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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > there’s only one hill and it’s down

There’s only one hill and it’s down
Okay you’ve run the toughest race, you’ve run the hilliest race, and you’ve run the flattest race; now it is time for you to run the fastest race. Welcome to the Hollis Apple Country Fast 5K; New England’s fastest 5K.

There’s only one hill and it’s down

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By Dave Camire
Posted Monday, 7 April, 2008

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch PRs as masters
Jack ran down at the speed of sound
Then Jill flew by running faster

Jack picked it up and home he ran
In hopes he could out last her
But Jill hung on to get the win
And they both set PRs as masters

Okay enough of this dreadful poetry. Let's get right to the point. Your best bet for a 5K (3.1 miles) personal record will take place on the evening of June 5 at 6:30 PM in Hollis, NH. This gravity aided 5K downhill course is the fastest in all the land!

Let me put it into perspective for you. The New Hampshire state record for 5K is 13:55 set by Joseph Mwai of Kenya and the NH state resident record is 14:21 set by John Mortimer. At last year's Hollis Apple Country Fast 5K Nate Jenkins crushed both times running 13:46!

Jenkins' record setting time does not count for official record keeping purposes since USATF does not recognize records set on courses with net elevation loses. But lets be real here; does any of this matter to most of us? I don't think so. The opportunity to run the fastest 5K of our lives is all that really counts.

About the Event
In Hollis it is all about the course and this one is a doozy. It is a gentle downhill grade that allows you too build up a head of steam at the beginning so all you have to do is coast to the finish. The race begins at 408 feet above sea level and drops to 184 feet above sea level at the finish. That amounts to a 224 foot drop! It's almost a guaranteed 5K PR!

The race starts near Hollis High School then passes through the town common and onto Depot Road to the finish. Depot Road is a fairly wide two-lane road. One lane of the road is closed to traffic and coned off. This picturesque course passes by farm houses, apple orchards and pastures. My suggestion is to arrive early enough to jog the 3.1 miles to the start and take in the scenery, because everything will be a blur on your return trip.

Getting there
From Route 3 North or South, take Exit 5W (Rte 111 West). Go four miles on Rte 111 West. Take a left onto Route 111A at the traffic light. Drive 200 yards to the entrance of Alpine Grove on your right.

Parking and shuttle
Runners will park at the Alpine Grove banquet facility and shuttle via bus to the starting line. Buses will begin transporting runners to the start at 5:15 pm. The last bus willl leave at 6:05 pm. Please allow yourself enough time if you are using the shuttle.

The finish line will be at Morin's Landscaping at the junction of Depot Rd. and Rte. 111 and just a short walk from the Alpine Grove. Registration and the after race party will also take place at the Alpine Grove Function Hall. Runners will park at the Alpine Grove and can either jog or take a bus to the starting line.

The Alpine Grove is located on Rte 111A in Hollis, NH just a few miles north of the Massachusetts border and located off Exit 5 on Rte 3. Thursday evening was selected specifically because of the lower volume of traffic usually found on Rte. 3 during this time of year. Travelers from metro Boston should find this an easy commute.

Many, Many Awards
This is your race if you are interested in an abundance of awards. The awards categories start with an under 10 divisions, then two year age groups from age 10 to 19 and five year age groups from age 20 and up. There also is a special team competition specifically designed for running clubs. There will be prizes for top three men, women and mixed teams. Additionally there will be a similar competition for corporate, high school and junior high school teams.

The race is chipped timed by Yankee Timing so you can bet on a quick awards ceremony. This will allow you plenty of time to enjoy the after race festivities. Finally if you beat the NH Resident's 5K age group record, you get a special waived entry to next year's race. To view these records please click here .

Sometimes truth is stranger then fiction
Last year when race director George LeCours failed to see Nate Jenkins' finishing time, he asked Jenkins how he did as he exited the chip retrieval area. Jenkins, while gasping to catch his breath, responded "46." "That's great -- 14:46", LeCours said while congratulating him. Jenkins quickly corrected him stating he had run 13:46. "But that's not the story," he added. "What is the story?" asked LeCours.

Apparently around the two mile marker Jenkins heard an odd sound - a clopping sound. He looked over his shoulder and realized the sound was that of a horse quickly gaining on him. So what did the horrified Jenkins do? He picked up the pace and the galloping horse quickly disappeared into the distance.

So I guess you could say that Jenkins' incredibly run was not only gravity aided; but apparently it was horse aided too. Unfortunately LeCours can't promise a horse for all runners, so you'll have to rely on this great downhill course and a little help from gravity to set your PR.


Race date
June 5, 2008

Start time
6:30 PM
Shuttle buses run between 5:15 pm and 6:05 pm

2005 - 404 Finishers
2006 - 407 Finishers
2007 - 484 Finishers

2005 - mid eighties -- sunny
2006 - low seventies -- light mist
2007 - low seventies - sunny

Starts at an elevation of 408 feet
Finishes at an elevation of 184 feet
Total elevation drop 224 feet

Nate Jenkins, Lowell, MA 13:46.03 (2007)
Cassie Hintz, Stillwater, ME 16:29.3 (2006)

Online and mail-in
No race day entries accepted

$7.00 available until June 1

The Challenge
Anyone who beats the official state record time will receive a waived entry to the 2009 race. For a complete listing of NH state records see

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