Over the years, various people, not necessarily runners, have had an impact over the years of the Litchfield Hills Road Race. We all know about Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson. But there are other people who have contributed greatly along the way.
Joe is best known as the founder of the LHRR, but his real passion was the bringing together of friends from around the globe, to participate in what some call the “Friendship Race”. As the years roll by, the spirit of Joe’s original intent has exploded into a yearly gathering of reunions, friends old and new reveling in the stories and lore that is the real heart of the LHRR.
Marshal extraordinaire who manned his post since the inception of the LHRR. His ever-cheerful smile, endearing laughter, herd of pink flamingos and offerings of thirst quenchers brought much anticipated relief for runners as they made their way down the school hill. George was and will remain one of the greatest traditions of our beloved race.
A local icon and a Litchfield tradition all on his own, Ovidio brought to the race the idea that ANYONE could participate in this feat of fleet feet; showing us his love of life and joy of community as he trotted down West Street, generally the last of the day’s runners, his beaming smile acknowledging the roar of the appreciative crowd as we all watched our favorite runner cross the finish line.
One of the biggest fans of the LHRR, Thea brought joy to all who knew her. Her welcoming smile and pleasant manner greeted all as the Village Restaurant, official headquarters of the race, opened its doors for the insanity of road race weekend. We all appreciated and will miss her love of life, kindness, and beauty of spirit.
ROBERTA COFFILL HEALY
For 36 years, Roberta Coffill Healy stood guard as a race marshal at the school hill, the little road that comes down from the track – the area we now lovingly call Road Rack Park, so named by Roberta in memory of her marshal partner, George Dwan. Roberta lived what the LHRR is; a friend to all, a person that shared her warmth and humor with everyone. There is no other person that personified that element of our race as well as Roberta; truly a friend that will be missed immensely and remembered always.
Ali Neller, beloved soul mate of race founder Billy Neller, was the LHRR registration guru. Her skillful organization of the many layers of the registration procedure made the process seamless. The LHRR owes her a debt of gratitude for the endless hours she spent on her registration duties and keeping us on track. Her enthusiasm, hard work and love for the race was evident to all. She was an ambassador for the LHRR, traveling to other race venues with Billy and sharing LHRR stories. Her take charge attitude, generous smile, and laughter endeared her to everyone. Loved by the LHRR family and the community, we know that heaven is lucky to have her.