Hills of Huntsville 5K just around the corner

Josh Criswell/The ItemHistorical marker for the "Seven Hills of Huntsville" at Town Creek Park. 

Huntsville, you may have heard, is founded on seven hills — just like the city of Rome.

These hills are spread throughout the city. Sam Houston State University sits on Capitol Hill, which was a finalist for the location of the state capitol. The inmate cemetery is on Peckerwood Hill. Smith Hill and Gospel Hill are in the northwest part of town. Depot Hill and Cotton Gin Hill are along University Avenue, the first by the old train depot near 15th St. and the second near 7th St.

The last hill, the steepest of the bunch and the tallest for miles around, is in the Avenues by the intersection of 21th St. and Avenue O. This monster is called Knowledge Hill, for all the professors that lived there back before Sam Houston State University was called Sam Houston State University. (It should now be called “Ramen Noodle Hill,” for all the college students that live there and subsist on ramen noodles.)

These hills are the namesake of the Seven Hills Running Club. So when we heard that a plaque about them was to be dedicated near City Hall, we decided to celebrate in our usual way — with a race. The Hills of Huntsville 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk will be held at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, near City Hall, with the plaque dedication to be held afterwards at 9:30 a.m.

For this event, the running club teamed up with the Walker County Historical Commission, which undertook the effort to get the marker approved and installed, with financial support from the Hotel Occupancy Tax Board. Connie Heiland, a member of the commission, told me that the running club had a lot to do with the installation of the marker. Curiosity about why the running club became named the Seven Hills Running Club was part of the reason for the research on the seven hills.

These hills attracted many early settlers.

“While there are certainly more than seven hills in the area,” Heiland said, “the ones highlighted are significant to the commercial, cultural, and educational development of Huntsville.”

You can learn a lot by attending the plaque dedication.

“We explain the history of the town through markers,” Heiland said, “so we provide this history as part of the program. It’s a great opportunity for citizens to learn about their town.”

You can also learn a lot by participating in the 5K. In particular, you will learn how steep Knowledge Hill is. The course winds from City Hall down to the very southern tip of The Avenues and back again. It goes over Knowledge Hill twice, the second time in a long, grueling trudge up from the south that you will never forget.

Houston runners often seek out Huntsville races for the hills. They like the challenge and the change of scene. Come run the Hills of Huntsville 5K and you will see why. The entry fee is only $2, with refreshments provided afterwards. The plaque dedication is free and is open to the public.

(Got race results? Send them to me at dpgrant06@yahoo.com.)

Upcoming Races

September 14 - Hills of Huntsville 5K, 8 a.m., Huntsville. Start and finish near City Hall.

October 13 – Bearkat Bolt 5K, 8 a.m., Huntsville. Start and finish at Bowers Stadium.

October 19 - 41st Annual Huntsville Half & Quarter Marathon & 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m., Walker County Fairgrounds.

(See www.7hills.us/schedule.htm for additional races and links to individual race websites.)

Recent Race Results

August 24 - Heat Wave 5K and 1 Mile, Waterwood Estates


William Boyce 17:24

Caleb Vasquez 17:46

Brady Neuman 18:58

Kierra Anstee 22:34

Cy Turner 22:35

Steven Bickford 23:23

Jason Arnold 23:48

Derek Winkle 23:50

Connor Ruiz 24:52

Ginny Boyce 24:55

Steve Allen 25:07

Daniel Brown 25:15

Heidi Gill 25:58

Darren Grant 26:11

Xzavier Pinkert 27:14

Katie Boyce 27:46

Grant Thornton 27:58

Madison Wilson 27:59

Alora Pinkert 28:37

Jaykob Lowrie 29:24

Jules Fair 29:57

Wesley Little 31:02

Katie Stolley 34:20

David Keithley 34:39

Marsie Grant 40:32

Steve Prusz 42:49

Shellie Greer 43:09

Ken Johnson 47:18

Cathy Bickford 47:27

April Bickford 51:17

Trevor Brown 54:48

Noah Brown 54:49

Michael Brown 54:50

Don Ortloff 57:49


Clement Ruiz 14:44

Bryant Nelson 20:10

Skipper Nethery 22:09

Marilyn Johnson 22:25

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