Eleven area high school girls bring back memories after running camp
From Staff Reports

July 12, 2005 - Eleven members of Camp Wyoming Running Club, all Hopkins County high school girls, returned from running camp on Sunday, July 3. For 11 days they camped and ran in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas.

Coach Dick Nichols, who trains the high school track team in Three Forks,

Mon., led the camp running sessions, which emphasized distance and

form. The runners averaged five miles a day.

North Hopkins sophomore Cayla Newkirk learned, "When you get consecutive days of running, you want to continue it. You pretty much dread it, but you appreciate it later."

NH junior Hannah Martel added, "I learned a lot about running form. I've got to fix the way I run."

The runners also learned about the challenge of running at elevation.

Several of the runs took place at near 7,000 feet. In comparison, the

elevation of Sulphur Springs is about 500 feet.

NHHS sophomore Jessi Mannis noted, "The elevation made me breathe harder. My times weren't as fast."

All the girls agreed, however, there has been a positive effect for those who have run since their return.

"When I ran for the first time at home," Martel said, "it was much easier to breathe."

Besides running at elevation, the girls faced other challenges. Several

nights in the tents were around 35 degrees, sometimes they were unable to take showers for days, and meals were sometimes delayed because the girls were behind scheduled but still had to get their training done.

The schedule was very full between running and sightseeing, but the girls have memories of runs and scenes that they say will last a lifetime.

Martel best remembers the run in the Grand Tetons, saying, "When we turned on one road, suddenly we could see the mountains really well."

Newkirk and several other girls remember running by buffalo in Yellowstone National Park. NH junior Leia Butler explained, "We had to turn around early, but we got to get up close to the buffalo."

Other girls, such as senior Kara Mannis and freshman Virginia Thomas most liked the run on a trail that traveled along the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Other sites of interest that the runners visited were the National

Memorial for the bombing victims in Oklahoma City, Old Faithful in

Yellowstone Park, Independence Rock in Wyoming, and the play about Texas

history in Palo Duro Canyon.

Club sponsor Janis Thomas said, "Not only did the girls learn about running on this trip, they gained a new perspective on our country. They have just begun to open their eyes to the rich variety we have in the United States."

The running camp was made possible by a tremendous outpouring of help from the Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County business community. About $2,500 was raised from contributions and individuals shown on the back of the camp T-shirt. The girls also raised money by selling cakes and pies at Easter, holding a garage sale and car washes, and selling seeds.

"We had so much fun that I hope we can do something like this again next summer," Newkirk said in expressing the wishes of the other girls.

Plans are in the works. The running club is open to all high school girls. For information, contact Janis Thomas at 903-395-4431.

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