As many of my friends know, I love Fair Hill, and love the Fair Hill International three-day event even more! According to some of my colleagues who help to put on this huge international CCI three-star event, a few people got together back in the late 80’s, when Chesterland three-day event died, to continue a fall three-day event. It was originally meant to compliment Radnor Three-Day Event, which at the time was geared to the intermediate level due to space restrictions. The handwriting was on the wall in that area of Pennsylvania, and smart heads knew they would lose more and more land for the course as property values increased and changed hands in the desirable Philadelphia suburb. Fair Hill became the next most logical choice. The road was not without rocks; the “park” (FHNRMA) was owned by the state of Maryland and had rules, many of which the FHI people had to argue over, ignore, change, live with. Because the land is open to the public, the course can’t just go whereever they want, and things that are built have to be coordinated with many other people. In addition, because the event is all on unimproved land, everything — from electricity to lights to garbage cans to gravel on the roads to jumps to food to tents to porta potties — has to be temporary. And when it is over it all has to be cleaned up and brought back to the pristine field it was before the event. So there’s a little background on the amount of just back-breaking, hands-on work that is done to stage this event. To volunteer here is a badge of volunteer honor; I’ve been working in my spot (XC warmup) for 10 years this year and before that was an area steward on XC for three years. In addition, I’ve assisted with course decoration in the days before the event for a couple of years. Over the years I’ve met several people, however, who have been doing it 20 years or more! It is a funny thing about working with folks and doing stuff together. It’s a group effort that is so much bigger than just one person. The entire experience is, for lack of a better word, awesome. You feel as though you are a part of something extraordinary, the fruit of many labors, and it’s a good feeling to give only time, and get back this thing, this comraderie, this unity of purpose and connection with others who care about “The International” the way you do. It is a time, each fall, and a place, the grand and beautiful Fair Hill, that we just won’t miss each year, and indeed, it seems strange when one of us isn’t there to help or participate. I hope to see you there so you too can share the absolute breathtaking serenity and excitement all at the same time in the same place this year.  Come and watch. Don’t miss it. (www.fairhillinternational.com)

Cool Decision and Amanda Wilson, FHI 2012 Weds. jog

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