From the beach to the bridge, Destin youth are getting a chance to train at different venues during the Summer Running Camp.
For the past four weeks, Destin Middle School youth have put in four mornings a week running between two and three miles each outing. Next week will wrap up their five-week camp.
“We’re trying to get a cardiovascular base moving into our cross country season. So once we get into our season we can try to refine what we’ve worked on over the summer and get the kids faster to compete in the county,” said Destin Coach Demetris Stevens.
On Thursday the youth were running the Marler Bridge as charter boats were venturing out for a day of fishing and pontoon boats were already making their way toward Crab Island.
“This is about the only place you can get hill work in Destin is to run across the Marler Bridge,” Stevens said.
But he doesn’t make the kids run alone; he makes the trek with them as well in the 90 degree weather.
The bridge is their last venue.
The week starts off with a run from the Crab Trap to Pompano Joe’s along Scenic 98 overlooking the beach.
Tuesday the youth travel to Niceville and run at Northwest Florida State College and then finish up the morning with a float down Turkey Creek.
Wednesday they meet at Destin Middle School and run around Regatta Bay and then finish up their week on Thursday with a run across the bridge and walk back to Clement Taylor Park on Calhoun Avenue.
“More diversity in your runs keeps it interesting,” Stevens said. “The kids don’t like seeing the same thing every day. And they know there are different activities we do at different places.”
Topping the list of favorite venues is the trip to Northwest Florida State College, but not necessarily for the trek, but the float.
“I like running Tuesday because we go to Turkey Creek and float down afterwards,” said Andrew Atkins.
“I like today, because of the ups and down and the nice view,” added Braxton Beard after he finished his run across the bridge.
“Crab Trap is probably the worst,” Connor Rising said.
“There’s not a lot of shade at the Crab Trap … the sun is just beating down,” Atkins added. “But when we got to Destin Middle and run through Regatta there’s a lot of shade.”
As for MJ Toth, she likes the Monday run at Crab Trap.
“I beat all the boys because they are all tired,” Toth said.