The NOTC Hall of Fame was established in 2013. The purposes of establishing a Hall of Fame include:
The eight finalists for the 2021 Hall of Fame have been identified and are listed below. Club members are invited to share their thoughts on which five of these eight individuals should be our 2021 inductees. Please provide your recommendations and opinions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Valerie Andrews partnered with her husband, Mike Andrews in the Greater New Orleans Runners Association (GNORA). Valerie was the voice of GNORA. Valerie was everywhere at GNORA races. Making sure registrations went smoothly, covering the finish line and scoring, encouraging the participants. The races were always unique and fun, and Valerie had a way of making every race feel like an event. Valerie took the time to learn people's names and faces, and long before computer technology aided the recognition of finishers, Valerie was known for calling your name as you crossed the finish line. Valerie was the editor of Southern Runner magazine, a regional publication. The magazine was a treasure trove of regional race results, mixed in with human interest stories, and health and training tips. For many people in the greater New Orleans area, the Wednesday night races at Audubon Park were a fun introduction to competitive road racing.
Meyer Friedman holds the distinction of winning the Mardi Gras Marathon six times, with five of those winning times under 2 hours and 30 minutes. In the late 1990's and early 2000's, Meyer was a regular winner at NOTC events. Meyer consistently raced at a sub 6:00 minute pace, with many of his races below a 5:30 pace, including a 5:31 pace in the 2009 Mardi Gras Marathon win.
Mario Lara served as President of the New Orleans Track Club for three years, but for fifteen years before and after that he has been a familiar face and devoted volunteer for the NOTC. Mario began running in 1983, and his wife Rose volunteered at the races he ran. It wasn't too long before Mario was volunteering as well, usually working water stops and race splits. He took over administration of the finish line, and did that until computerized scoring.
Mario had a goal of uniting the running community, and to do this he became a regular volunteer at Southern Runner Race events. He appeared on the Spanish Radio Sports Show to promote the Mardi Gras Marathon and the NOTC. For the last 37 years, Mario has given his time to the promotion and growth of the NOTC, and has done community outreach to help the club stay vibrant and vital.
Oliver Marshall is nominated for the New Orleans Track Club Hall of Fame in recognition of his racing performance in the 1980's. He was only beaten by the very best local runners for almost a decade, racing almost every week:
Brendan Minihan, Jr. was one of the most recognizable runners in the New Orleans area for over two decades. He regularly won races at all distances during this time. In addition to his racing performance, Brendan coached Metairie Park Country Day School to several state championships. He was the chair of the NOTC Hall of Fame committee for the first few years, and did an outstanding job. He also served on the NOTC Board for four years.
A selection of Brendan's best times in local races:
Rudy Smith has been a fixture in the New Orleans area road racing scene for almost 40 years. Not only has Rudy distinguished himself in competition, but he has always been an encouraging presence to everyone on the race course.
Rudy is a former NOTC board member, who has the distinction of completing a marathon on all seven continents. He completed an Ironman Triathlon at 68 years young, and is a People's Health Champion. He has also been a member of the USA Duathlon World Championship team, winning a silver and a bronze medal.
Marathon on seven continents:
Suzanne Ward is nominated in recognition for her contributions to the New Orleans Track Club and New Orleans running in general for her work as a journalist and photographer. Suzanne helped to publicize and popularize New Orleans races and runners for many publications including the NOTC's own Footprints especially in the 1980's-the 1990's.
As writer/ photographer Suzanne has had her work featured in the following publications:
For Racing South especially, Suzanne's work has been featured on their cover and as featured articles on profiles of New Orleans runners. Suzanne was also the pioneer editor for Footprints. She was responsible for changing the format of the publication and making it a more meaningful journal for the NOTC. Some of those changes include featured stories on local runners, captioned pictures, increased coverage and in depth stories on races and a page on updates and tidbits. Other changes included covering how New Orleans runners performed in races outside of New Orleans, commissioning a new logo for Footprints and bringing in ads for upcoming races and running stores.
Diane Weiss has been an NOTC member for 20+ years who extended the New Orleans running community to the north shore. Although she only started running at 30 years old, she became an avid runner, earning Masters and Grandmasters awards, but her influence on the running community was greater from an organizational, promotional and leadership perspective.
