We are excited to introduce our 2024 Camp & Run mentors, Zoë Rom and Emily Olson. 

Zoë Rom is an award-winning journalist and runner based in the Roaring Fork Valley. A Southern storyteller turned mountain dweller, she starts every day with a cup of strong coffee and a good story. Her work has appeared on NPR, Outside, and High Country News. She is co-author of the book Becoming a Sustainable Runner with Tina Muir and a coach at Microcosm Coaching. She is the host and producer of the Trailhead Podcast at UltraSignup. 

With a background in health equity and food justice, Emily Olson has worked with communities across the country to create their own healthier futures. Emily is the Executive Director of Cloud City Conservation Center in Leadville, CO and serves on the Parkville Water Board, the Fresh Food Connect Board and the Kitchen Committee for St George Community Meals. When she is not working to support her community Emily can be found running or skiing in the mountains surrounding Leadville.

We asked Zoë and Emily a few questions about Camp & Run, but also about who is inspiring them today. See below for their answers.

What are you personally looking forward to about this year’s Camp & Run? 

Emily Olson: Most of our locals know this already but the best trails in Leadville are actually not a part of any major/well known races or to the tops of our highest peaks. I am so excited to share some of these trails with the RPL community.

Zoë Rom: I’m excited to run on the Colorado Trail at the base of the Collegiate Peaks! The Collegiates have a special place in my heart because of their prominence, and incredible trail running. Leadville is such a special town with a rich history of what it can look like to transition away from a mineral extraction-based economy towards a recreation-based economy. It’s a community that values access, and the community that can be built around pursuing an adventurous life, and that’s an energy that I’m always eager to tap into.


What do you like about camp & runs, or these types of experiences for trail runners? 

Zoe: This is like summer camp for adults! I love that we get to spend prolonged time together, breaking trail and breaking bread. I think in a world where our experience is increasingly fractured, it’s so important to share meals, conversation, and be in community, both with each other, and with our environment. Being fully submerged in an ecosystem — sleeping outside under the stars, cooking outside — helps establish a different pace, and lets us really take a step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and connect in a deeper way.

Emily: Leadville is so much more than the races and high peaks we are known for. I am so excited to share some of the other places and people that make our community so amazing with this group. 


What’s a trail running mantra you’re thinking about these days, or excited to share with our campers?

Emily: So much about the running narrative around Leadville is about extremes — run as far as you can, conquer our high peaks. These days I am so much more excited about slowing down, taking in the scenery and not totally exhausting myself while running or skiing. I’m trying to take better care of myself so that I can show up better to take care of my community and our planet. I hope campers are just as excited to learn about our community and help care for it as they are for some beautiful trails during this event. 

Zoe: Running is an opportunity for connection! You can connect with your fellow athletes, or connect with the landscape around you. Running is a slower way of experiencing the world, and it allows you to feel and experience things that often, we’re moving too fast to think or feel. Running might often fee like a solitary venture, but its a rich opportunity to connect with yourself, with other runners, and the world around you.


Who’s inspiring you right now in the trail running world?

Emily: Can I say Zoe? Even though we’ve known each other for almost a decade (how has it been that long) her honest writing about issues that matter at the intersection of the outdoors and real world problems continues to inspire me. And her ability to keep me laughing: life is freaking hard and there are so many hard things going on in our communities and around the world. Comedic relief about something other than celebrities is necessary these days. 

Zoe: My good friend and co-author Tina Muir really inspires me! She has dedicated her career to environmental causes as well as working for equity and inclusion. She is a fierce advocate for the environment, and always finds a way to bring more people into the conversation. She makes hard work feel joyful and connective, and has a special way of making you believe that YOU are an essential part of the solution.