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Explorer Spotlight: Ultra Runner Camille Herron Will Inspire You to Go After Your Dreams

 

Let us introduce you to Camille Herron, a women who has no bounds. At 40 years old, she has settled into her second career as an ultra runner and fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning a campervan. Growing up in a large family with a mom who loaded up the kids and made van travel a reality, Camille is no stranger to the joys the open road can bring. We caught up with the ever inspiring athlete to discuss everything from how she went from working in bone research to becoming a pro runner, the benefits of having a van while traveling for races, RVing with her husband and beloved pup, and so much more.

Check out the full interview below and be ready to want to meet Camille in person – her energy is palpable and ambitions are like wildfire. After being insanely inspired by Camille’s story, we want to make all of our own personal goals a reality.

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All Photography by: Camille Herron

La Mesa RV: Tell us about yourself and your husband! When did you start RVing? What type of RV do you have? Where are you currently?
Camille Herron: I’m a professional ultra/trail runner, and my husband Conor helps manage my career and our coaching business. We have a German shepherd named Winny who loves to travel with us. I’m originally from Oklahoma, and we’ve been in living in Colorado and then Arizona the past three years. We’re moving back to Oklahoma City next week! Before my pro running career, I worked in bone research, and my husband was a college cross country/track coach.

I’ve always wanted a camper van! Our Mom had an awesome van (and 4 kids!), and we had so much fun road tripping as children. We wanted to be able to travel everywhere with our dog and explore in the mountains for training stints.

We bought a Ford Transit AWD ModVan (low roof with a pop-top) in fall 2020. We had some memorable trips with this van, including a six week trip between Colorado, California, and Arizona. We did several upgrades, including off-road tires, solar panels, TV, outdoor shower, cell booster, and a safe. Then we did several more trips for races and training stints.

We realized over time we needed something more spacious and with more conveniences and storage. Last fall at La Mesa RV in Phoenix we bought the Thor Tranquility 19P built on the 2022 Mercedes Sprinter 144 inch wheelbase with a high roof and 4×4. This van is a dream and a beast!!! So far we’ve used it for road trips to two ultra races. I would say our favorite feature is the indoor shower and bathroom– it’s sooo nice to be able to take a hot shower right after a race! We love the bed too and the large refrigerator.

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LMRV: Are you RVing full-time or part-time? What did you do before you started RVing?
CH: We RV part-time. Our longest trip was six weeks. Most of our trips have been a few days and up to two weeks. I like the freedom of being able to travel and train/race anywhere, be comfortable, and bring our dog with us- she loves it!

As mentioned, I used to work in bone research and had a 9-5pm day job. I discovered my talent for ultrarunning in my mid-30s, and it totally changed my life! I was in a rollover car accident back in 2019 while driving to my research job in Oklahoma City. I felt so lucky to survive the accident! That felt like the sign from above to fully commit to my career in ultrarunning and get a camper van to fulfill my dream!

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LMRV: You’re an ultrarunner – tell us how you got into the sport and why you love it.
CH: I was a marathoner for 10 years, qualified for 3 Olympic Marathon Trials, and made the US Pan American Team. I also went to grad school to study bone and exercise and then worked off and on in bone research. I was about to retire from competitive running in 2014 to fully focus on my research job. Then I thought I would give the ultras a shot in 2015- a star was born! I instantly had a lot of success, including two World titles and a World Best for 50 miles in my first year of ultrarunning.

I think what I love about ultrarunning is I feel like there’s no limits on what I can do and the goals I set– I keep going longer, faster, and have the versatility to run on any surface or terrain. There’s always a new race and challenge to focus on! It’s really exciting too because women can beat the men in ultras, and we age like fine wine. I just turned 40, and the next 10-20 years are probably going to be the best years of my career! We bought our van knowing it would be part of my career and journey and open up the world for more exploration.