July Community Captain of the Month: Hilary Nicolau

Active Southern West Virginia takes great pride in its Community Captains. We strongly believe that without them our mission would be impossible. They are dedicated to making their communities a happier, healthier, and an altogether brighter place to live. We are forever grateful for their service and passion for creating equal and free opportunities for their community members to participate in. This month we are highlighting the accomplishments of our Fayetteville Community Captain, Hilary Nicolau, to both show appreciation for her service and to showcase a little bit of her story. We hope it will resonate with some of our readers and motivate them to start their journey toward a healthy and active lifestyle change.

Hilary began running after having her first child to lose weight about 12 years ago and after that only ran when she wanted to lose a few pounds. About 2 years ago she began running regularly and realized how much she enjoyed it. Hilary was happy to find how much running improved her mood and looked forward to her run every day. Last year she took up trail running and fell in love as she found it much more challenging than road running. Soon after, Hilary and Fayetteville Training Team Coach, Sarah Coffey would start what is now the New River Trail Runners Club. The club then started Mile Monday as a concept to try to recruit new runners by offering an opportunity for an easy 1 mile group trail walk/run.

Hilary Nicolau crossing the finish line of the Ace Wonderland Mountain Challenge 10K, she placed 1st in her age group.

Hilary has completed many 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, half-marathon trail runs and plans to run many more this year. She is training to run her first full marathon in November. Hilary has also coached a group of 3rd through 6th graders in the Fayetteville Elementary School 4H Running 101 Club. She enjoys getting people started on their path to physical fitness and being a positive role model to her 3 children and husband whom run with her regularly.

Hilary Nicolau and her son Carson Nicolau running in the May Doggie Dash in Fayetteville.

The New River Trail Runners have partnered with Active Southern West Virginia on Mile Mondays in an effort to offer an opportunity for community members to get started with trail running. Hilary has stepped up as one willing to take the lead with the group and has already started recruiting new runners. She welcomes adults young and old as well as kids and dogs. Walkers/runners of all ability are encouraged to join; for avid trail runners this could serve as a light day and for those interested in learning more this serves as an opportunity to get with a group that can answer questions and help you get started on your journey to health and wellness.

Runners who attended the last June Mile Monday. 12 year old Ava Nicolau led the kids group. 8 kids, 7 adults, and 3 dogs participated.

This week Hilary increased participation from the week before by 3 kids and 2 dogs. We are so proud of her dedication for her community and cannot wait to see how Mile Monday grows.

The group meets every Monday at 6:30pm at the National Parks Service Trailhead in Fayetteville Town Park, though Hilary would like to start branching the group out onto other trails in the Fayetteville area in an effort to showcase the beauty of the different trails that the New River Gorge has to offer and to offer variation of training. Like Active Southern West Virginia and the New River Trail Runners on Facebook to stay updated on location changes.

If you have an interest in starting an activity in your community, even if it is as simple as a walking group, please contact Active Southern West Virginia Program Assistant Courtney Roark at [email protected]