a look back at Radix Running 2018
As humans our first exposure to a new experience lays out our mental & emotional framework.
It is in this first experience that we decide to ‘accept’ or ‘reject’, often hastily pulling out the like or dislike stamp. Obviously, judgements around an experience can be skewed, and we can uproot these initial assessments as we are exposed to the true nature and culture that provides the scaffolding for our budding passion. That said, it’s easier to grow a plant in fresh fertile soil than it is to spend years undoing the toxic caused by bad experience and misunderstanding.
For this reason, a high school athlete’s first taste with the sport of running is something that ought to be handled with care. Young runners are malleable and adaptable. Their bodies & minds are responsive, elastic, capable of bouncing back from extreme stressors and able to soak up new experiences.
There is often a lack of balance when it comes to training, which can play out in many ways. Too intense, not enough fun. Too much fun, not enough work. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship with competition and the sport itself.
Like all good things in the running community, the Radix Running Camp was created out of connection. Coaches Mike Mazzaccaro (Christian Brothers Academy) and Rebeka Stowe (The Collegiate School & Nike NYC) met while working at a running camp in 2014. Both talented Division 1 runners in their own right, they recognized the need for a summer camp that served this space. The two twenty-something’s developed a new way to bring the sport to young athletes and in 2017 the seeds for Radix Running were sown.
Radix, Latin for 'root', was established with the intention of creating a week-long experience for individuals and teams that emphasized this balance, allowing runners to plant and further grow their running roots. The hope was that runners would exit camp as better athletes, better teammates and ultimately better people.
Camp is close-knit and personal, relaxed and welcoming. It represents the beautiful nature of the running community. The goal is to give these young athletes the opportunity to be curious, ask questions, and develop a love and passion for the sport that brings us all together in the first place.
The athletes are exposed to a broad view of the running world, from culture, to history, to individual athlete stories, to brands built by athletes for athletes. In 2018 Radix Runners heard from elite athletes Robby Andrews (adidas), Travis Mahoney & Dani Aragon (Hoka NJNYTC), leader of local NYC running crew, Tim Rossi (Lostboys Track Club), as well as a panel of Radix Staff made up of 9 current Division 1 athletes. The young harriers learned about the inner workings of the running industry and were fuelled by cutting edge performance and recovery products.
These are all exciting aspects of camp, but they are not what sets Radix apart. Hundreds of camps around the country have great speakers, free product and fun. What makes Radix special is the balance of work and play, and the development of healthy community and a deeper understanding of true competition. And, well, the staff.
Camp kicks off the first night with a goal setting session lead by CBA Head Coach Sean McCafferty. Every team is given time to put on paper what it is they want to accomplish, their dream goals, and what it takes daily in order to get there. These school teams are then split and interwoven into groups for the camp color competition. Teams get full creative freedom to make a team flag, mascot and uniform… think lots of spray paint, stencils, & scissors.
The tone is set on day one: work hard, play hard, rest hard, and love every single minute.
As the week progresses the athletes find themselves traversing the quiet iconic inclines of Mapes, the flagship run of the Radix camp. A dirt road with a distinct long steady climb, it’s notorious for pushing the athlete a little bit farther than he or she thought they could go. Afternoons hold a double session in the pool, foam rolling, yoga or an easy shake out.
Radix isn’t a training camp. Runners don’t run hard everyday, but that being said, when workout day rolls around, they work. Day two of camp you’ll find the runners logging quality 600m-1k repeats nestled in the pines near the water along Brookwood Road, the coaches with coffee & stopwatches in hand.
There are games, there’s dodgeball, there’s making fun of the counsellors, and daydreams about the upcoming season. The competitive spirit comes out in the 4xDENIM (a 4x400m relay with a size 40x40 pair of jeans as the baton, yeah - you read that right), or on the basketball court. The camp celebrates the young athletes who buy in and make camp a better place, rewarding them with homemade, blue collar prizes that all carry a story. Living in cabins, getting up early, running, learning, and loving each other - that's what makes Radix special.