Three people who have served the running community in a variety of ways are the latest members of the Western New York Running Hall of Fame.
Matt Hellerer, Edna Hyer and Jesse Kregal have been selected by the Hall’s board of directors. That brings the total of those receiving the top honor in local running to 29 in the Hall’s five years of existence.
Hellerer ran in high school at St. Joe’s and in college at Syracuse University. In 1984, he ran one of the fastest marathons by a Western New Yorker in history, recording a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 10 seconds in the Boston Marathon. That earned him a trip to the Olympic Trials.
Hellerer later was The Buffalo News’ Runner of the Year in 1988. Soon after that, he moved into coaching at his alma mater, and he has guided the Marauders’ runners in cross-country and track for more than two decades.
Hyer is something of a pioneer among women runners in the area. She started running in order to help her daughter, who was trying to start a cross-country program at her school.
Hyer is still an active runner now at the age of 82, overcoming health issues along the way. She recently took part in the 2,000th race of her career and is considered one of the most inspirational runners in the area.
Kregal came to Buffalo in 1970 to join the Philharmonic as the principal timpanist. He immediately formed the Buffalo Philharmonic AC. Kregal served as the race director for the Skylon Marathon, the first race of its kind to cross an international boundary.
He also was an enthusiastic runner as well. He ran over 60 marathons in his career, with a career best under 3 hours. Kregal ran the Boston Marathon more than a dozen times. He died in 2015.
The three honorees will be formally inducted into the WNY Running Hall on Sept. 2. The ceremony will be preceded by the fifth annual Champions 5K race.