You Can Train With Famed ‘Born To Run’ Coach Eric Orton

It's like a sleepaway camp for adults—except you'll be running, doing drills and even eating waffles, all on a mountaintop.

eric orton

Going to camp isn’t only for kids—there are plenty of multi-day packages for active adults as well. Think of all the fun of your childhood sleepaway—but with like-minded adults who love to run and zero pressure to participate in an end-of-summer talent show.

Eric Orton Mountain Running Academy

The coach who’s featured in the best-seller Born to Run leads three-day camps on a mountain in the Grand Tetons to teach trail running skills and lead progressively longer runs for novices and ultrarunners alike.

My experience: At a camp designed for marathon-distance runners, I was amazed at the sequencing of runs at various elevations to make it easier for sea-level runners to be able to run more easily at 10,000 feet on the last day of camp. Though we were together for lengthy daily sessions, there are drills and breaks that make it all doable. Orton is a master at assessing different runners and coming up with routes on his home-base mountain to up the mileage for stronger runners and take it easy on others. He also knows a lot about biomechanics—the barefoot drills that start each day help with foot strength and I continued to use them at home. I also became a more confident trail runner by learning skills for climbing, descending and more.

One highlight: Bonding with fellow campers over waffles on the mountaintop.

What else you should know: The whole camp takes place at one mountain (a ski resort most of the year—yes, it can snow at any time), so stay at the base (housing is not included) to get the most out of the experience. There are plenty of options for hotels and food. You can also choose a camp based on distance goals.

Details: 3 days in July or August 2017; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; $600–$800 including some meals;