The Selden Hills….The Rest of the Story….Part 2
Rich Hollmann said by the mid 1980’s the MCR group began winding down. The Ski Bowl put up fences and began charging admission to get on the grounds. It had run it’s course….so to speak…and only on occasion would several of them meet up to run the course. Eventually it became just a get together at Amici’s to have dinner and a few laughs.
The group training run remained in the back of LI Footnotes for many years with Rich’s name attached as contact person should anyone want more information. He possessed the course map of the last course they used to run and kindly offered to mail me a copy in June 2010. He said no one really ran the course anymore. He wished me luck!! He also told me not to worry about the dogs he identified on the map as problems since they were all long gone. He said dogs were a significant problem on the course back then and runners often carried large sticks with them when they ran to fend them off. One was a pit bull on Adirondack Drive that almost made Rich his dinner!! After a while the pooches got used to seeing the runners on the streets and cut them some slack.
Rich’s running story began in his youth. He was born in 1929 during the Great Depression. He didn’t run formally in school since he had to work and did not try out for any running teams. However he said there was only one boy who was faster than him back then, Melvin Bigelow. Some things you just don’t forget!! Rich served six and a half years in the Air Force and when he returned to civilian life he was 25 years old and not in the best of shape physically. He got involved with running when his brother 5 years his junior asked him if he would help the kids out with their running program at the summer camp where he worked called Sunshine Acres in upstate NY near Ellenville. This was the 1950’s and he has not stopped Running since. Rich has run over 40 Marathons including 14 NY City Marathons, numerous LI Marathons and one Marine Corp. Marathon. He ran the three Montauk Marathons they had back in the 1980’s. His best time was a 4:10 in NYC. He was never able to break the 4 hour mark but not from lack of trying!! His best 5K time was a race he ran in Long Beach which was one of the Summer Series races at the time similar to what LIRRC does on Wednesday evenings at Eisenhower Park today. He ran a 20:15.
The Selden Hills prepared Rich for for many a marathon and he enjoyed regaling me with stories of the old days. His last race was the Ho Ho Ho 5K last December. He walked most of it but ran near the finish when he tried to sprint but just couldn’t get his legs to cooperate! Rich is a wonderful man and I was honored to have had the opportunity to delve into the past with him!!
Before I left him I told him a dream of mine would be to get some of his old MCR group as well as others who ran the course back in the 1980’s and meet at the Selden Hills start to walk/run the course. He thought that would be a nice thing to do. He said I will probably want to run it once I see those hills again. Spoken like a true Selden Hills Warrior!! Let’s see if we can make that happen for him!
PS: he lit up when I gave him his Selden Hills sticker. ;-)))