Year 2 of Run SMART camp features diverse group of athletes, coaches |

Year 2 of Run SMART camp features diverse group of athletes, coaches

Run SMART Project founder Brian Rosetti coaches Roosevelt High School's (S.D.) Lukas Nelson on some active isolated stretching Friday afternoon at Little Toots Park in downtown Steamboat Springs. The Run SMART high school running camp was back in Steamboat for a second summer, teaching students from across the country different elements of the sport.
Ben Ingersoll

— For a second straight summer, high school distance runners from all four corners of the United States discovered just what high-altitude training feels like.

But the Run SMART Project isn’t exactly meant to be an all-out, full-throttle training session for the weeklong camp that hosted nearly 60 coaches and athletes this year.

Sure, since the day the high schoolers from states like North Carolina, Florida, New York, Arizona and Arkansas stepped foot in Steamboat Springs, they’ve burned their lungs out at 7,000 feet on some trails, but Run SMART founder Brian Rosetti insists the camp is meant to make the teenagers all-around students of the sport.

“We’re teaching the kids a holistic approach, essentially about how to train,” said Rosetti, of New York City, noting the camp is open to high schoolers and their coaches, and teams are welcome.

The second-year camp opened Sunday, and immediately, the distance runners dove into the physiological aspects of the sport. While their legs rested, their brains were filled with knowledge about nutrition, hydration and rest.

In between, competitions were sparked — like Friday’s team time trials, a morning event that broke runners into groups among their equal strengths. From there, they ran, but never much more than they could handle, Rosetti said, learning how to push through thinner air as a group vying for team points.

“It’s not necessarily a training camp like some camps, because we’re at such high altitude,” Rosetti said. “The runs can all be at easy pace and still feel difficult for them, especially the climbing.”

Much of the reason the runners are even in Steamboat, training on the surrounding mountain trails and rooming at Colorado Mountain College, is due to Steamboat’s very own Lisa Renee Tumminello.

Tumminello’s sister Alicia Shay, a two-time NCAA 10K champion and NCAA 10,000-meter record holder, is part of the Nike Elite Trails team and a current coach at the Run SMART camp. Shay’s connection to Tumminello made the camp in the far reaches of Northwest Colorado a reality, Rosetti said.

“It was really a team effort with Run SMART being an amazing platform with amazing coaches,” Tumminello said. “I believe that Steamboat is such a wealth of opportunity and an endurance community.”

Aside from Rosetti — a 10-time Atlantic 10 Conference champion himself — and Tumminello, a professional road cyclist, the Run SMART camp features a heavy lineup of A-list teachers and speakers for a program that barely has left the ground.

The campers have been coached this year by Georgetown University women’s cross-country head coach Mike Smith and former New York high school state distance champion Vince Sherry.

And on Friday, they also welcomed guest speaker Dr. Jack Daniels, one of the most respected distance coaches ever and named a Runner’s World “World’s Best Running Coach.”

Daniels spent time with the athletes Friday covering the science behind running — the physiology behind training properly and at the right pace. As a former Olympic coach, Rosetti said Daniels’ knowledge couldn’t be overstated for a group still learning to grow into their running shoes.

“Jack is considered the coaches’ coach,” Rosetti said. “He’s written the book. You go to most high school programs and ask how they train, it’s from Jack’s book, so to speak.”

The runners will be in Steamboat through Saturday, then they return to their respective home states and prepare for the upcoming fall season.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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