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Neal Lamberton


Brian E. Goddu Volunteer Award

    Neal Lamberton has been a part of the Western Mass running community since 1972. He estimates that he has run over 75,000 miles in his lifetime, including hundreds of races from 5K events to marathons. Neal has run the Boston Marathon 27 times, including a streak of 25 straight, for a total of 72 marathons overall. Neal came within 55 seconds of breaking the 3 hour threshold in the 1987 Cape Cod Marathon – his best marathon.


    Early in his running career, Neal was grateful for the opportunity to participate in so many events, and wanted to give back. In the 1980’s, he started volunteering at road races, even those in which he was a participant. As a member of the Greater Springfield Harriers, Neal was a fixture at virtually all of their events, helping to put on the Summer Sizzlers, Snowstorm Classics, the Walter Childs Race of Champions Marathon, and 4th of July races.


    In 1995, Jim Kelleher started Griffin’s Friends, a group of volunteers dedicated to providing support to children with cancer.  One of the first people Jim approached was Neal, to ask if he was interested in fundraising, as Neal was well known in the running community for helping others. Neal jumped at the opportunity, and was one of the original 16 runners who sponsored a patient while running in the 1995 Boston Marathon to raise money for Griffin’s Friends. And once Neal met some of the kids, he was emotionally hooked.


    Neal became Griffin’s Friends’ most prolific fundraiser, raising thousands of dollars from folks all over New England. For Neal, the most poignant moments were at the post-race banquet, when the Team Captain he sponsored put the medal around his neck. Neal’s final Boston Marathon for Griffin’s Friends was in 2009, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to support the kids.


    At age 75, Neal is still a Griffin’s Friends volunteer.  He can also still be seen timing runners at the finish line of the Snowstorm Classic races. The Western Mass running community is grateful for all of Neal’s efforts.

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