Diane is the cofounder of the 15th Street Flyers ('99) in Mandeville, which hosts training groups for runners and walker of all backgrounds, as well as hosts community events and road races. She has worked with numerous organizations to promote their cause and charity since 2002, including the Four on the Fourth race, which she cofounded 18 years ago. Diane has coached middle school cross country, assisted coaching cross country at St. Paul's, where she helps coordinate their annual fun run, and works/volunteers at local cross country meets and camps for youth. She volunteers for many local road races, including the CCC, NOTC MG Marathon and now Rock'n'Roll. She also promotes the NOTC summer series and other races to runners on the north shore. In addition to her road race and run group management, she has also served on the Mayor's (Covington) Council for Healthy Lifestyles, promoting running as a healthy lifestyle.
The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are being introduced virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A formal induction ceremony will be held at a future race. We look forward to that event.
Ron Brinkman has been a driving force in the New Orleans running scene since the beginning of the running boom in the 1970's. He is a native and uniquely New Orleans figure who has had an almost spiritual influence on the New Orleans running community for close to 40 years. He and Kent McDonald were the unofficial "leaders" of the Tchoupitoulas Social Aid and Athletic Club which consisted of the top runners in New Orleans for many years. He is the founder and longtime Race Director of the only-in-New Orleans Barathon race which now has national recognition as a must-do race nationwide. Ron holds the unique distinction of drinking the first two beers after the first Crescent City Classic in 1979 and he has not only run every CCC but finished in the top 500 for the first 20 years in a row. Ron has inspired and continues to inspire many of us runners and he represents a link to a past that is becoming forgotten but needs to be remembered and honored.
Mike has devoted his life to running, coaching and race directing. He served on the NOTC Board of Directors as a high school student in 1968-1969 and has been an NOTC member since that time. Mike became involved with the Mardi Gras Marathon overseeing and participating in every aspect of the race for many years, including Race Director. Mike has been coaching runners, both in high school and college for more than five decades. Mike served as meet director and administrator for various NCAA track and field conference championships, as well as many high school and masters' competetions throughout the South. Mike's contributions as Board Member and organizer of races was a catalyst for the early success of the NOTC. He was the founder and director of The Jazz Half Marathon for Children's Hospital for three years. In 2018, Mike received Louisiana High School Track & Field Coach's Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Pat has worked tirelessly making contributions to the NOTC that have been in direct support of the community of runners and walkers the NOTC serves as well as instituting efficiencies that have saved the organization thousands of dollars in race costs. Pat has been instrumental in organizing and reusing the left over d-tags used for electronic scoring at the races. These tags are very costly and reusing them saves the NOTC as much as several hundred dollars per race. Pat spends several hours each month at the NOTC office after races organizing unused, leftover d-tags as well as preparing bibs for the upcoming races by attaching d-tags, labels and organizing folders for packet pick-up. She has done this for every race for nearly four years.
Pat believes that everyone in our community should feel comfortable and motivated to join in our events. She believes that all should feel welcome at our events no matter what their abilities. Being a competitive race walker, she began the process of USATF official's certification in 2014 and met all requirements and passed the test for certification as USATF Association Level Racewalking Judge in 2016. Pat is also an RRCA Level 1 Certified Running Coach. Since that time she has officiated at many USATF Southern Association track meets, local races and other area events. She fosters walking in our community as a fitness alternative to running. She encourages walkers by promoting race walking as a walking goal to encourage walkers to be the best they can be. Pat hosts a minimum of two race walking clinics per year and regularly meets one on one with individuals who want race walking lessons or coaching.
As a member of the NOTC for over forty years, Don Garvey has supported the club as an active race participant, club treasurer, and very generous sponsor. Don started the Radiofone Beeper Run because he wanted to give something back to the running community. The Beeper Run was one of NOTC's most popular races, and was an important event on the running calendar for many years. Even though the Beeper Run has gone away, Don's generosity to the running community and the NOTC has not, as he continues to support the NOTC through his charitable contributions. As a proponent of the running community Don has encouraged most of his family to become runners, and many are still running.
Dr. Pat Hambrick was arguably the best Master runner in the history of the New Orleans Track Club. His times as a Master and Grand Master Runner are truly remarkable.
In addition to his running accomplishments, Dr. Pat was also a dentist who provided dental care to the underserved low income population of New Orleans. He was known for giving his racing trophies to children who were patients in his care.
The 2019 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 56th Anniversary Race on August 4, 2019.
In the 40th Anniversary Edition of Footprints Junius was chosen as the best overall male runner in the life of the NOTC. The listing designation was based on consistent quality running over a minimum period of 10 years. Junius began running in the early 1970's and his best times as an open division runner include a 15:15 5K, a 32:16 10K, and 1:08:00 for the half-marathon.
As a masters division runner his best times include a 16:10 for the 5K and 34:00 for the 10K. An article in Footprints in 2001 refers to Junius as a true NOTC hall of fame athlete, even though the club did not have a Hall of Fame until 2013. For those NOTC members who remember the 1980's, 1990's and the early 2000's, Junius is a familiar name and face, as he was always among the winners at multiple events each year.
Juan Perez was one of the top Masters and Grand Masters runners in one of the toughest Masters and Grandmasters fields in the history of the club. As he and his competitors aged they made each new level the toughest age-group bracket in club races. He traded victories with such luminaries as Brendan Minihan Sr., Don Wright, Bill Leach, Tom Hopkins, Desmond O'Connor and more. Juan has always been a fierce competitor who loved winning and making his opponents suffer but he has always demonstrated good sportsmanship and respect for his opponents and carries himself with integrity. A construction worker and cement engineer by trade and kickboxer in recreation, Juan has never been afraid of hard work. That shows in his racing. Juan added depth to a field of Masters, Grandmasters and now Senior runners in the community that maintains racing and competition as one of the pillars of the track club. He has pushed his competitors and inspired younger generations to work hard and strive for speed and victory. In 1987 at age 45 he ran a 17:14 5K at the Gumbo Fest. In 2002 at age 58 he ran an 18:22 at Run through History. In 2017 at age 72 he ran a 23:54 at Al Briede. As well known for his black socks and awesome cars as for his racing speed, Juan is one of the most recognizable and admired runners in the area.
Pete Soutullo began running and training with the NOTC while a high school sophomore at West Jefferson, taking the ferry across the river to train with club members who met at the Tulane field house. He went on to become a very good distance runner both in NOTC races and as a prep and collegiate runner. His college racing career was spent at Southeastern. Pete occupies a historically important position in the history of the NOTC, being among that first group of young runners who were trained and inspired by the likes of John Morvant, C. J. Mouton, the Fuselier brothers, etc. Pete was often listed in the paper as "Pizza Tula." The name was occasionally and intentionally spelled this way in the Picayune newspaper race results to avoid conflict with school rules.
As mentioned above, Pete's historic importance to the club stands out in his qualifications for induction. His running achievements are documented below.
Yvonne Lee Thomas has been one of the most outstanding Woman Masters Runners in the NOTC. During the mid 1980's Yvonne posted masters times of 20:09 for the 5K, 43:27 for the 10K, and 1:35:45 for the half-marathon. Moving into Grandmasters her times stay strong, with a 20:25 for the 5K, 43:44 for the 10K, and 1:38:38 for the half-marathon. Yvonne's age group dominance followed her into her 60's with a 5K time of 23:52, a 10K at 47:50, and a half-marathon at 1:50:13. In addition to her running achievements she served as the Louisiana State Representative to the RRCA for many years and was named the State Representative of the Year in 1993. Yvonne was the first woman president of Club South Runners in Baton Rouge in 1988. Yvonne was the first overall woman 3 times, including the Wall 10K in 2004, at age 60. The other first place finishes were the Baton Rouge 1/2 marathon, and The Wall 30K. Yvonne has always been an advocate of our sport and her cheerful and encouraging presence has enriched the NOTC running community for more than thirty years.
