A staple of the West Coast trail-running scene – Trail Camp – is returning to Massachusetts.
Five years after the Trail Animals Running Club last played host to a trail-running camp in the Bay State, Douglyss Giuliana, head running coach at Adapt & Thrive Performance, is resurrecting the experience. Giuliana will play host to a three-day trail-running camp June 24-26 at Harold Parker State Forest in Andover, Mass.
“I really enjoyed the camps that TARC did in the past, and I noticed that commercial trail camps are quite common out west. However, these camps themselves are quite expensive and then you have travel costs to get out there, so they are really prohibitively expensive for most of us,” Giuliana noted. “I wanted to offer something locally that was also more affordable, and trained on the type of terrain that is more common to our local training and racing. In addition, I see lots of questions on social media about training, gear, nutrition and want to give runners the ability to get those questions answered by knowledgeable and respected specialists.”
The Trail Camp has been a work in progress for several years, Giuliana admitted. He hoped to conduct the first edition in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold. By late winter, it became clear that outdoor events could be held safely and runners were eager to reconnect with the community. That combination convinced Giuliana that the time was right to organize a camp.
“We felt the situation was plenty safe for a completely outdoor event and it’s clear that people are eager to be social again,” he said. “Participating in some of the TARC weekly runs and area races, this becomes clear. Beyond just giving our campers an outlet to be social with like-minded runners for a weekend, we hope that they form some new friendships, discover some new trails to run, and build their trail running confidence so they get out there with groups more often.”
Giuliana said he has seen an enthusiastic response to the camp so far.
“We received a number of signups right away and many others that are excited to see a camp like this happening in New England,” he said. “The challenge is that summers are quite busy for people and because we didn’t announce the camp until spring a number of runners that really want to addent have conflicts. So we have heard a lot of encouragement to continue this each year or even multiple times a year.”
The camp will be limited to 15 participants to maintain an intimate setting. Giuliana said runners of all abilities are welcome and encouraged to attend, whether they’re new to the trails or veterans of many ultramarathons.
“We are truly committed to delivering a great camp this year,” he said. “All abilities are definitely welcome and we’ll be using the TARC credo of ‘no animal left behind.’ We are committed to encouraging diversity in trail running and welcome runners of all abilities, ethnicities, and gender identities, and we are happy to provide financial support so no one is left out.
“We really want this to be a laid-back and fun weekend where we can all enjoy getting out on the trails, improving our skills, and sharing stories with new friends by the fire. We all do this sport for fun, fitness, and friends, and we want to deliver all that within the camp.”
The Trail Camp will embrace many aspects of “camp.” Participants will camp in tents and sleeping bags. They’ll do structured activities, including multiple runs throughout the day. They’ll also congregate around the campfire to relax, share stories and listen to instructors.
Giuliana has been an endurance athlete for more than 30 years, is a former high school coach and a current coach of trail- and road-runners. He was an instructor at the TARC Trail Camps, presenting on strength training and running form, so that first-hand experience has informed his planning. In addition to sharing his knowledge with campers, Giuliana has assembled an experienced panel of instructors who will present on a variety of topics throughout the weekend, including David Bidler, Carolyn Stocker, Annette Florczak and Patrick Caron. Bidler is the president of Physiology First University and The Distance Project in Portland, Maine, and will deliver a presentation focused on breathing. Stocker is an ultrarunner, Registered Dietician, nutrition instructor at the UMass-Amherst, and running coach who will lead a session on performance nutrition for runners and another on women-specific topics. Florczak is an ultrarunning veteran whose resume includes multiple 100-mile and 200-mile ultras. She has completed the NOLS Wilderness Medicine training program and will present a workshop on foot care, prevention of foot issues and how to address them on the trail. Caron is a Salomon athlete, entrepreneur, founder of popular running brand Move Free, and a volunteer at many local races. Caron will discuss the importance of building community and giving back.
“We have a number of other sessions on topics, from strength training to recovery, to planning your training, to technical trail running skills,” Giuliana said. “I know the types of topics that trail runners are curious about and the challenge of planning their training and finding the time. I really want this camp to provide answers to just those types of questions and challenges that recreational trail runners face so they can be successful at reaching their trail running goals and enjoy their experiences.”
Cost for the camp is $295 with registration and additional details at this link. The cost includes campsite rental, meals, snacks, drinks, group runs and educational sessions, as well as goodie bags of and giveaways. The camp begins at 6 p.m. Friday, June 24 and concludes around 5 p.m. Sunday, June 26.