Race committee honors memory of Ali Neller
Litchfield Hills Road Race co-founder Billy Neller sits on the bench dedicated in memory of his wife, Ali, on Sunday morning. BZ photos
The Litchfield Hills Road Race organizing committee on Sunday recognized the contributions the late Ali Neller made to the race.
During a ceremony on the Green four hours before the 41st annual race started, the race committee unveiled a "snail" sign and a bench that will memorialize Ali Neller forever. Both were presented to her husband, LHRR co-founder Billy Neller.
The snail sign, identical to the snail signs on the race course paying tribute to Billy Neller and other LHRR characters, was made by Laurie Sweet of Goshen, an elementary school art teacher in Region 6. The sign was moved to the front of the race's announcing stand, where all runners could see it as they passed by. It will be stationed for all future LHRRs.
The all-weather bench is identical to other memorial benches on the Green and along the West Street sidewalk. It will sit on the Green, near where the LHRR runner registration tent Ali Neller manned so capably for years is located.
Ali Neller oversaw the tedious registration process, a task that began months before the road race each year. She passed away last October after a courageous battle with cancer.
Billy Neller and LHRR friends admire the bench and snail sign.
Billy Neller and Allie Riley raise their glasses in a toast to Ali Neller.
The ceremony unfolds before the bench was unveiled.
Laurie Sweet presents the snail sign to Billy Neller.