Pam Williams has had three running careers, with her best performances coming in her third career. Originally from Schenectady, N.Y., Williams ran track at Courtland University where she had personal bests of 2 minutes, 11 seconds in the half-mile and 57.7 in the quarter-mile. From 1982 to 1985 Williams often found herself in the winners circle. She bettered five minutes in the mile and ran five kilometers in 17 minutes. Pam came back to running at 38 and became one of the best female Master runners in the NOTC. Throughout her forties and fifties Pam dominated female Master running in the New Orleans area. Pam was named the best overall female runner in the 40th anniversary edition of Footprints.
In addition to her running achievements Pam started coaching while in graduate school at Cortland in New York. She became nationally track and field certified while studying for her Masters in reading and school administration. She coached the women's indoor team at Courtland in 77-79. Pam continued coaching after moving to Louisiana, coaching at Mandeville from 1997-2001. While coaching at St. Scholastica they placed third in state. Pam also coached Grace King boys' track and cross country 2004-2012. During her career at Grace King both the track and cross country teams won district multiple times.
The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 55th Anniversary Race on August 5, 2018.
Janet has been a runner for 37 years inspiring others and representing the spirit of running by contributing to the success of both NOTC, serving on the Board of Directors in 1985-1986; and as a founding member of the Chalmette Track Club (CTC) serving on the Board of Directors. Janet has been part of the continued success of these clubs and an inspiration to others through both her volunteerism and through her continued running successes today. CTC named an annual race "The Janet Earhart Cross Country Championship" after her for her service to the club. Janet was selected by the Tchoupitoulas Social Aid and Athletic Club to receive the "Spirit of Running" award presented by the Slack Track Club. Janet assisted with production of Mardi Gras Marathon that almost wasn't with the help of the Chalmette Track Club. Janet volunteered with registration, race results and handled sales of NOTC merchandise during her time on the NOTC Board of Directors. NOTC Open Women's Team Member, Louisiana Lightning Track Team 1983, and volunteer race director for a Series of Races. Janet's motto is "Runners become family and family becomes runners."
Bobby Sahuque was a pioneer of distance running in the greater New Orleans area. Bobby was a charter member of the New Orleans Track Club. In 1968 as a junior at Redemptorist Sahuque won the handicap championship of the Jackson Day race. That May he finished third in the AAA (highest classification) mile at the state track meet, running a record for a New Orleans area prep runner (4:20.1). An article in the Times-Picayune mentions that he had been doing a program of two-a-day workouts for nine months, dropping his time from 4:50. In June, 1968, he ran a 4:20 mile at the Southeastern Junior championships in Atlanta. In September, Bobby finished second in an NOTC 5 mile race in 25:48, losing to Billy Wick (24:52), who was perhaps the best area runner at that time. In the December 29 Sugar Bowl track meet, McKinnon of Fair Park nipped him in the high school mile race. Bobby ran 4:19.6. He ran Jackson Day in 28:03. March 9, 1969, Bobby finally beats McKinnon with a 4:13.5, the fastest outdoor mile in the United States by a high school athlete that year, and the third fastest time in Louisiana prep history. On May 9, 1969, Bobby ran a 4:08.4 mile, the first runner from the South to break 4:10 for the mile. He won the 880 and the mile in meet record times a week later at the Meet of Champions (1:55/4:17). The events were 33 minutes apart. Later in May, Bobby won the SAAU mile in 4:20. Dillard's Zach Winnfield was second in 4:31. A Louisiana State Champion, he was invited to the Golden West Invitational where he would race with the legendary Steve Prefontaine. Sahuque finished third in the Golden West meet and was named high school all-American by Scholastic Magazine. (Was nursing a sore Achilles after Meet of Champions.) Named NOLA area amateur athlete of the year for 1969 by NOAC. Bobby went on to a collegiate career at Tulane. He ran 4:07.24 for the mile in 1973, his best collegiate time.
