Why I Love the Seven Sisters Trail Race

The Seven Sisters Trail Race doesn’t brag because it doesn’t need to. Unlike many races this one doesn’t have a flashy Facebook page, a modern website or any marketing. Yet somehow the word of mouth buzz has motivated more and more runners to find their way to the starting line every year. I have run it for many years and can’t wait to do it again this May.

The Seven Sisters Trail Race started in 1991 and is a 12 mile out and back trail race that follows the ridge of the Mount Holyoke Range in Amherst, MA. It gets its name from the 7 hills along the ridge, that runners must climb twice, which provide over 3,700 feet of climbing. There are no greased monkey bars, fire pits or electrified wires like you find in most obstacle races but the course will still be the most challenging 12 miles of your life. It is full of roots, mud, loose rocks and just about everything else in nature that can slow a runner down along a roller coaster like trail of ascents and descents.

This event is about as low key as a race can get these days. There is a mass start, no chip timing and the course is marked only by trail markers. The water stops, except for the well-stocked halfway point, are just water jugs next the trail. You also won’t find any concerts or parties at the finish line which is fine since most finishers are too tired to do much. The event’s website is extremely basic and there is no social media presence.

Tricky footing, image by

At this race the course does all the talking. I think this only adds to the charm of the event since it is truly about the running and nothing else. Some elite runners come to challenge the course record of 1 hour and 42 minutes and others come just to challenge themselves but everyone there acts like they are in it together.

I love this race because it challenges my body and my mind and it attracts runners who want to do their best and have fun at the same time. There are plenty of races that are longer, shorter or better known but nothing can match the course and low key atmosphere that you will find at the Seven Sisters Trail Race. This is not a race that you do to impress your friends, since most of them won’t know what it is, it is a race you do for yourself. Hopefully I will see you at the starting line.

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