30 Years in 30 Weeks: 1987

In honor of the 30th anniversary Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the PMC blog will take you on a ride through history. Today we continue 30 years in 30 weeks with a look back at the PMC in 1987. We’ll coast through the event’s history, featuring a new year each week, as we lead up to the 30th annual ride on Aug. 1 and 2.


Check out past 30 Years in 30 weeks posts here.


Send your PMC story to Stephanie@teakmedia.com



30 years in 30 weeks




Judge Sam Zoll came back to the PMC after his first ride in 1984 because he loved the endurance challenge, the mission and the connections.


Zoll, was head of the Massachusetts District Court system, and biked with a group from the North Shore, the North Shore Cyclopaths, a group that today still is a big part of the PMC. Zoll lost his mother and father to cancer.


“You ride alone a lot. It’s an exercise in deep reflection,” Zoll said. “With each mile you become more appreciative of your good health and there’s a revival of memories of all the people who have loved and lost. There’s something very existential about the whole experience. You think of those who have passed on and you forget your own routine everyday problems.”


One of Zoll’s fondest memories from his early rides was on ferry from Provincetown to Boston. The band and PMCers serenaded Zoll with a Happy Birthday and presented him with a poster from the ride, signed by all the riders.


It’s framed and hanging in Zoll’s Salem home.


Now, the 74 year-old retired judge has cut back on his cycling – but not much. He doesn’t complete the two-day ride anymore. He will ride the one-day route this year – it will be his 26th PMC.


Back in 1987, there were 852 riders who raised $600,000 for the Jimmy Fund. Among them were 164 “Heavy Hitters” – more than double the year before. Riders had to raise $1,000+ to be Heavy Hitters.


Technology, media, publicity and sponsorship all grew into a key part of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge in 1987.


Bank of New England was the title sponsor and helped boost promotion and support. Steve Greenblatt made a public service announcement about the PMC that was nominated for a local Emmy award. The check presentation included a slide show, video and was held at local movie theater in Chestnut Hill.


Some generous donors like Wes Barter, a first year rider at the time and owner of Native Foods (a meat wholesaler), helped improve the environment for riders. Barter asked if the PMC accepted product donations. He then arranged a donated lunch of pre-baked chicken, pasta salad and fruit salad.


PMC 1987 facts

Event date: Aug 8 and 9

852 riders

250 volunteers

$500 fundraising minimum for two day rider

$600,000 raised

193 total miles


Start: Old Sturbridge Village

Finish: Provincetown Inn


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