The first 7 Sisters Trail Race was a six-mile, one-way race from
the Notch Visitors Center to Route 47 in Hadley. It followed almost the
same out-route as the present race does, but was slightly different
toward the finish as it went down closer to Route 47 instead of its
present turnaround location near the home of Ted and Merle Buckhout, who
graciously host our aid station at the 6-mile mark.
In fact, the first "race" wasn't an official race as the
State Warden in charge of the Mt. Holyoke State Park informed us prior
to the start that we could not have a race on State property. "No
problem, we' race was former UMass cross country and track star,
Peter Crisci of Northampton.
Sensing some resistance on the part of the State to the continuation
of the race, the 7 Sisters deteriorated to a postal competition that
allowed participants to run the course at any time and report the time
to the local running store, the runner'shop in Northampton (owned by
the race director at the time). Fortunately, one day the runner'shop
was visited by Jonathan Gottsche, an avid photographer and an officer of
The Friends of the Holyoke Range, a non-profit organization dedicated to
the preservation of the Range and the promotion of various activities on
the Range, i.e., interpretive studies, concerts, hikes, bird watches,
land acquisition, etc.
Jonathan was intrigued about the race and wanted to know more. Upon
hearing that it wasn't welcomed as an official race anymore, he
volunteered to bring the support of The Friends to the race, thus
garnering official permission to stage the race. With that permission in
place, the race was timed to co-ordinate with a trail breakfast that The
Friends organized each spring and the distance was doubled, to twelve
miles as an out-and-back.
Today, the 7 Sisters Trail Race is a fundraising event that benefits
The Friends of the Holyoke Range. The 7 Sisters Trail Race has donated
more than $10,000 during its existence. Those donations are made
possible through your entry fees and the support and donations of gifts,
T-shirts, and assistance from our sponsors. We thank everyone involved
for helping us to preserve the trails that we love to run.