A couple weeks ago I wrote about the lack of diversity in trail running, most specifically economic diversity. As I wrote that piece I thought numerous times about the running camps I direct in Alaska. Ever since coming up with the idea of directing a running camp, I’ve been drawn to the notion of offering discounted or free camp entry to runners who are interested in attending the camp, but who can’t afford the expense of both the camp and the cost of travel. Over the past two years I’ve thrown this idea around in my mind, but until now it’s never made it outside of the space in my head. Developing running camp scholarships was such an obvious response to my last piece that there was even a comment in that column from a reader who had a similar idea. The fact that I wasn’t the only one thinking about this got the wheels spinning faster in my mind, and I have now decided to make this idea a reality.
I am excited to announce that beginning with the sessions next summer, Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp will be offering scholarships based in part on financial need. Our hope will be to offer three total scholarships (one for each session) which will cover all camp fees and most/all travel expenses. Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp is putting $1,500 into a scholarship fund, and will accept contributions from those interested in further underwriting these scholarships. We will take contributions between now and the end of the year, at which time we will announce how many scholarships are available. We will then begin taking applications and nominations for the scholarships on January 1, 2013. The application will consist of a few short questions which will focus on the applicant’s running background, reasons for wanting to attend, and financial circumstances which prohibit them from doing so. We will accept applicants until the end of February, and then notify the recipients in early March.
We very much encourage people to nominate individuals who they feel would be a good fit for these scholarships.
I think the trail running community is an amazingly open and accepting group, and I’m excited to put in place this program that will consist of runners directly contributing to other runner’s potential for growth – or at the least for a very unique experience.
Please check out the Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning Camp website for more information on this program, or if you are interested in contributing to the scholarship fund. You can also contact me through the camp website if you are interested in nominating someone for a scholarship.