On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For once, I have no opinion!

I got a very interesting comment the other day on my post about the women's marathon record and the IAAF decision. Looseyfur* asked me what I think about running cruises and camps and vacations and the like.

I was stumped.

I thought about it all weekend. I tried to formulate an opinion. But I couldn't.

To be honest, the only thing I really know about these types of vacations comes from a Runner's World article I read a few months ago. It was kind of a gimmicky embarrassment for a magazine that pretends to cater to a running demographic: silly non-runner goes on a running cruise to Alaska, running a progressive marathon as part of the trip. I'm not sure why Runner's World thinks that it would appeal to, say, me to read that this guy who hadn't run in 12 years trained by "hurrying a couple blocks to grab a couple of slices before  [his] neighborhood pizza joint closed."

(Don't get me started on the "progressive marathon," where you total 26.2 with your mileage over a set period of time. What if Pheidippedes had run 3m at at a time? A marathon is an event, not a series of events. Run a 5k or a 10k and bask in the glory of still being better than other people! If someone asks you your marathon time, do you say, "3:04... by which I mean, 3 weeks, 4 days"?)

Let me start by saying: I've never been on one of these trips. I've seen a few different varieties of events advertised that seem to fit this category, though. There are getaways that cater to runners, maybe with a destination race thrown in to cap the experience. There are camps that tailor to runners looking to work with a coach and improve their form. And then there are running vacations - like, trips where running is the main attraction.

And why not? We all struggle with running on vacation - fitting running clothes in our suitcases, waking up early to accommodate sightseeing schedules - why not just make the vacation all about running? I can see the appeal: maybe you're looking to go on a cruise to possibly meet a special someone, but you know you want him/her to be a runner. Here you go, a boat full of runners. I guess I'd have two concerns: one, the price; and two, the fact that I don't always travel alone, and I don't always travel with other runners.

So, then, what do you think about them? Any opinions? Anyone actually ever been on one?

*by the way, you'll be happy to hear that I've learned by reading her blog that that is not her real name!


  1. I've been to both soccer & aikido camps. These were always an opportunity to up your game. It was about 6hrs of exercise. The rest was all eating and sleeping, with a little socializing and beer drinking with equally crazy people. I loved it.

    I hadn't heard of running camps & vacations, but I can't see it working like that since I think most people can't go from running whatever they usually run to running 6hrs a day for a week.

  2. Great point, Majo! I've wondered that same thing - like, some of the camps I've seen advertised are only a few days long. Even if you could push yourself to run further than you anticipated during the camp times, you still are running for - what? - two hours a day?

  3. For me it always sounded like the thing to do if you don't have friends to take trips with you: instant social life. I never met anyone who went to running travel camps, but know quite a bit of people who attended volleyball ones (I have attended a local volleyball camp a few times in DC, but never one that required travel, those have ALWAYS been waaaaaaay beyond my budget, but I have always been jealous of the people that go!). The running ones don't entice me as much as the volleyball ones did though...