Jimmy McNutt, Recreational Services and Outreach Director, is busy preparing for the return of Camp Echoing Hills. The grounds are being worked, building improvements are underway, and campers and staff are getting signed up. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to make each summer memorable. But, as the saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Lucky for Camp Echoing Hills, Jimmy knows something about that.
Jimmy recently joined 8,000 other runners for The Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. The race started and ended at Paul Brown Stadium and consisted of 26.2 miles of paths weaving through different neighborhoods. These neighborhoods had spectators cheering and supporting the racers. There were signs, snacks, and music everywhere. For Jimmy, one area was particularly memorable.
“In the middle of the race, there was a church with tents, bounce houses, and a praise band playing outside,” recalls Jimmy. “They had moved everyone outside to worship as they cheered on those in the marathon. It was a great experience to see and hear.”
The Flying Pig is not Jimmy’s first marathon. He has also participated in races in Akron, Boston, and Cincinnati. In addition, he has completed several 5Ks, 10Ks, and half-marathons. Averaging around six to eight races a year, Jimmy is always ready to sign up for his next adventure, running 40 miles a week to stay in shape!
Jimmy first began running when he was 12 years old, signing up for cross-country in school. For him, there are many reasons to continue with the sport today.
“Running is beneficial for me in several ways. I wake up early and spend time with Jesus. I then go for a run where I can spend more time with Him,” says Jimmy.
“When I do it in this order, I can focus on His to-do list and not my own. Running also gives me the energy I need to keep up with my family and the demands of leading a camp.”
Jimmy’s wife, Maria, and their five children run as well. They often join him in different races. Maria completed the half-marathon portion of The Flying Pig with Jimmy, and earlier this year, their two sons joined them for the Black Squirrel 5K in Kent, Ohio.
“It’s great to see my family running too. My oldest, Ethan, finished fourth in his age bracket in the Black Squirrel 5K. It has encouraged him to train to get faster.”
What can running as a sport teach us about running a camp? For Jimmy, it teaches grit, persistence, and determination!
“I struggled with the last six miles in this marathon. But, if I focused on small goals, such as getting to the next street sign then to the next light, I was able to finish,” shares Jimmy. “I have used this technique in my previous role as a camp counselor, and I am sure I will do it this year too as Director. Camp involves long days that can be hard and may not go as planned. If we break these days down into small goals, we can get through along with the help of God’s energy.”
This summer will surely be one of our best camping seasons yet! However, with this being Jimmy’s first year as Director, will he run out of energy? Only when pigs fly!