As the group of children wandered back to their meeting point at the start of the trail at Lake Catherine, they knew exactly what was waiting for them: freeze pops. A treat for a job well done.
The children are participating in the No Limits Running Camp, which is organized each year by sophomore Max Roberts. In its third year, the camp is hosting 17 children this summer in two, one-week sessions.
Roberts' aim is to "get these kids in tip-top shape."
The Green Oaks resident started the No Limits Running Camp to help runners at Oak Grove School get ready for the cross country season. But the camp, he said, is really for kids who just want to improve their running or even get in shape for any fall sport.
The camp starts out with the children running an easy mile to gauge their starting times.
"I want to see what shape they're in, and see what I need to do," said Roberts.
From there, the participants' training regimen is based on their skill level. Beginners run three to four 100-meter repetitions (or whatever they can handle), while those with more experience run six or seven repetitions each day.
Roberts said anyone can become a runner.
"If they think they can do it, they can," he said. "If they come out here, I can make them a runner."
His mom, Maria, added that having other people around helps.
"Who wants to run alone?" she said.
Roberts said he definitely sees a change in the participants — "personality-wise, not just physically" — during a one-week session. He said a Highland Middle School student joined the camp and was initially quiet. He later opened up and was part of the group.
Physically, Roberts said he has seen participants shorten their mile times.
"These kids are just incredible," said Roberts, noting that some of the children are better runners than he was at their age. "It's almost embarrassing for me."
The camp, which is sponsored by and of Libertyville, costs $35 per child per week. Roberts said people can still sign up for the next session, slated for Aug. 13-16. The camp is held from 10-noon each day at Lake Catherine, located on Route 137 in Green Oaks.
Visit the No Limits Running Camp website for more information.
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