Trail-Running Camps, Tours & Retreats for Dream Chasers, Adventure Seekers & Wild Women

I first wrote this post in March of 2011 and updated it in late December with new info and links for 2012.

Going to camp isn’t just for kids. It’s also a great travel option for active people who’d like to be coached and cared for while developing their outdoor passion. This post spotlights several respected providers of camps, tours & retreats: Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventures, Adventure Running Co., Run Wild Retreats, and Geoff Roes’ Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp.

All Star Running Retreat

First up, I just learned the news of a new camp that’s happening January 26 – 29 and February 16 – 19 in lovely Las Vegas. (Seriously! Red Rock Canyon near Vegas is a fantastic place to run.) Called the All Star Running Retreats, they’re headed up by these ultrarunning champs: Ian Sharman, Geoff Roes and Devon Crosby-Helms. Check out the site and also Devon’s blog post on it.

Dreamchasers Outdoor Adventures

Jay and Lisa of Dreamchasers

If you read the previous post that profiled Lisa Smith-Batchen, then you know she is a world-class endurance athlete who recently pushed through injury to complete her Running Hope Through America quest to run 50 miles in each of the 50 states in 62 days, all to raise money to support orphans around the globe. For the past decade, she and her husband, Jay Batchen, have run Dreamchasers coaching clinics and camps that take participants year round to destinations such as Patagonia, the Galapagos, and their home base in the Tetons. Lots of things about their program appeal to me:

  • family friendly: Kids and non-running spouses/partners are welcome to come, too.
  • for all abilities: They’ll customize the program to work with total beginners all the way up to elite-level endurance athletes.
  • amazing coaches: not only Lisa and Jay, but also guest coaches such as ultrarunning and multisport rock stars Matt Hart, Lisa Bliss, Barb Lindquist, and Marshall Ulrich.
  • hot stuff: They also specialize in desert training and preparation for the Marathon des Sables.

As the mom of two daughters, Lisa knows how to arrange care for the kids in their destinations. She and Jay also go out of their way to accommodate non-running spouses or partners so they can come along and have a good time, too.

“In this sport of ultrarunning, the divorce rate is super high,” notes Lisa. “I see so many couples where one is doing it and the other gets left behind, so we’re doing what we can to keep people together. To everybody whom I coach, I say, ‘Family first.'” Check their camp page for dates and details on destinations. Highlight for 2012: A May camp in Tuscany.

Adventure Running Co.

“You run—we take care of the rest!” That’s the tagline of Andy and Kim Holak’s outfit, Adventure Running Co. Not a training camp per se, their program is more about handling all the logistics and providing expert trail-running guides so participants can run multi-day excursions on some of America’s most beautiful trails.

Adventure Running Co.'s 2010 Colorado Trail trip

Their 2011 program included ridge running along the Appalachian Trail, prairie running on North Dakota’s Maah Daah Hey Trail, extreme altitude and rugged conditions along Southwest Colorado’s Hardrock 100 course, alpine running around the Tahoe Rim Trail, and adventure running around Mt. Rainier’s Wonderland Trail. The tours all last five days and range in total mileage from 74 to 102. Accommodations vary from camping to lodges. They also lead a tour to Guatemala, which is set to go this month.

Andy and Kim Holak

Andy and Kim, who have three kids and live in Minnesota, are accomplished competitive ultrarunners who’ve enjoyed running together during their 18 years of marriage. “We both love running trails. I work full-time as a forest recreation specialist for St. Louis County, and Kim is a teacher,” says Andy. “All three of the kids helped on our Colorado Trail tour two years ago … so, our tours are really a family affair.”

While their tours appear designed for fairly experienced trail runners, they also offer easier options for those who don’t want to run every day. “I think what might set us apart is the really fun, family-type atmosphere of our trips,” says Andy. “On our tours you really don’t feel the whole ‘guide/client’ vibe.  It’s more of a vibe of running friends getting together, getting to know each other, and having fun with a couple of people who do all of the planning, cooking, and work on the tour—us. …

“The best part of our tours are the new friends we make on every tour. … Our tours offer an amazing and unique experience for runners to meet new runners and make new friends for life.” Check their tour page for details, which also links to their race series program for those seeking adventure with staged racing.

Update for 2012: Andy sent an email to subscribers in late December saying: “We’ve scaled back our tours with our running family a bit because our own family is so active right now. In June, our first tour will explore the amazing landscape of the North Dakota badlands along the Maah Daah Hey Trail. This tour is scheduled for June 25 to June 29 and is a camping tour. In August, we’ll once again traverse the spectacular Tahoe Rim Trail above the beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Rim Trail tour is scheduled for August 27 to August 31 and is a lodge-to-lodge tour. In September we’ll tackle the most epic trail of them all—the Wonderland Trail circumnavigating massive Mount Rainier. This tour is scheduled for September 10 to September 14 and is a camping tour. Finally, in October we’ll run along one of the most breathtaking segments of the Appalachian Trail along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.  The Appalachian Trail tour is scheduled for October 15 to October 19 and is a lodge-to-lodge tour.

“Also in August will be our third running of the VoyageurQuest Stage Race. Four days plus a prologue time trial hill climb along the Superior Hiking Trail in Northern Minnesota.  The dates for the VoyageurQuest are August 23 to August 26. It’s also possible that we might add another tour if our schedule permits.” Check their website for updates. Meanwhile, congrats to Kim Holak for finishing second woman overall the Quad Dipsea in November 2011!

A slice of Adventure Running Co.'s 2010 Superior Trail trip in Minnesota

Run Wild Retreats

When I first heard about this women’s-only trail running/yoga/wellness retreat, I knew it had to be good because of the woman behind it: Elinor Fish. Elinor is a talented writer, editor, and mom—not to mention a Leadville 100 finisher—who worked as managing editor at Trail Runner magazine.

You can join the Run Wild Trail Running and Wellness Retreat August 16-19, 2012 in Carbondale, at the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Elinor describes it as: “This inspiring and educational weekend provides women the technique and know-how to safely run trails and make running an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. All you need is basic running fitness and no other special skills are required. This non-competitive, active retreat features daily guided trail runs and expert-led seminars on sports conditioning, proper running form, sports nutrition and injury prevention. For each run, the group is divided into several pace groups (offering shorter and longer run options, ranging from 4 to 12 miles) so there’s no pressure to match someone else’s pace.”

Information and registration is found at:

Run Wild's Colorado Rockies 2010 Trail Running & Wellness Retreat

 Geoff Roes’ Alaska Running Camp

As detailed in an earlier post, champion ultrarunner Geff Roes offers three sessions of camp in Juneau, Alaska. Yours truly is going to the one in late July and can’t wait. Check his site for details.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

%d bloggers like this: