The Battle of the Selden Hills Warriors & the Seven Beasts- featured on longislandpress.com

This story was published on longislandpress.com, written by our own Jamie Franchi after the Run for the Hill of it Race. 

They call themselves the Selden Hills Warriors.

If you ask me, the word “warrior” gets thrown around a little too casually these days. This isn’t Sparta. We don’t wear armor or battle with swords. These are mostly corporate folks, after all, running in their spare time. Athletes, certainly. But warriors? Let’s just say I had my doubts, right up until I pulled into the parking lot that now houses a brand new Aldi’s on Middle Country Road, where runners crowded around a light pole marked with a Selden Hills sticker, their starting point for the most treacherous running course on Long Island.

Behind my sticker-less minivan, athletes decked out in matching red gear stretched their limber bodies, readying themselves to tackle the nefarious “Hills of the Seven Sisters,” the steep mounds that mark the tough terrain of this 10k course, known to these runners as “The Seven Beasts.”

“These are serious runners,” I texted my friend Mike “Chicken” Butitta, a runner whose boundless energy and enthusiasm for every single thing in the world, especially these hills, piqued my curiosity back when my running sneakers were safely in my closet, collecting dust. “I’m not getting out of my car. Let’s go to IHOP instead.”
Chicken has been a Hillbilly (as they call themselves) since October 2013. At first, he ran to take off excess weight and to get in better shape. He runs local races with his wife (and my friend) Kelli, setting achievable goals and then smashing them. But something about the Hills calls to him. Later I found out what.

Alas, that Sunday morning, Chicken didn’t have his phone with him, and would not receive my text until long after I’d finished the 6.2 mile run and was icing my sore knees on my couch at home. That turned out to be a good thing, because as delicious as Nutella pancakes are, had I turned away from the Selden Hills running group that morning, I would have missed out on a life-changing experience with some of the most incredible people living right here on Long Island.

“I love all the inspirational stories that people on the Hills have and I love that so many are just nice,” he texted me later when he had his phone. “Some of the best people I’ve met anywhere. They are so supportive at races or anywhere you run into a fellow Hillbilly.”

Humble Beginnings

Lou LaFleur, director and organizer of the Selden Hills Warriors, doesn’t have a long history of running. In fact, it wasn’t until 1999 when he was 43 years old and saw a sign for the Shelter Island 5k hanging in the post office where he worked as a federal agent that he decided to try it out. It was a tough race, but he was hooked. He currently competes in approximately 50 races per year and serves on the board of directors for the Greater Long Island Running Club (GLIRC).

By 2010, LaFleur was looking to increase his times with varied training: track work, some tempo runs, long runs. He’d read in Runner’s World that running on hills provides a complete training. The only problem? We live on a flat island.

Or do we?

Click here to read the rest at longislandpress.com!

Family Fun Night by Maureen Vollaro

What an AWESOME night! I am overwhelmed with appreciation for all the people that volunteered and attended! Such an amazing group of people you are! Do you know how special you are? Do you know what amazing athletes you are? The energy at this event was unbelievable!

Some of my highlights of the night (getting the idea that I like to make lists?)
1. Lou: order 7 pies
Lou: order 10 pies
Lou: We are going to need 18 pies! And get carvel flying saucers too!
2. People from our group that I don’t know thanking me for organizing the event
3. Multiple people saying to me: “We have a good turnout”
4. People asking me if I am going to do it again next year (the answer is yes)
5. Meeting the family members of the folks that I have been running with this past year
6. Seeing all of the kids participating
7. Getting to chat with the spouses of folks I have been running with this past year
8. Kristin’s uncle asking me if he really was the oldest at the ripe age of 75. Then going on to ask me if he I agreed that he looked good for his age, which I agreed, he did!
9. My son approaching me and saying: “Mom you did a good job, I think it was a big hit!”
10. My daughter approaching me and saying: “Mom this is great”

Selden Hills Amazing Race Recap by Michelle Berg

Selden Hills Amazing Race Recap by Michelle Berg

Each time I think a Selden Hill event can’t top a previous event, I’m wrong. Todays event will certainly be one to talk about in years to come.

When I heard there would be a SHW Amazing Race scenario in our beloved trails, my first thought was “nope.” I’m not outdoorsy, I don’t like dirt and besides Robs Run, I’ve never ran in trails. When I found out I didn’t have to work on the day of the AR, I figured, why not take part? How hard could it be? I should face my fears of being dirty and possibly contracting Lyme disease. Lou and his team of mad people created a route as well as placed team markers throughout the course. The objective, get all your team markers and win win win. 8 teams of fun, fast and fierce folks were assembled.

No surprise Jaime and I were paired. Read more

Ocean to Sound Relay 2015 Recap

So the dust has finally settled on the 30th edition of the Ocean To Sound 50 Mile Relay race!! WHEW!!
This event is really a celebration of the Long Island running community. Once you have participated you never want to miss it again…ever!!!To those of you who ran the event for the first time you know you will be back next year.
We went from one Selden Hills team in 2014 to six this year. I envision twice that number next year after everyone sees all the fun we had (yes there are pics!!) running with friends, making new friends and bonding as teammates, which is a rare occurrence for road racing.
While many Selden Hills Warriors ran the race on their respective racing teams, myself included, I will focus on those 48 of us who represented the group so proudly and ably. I know this event will join the list of races we turn out in great numbers for to display our pride and have a blast doing so. Read more

2015 Inaugural Run for the Hill of It Race Recap

2015 Inaugural Run for the Hill of It Race Recap

2015 Inaugural Run for the Hill of It Race Recap

Where do I begin?

