Briefs: ‘On The Run’ columnist John Stifler among the Western Mass. Runners’ Hall of Fame Class of 2024

John Stifler 07-06-2023

John Stifler 07-06-2023

Staff Reports

Published: 01-16-2024 2:08 PM

Another talented class of runners will be inducted into the Western Mass Runners’ Hall of Fame in March.

The WMRHOF’s Board of Directors announced the inductees for the third class to enter the hall this week, with induction set for March 8 at the Holyoke Elks.

Daily Hampshire Gazette running columnist John Stifler is among the soon-to-be inductees, as the Florence resident is part of the 10-member class. Stifler writes the Gazette’s On The Run column, which runs the first Saturday of each month about the local running community.

Leeds’ Bill Romito, who has run over 30 Boston Marathons, is also in the Class of 2024, as is Shelburne Falls’ Rich Larsen, a West County distance runner who has been breaking records in his age group at age 70-plus.

Holyoke’s Bob Neil is also in the 10-member class, which also includes Longmeadow’s Ric Bourie, Pittsfield’s Mary Cobb, Springfield’s Howard Drew, Longmeadow’s Sue Haryasz, Westfield’s Nicole McGilpin and Springfield’s Ed Sandifer.

Since its inception, the WMRHOF has celebrated outstanding contributors to the running community, with its first class inducted in 2020 and the second in 2022.

In addition to these distinguished individuals, the charity organization Griffin’s Friends, which has supported children with cancer and their families for decades in the Springfield area by running and raising funds, will be inducted.

Neal Lamberton, a Springfield resident and runner who has volunteered his time to the running community for years, will receive the “Brian Goddu Volunteer of the Year” Award, founded in memory of Goddu, a founding board member of the Western Mass Runners Hall of Fame.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Former social studies teacher returns as principal at Northampton High School
Leading lights: Four Hampshire County women receive state honor as ‘heroines’
Father’s Day 2024: South Hadley’s Rich Marjanski cherishes era coaching his three daughters on the soccer pitch
A ‘Refuse to Lose’ reunion: UMass stars gather to talk about Final Four run for new documentary
Judge denies Rintala’s motion to reduce prison sentence
Columnist Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: The co-op at the heart of the community

The induction ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on March at the Holyoke Elks Lodge, 250 Whitney Ave. Bob Hodge, the third-place finisher in the 1979 Boston Marathon, multiple Mount Washington Road Race champion, 40 year course record holder on the DH Jones/Amherst 10 Mile Course, and author of “Tales of the Time,” will be the guest speaker.

Tickets for the dinner and ceremony are priced at $20 and are available for purchase online ( For those unable to attend but wishing to support the WMRHoF mission, donations are welcome via the RunReg website.

Established in 2019, the WMRHoF recognizes and honors the rich history and significant contributions of individuals and teams in road racing, cross country, and track in Western Mass. For more information, please contact ( or visit (

Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon April 6

The annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon will be held April 6 at Berkshire East Resort in Charlemont.

Registration is now open for Bravehearts who do the entire course solo, family teams, teams of three-to-five, with four age-based categories. There are discounted entry fees for family teams and entrants under 19 year old. 

The coveted Braveheart trophies are made and donated by Ashfield Stone. The five events are a 4.5-mile trail run, 18-mile bicycle road ride, 2-plus mile paddle, 2-mile adventure run and a climb up, ski down leg.

Almost 200 athletes participated last year. There will be great food and raffle prizes for winners in each category.

Online registration is at, or register the day of the event. Numerous volunteers are needed, and this year’s benefactor is the Good Neighbors Food Pantry. Discover how much fun this event is!

Northampton girls lacrosse this spring

The Northampton Parks and Recreation Department is again offering girls youth lacrosse this spring. The program is open to youth in grades 3-8 and they are offering teams in the Bantam (grades 3-4), Juniors (grades 5-6) and Seniors (grades 7-8) Divisions.

The program is held April through mid-June and is for both new and experienced players. The deadline to register is 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 or when a division is full. Information and online registration are available online (

For further information, contact the Parks & Recreation Department at 413-587-1040 or stop by the Parks & Rec office at 100A Bridge Road in Florence.