Name: Olga Greene
Family: I am the 6th of 9 siblings. I have 4 children, Yuly is the oldest at 31, Ivan is 26, Sebastian 20 and Artie is 12. I have one grandson Miguel who is 11.
Employer: Smithtown School District
I was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia but raised in Bogota. I played basketball when I was little but I was not really into sports. Once when I was young My parents took me to Monserrate – A beautiful mountain that dominates the capital city of Bogota. The mountain is part of the Andes Mountain chain and rises 10,341 feet above sea level. I walked up that mountain the first time when I was 9 years old! I must have walked up and down that mountain over 40 times over the years. I loved the view from the top and there is a Church there where many people come to pray. I began to jog up the mountain as a teenager for exercise. Some professional runners can run up Monserrat in 18 minutes! I used to do it just for fun and never timed myself. For me running was not a big part of my life when I was younger.
I came to the U.S. in May 2001. I used to like to go jogging but got bored of running around the same two streets over and over. One day I ventured out into the unfamiliar neighborhood and started running – it felt good to just keep going. About an hour later as it was getting dark I realized that I had no idea where I was! I was completely lost in the neighborhood and could not figure out which way was home. I did not have a cell phone with me at that time and did what any girl would do – I found a nice old man watering his flowers and asked him where I was. He asked me where I lived but I was nervous giving a stranger my address or getting in the car with him – so he let me call home! As it turns out I was only 10 blocks away. After that I came up with a route that was about 6 miles and used to run it whenever I had the chance. During bad weather I ran on my treadmill at top speed for about an hour (7.4 miles) everyday. It was so boring but I was driven to run.
I met K.C. and Mary Brett at a holiday party in 2011. We got to talking about running and I was impressed that KC had just finished a marathon. I had never run a race or with other people before. He mentioned that he ran with a small group of people in Selden and invited me to check it out one day. I told him about my 6 mile route and he offered to run it with me before taking me to the “hills”… I think it was like a test of sorts! I was amazed the that he could run and talk at the same time! I never tried to talk while running before because I always ran alone! I discovered that running with others was more enjoyable. He told me about the 10K Selden hills course and I was curious but apprehensive. I ran the hills for the first time in January 2012 with K.C., Rick, Lou, April, Nancy Russo, Heather Ackerly, Dean Neumann, Annmarie, and Lance among others. I kept up with the group but began to have a hard time breathing on the inclines about half way through the course. Over the previous few weeks I was feeling fatigued and I knew that something was wrong. As it turns out I was severely anemic and was not getting enough oxygen! I went to see my doctor because of my first experience on the hills and I had to stop running altogether until I was better. I have had several bouts of anemia since then but have it under control for now.
Because of the awesome people of The Selden Hills Warriors, I entered my first race ever – The Sarcoidosis Awareness 5K in Centereach 2012. I placed first in my age group, 12th overall with a time of 21:10.3. The funny thing was at the finish line I slowed down because I didn’t know I was supposed to run through the timer at the end and Rick Secor ran right past me yelling ”Don’t do that!” and “run all the way through!!!” I had put my hands up in the air and slowed to a jog!!! I was so embarrassed but I learned from that experience.
I was hooked from that moment on. Fast forward to 9/2015… I ran my first marathon, finishing in 3 hours 46 minutes and placing first in my age group! All because of a guy named K. C. and a group of Hillbillies that accepted me as a member back on that warm January day! I am so grateful to be a member of the Selden Hills Warriors! I found out that I was born to run and that running is my passion. Thank you!!!!!
Saturday Spotlight- Olga Greene
Name: Olga Greene