More Than I Expected

Renee Cardinaals came to Dream Run Camp in February 2024 from The Netherlands and stayed with us for four weeks. Here are her reflections on the experience.

* * *

I had the honor to be the first Dream Runner coming from overseas that Matt hosted at the Dream Run Camp house in Flagstaff. I came over from the Netherlands with the ambition to train in “Flag” for four weeks while I was preparing for my first road marathon (Rotterdam). As a fairly experienced runner, I knew more or less how I wanted my four weeks of training to look like and I was prepared for the effects of altitude. But other than that, I had little expectations of the actual camp, as I had never been to a running camp before.

Expecting to be mainly operating on my own, as I am used to at home, I was pleasantly surprised in my first days when I found out that Dream Run Camp is so much more than just a facility that enables you to live as a pro athlete. Of course, it was a luxury to have a gym, a recovery area, a kitchen and great company from like-minded people in one place. Especially when traveling alone and never having been to Flagstaff, it was super nice to have everything taken care of. But I got more than just four weeks of training: I got a learning experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I learnt so much about myself which will serve not only my development as an athlete but also in daily life. The coach’s office hours every afternoon were the perfect time to put on a pair of Normatec boots and pick Matt’s brains about the topic of the day (democratically selected). And the Thursday’s lives were a great addition to meet experts or pro runners and ask them questions.

During my stay, I experienced a positive and vibrant atmosphere in the house, filled with both in-depth discussions as well as a lot of joking and laughter. It was always nice to see how much effort was put in to make sure everyone could do their planned training, which required a bit of logistical planning at times. During my stay I was able to run a higher volume without developing niggles or aches, which I attribute to the recovery facilities and the chilling out between training. I left Flagstaff well prepared for my training and racing ahead and with a backpack full of memories. Thank you so much Matt, Nataki, Ruby and Lauren for your exceptional hospitality, service and friendship.

Let's dream big together

Have you ever dreamed of being a professional runner, or at least living like one for a period of time? Stop dreaming and come to Dream Run Camp!

Inspired by Matt Fitzgerald’s book Running the Dream, which chronicles his experience as a “fake professional runner” with Flagstaff, Arizona-based HOKA Northern Arizona Elite team, Dream Run Camp is the first and only pro-style training camp that welcomes runners of all abilities.

Pine Tree Giff

High-altitude Training

Take your running to a whole new level by training in the beautiful, high-altitude runners’ paradise of Flagstaff, Arizona

House Giff

Make yourself at home

At Dream House we have a state-of-the-art runners’ retreat equipped with a full gym, a recovery lounge, a spa pool, trail access, and more. Hang out and learn from with world-renowned author and Dream Camp coach-in-residence Matt Fitzgerald.

Running shoe

Custom Training Packages

Work one-on-one with elite strength coaches, dietitians, sports psychologists, injury experts and massage therapists.

Our Partners

Hypo 2
Hypo 2
Strong strides
The Feed
Hoka NAZE Logo
Evolve Flagstaff Logo