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On The Run with John Stifler: Shelburne Falls’ Kayla Lampe gives Mount Washington a local flavor
07-05-2024 9:30 AM

In 1972, UMass graduate Charlotte Lettis, then 22 years old and living in Amherst, became the first women’s winner of the Mt. Washington Road Race. A pioneer in the evolution of women’s long-distance running from fitness jogging to hardcore...

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Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: Let the Games Begin
07-01-2024 3:33 PM

The ancient Olympics ended in AD 393 and for 1,500 years there were no games until Pierre de Coubertin facilitated the revival of the modern Olympics in 1896 in Athens. Since then, the Olympics have grown from 241 athletes representing 14 countries to...


Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: The Olympics Return
06-03-2024 3:03 PM

In less than two months, thousands of athletes from around the world will converge on Paris for the Summer Olympics. To me, the Olympics have always been the epitome of sport. Yes, we have the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the World Cup, but...


On The Run with John Stifler: See you on the hills
05-31-2024 12:49 PM

You can probably beat me in the Bridge of Flowers Road Race on Aug. 10. Here’s why:I like running up hills. Somehow my gait and posture seem well adapted to uphill running. In many cases if someone is the same speed as I am on flat ground, I can run...


The Real Score: Will AI necessarily make sports better? Will AI make the sport experience better?
05-16-2024 4:02 PM

Artificial intelligence is experiencing a renaissance. Tools like ChatGPT and Copilot are becoming a daily part of conversations. AI’s history stretches back nearly as far as computers themselves, but the advent of generative AI has made it more...


Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: Why Pickleball?
05-06-2024 3:37 PM

Some suggest that pickleball is a fad but I believe it is here to stay. After all, some reports indicate that 36 million people played pickleball last year compared to around 24 million tennis players. Parks departments are inundated with requests to...


On The Run with John Stifler: A closer look at the Boston Marathon’s wheelchair division
05-03-2024 3:08 PM

The average sports-page reader knows that the fastest runners in a major marathon are likely to be Kenyan or Ethiopian. But another part of the Boston and London marathons is dominated by northern Europeans, plus Americans, Japanese, Australians and...


The Real Score: Curveballs and casinos rarely save cities
04-18-2024 4:39 PM

About 10 years ago, the two major urban centers of central and western Massachusetts decided to engage in new regional industrial policy to spur on their local economies. Worcester and Springfield had been effectively hollowed up by decades of...


On The Run with John Stifler: It’s officially Tuesday race season in Northampton
04-05-2024 1:47 PM

That hill in the third mile is a little toughie. You’ve been pacing yourself around the large field next to the Mill River, keeping mind, lungs and legs together, and ahead lurks the abrupt turn into the woods where the trail rises gradually, then...


Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: Exercise Prescriptions Are Just The Beginning
04-01-2024 3:00 PM

Exercise prescriptions first started in 1968 when Ken Cooper recommended that everyone amass 40 points a week to achieve aerobic fitness. For example, this could be achieved by running one eight-minute mile a day, five days a week. Cooper’s...


The Real Score: Beware the March “Madness” of sports betting
03-14-2024 1:01 PM

This Sunday, the March Madness brackets will be set, enabling millions of sport consumers to place bets that will total in the billions of dollars (you should also expect to see some ads from the sports books…).This week, in recognition of March...


Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: Our Bodies At Risk
03-04-2024 8:28 PM

I have studied the human body for around 60 years and I am still in awe. Evolution has given us awesome bodies that move with fluidity and grace, withstand heat, cold, and altitude, and possess the ability to adapt to almost any environment. Our...


On The Run with John Stifler: Marathon runner Kiptum at the height of his powers upon death
03-01-2024 3:23 PM

The running world barely had time to marvel at how 24-year-old Kelvin Kiptum came within sight of breaking the two-hour barrier in the marathon before what promised to be a thrilling career came to a sudden end last month in a car crash that took...


The Real Score: You Need to Calm Down, Embracing the Taylor Swift Effect on the NFL
02-15-2024 2:04 PM

Taylor Swift won this year’s Super Bowl. I mean… the Kansas City Chiefs won this year’s Super Bowl. If you don’t know by now, pop star Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce are dating. The relationship caused a media stir as...


Fit to Play with Jim Johnson: One game, 125 commercials
02-05-2024 3:49 PM

I watched a lot of college football this year and am happy it’s over. Next year will be longer as eight teams are added to the playoffs. Baseball in November, basketball and ice hockey in June, football in February — will seasons ever...


On The Run with John Stifler: Come one, come all
02-02-2024 4:47 PM

Recreational running has been part of mainstream American culture for fifty years. Nowadays anyone wanting to run a 5-kilometer road race can find one somewhere nearby. Marathons have grown so popular they have waiting lists.Track meets are different....


Guest columnist Jonathan Kahane: Can’t let mistaken criticisms of column go unanswered
01-31-2024 6:33 PM

By JONATHAN KAHANE Now that some of the dust has settled since my last guest column [“Haunted by questions with no good answers,” Gazette, Dec. 28], I will take this opportunity to try and rectify distortions that were submitted in letters during the...


Columnist Richard Fein: Israel/Hamas War: Israeli trauma, Palestinian catastrophe
01-21-2024 7:01 PM

By RICHARD FEIN

Gaza’s civilian population: Hamas has ruled Gaza since defeating the Fatah faction in 2006 elections. Hamas then killed 459 Fatah operatives. The general population has suffered as Hamas expropriated billions of dollars in foreign donations and local...


Columnist Rev. Andrea Ayvazian: Invovocations, benedictions: Still striving for the right note
01-19-2024 7:01 PM

By ANDREA AYVAZIAN

Earlier this month, I was asked to offer the benediction at the Northampton inauguration ceremony, when elected officials are sworn in to their positions of leadership in our city — a request that I was honored to fulfill.These inauguration...


My Turn: Planet wrecker in chief — Part 2
01-18-2024 7:43 PM

By RUSS VERNON-JONES

Last month I wrote about the damage the U.S. is causing to the global climate by exporting huge amounts of oil and LNG (liquefied natural methane gas) — the most of any country in the world. I shared the information that the fossil fuel industry wants...


Columnist Johanna Neumann: Halfway there — 2023 a year for major green projects in Amherst
01-17-2024 3:58 PM

By JOHANNA NEUMANN

Happy 2024. After my last column, I got feedback from a reader who pointed out that I missed a topic in my round-up of environmental progress in 2023. She mentioned that I had completely failed to mention Amherst voters overwhelmingly approving plans...

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