Yesterday’s event was even better that I imagined! The enthusiasm and excitement of all involved was apparent from 6AM right through the finish! A tremendous job by the RaceAwesome team and all the volunteers….many who are SHW’s themselves which made the race even more special.

There were too many terrific individual performances to recount here. Those who were there witnessed every one of them. So what I would like to do to recap this race is provide an overall picture of how our group as a whole did on our home course.

For starters I counted 112 SHW’s competing out of the 233 finishers. That’s 48% of the total. So we were WELL represented for sure!!
Secondly, the top 9 women…that’s NINE! Overall were Selden hillbillies!! Fabulous job ladies!!!
18 of the first 21 women to cross the finish line were Warriors and 21 of the top 32 men did the same.
The stat that jumped out at me the most however were all the age groups that we swept!! Even though awards were not handed out to third place I included third place finishes in the mix because that is what is traditionally done in road racing.
The women had 4 sweeps including the 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, and 55-59. Awesome job ladies!!!
The men had 3 sweeps of the age groups first through third. 35-39, 50-54 and 55-59. The 50-54 age group also went six deep with all of the men breaking the 50 minute mark!! How about that!!?

Finally 23 of the 28 awards handed out for the women were taken by Selden Hills Warriors. 21 of 33 were taken by the men. That’s 44 of the 61 awards overall in the race taken by the red and white!! 72% of the total.

And our two eldest Warriors Joe Lazzaro at age 70 and Helma Clavin at age 72 both took first with Joe doing so with a time of 53:50!!
Excellent job by all who were involved!!

Corey Roberts you should be proud of the job you and your staff did yesterday! And in speaking with you you have some even bigger and better ideas for next years race which is already scheduled for 8/21/16!!

Keep running them hills everyone!!!

Click here to view the Top 10 Male and Female SHW Finishers!

SELDEN HILLS RUN FOR THE HILL OF IT! 10K RECAP

SELDEN HILLS RUN FOR THE HILL OF IT! 10K RECAP

Where do I begin?

Yesterday’s event was even better that I imagined! The enthusiasm and excitement of all involved was apparent from 6AM right through the finish! A tremendous job by the Raceawesome team and all the volunteers….many who are SHW’s themselves which made the race even more special.
There were too many terrific individual performances to recount here. Those who were there witnessed every one of them. So what I would like to do to recap this race is provide an overall picture of how our group as a whole did on our home course.
For starters I counted 112 SHW’s competing out of the 233 finishers. That’s 48% of the total. So we were WELL represented for sure!!
Secondly, the top 9 women…that’s NINE! Overall were Selden hillbillies!! Fabulous job ladies!!!
18 of the first 21 women to cross the finish line were Warriors and 21 of the top 32 men did the same.
The stat that jumped out at me the most however were all the age groups that we swept!! Even though awards were not handed out to third place I included third place finishes in the mix because that is what is traditionally done in road racing.
The women had 4 sweeps including the 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, and 55-59. Awesome job ladies!!!
The men had 3 sweeps of the age groups first through third. 35-39, 50-54 and 55-59. The 50-54 age group also went six deep with all of the men breaking the 50 minute mark!! How about that!!?


Finally 23 of the 28 awards handed out for the women were taken by Selden Hills Warriors. 21 of 33 were taken by the men. That’s 44 of the 61 awards overall in the race taken by the red and white!! 72% of the total.


And our two eldest Warriors Joe Lazzaro at age 70 and Helma Clavin at age 72 both took first with Joe doing so with a time of 53:50!!
Excellent job by all who were involved!!


Corey Roberts you should be proud of the job you and your staff did yesterday! And in speaking with you you have some even bigger and better ideas for next years race which is already scheduled for 8/21/16!!


Keep running them hills everyone!!!

 

East Meets West Recap

Even a drab and rainy morning couldn’t keep us from having a great turnout for the Second Annual East Meets West Bi County Challenge!!

9 or so runners ventured in from across the county line to participate with us on the first leg of the two week event. Some have run the hills in the past and some had not. So we welcome newbies John Clifford and Bill Mazza to hillbilly nation! They were ably accompanied by veteran Selden Hills Warrior David Rockitter and I’m sure he regaled them with some war stories. I believe they said they ran the 10K course in 51 minutes so you know they were working hard!! Also running her first hills run in Selden was Sue Cunningham Fitzpatrick. Hope someone kept you from making a wrong turn Sue. That could be fatal!

Also coming in from Nassau was Linda Ottaviano, Joe Runner and Glenn Morse. Two who really can’t be called “newbies” even though they have not run the course since our group was formed in 2010 were Fred Von der Heydt and none other than Mike Polansky!! President of THE Greater Long Island Running Club!! These two gentlemen ran these hills back in the 1980’s and 1990’s when they trained alongside The Bohemia Track Club and The Middle Country Runners. So welcome back!! Hope Adirondack and Berkshire brought back fond memories (nightmares?) of training runs past.

I would like to acknowledge another runner from years gone by who has run the course with us in the past and has recently become a regular again and that is Helma Clavin. Helma is in her 70’s and is a LI running legend and it’s great to see her determination and grit on full display as she works the course!

We also had the December Warriors of the Month celebration with the honor going to Michael DiBartolo and Debra Miccio-Franchi who worked together all month to do what it took to take away the trophy. Make sure Mike gets a chance to take it out on the town a few times Deb!!

And we finished up by celebrating our January birthday warriors with some sweets compliments of Joanne Sharon Styles , Nancy Moritz LaFleur, Christine Thorp and Chris Mozer.

Hope all of you will be back to enjoy the hills again real soon!