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Services set for runner Richard D. Sullivan, 92

Services set for runner Richard D. Sullivan, 92

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Richard Sullivan

A celebration of life will be held Aug. 16 for Richard D. Sullivan, who began running in 1969 almost on a whim and went on to compete in more than 1,600 races, including 87 marathons.

Mr. Sullivan died on July 9, 19 days before his 93rd birthday. 

He ran 50 Turkey Trots and 31 Boston Marathons, starting in 1973. He ran the Utica Boilermaker (15K) 32 times, and the Lockport Y 10-mile race 40 times.

He was also a founder of the Belle Watling Athletic Club, which became one of the top running clubs in Western New York during the 1970s.

Made up mostly of runners past age 40, the club hit its peak in the 1978 Boston Marathon, when it placed third out of 71 teams from around the world. Throughout the next three decades, the Watlings won many national cross-country championships.

Mr. Sullivan was named Buffalo News Runner of the Year in his age group seven times, and won 15 medals at the Empire State Games. He was inducted into the Western New York Running Hall of Fame in 2014, and will be celebrated Sept. 3 at the Tom Donnelly Hall of Fame 5K race in the Elmwood Village.

A World War II U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Sullivan graduated from Syracuse University in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in forestry. He worked for Sullivan Lumber, then started his own house painting business, which he ran with his son until he was 90.

A private ceremony will be held at Forest Lawn on Aug. 13. A celebration of his life for friends, family and fellow runners will begin at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in Canal Club 62, 62 Webster St., North Tonawanda.

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