From a March 17, 2017, article in the Times Herald-Record by Frank Giannino.
Bill Sherry, 69, was a fixture at almost every Classic 10K in Middletown for the last 36 years. He was our race timer, consultant and a cherished friend. For me, he was that calming voice at the other end of the phone line whenever I needed it.
When it came to every detail of organizing an endurance event, he always had the answer to any question. Bill Sherry died on Dec. 15, 2016, after a seven-month battle with cancer.
In 1978, Bill and his friend Steve Marek ran a 10K in Central Park. Being April Fool’s Day, Steve, who is well over 6-feet, dressed as Superman. People loved it and asked what club they were from and where their next race would be. The next day the pair formed the Suburban Road Runner’s Club in Westchester and started putting on races for the club. Soon after, Super Race Systems was formed. Bill and Steve were fixtures at many of the races around the region, so it wasn’t long before our lifelong friendship began.
In July 1980, just before my second run across America, I got a call from the Times Herald-Record to help create a running event in Middletown to celebrate the paper’s 25th anniversary in 1981. Bobby Bright suggested the 10K distance and to invite Frank Shorter. The newspaper hired me to be the first race director of the Orange Classic 10K. The first person I called for help was Bill Sherry. Bill and Steve were hired as timers and consultants for the inaugural race. Frank Shorter would go on to defeat Bill Rodgers in one of the most memorable running events in history. Around the world, to this day, the Crystal Run Healthcare Classic 10K in Middletown is known as Frank Shorter’s hometown race. Bill Sherry helped make this happen from the very beginning and helped grow The Classic by timing the race year after year.
By 1981, the running boom was in full swing with Bill and Steve at the forefront of timing. Because there were few timers back then, Bill began traveling coast to coast working races. In 1984, he met his wife Gail while timing a race in Gail’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. Gail was a volunteer that day. She became an integral part of Super Race Systems and, in 1988, they were married.
Bill was a teacher in Westchester County, the perfect job for him. He took pride in working with students and loved anything to do with the English language — reading, word etymology and solving crossword puzzles. Teaching allowed him summers off to time races, and when he retired after 32 years of teaching, Bill began to focus on the race business full time. He started out the manual way with stopwatches and clipboards and finish chutes, then bar-code scanning the pull tags, then chips that had to be returned, and now the RFID disposable chips. He always invested in the latest technology to stay up to date.
The other part of the race-timing business that kept Bill interested was that he got to be part of helping raise money for so many different charities. Bill was always willing to do what he could to help out, whether it involved sharing his resources or volunteering his time.
He loved being involved in a business that centered on physical activity. Bill completed 10 marathons and was an avid golfer.
I’ve always handled the passing of a friend by recalling my first impression of the person. “Superman” Steve Marek was running around with his bullhorn shouting instructions to everyone, and there was Bill keeping it all together — calm, collected, always on top of his game. To Bill, timing truly was everything. We will miss him dearly.
Frank Giannino, owner of Frank’s Custom Shoe-Fitting in Middletown, ran 3,000 miles across the country in both 1979 and ’80, chronicled in the book “46 Days,” by Times Herald-Record sports editor Kevin Gleason, available on Amazon and at Frank’s store. Email Frank at email@example.com.
THE NEW YORK STATE POLICE CHASE REMEMBERS BILL SHERRY
Bill contributed his time, expertise, and resources to the Kelly Memorial Police Chase since 1978, a 10K/5K race put on by the New York State Trooper Foundation that honors fallen New York State Troopers. Proceeds from the race benefit the children of those Troopers. http://nypolicechase.com
In recognition of Bill’s contributions to the Police Chase, a Bill Sherry Memorial Scholarship was created by his NYSP friends. The $500 scholarship will be awarded each year to a dedicated volunteer of the race for an education fund to a recipient of their choosing.
THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON’S TRIBUTE TO BILL SHERRY
Super Race Systems is one of several timing groups from across the country contracted to help the New York Road Runners time the thousands of runners along the New York City Marathon route. For the past several years, Bill’s assigned timing spot was the 10K in Brooklyn.
To honor Bill at that location, the New York Road Runners’ race scoring team, led by Tom Kelley, dedicated the 10k split as The Bill Sherry Memorial Mile. http://www.nyrr.org/remembering-bill-sherry
THE HOPE FOR YOUTH FOUNDATION’S BILL SHERRY MEMORIAL 5K RUN/WALK
While Bill was in the hospital battling his illness, his close friend, Roger Gorevic, a board member of the Hope For Youth Foundation, came to visit him and mentioned that the Foundation would like to put on a 5k race to help fund the many charities to whom it contributes. Bill enthusiastically offered his services but unfortunately didn’t get the chance to participate. The Foundation and Bill’s timing friends rallied together and the inaugural race was held on May 13, 2017. http://hfyf.org/
It is an honor that the Hope For Youth Foundation is creating a scholarship in Bill’s name from the proceeds of the race. The Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to various charities in the Hudson Valley focusing on the youth. Bill was a middle school teacher for 32 years and had a fondness for educating young minds and coaching them in sports.
TEAM BILL REMEMBERS
Bill will be remembered by those who knew him as a kind, gracious person with a great sense of humor. To a race director, he was a timer with a calm demeanor who knew how to get the job done. To a race timer, he was our mentor and friend. He had a natural instinct for a job which requires you to think on your feet. He is known for saying “There isn’t a race where at least three things don’t go wrong – it’s the mark of a good timer that no one knows it!” He taught us to be prepared for anything.
Bill had an interesting life. He traveled the world, was always involved in sports, loved educating and entertaining kids, and cherished the relationships with his friends and family.
Bill is always with us as we carry on his legacy with Super Race Systems.