FINISHER ALEX GROSS' PERSPECTIVE

On August 8th the crew came back together to conquer the Hell on The Hill for the 2nd time. 

It may look like a regular hill…but it’s not. It’s pissed off. It’s relentless. It’s slippery. And..it’s fucking steep. 66 yards with a 32% incline. That’s running on a treadmill at 2x its steepest setting. 

Going up 1 time hurts, doing 100 - well, some have said that was the hardest thing they have ever done. EVER. That hill is NO JOKE. And It’s for the elite. 

Me and 40 other crazies (most either: pro athletes, pro athlete trainers, UFC fighting champs, 100 mile men, ultra marathoners, fitness kings or this years winner - a man dubbed “the fittest man on earth"…) had 4 hours to complete this insanity and race our hearts out for a cause we each personally believed in. With 100 trips up...100 trips down… my time was 3:12. We climbed about 4800 feet and proudly raised money for the charity of our choice. 

We compete together…and complete together. 

‪#‎RespectTheHill‬

AMAZING PEOPLE

HOTH2 Group Shot

It was 82 degrees in the shade. The hill was green...and mean. There were 43 participants representing 40 different charities. Each with a unique cause and story. We all had individual missions but we all supported each other as a group. We competed together...and we completed together. 

Year two of Hell On The Hill proved to be another huge success. The physical and mental toughness on that hill should serve as an inspiration to all who watched it and a life memory for all who ran it.  Many have written and said that was the HARDEST thing they have ever done. Ever. That hill is NO JOKE. 

I'm sure many had to dig deep into their reserve tank to finish the race. 100 times up and down that hill in the heat, on slick grass and on tired legs is NOT easy. But, we all came for a challenge and we all got challenged. Nobody left anything on the sidelines!

Congrats to David and Meghan on super human work. I have never seen anyone run so fast downhill in my life! Also, to Cisco and Kevin on amazing efforts on the leaderboard. But, congrats to everyone who pushed themselves to another gear they may not have known they had a few months earlier. Just signing up to spend a summer Saturday on The Hill is noteworthy!

What made this day so special was the PEOPLE. The volunteers, the supporters, family and the runners. Everyone supporting and cheering each other on despite their own physical challenges and struggles on the hill. You could feel the camaraderie. You could feel the human emotion and connection. 

In the upcoming days we will have more photos and videos! Please check in at the website and on Instagram (@hellonthehill). 

Lastly, thanks to "Kish" for stepping out of her comfort zone and doing both the heavy lifting as well as all the little things to make this event what it was. Thank you. 

Congrats to all!

#RespectTheHill

HELL ON THE HILL RECAP

HOTH Group Photo

The hill in my backyard has always been a pain in the ass to walk up (and down). If you forget a towel at the bottom of the hill and have to go get it…it sucks. I don’t care who you are, when you get to the top of the hill you are out of breath…from 1 single hill. Fact. Years ago, when I was training for the Maccabiah Games, I started to run the hill as part of my training. 10 hills= a good session. Then, I gradually started challenging myself to 20…30…50. That is when the idea of doing a 100 hill challenge came to mind. Originally, it was just going to be 5 friends. But they told a friend…and they told a friend..and before you knew it we were sold out at 20+ runners.

We knew 100 hills was doable, but we also knew it would be hard…for anyone and everyone. The boredom, the fatigue, the unpredictability of the hill, the potential summer heat…lots of factors would make this “Hell”. Plus, there was no real way to train for the event. Quite honestly, there are no hills like this hill. It’s slippery, the grass is out of whack, it’s steep, and it’s long. In total, the runners would be doing 7.37 miles of running, cover 4807 feet of climbing and deal with 4816 feet of descent…that is HARD on your legs. Oh, not to mention the pain that the steep descent can cause on your toes and the pain the uphill can inflict on your calves. Proper footwear would be critical.

The night before the race, most of the runners showed up at my house for a “pre-race” dinner. Chef Leo whipped up some pizza, salad, pasta, smoothies, cookies and other goodies. As the runners got to know each other, some of the runners walked the hill and went over their strategy. Others, just stared and questioned the sanity of this. 1-2 runners did shots! :)

The next morning everyone arrived for “registration” around 7:30. All the runners had there own “chair” at a designated “runner sitting area" and the “stage area” was loaded with bananas, water, Health Warrior Chia Bars and Chloe’s Soft Serve Pops. Prior to the race, Chief Orlando gave the “Story of The Hill” and all the runners stood up one by one and talked about the charity they were supporting by doing this event.

At 9am…the horn blew and the race started.

The grass was wet from the storm during the night and the turn at the bottom of the hill quickly got tricky. By hill 5 everyone realized this was NOT going to be easy and you had to really go slowly down the hill or you would end up on your BUTT. However, people adapted. Some ran backwards down the hill to save their quads. Others walked up the hill and ran as fast as they could down the hill. The various techniques were fascinating. For most..it was trial by error. Cisco, the winner of the event maintained a constant up and down speed that NEVER waivered. With no breaks and no let up, he finished in an event record setting time of 1 hour and 52 minutes. Trust me, this is INSANE.

As the DJ played everything from Rocky…to…Eminem, one by one the runners finished. Some battled dehydration, some needed IVs, some literally crawled….but they did it. And for that personal triumph, every finisher got a piece of grass from the hill in a jar. Better than a trophy!

Post race, we hung around for some boating…some swimming…some hot tub…some waffles…a ton of Chloe’s Popsicles…and an open bar!

All in all, we raised approximately $70,000 for charity. We made new friends. And, we all felt an enormous sense of accomplishment that hopefully will carry over for a long time. A unique bond was formed by all those that did the run. That’s what happens when you are “all in it together”. Everyone cheered each other on with encouragement, advice, and positive vibes. New friends were made and old friendships rekindled!

It was a great day.

Check out the photos: https://hellonthehill.shutterfly.com