MHS runner attends running, media workshop


Adjusting his camera for the perfect shot, senior Max Bowyer gazes at the world through a lens. About three years ago, Bowyer started a YouTube channel and since then has participated in a number of video production opportunities to further his skills. Courtesy Photo

Amelia Knopp, Page Editor

Max Bowyer flew down Oregon’s gravel roads in a van full of elite collegiate and high school runners. Running media icon Ben Crawford sat behind the wheel. With his Canon M50 camera in hand, Bowyer leaned out the back of the vehicle to catch footage of more high school runners running down River Road. Miles later, it was Bowyer’s turn to step in front of the camera. He prepared to hop out of the vehicle and put his bouncy new running shoes to use. As he began to stride out on River Road, the sun was beating down and temperatures were reaching highs of 114 degrees Fahrenheit in Eugene, Oregon. The weather was surprisingly more unbearable than Kansas heat, but Bowyer didn’t really mind. The sweat was worth it for a summer experience to remember in his new home away from home. 

Bowyer, a Manhattan High senior, attended the New Generation Running Workshop in late June to early July 2021. The camp welcomed high school-aged students looking to explore athletic and media-related pursuits related to the sport of running. Bowyer, a cross country and track runner for MHS, attended the camp to improve his digital media skills for his own Youtube channel, which he started as a seventh grader. 

In July of 2020, Bowyer posted a “Day in the Life of High School Cross Country Runner” video on his channel. Immediately, the video picked up thousands of views. That’s when Bowyer knew his channel could become something bigger. 

“[The channel] is centered around my running friends, mostly,” Bowyer said. “It’s still my life, but I try to focus more on who is in my life. I think I want to be in front of the camera more, but right now it’s just kind of my friends.”

Around the same time, Ben Crawford, then a rising senior at the University of Oregon, started posting videos of elite college distance runners. To further his mission of highlighting the sport of running (specifically track and field), Crawford later started the New Generation Track and Field magazine. 

Bowyer, while building his own YouTube platform, took an interest in Crawford’s videos and started communicating with him through social media. Eventually, Crawford reached out to Bowyer with ideas for the camp, and personally invited him to attend. 

“[The application] involved telling the counselors about yourself, and then you have your portfolio, which in my case, was my YouTube channel,” Bowyer said. “So I picked two videos that represented my goals or the message of my videos and what I was producing at the time.” 

According to Bowyer, his acceptance to the camp was exciting, but what came next was even more amazing. 

The eight girls and ten boys paid for their flights to Oregon, but the camp covered all other expenses — including food and housing. Additionally, the camp was sponsored by performance shoe and sportswear company On Running, so Bowyer received free running shoes and clothing during the trip. 

Bowyer flew out to Seattle alone, but connected with another camper before flying to Eugene. The adventure began immediately when he landed. 

“When I landed, Ben Crawford and Joe Hale, who is a photographer, picked me up in the van that they had rented, and we went to Ben’s house,” Bowyer said. “I was able to meet ten All-Americans that were just hanging out…then after that, we walked to Hayward Field.” 

At the historic Hayward Field, Bowyer and the campers were allowed the opportunity to photograph and film track and field athletes, such as Athing Mu, Noah Lyles, and Sydney McLaughlin, at the Olympic Trials. 

What sets [the camp] on another level than any other running camp in the world, probably, is that we got to see the Olympic Trials,” Bowyer said. “And we got to interact with the college and professional athletes at a closer level than probably anyone else.”

For the rest of the week, a typical day consisted of breakfast, a morning run, a trip to the beach or mountains, games and presentations. 

“Sometimes before we ran we would have a speaker, like someone from the track world that was pretty notable, and they would talk about media,” Bowyer said. 

Bowyer thinks that these sessions and opportunities throughout the camp helped him improve his media skills. 

“I think having people at the camp who were comfortable in front of a camera and comfortable with the spotlight helped me to learn how to work with people like that,” Bowyer said. “And I just think [my video skills] improved because I was able to communicate better and talk with the people I was filming, and figure out what they were trying to portray in the videos.”

According to Bowyer, creating the story of a video is an art. 

“[Videos] are not fake, but you still kind of have your characters, so it’s like setting up a better story and having more fluid videos,” Bowyer said. 

Bowyer said that he left camp with a new appreciation for media and valuable friendships. 

“This camp meant to me that I had another home, like a home away from home,” Bowyer said. “All the campers who I met, we are all very similar…it’s just kind of proof that the running community is kind of small, but in a way that also is really interconnected.”