Berkshire camp brings running teams together


Vivian McMahon

Members of the girls cross country team wearing Boston sports team spirit pose during their camp competition. The camp provides a key bonding experience.

We all know the feeling of dread when you hear your alarm clock go off. But getting up on an ordinary morning is nothing compared to forcing yourself to go on a run as soon as you wake up. 

That’s the type of commitment student athletes signed up for with the Berkshire Running Camp. For the members of the Brookline cross country team who went for a week during August, this camp provided the typical experience full of long exhausting days and getting to know cabin mates. The running teams got plenty of exercise, but were also able to form tight relationships, which helped the teams to grow as a whole. 

According to senior and captain Seth Jones, the camp had as many as 300 to 400 runners from New England schools. Each day started at 6:30 a.m. and ended at 11:00 p.m. A typical day consisted of working out, eating, playing games and attending information sessions about nutrition and stretching. For the boys team, going to the camp every summer is a way of preparing for the season. 

“It’s a tradition, every year we send a group of guys, usually the top group. If we have a lot of guys who we think could run for states this year, we try to plan it as a team,” Jones said. 

Although the main purpose of the camp was to improve their running, both the boys and girls teams gained much more from the experience. Junior Myles Liss-Riordan said he was pleasantly surprised that the camp emphasized getting to know others. 

“I was expecting it to be a normal running camp and that there weren’t going to be a lot of activities where you bonded with your teammates or other teams. But there was a lot of that and I really liked that,” Liss-Riordan said. 

Junior Vivian McMahon agreed with Liss-Riordan and said that many people went from being teammates to friends outside of the sport. 

“I learned the importance of your team and being close with your teammates because you go through a lot together on and off the course racing, and they are always going to be there for you whether you had a good or bad race,” McMahon said.

Jones said that whether it was intended or not, bonding with teammates became the main focus. 

“I think the main thing was the bonding. Because you are only there for six days, you can’t improve that much,” Jones said. “You do improve as a runner, but bringing the team closer together was the biggest thing.”

Every year, certain runners on the boys cross country team go to the Berkshire Running Camp, sponsored by New Balance, to prepare for the upcoming season.

According to McMahon, the friendships formed at the camp benefited the entire team because people became more comfortable around each other.

“I think it would help us learn to run with each other better rather than seeing each other as threats,” McMahon said, “We see each other as a great way to push ourselves so we learn more about our teammates.”

The connections formed also allowed for people to better understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. 

“We learn more about running styles and that allows us to go into meets and stay close together and push ourselves, so when we finish we all finish around the same spot, which allows us to place higher,” McMahon said.

Liss-Riordan recommends Berkshire Running Camp to anyone who is considering taking on running as a sport and to anyone who wants to meet new people. 

“I feel like everything stood out. Everything was really special and really important,” Liss-Riordan said. “Every run we did, every evening talk we did, I will always remember and I will always remember the people I met there too.”