As the sun rose over the hills of the 7 sisters in Selden on Sunday morning August 11th, dozens of runners started to gather in the parking lot of the now closed Selden Thrift. They were about to embark on an adventure that would break new ground on our 10K training course. A chat about possibly doing 3 loops of the course consecutively several weeks ago was now becoming a reality!
Several people stepped forward and volunteered to bring water,Gatorade,ice, fruit and other refreshments to help the runners in their quest. An aid station was set up at the halfway point on Rosemont as well as at the start/finish. Many had said they would come to witness the event and support those attempting the “triple” by running a loop or two themselves.
At 7AM the first group headed out led by Todd Rowley, Wil Widman, K.c. Brett and several others. The air temp was in the mid 60’s with no humidity. Perfect running weather!! By 7:30 many other runners started to arrive and begin stretching for the 8AM loop. As they did Wil and Todd came flying through, completing their first 10K in typical speedy fashion! As we cheered them on as they continued their quest about 40 other runners toed the starting line by the light post that is the official start and end point. There were many smiles and hugs as fellow “hillbillys” ,as we affectionately refer to each other, got reacquainted who had not seen each other for a while. I gave the word and we all trotted off to start our journey…some planning on doing one loop others attempting, for them, a first time double! I chatted with Eileen Donlon one my loop and regaled her with stories of how the group started..it’s humble beginnings in 2010 where it was only myself and Maryann Harkins running these beastly hills on our own until the end of the summer when we were joined by K.c. Brett, Jean Nesbitt, Sue Porter and Lance and Michelle Homan, to name a few. And how the hills course was formed many many years ago by runners who wanted to incorporate as many hills in a 10K course as possible. I’d say they did a fantastic job!! Thank you Rich Holman and your contemporaries of the early 1980’s! The hills had become quiet and bereft of runners for the most part until we revived the run. We reworked the notice in the back of Footnotes, a Facebook page was created and the explosion of interest began! We now count almost 300 members staying in touch via Facebook to plan group runs and see where everyone might be racing. There are always testimonials about how doing hill training in Selden has helped them get stronger and faster!!
As I completed my loop and Eileen went on her way to complete her triple I saw the board with all the names and miles they had run thus far. We had an astounding 60 runners out on the course and at the end of the day we would have done the following: run 702.6 miles. With 11 runners completing the triple, which had never been accomplished by anyone in this group and another 26 doing the double. Many doing it for the first time as well.
Before the clock struck 9:30 Wil Widman was seen making the turn off Bluepoint Rd into the parking lot. Less than two tenths of a mile to go and he would be the first to complete the Selden Hills Triple!! We gathered at the finish to cheer him on! Quite an accomplishment! He was followed to the finish by Todd Rowley and 9 others. Mike Irrizarry even ran a few extra miles to make his total 21 miles!
As the clock hit 10AM runners were finishing up their respective challenges and hi fiving each other and there were broad smiles all around! Many ran personal bests on the hills course and others ran further than they ever had over any course!
Pictures were taken…new friends were made….plans for doing a quadruple hills run was discussed for the winter and runners congratulated and supported each other as they all basked in the glory of another run. It’s what we love. It’s part of who we are. It’s an activity that hopefully we can be a part of for many many years to come.
I’ll conclude by extending an invitation to all to come down and experience this training run. Ask anyone who was skeptical that they could accomplish it and they will tell you it was the best decision they made as a runner. Hills make you stronger. Hills let you know that you are alive! The Selden Hills are alive with runners and waiting for you to join us!