by Ben Kimball
Hills. We all know how hard they can be on a run. From the brutes like Crittenden Hill in the middle of the Bridge of Flowers race to the slightest rise near the end of a marathon, they taunt us and challenge us. Some runners never make peace with them, forever cursing their cardio-busting existence. Others see that glass as a bit more half full. Hills do hurt us, in the moment, but they also make us better. As many have noted, hills are really just speedwork in disguise. And some runners regard hills as end goals in their own right.
Uphill mountain racing has seen a surge of interest lately. Don’t believe me? Check out the bounty of articles from national publications on the Loon Mountain Race website. Or note that in our own neck of the woods, attendance at the Mt. Greylock Road Race (8 miles of climbing, period) has skyrocketed in recent years (46 racers in 2013; 255 racers in 2018).
Runners seeking serial masochism can complete various regional uphill series circuits. Or they can just test the waters with local classics like SMAC’s own Summit Run 5K on Mt. Holyoke. And some just embrace the burn as part of their training at places like Cave Hill, Bray Road, B-17, Fox Hill, Sugarloaf Mtn., and more.
Originally published in the Sugarloaf Sun November/December 2018 issue
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