Tucked among the trees in Harrisburg, Oregon is a luxurious cabin-style bed and breakfast sitting on 200 acres of the Willamette National Forest. At Mount Tom House, they refer to the property as “a place to pause for those looking for a peaceful getaway.” Guests spend their time cozy inside with the ideal amenities, on the patio and terraces or within the 120-acre nature conservancy and its hiking trails. It’s the busybody’s escape and the athlete’s oasis. And this is exactly what elite distance runner and ElliptiGO athlete, Craig Leon, and family set out to create in 2019.
Craig’s Professional Running Career
Craig became an early member of the ElliptiGO community while training for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon trials in Eugene. His training group had access to ElliptiGO bikes and Craig immediately enjoyed the benefits of ElliptiGO cross-training.
“It allowed me to continue to get in aerobic workouts during times that I previously would have been off my feet,” Craig said. He began ElliptiGO training as an alternative to double run days and recovery after marathon races.
“As a marathon runner, being able to supplement running miles with an ElliptiGO ride has been a welcomed tool in the training toolbox.”
Craig has achieved several top ten finishes in World Major Marathons and competed in three Olympic Trials. Some of his proudest moments include finishing 8th at the 2015 NYC Marathon and representing Team USA at the 2015 Pan Am Games. His breakthrough race was the historic and tragic 2013 Boston Marathon, where he finished 10th place.
Currently Craig balances running with the rest of life. He is on staff at the University of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center while also managing Mount Tom House with his wife, Juli.
A Bed and Breakfast Inspired by the Runners’ Life
The idea for Mount Tom House was inspired by a 2019 trip to Bandon Dunes, a famous golf getaway resort on the Oregon Coast.
“I thought there should be a similar experience for runners,” Craig said. “And there was no better place to build that than Eugene, Oregon — Tracktown, USA.”
Previous experience prepared both Craig and Juli to run this unique bed and breakfast.
Juli previously worked at a bed and breakfast in Southern France. Craig’s role as a faculty member at University of Oregon introduced him to top hospitality brands over the years.
“By May 2019, we had a business plan put together and started looking for the perfect property for this venture,” Craig said.
With the beautiful Mount Tom House property transformed into a runners’ haven in 2020, they were ready for guests. However, the global pandemic and Oregon fires pushed back their soft opening to 2021.
There are six unique bedrooms, a library, a workout room and a lap pool. The workout room has a treadmill, spin bike, NormaTec boots, dumbbells, a full rack set for weight training, and Craig’s favorite cross-training tool, an ElliptiGO 8C with the Fluid 365 Stationary Trainer. While planning this space, Craig and Juli thought about what would make their offerings unique among other getaways.
“It was important to us that we could provide our guests with the amenities that we miss most when we are traveling,” said Craig.
Finding Strength and Success in Challenges
With goals to host running retreats in 2022, Craig and Juli are grateful for the slow growth that 2021 has produced so far.
“It’s given us the soft launch that we would have never given ourselves and allowed us to really dial in our guest experience,” said Craig. “Covid has forced so many changes to our original plans. I can confidently say that it has made us a better, more well-rounded business.”
Craig and the Mount Tom House team have adapted with the rest of the world this last year. They leaned into changed plans and developed patience and flexibility.
“Being able to change course during setbacks is something that has allowed me to be successful both as a runner and in my professional career,” said Craig. “I think it’s easy to see end results and think that everything leading up to that moment was planned — but that is hardly ever the reality.”
Still finding ways to train, Craig feels he is working toward one more PR in his competitive running career. He looks back on the past decade of his career’s successes with a motivating gratitude.
“I feel so fortunate to have been able to live out a childhood dream,” he said.
Enjoy a Retreat at the Mount Tom House
Craig and Juli’s vision for Mount Tom House as a retreat for athletes and anyone in need of an escape is evidence of the dedication and work-ethic with which they approach all of life.
“I think the values and vision that my wife and I have for Mount Tom House are super aligned with the ElliptiGO community. We can’t wait to give an authentic and elevated experience to anyone visiting Eugene or passing through Oregon,” Craig said.
Thank you, Craig! We can’t wait to visit.
Escape to the woods at Mount Tom House.
Please inform me when you will begin running retreats.