When Liza looked for new places to host Trail Camp this past year, she came across the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp, which offered an experience close to home while also providing great and challenging trails for trail running. She also loved the seclusion of the area in the Texas Hill Country.
“It’s important that we they don’t have internet, that we don’t have cell reception,” she said. “It’s lovely, it already makes it feel like an expedition. …so we take away a lot of things that happen in their normal life, change the context, which allows them to look at things a bit differently. It’s liberating in a lot of ways.”
Additionally, Liza is excited to share Texas with people who don’t realize how beautiful and how challenging it can be for trail running. “If you run here, you can run anywhere,” she says. “Our hills are not big, but as far as technical, we are well setup. That, plus a ‘fairly angry plant environment’, make a community that can pretty much hang with anything!”
The tight-knit community shares tips and tricks and offers veterans and surviving family members an opportunity to connect and be mentored within an activity that they love. Every year at Trail Camp, some of the best ultrarunners in the U.S. explain what works for them and how they pushed through tough times during races.
Running is hard. It takes dedication, discipline, and mentorship. But going through your daily life without a core community is tougher, and Band of Runners has sought to provide that community to veterans and surviving family members through trail running.
“What happens with the energy here,” said one Band of Runners member at Trail Camp, “it’s transferred not just with running but with so much of everyday life. I had a lot of emotions [returning from active duty], and I didn’t know how to process that stuff. But when I became such good friends with a lot of you here, and you all email, call, and text me, and my phone was going off and I thought: ‘You all really care.’ ”