The fastest kids in America are running hills and chilling in creeks around Crested Butte
Katelynne Hart, the country’s fastest high school distance runner, is giddily shivering in icy Coal Creek in the middle of this mountain community’s historic downtown.
Hart, along with her best-in-the-U.S. teammates, has just finished a morning run at 8,900 feet and a complicated series of stretches and exercises at Team Prep USA’s renowned summer running camp.
“I think the biggest thing about this camp is we all have the same values, common goals,” said Hart, of Chicago. “We all really want to be great runners — that makes us bond. We push each other to be better, and we’re good friends — that combination is what makes this camp.”
In the past 15 years, Crested Butte’s Team Prep USA camps have hosted more than 140 state champion racers like Hart and groomed the country’s top runners, including eight-time national champion and Olympic medalist Emma Coburn. The Rocky Mountain Cross Country Camp, founded and directed by collegiate running coach Trent Sanderson, pushes the country’s top high-school runners to their breaking points while teaching lessons that linger well beyond athletics.
Sanderson “wants you to be the best you can be … I definitely would not be where I am without him,” said Indiana standout runner Caleb Futter, who will run at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, this fall. “It’s more like a life camp, really.”
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