Working vacation

Courtesy image, Active At Altitude

Destination fitness for all, thanks to Active At Altitude |

Terry Chiplin puts a unique twist on the concept of getting away from it all.

His approach? Add running to the mix.

“Travel can reconnect us with the best parts of life — beautiful surroundings, new experiences, peaceful leisure,” Mr. Chiplin says. “Putting running on the itinerary can make these connections even deeper, reminding us of the joy fitness brings to life.”

An internationally recognized running coach and runner himself, Mr. Chiplin is expanding the concept of fitness travel through his company Active At Altitude. Based in Estes Park, the company offers a mix of group running camps, custom fitness excursions, and destination race training.

Mr. Chiplin and his wife Jacqui left England in 2006 to establish the dream that is Active at Altitude today. Their idea was to make the physical benefits of altitude training more accessible to everyone – elites and novice runners included.

That original idea has evolved to harness psychological benefits as well, especially in the company’s mainstay running camps.

“It takes about three weeks of high altitude running to see significant physical improvements,” Mr. Chiplin explains. “By adding mindfulness training and visualization exercises to our one-week and 10-day running camps, our runners have achieved significant increases in speed and endurance.”

“Much more than this,” he says, “the experience reconnects runners with the joy and inspiration that drew them to running in the first place.”

That may be because of Mr. Chiplin himself, but he probably wouldn’t admit it. Simultaneously soft spoken, effusively optimistic and humble, he is uniquely talented at inspiring people for positive self evaluation.

“As adults, we develop a picture of what we believe to be true – things like ‘I am slow,’ or ‘I could never run an eight-minute mile,” he says. “We help people undo those myths.

Through the company’s offshoot,, Mr. Chiplin creates custom fitness excursions for traveling athletes – novice, elites and families. For example, this week Mr. Chiplin is hosting a recreational athlete from California as she trains for the Big Sur Marathon later this month. He serves as coach and guide, providing accommodations, guidance on where to run, and local resources. He provided similar services to two elite Venezuelan athletes last month, as they undertook a two-week training and adventure trip.

In addition, Active At Altitude was recently chosen as official training partner for Vacation Races, a half-marathon series held in national parks (Zion, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains and Lake Powell). For these runs, Active At Altitude provides on-line leveled training programs, as well as innovative pre-race mental training. If you’re planning to run any of them, check it out here.

Whatever the offering, Active At Altitude keeps the transformative power of travel + fitness at the forefront.

“People come to a beautiful atmosphere and undertake a process they can trust, and they leave a different person,” Mr. Chiplin explains “It’s hard for them not to fall back in love with running.”

Women’s Camps. Active At Altitude hosts its popular women’s running camps throughout the spring, summer and fall. The 10-day spring camp, which culminates with the running of the Bolder Boulder, is already sold out. Ten-day intensive camps in June (for more experienced runners) and seven-day camps in July and September for 10-12 minute milers have some open spots. Go here for more information.

Trail Running Camps. Being in Estes Park, trail running is naturally in the company’s wheelhouse. Active at Altitude offers camps for men and women either as an introduction to trail running, or an opportunity to reconnect for an established trail runner.  More on these camps here.


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