By Aleta Wiley, FHR member since November 2012
2014 was a great year for Forest Hills Runners. We saw participation in our weekly runs balloon as we posted flyers and passed out business cards to spread the word throughout our neighborhood about community running. We cheered on dozens of our members who ran marathons in Hyannis, Boston, Burlington, and Philadelphia. We fielded teams for several local races, and became an official team with USATF. We saw the formation of FHR Triathlon, where more than a dozen of us encouraged and supported each other through a summer of open water swim practices, bike rides, and transition advice. And we’ve helped each other heal injuries and paced our friends to PRs.
As runners, many of us tend to focus on racing: improving our time through speed work and increasing our distance through steady training plans. We set our goals in January to be faster, stronger, and more consistent runners through the coming year. These goals are fantastic, and being a part of FHR means having access to support and encouragement to help keep the process fun and enjoyable.
But Forest Hills Runners is about much more than running negative splits and adding miles to our long runs; we’re also invested in being a part of our local community, beyond running. And in 2014, we had ample opportunity to let go of our training plans and go on some adventures!
For starters, there were several very popular destination fun runs. These provided a chance to run with each other from Jamaica Plain to a fun, new location in our city, without concern for how fast or slow we ran. We started the year with a 4-mile New Year’s Day brunch run to the Friendly Toast in Cambridge. It was a cold day – even for January 1 in Boston - but we bundled up and ran towards pancakes.
There were also two destination runs to the Harpoon Brewery in South Boston, one in the midst of summer and another to close out the year in December. Some folks were motivated by Harpoon’s delicious beer selection; others by their mouth-watering pretzels. And in November, we organized what became our 2nd Annual Union Square Donuts run in Somerville – a 5-mile jaunt to stand in line for donuts that have their own cult following in this city. Turns out carbs – pancakes, pretzels, donuts – are excellent motivation for runners.
FHR members also organized several opportunities for other physical activities, besides running! In January, a dozen folks headed to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine for a weekend ski trip. Turns out, downhill skiing is almost comparable to a few sets of planks after a regular FHR run!
A large group also headed to SkyZone in Boston for an evening of trampoline dodgeball in January; another group gathered for a late summer evening of kickball in June, and another carload ventured to the White Mountains to hike the Presidential Traverse in July!
FHR organized 2 community service projects this year: one group coordinated all the logistics and cooking to provide dinner through the Nativity Prep Dinner program in Jamaica Plain one evening in March. Another group spent the day in Dorchester volunteering with The Food Project.
And finally, we had two excellent parties: A 3rd birthday party in April for Forest Hills Runners (the first run for FHR was on April 26, 2011) and a fantastic Holiday Party at Centre Street Sanctuary in December. These parties were great times to chat with other members of FHR who we might not see at the same weekly runs or who we might not run with often because of different paces. Parties were also times to see our friends in regular clothes rather than the standard day-glow, neon running attire to which we’re accustomed!
As we look forward to 2015, Forest Hills Runners will continue to encourage individuals in achieving their personal goals. Some of us will train for marathons and push our pace to PR our 5K time. We’ll debate which hill we prefer for hill repeats, and we’ll share tips on stretching, foam rolling, and preventing or recovering from injuries. We’ll cheer each other on as we watch our friends and neighbors succeed in their accomplishments.
And we also will continue to grow as a community. We plan to have more service projects in our surrounding neighborhoods and more opportunities to connect with each other outside of runs, most likely in places with delicious food and drink. Runners tend to be adventurous explorers as well, so let’s hike up some mountains, bike to some beaches, and swim in some lakes. Do you have ideas for activities for 2015? Suggestions for locations for fun destination runs? Proposals for group volunteer outings? Let us know, and have a Happy New Year!
· Destination Run -New Year’s Brunch at Friendly Toast
· Ski trip to Sugarloaf
· Sky Zone Jump Party
· Community Service - Nativity Prep Dinner Program
· Boston Marathon spectating and post-race celebration
· 3rd Birthday Party
· Kickball at dusk
· Destination Run -- Harpoon Brewery Run
· FHR hikes the Presidential traverse
· Community Service - The Food Project
· Destination Run - Union Square Donuts Run
· Destination Run - Harpoon Brewery Run
· Holiday Party
- Each week we will be updating this blog with personal stories from fellow runners, race recaps, training tips, recipes, and more! If you are interested in becoming a blog contributor, please contact Katie Merrill at email@example.com for more information. And remember, as Owen says, Be Amazing! -