We love us some Runner’s World and when we heard they were hosting a series of races that included the chance to run Heartbreak Hill of Boston Marathon fame – WITHOUT having to cut 1+ hours off our marathon times to qualify for the Boston Marathon – we were IN.
Why run just one race with Runner’s World when you can #RunAllTheRaces?!?!
The inaugural Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon & Festival took place on the campus of Boston College in Newton, MA, June 7 – 8, 2014. Thousands of runners – including kids and dogs – showed up for a weekend of racing, seminars, movies, and more.
We were ALL IN as usual and this entailed running the 5K, getting about a 30 minute break and then running the 10K on Saturday morning and then coming back for more in the form of a half marathon on Sunday morning.
The weekend included the privilege (or horror, depending on how you look at it) of running the infamous Heartbreak Hill and surrounding Newton hills 4 TIMES. Yep, you read that correctly, 4 TIMES. #RunAllTheNewtonHills
Down Heartbreak Hill and Kelley Hill at the beginning of the 10K (Opportunity #1), a 3 mile-ish “break” [NOTE: The course description states that the course flattens after Kelley Hill. We will tell you that FLAT is a relative term…it was “flat” only if you call “flat” not going up a giant hill], followed by slogging back UP Kelley Hill and Heartbreak Hill at Miles 5 – 6 (Opportunity #2). And another chance to get at it during the Half Marathon the next day. Down Heartbreak Hill and Kelley Hill – this time at Mile 3 (Opportunity #3) – before getting a 5 mile-ish “break” and the final opportunity to conquer the hills of Newton at Miles 10 – 13 (Opportunity #4).
We weren’t the only crazy people to come out and take on Heartbreak Hill. We got the chance to see, run with, and meet TONS of our runner friends, which made the weekend (and the hills) worth every sore leg muscle.
So just how bad IS Heartbreak Hill?
On paper it doesn’t seem so bad. It climbs a mere 88 feet over four-tenths of a mile. It only goes up at a grade of 3.3%. What makes it so hard, aside from running it several times over the same weekend, is that it is the first or last of the series of 4 Newton hills (depending on whether you were coming or going on the Runner’s World courses). The thought of hitting this series of hills in the UP direction at Mile 21-ish of the Boston Marathon makes our legs hurt just thinking about it!
Add to the hills of Newton the heat and humidity of a New England summer’s day and we couldn’t resist commenting on how hot and hilly it was to everyone and anyone that would listen – especially our friend Pammy – who joined us on Sunday for the Half Marathon.
In spite of the heat and the hills, we managed to take enough pictures and video for a recap of the entire weekend. Good news is that by the 10K and Half Marathon we were “running” slow enough that everything is in perfect focus 😀
NOTE: Bonus points for doing a burpee every time we mention that it’s hot or hilly or hot and hilly!
Check out the 2014 Participant Guide here.
If you are interested in receiving notification when next year’s event dates are announced, click here.
Have you qualified for Boston and run this storied course only to experience Heartbreak Hill at Mile 21? Do you dream of racing up Heartbreak Hill? Tell us about it!
Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly
P.S. Hey, did we tell you it was hot and hilly?..