Michael T. Smith

Assistant Camp Director

Hometown: Custer MT, Kalispell MT,
Walla Walla WA, Yakima WA, Casper WY,
Medford OR, Central Point OR, Ashland OR,
Salem OR

Wide Hollow Elementary Yakima, WA 1954-55
Poison Spider Elementary Casper, WY 1955
Willard Elementary Casper, WY 1955-59
Jefferson Elementary Medford, OR 1960
Central Point Junior High School Central Point, OR 1960-62
Crater High School Central Point, OR 1962-66
Southern Oregon College Ashland, OR 1966-1971
B.A. in English Secondary Education w/ General Honors – Student Body President 1970-71
Southern Oregon State College Ashland, OR 1976
M.A. in English Secondary Education

Number of Summers at Steens Mountain Running Camp: 28

Career/Professional/Coaching Highlights/Achievements:
Head Cross Country Coach at North Salem High School for 25 years 1984-2000, volunteer Assistant Coach 2003, Co-Head Coach 2004-2009, Assistant Coach 2010.
4-time Valley League Cross Country Coach of the Year
Assistant Track & Field Coach at North Salem for 19 years, Interim Head Coach in 1999
Valley League Assistant Coach of the Year, 2001
1997 Girl’s Track & Field team won State Championship
Assistant Track & Field Coach at Cascade H.S. in Turner, OR 2002-2011

North Salem High School Aug. 1971-June 2001. English Teacher.
Beginning salary:$7050/year. Beginning hgt/wt: 5 ft. 7in, 130 lbs.
Writing Dept. Chair 1977-78.
Staff Senate President, 1982-1984.
May, 1997 Named Salem-Keizer Outstanding Educator
June,1997 Successfully passed my first Criminal Background Check, saving School District potentially embarrassing publicity. Parents Proud.
1998, Nominee for Oregon Teacher of the Year. I lose. A staff member at Oregon Department of Education is given task of writing me a letter of condolence.

Athletic Highlights/Achievements:
In October of 1974, I ran my first marathon, the Nike Marathon in Eugene, off of perhaps three thirty-mile weeks of training. I was 58th of 85 finishers. I believe, finishing in 3:58 something. During those four hours, I learned perhaps half (and by far the most important half) of everything I know about distance runing, and here it is: There is no substitute for thorough preparation. I’ve had a couple more refresher courses.

Central Point Jr. High School Record, bar hang, P.E. 1962, in excess of five minutes from small iron bar, while class crowded around telling jokes.

Crater High School P.E. pushup record, 85, 1965. 29 overhand pull-ups, the day after
getting my right arm out of a cast.

Personal Records:
220 yds – 27.8 Willamette University, All-Comers, 1977.
440 yds. – 61.4  North SalemTrack, time trial, 1976.
880 yds. – 2:17.9, 1977 Willamete University All-Comers. Track later turned out to be a meter or two long.
Mile – 4:59.9, July, 1977  Willamette University All-Comers. Worth about a 4:35 for 1500m.
Two mile -10:38 Minto-Brown Island, fall 1977. Worth about 9:52  for 3000m.
2.5 miles – 13:20, 1977, 13:10,1978 Monmouth-Independence 4th of July
5000m – roughly 17:03 equivalent, Bush Park, Sept. 1977, beating Jess Eblen, and
11-year-old Matt McGuirk. Course shortened by construction area.
5 miles – 28:14 Minto-Brown Island, Fall 1979. I won.
6 miles – 34:19, 1980, on I-5, between mileposts 250-256, Olympic “Torch” Relay.
10 km – 35:42, Oregon Fair Share Run , Chemeketa Community College, Last day of Spring Break, 1980. I had run 120 miles in the seven days previous.
15 km – 55:04, Zena Road Run, 1981. Official results had 54:22, but that’s inaccurate. 55:04 by my watch. Cascade Run-off was twice about 55:55, as was Oregon Lung Run.
One Hour –  ten miles, Willamette University, YMCA Jog-a-thon, September, 1979.
Half-Marathon – Governor’s Cup, 1977. 1:17:56  Course may have been short. I more typically ran 1:21 at this time of year (early January). I have, however, twice hit halfway turn-around in marathons in 1:20 something, once in a calculated “die-from-the-front” experiment, the other attributable to a tailwind.
30 km – roughly 1:56, 1980 Oregon Ultra. First half of six-lap 60km in/around Avery Park in Corvallis.
20 miles – 2:05:00 en route to eventual 2:47:19 at 1982 Tacoma Marathon, Oct. 3, 1982.
Marathon – 2:46:39 (three seconds faster than Lance Armstrong) Portland, Marathon, Novemver 1979. I finished in 36th place, and the folowing year, sucessfully defended that place, with a 2:47:03, an athletic  feat that  has often been exceeded, I’m sure,but, I would wager, has never been equalled.
100 km – 10 hrs. 42 min. odd seconds, 24-hour run, Chemeketa Community College Track, mid-October, 1980. I dropped out with a swollen ankle at twelve hours and 70 miles, and crawled into my tent. Not cut out for the long stuff, I guess.

Why Michael T. continues to return to Steens Mountain Running Camp each summer:
I came the first time because of my love of running and of wilderness, and because the
photo on the brochure, featuring campers huddled on the rim above Wild Horse Lake was eerily reminiscent of a mountain lake we once hiked to in Wyoming near the Fire Hole River, when I was a child.

I keep coming back as sort of a family reunion. If family at some age consists not only of your littermates, but of people you have chosen to love because they are kindred spirits, I return to Steens to find those adults, who, like my siblings, necessity and livelihood has required to live far away, often because they do the same job I do. They have my values,love the things I love, and have earned my love and respect. Sharing campfires with them restoreth my soul, to quote the poet.

Herb Elliott once explained the magic of Portsea by saying “Good places and good people put strength into you.” The camp also allows me to interact with a never-ending stream of my  two favorite kinds of people, optimistic, motivated young people, and distance runners. Coincidentally, they are universally attractive, funny, and generous with their hearts.

Did I mention the superb food, the great teammates, and the never-diminishing thrill of the aroma of wet sage, sleeping outdoors, and peeing beneath the stars? (ah, that’s the life for me.)

It adds richness and meaning to my  life to be part of a great educational and spiritual institution.