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