dorm style of the sleep rooms are certainly close quarters, I think it is the best way for campers to form quality bonds with their roommates. When, I came to Stowe the first year, I knew absolutely no one and therefore, I barely spoke my first few hours at camp. However, when I got to my bunk at night, my roommates opened up and shared with me their past experiences with running and Stowe Running Camp (They were returners). I think the closeness of the room made us more friendly, which is why the Round Hearth is a perfect fit.
Finally, my favorite aspect of the camp is without a doubt the long run on Thursday, the final day. I honestly believe that runners have no greater gift than a long, slow run. Not only is Stowe’s long run fun, the bike path is also incredibly beautiful and flat, which is helpful. The long run varies person to person, depending on experience and fitness level, with a range of anywhere from 7-15 miles. Although this seems like a daunting task, I am always amazed by how fast the time passes and how grateful I am to be out there pushing my body to complete this hefty task. As campers run along the bike path, it is awesome to see the other campers pushing themselves to do their best. 2 years ago during my long run, I was feeling a bit tired and unsure as to whether I could finish. It was the support of my group members and counselor that convinced me, I could and would achieve my 11 mile goal.
I just graduated high school today and although I have grown and changed over the course of high school, my love for SRC is unwavering. I am so excited to return for my fifth year!