top of page

Sue Haryasz

Class of 2024

Longmeadow, MA

    Sue Hopfe Haryasz is a pioneer of women’s running who grew up in the 60s and 70s when opportunities for girls in sports were few and far between. Before high school, Sue played softball since that was the only Parks and Rec sport available to girls at the time. Meanwhile, Sue’s oldest brother, Peter, found success as a part of the Longmeadow High School track team, setting records for both the mile and the 2 mile. 

    On one fateful winter day, while Sue was still in 8th grade, Peter invited her to join him on a run. On that day, Sue’s natural running ability became clear as she completed the entire 5 miles with Peter despite having never run more than a few hundred yards at a time. From then on, Peter recognized and supported Sue’s running talent, setting her on a course for a lifetime of success in the sport. 

    Through Peter’s encouragement, Sue joined the Longmeadow High School girl's track team as a freshman. To her own surprise, Sue won her first race and broke the school record. Later that season, she qualified for the State Championship. While on the team, Sue also set the mile record of 5:17, which stood for more than 30 years. 

    Following her success on the track, Sue approached the boy’s cross-country coach at the end of her junior year and asked if she could join the boy’s team. Fortunately, the boy’s coach allowed her to train and race as the only girl on the team. To this day, Sue remains the only girl to earn a varsity letter in a boy’s sport at Longmeadow High School. 

    Sue’s high school accomplishments earned her a scholarship to Bates College to compete on the track and cross country teams. While at Bates, Sue continued to thrive, breaking college records in the 1,000 meters and the 4X880, which stood for over 20 years. After two years at Bates, Sue transferred to the University of Massachusetts, where she focused on running for pleasure rather than competition. 

    After graduating from college in 1983, Sue’s brother Peter became her coach and motivated her to return to competitive running. Under her brother’s guidance, Sue ran a multitude of track and road races throughout New England. During that competitive phase, some of Sue’s proudest moments include the following finishes and personal records: 

    ● First-place finishes at the Springfield 4th of July Road Race 

    ● First place finish at the Longmeadow Father’s Day Road Race 

    ● Third-place finish at the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race with a time of 35:47 ● Fifth-place finish at the Thanksgiving Manchester Road Race 

    ● Personal record of 27:24 Wilbraham Peach Basket Festival 5-mile race ● Personal record of 2:16 in the 880 Corporate Cup Relays 

    ● Personal record of 10:22 in the 2 mile 

    ● Personal record of 16:46 5k 

    ● Personal record of 57:10 in a 10-mile race 

    In the Fall of 1986, Sue’s brother Peter inspired her to set her sights on the 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. In the spring of 1987, Sue qualified for the trials by winning the Maine Coast Marathon in Biddeford, Maine, with a time of 2:48. After that victory, Sue dedicated herself to training for the trials, running 100-mile weeks and cross-training as well. 

    Unfortunately, shortly before the trials, Sue was involved in an accident that caused an injury to her back. Through the strength of her will, Sue convinced herself that the injury was not serious and completed an incredibly painful Olympic Trials marathon with a time of 2:47. Sue later discovered that she had a fractured sacrum. After the 1988 Olympic Trials, Sue’s final major competitive success came in the summer of 1991 at the Bay State Games. In the games, Sue came in first place in the mile and set her all-time personal best of 5:00. 

    Outside of her competitive achievements in running, Sue also served as the co-director of the Longmeadow Park and Rec. Track and Field program for 17 years. In that role, Sue shared her passion to help the next generation of Longmeadow runners find their love of the sport. One of Sue’s greatest joys was watching her own children, Dan, John, and Allie, participate in the program and continue engaging with the sport at the high school and college levels. Dan became a successful and dedicated distance coach for West Springfield High School, while Allie served as captain of the 2014 girls cross country team that her mother started many years ago. 

    Sue owes an incredible debt of gratitude to her brother, who coached her, to her husband, Dave, for his endless support of her running pursuits, and to her family and friends who have aided her along the way.

    bottom of page