Tom Immel hasn’t been able to run since the early nineties when illness cut short his running career.
Nevertheless, his influence on the Springfield Road Runners Club and the Springfield running scene is still felt today.
Springfield is privileged to have a running specialty store in the Springfield Running Center where runners can buy their gear from runners who understand the needs of runners, and Tom was one of the founders of the store. In 1978, a year after the founding of the SRRC, Tom and Bob Helweg opened the Springfield Running Center. Bob sold his half to J.J. Fyalka when he moved to Massachusetts a few years later. Tom’s half was sold to J.J. several years later.
Tom is responsible for coming up with the name ” Monster Mash ” for the SRRC’s annual meeting. Tom was on the planning committee for the first annual meeting which was scheduled for around Halloween. The late Ken Ishibashi was talking about coming dressed up as Dracula or Frankenstein or some such character and he wanted to make his grand entrance to the tune of Bobby ” Boris ” Picket’s ” Monster Mash “. Tom thought that sounded like a great name for the event and would bring in more
people than a ” annual business meeting “. The event was subsequently moved back to January, but they decided to keep the name ” Monster Mash “.
Tom was active with the SRRC for many years, including four years as newsletter editor and five as a board member.
He was also a very good runner. He had the speed to run a 5K in 16 minutes, but his real passion was in the longer races. He was a good marathoner with a PR of 2:38, but that wasn’t far enough for him. He qualified for and competed in the Western States 100 mile race where his best effort was a top ten finish in a time under 20 hours. He competed i numerous ultra races on the national and international circuit including races in Switzerland, France and England. His best performance was probably covering 227 miles in a 48 hour track race. Tom also directed SRRC’s 24 hour race that was held for a number of years in the early eighties at Memorial Stadium.
Tom can’t run any more, but he has continued to follow the sport since he returned to Springfield after an eleven year stint in New Mexico.