---- — Take a look at Jerry LaFlamme and you might assume the fit 5-10, 180-pounder was still a dedicated runner.
But, he says, his mentality wouldn’t allow it.
“The last time I ran may have been in 1978,” said LaFlamme, who stays in shape by riding the exercise bike, lifting weights and golfing at Haverhill Country Club. “I just put so much into it. The commitment and the miles. I couldn’t keep doing it. I can’t go on a fun run. I just don’t like losing.”
He certainly did far for more winning than losing while running for Haverhill High (Class of ‘71) and the University of Maine (Class of ‘76).
LaFlamme, who lives in Methuen and has had a law practice in Haverhill since 1980, was inducted into the University of Maine Hall of Fame on Sept. 13.
That would be a special moment for anyone. But even more so for LaFlamme, who still lives and dies with the Black Bears hockey team and rarely misses a home game. When Maine is at Merrimack or UMass Lowell, he often has the team over for a meal.
As a matter of fact, he learned of the induction before anybody else. It was announced at the UMaine hockey awards banquet.
“The athletic director was there. He announced it. That was pretty cool. It was published (in the newspapers and websites) the next day,” said LaFlamme, a partner in the firm of LaFlamme, Barron and Chabot who attended Ohio State Law School.
The ceremony itself was special.
“It was very humbling, to realize I’m one of those (Maine greats),” he said. “Part of all those greats who competed at Maine.”
He was joined at the ceremony by his brother Richard, who lives in Georgetown, his wife, Gina, his son, Marty, a former runner at Haverhill High, his stepdaughters Alicia and Ashley, and several friends.
UMaine will always be special for the kid who grew up with five siblings in a small house on Janet Road in Haverhill.
“They paid my way for four years and I think I should give something back,” he said. “My parents could never have afforded it.”
The scholarship was well spent as LaFlamme had a stellar career. He set the school indoor (4:10.74 in 1975) and outdoor (4:07.6 in 1976) mile records as well as marks in the 3-mile, the indoor and outdoor 2-mile and the 4x800 and was also a star and two-time captain in cross country.
He finished eighth in a 1,500-meter race at the prestigious IC4A Championships won by Villanova/Ireland distance running legend Eamonn Coghlan.
LaFlamme said he and a young coach John Ottaviani learned a lot together at Haverhill High.
“At one time I had 10 Haverhill school records,” he recalled. “I was Coach Ottaviani’s first guinea pig. I was in his first class (of runners). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind I wouldn’t have achieved at Maine what I did if it wasn’t for Coach O. He instilled so much commitment and desire to succeed. Not only in track, but in life.”
Follow Michael Muldoon on Twitter under the screen name @MullyET.
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