Since the early 1990's Bryan Smith has been one of the premier runners in the NOTC. He has run 50 marathons with an average time of 2:49:52. Bryan has won overall in 13 marathons, and has placed first, second or third in 39 of the 50. Bryan holds the record for the most Pelicanman duathlon wins (11) and Barathon wins (6). From the mid 1990's to the mid 2010's it is rare to find a race where Bryan didn't win overall or age group. Bryan's personal running accomplishments are impressive, but equally impressive is how he has always enthusiastically provided coaching and running advice to anyone who has an interest in running. Bryan's coaching, speed work, and discipline advanced the performance of such notable runners as Brandon Wingate and Brendan Minihan; labeled by some as "The Killer B's". He was also one of the organizers of the Catch 22 Racing Team. Bryan has been a member of the Guido Sportif since the early 80's and is currently helping in structuring the speed program for the club. A family anecdote that supports Bryan's amazing career involves Bryan being asked by a friend of his future father-in-law what his pedigree was. Bryan responded, "Well, I win marathons." Not only marathons but every distance from 5K to the marathon.
Carleton Smith is a well known and easily recognized member of the NOTC, often manning the microphone at NOTC events. Carleton started running late in life at age 31 in 1983. He ran The Great New Orleans Marathon, his first, at the age of 38, and finished with a time of 2:37 placing him 3rd in his age division and 9th overall in a field of 1500 runners. That same year he ran Azalea Trail in a time of 32:14 placing second in his age division, Bill Rodgers placed 1st. In 2007 at age 62 he ran the Mardi Gras Marathon in 3:15, winning his age division and qualifying him for the Boston Marathon. That same year, he ran Boston in a time of 3:20 placing him 8th in his age division in a field of 800 men. In 2010 at age 65 he ran the Mardi Gras Marathon in a time of 3:22, winning his age division. Carleton was also a volunteer deputy sheriff with Jefferson Parish for 17 years in the motorcycle division, while working for Entergy and still keeping up with his running. He was an assistant cross country coach at Dominican High School for 6 years, in his last year winning state. He served on the NOTC Board of Directors in 1985 thru 1987 and was a board member in 1987-1988. He also served as Race Director for the Mardi Gras Marathon with Mo Emory when it was held in Chalmette. He is currently a coach/counselor with the Gulf States Cross Country running camp in Covington, Louisiana, this being his 13th year as a coach.
Some of Carleton's times: Marathon, 2:37; Half-Marathon, 1:14; 10 Mile, 53:40; 10K, 32:14; and 5K, 15:28.
Leonard Vergunst has logged over 1100 races, both running and multisport, over a 30 plus year career, winning over 200 of them. Leonard has finished 70 Marathons with 65 under 3 hours. He ran 2:36:23 at Boston in 1998 at age 42 and won his age group at the Marine Corp Marathon at ages 55 & 60. Other personal bests include 33:09 CCC 10K and 1:14:55 Mahatma Half Marathon at age 40. Leonard finished 2nd at Mardi Gras Marathon twice, in 1998 & 2005, (2:40:46 at age 49). In addition to a tremendous athletic career where he has remained at the very top of his age group continuing into his 60's, it can be argued that his service to the running community and his local community eclipses this. An NOTC member going back nearly 25 years and after joining the Gulf Coast Running Club in 1988, he became the GCRC race director in 1993 and has served in that role for 25 years. GCRC is an all volunteer, non-profit organization producing 25 to 30 events a year including some multisport races. As Race Director for the GCRC's signature event, the Stennis Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K, 20 years ago, he was responsible for moving that race to its current iconic, nearly traffic free location at the Stennis Space Center. Leonard certifies all the GCRC courses as well as certifying courses for other organizations.
In addition to his service to the running community he is a Bible leader at his church.
The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 54rd Anniversary Race on August 13, 2017.
J. Roger Brown Jr. is a staple and fixture in our running community. He is someone that our members and the local runners in the area truly respect and look up to not only because of his consistent and high-level performance as an athlete over the years, but also his good-hearted and genuine nature as a person.
Phil Gioia is recognized in the NOTC community as the driving force behind the Chalmette Track Club. Many young, developing Chalmette area runners benefited from Phil's promotion of running in St. Bernard Parish. Phil was one of the primary people keeping the Chalmette Track Club alive after the devastation suffered by that area from Hurricane Katrina. Phil is an avid runner, and has completed the last thirty-four Mardi Gras/Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans Marathons in a row. The old record was twenty-six. Phil is recognized annually as one of very few men who have completed all the Spillway Classic Races.
Mark Marley competed in NOTC races from 1965 to 2000. At distances from two miles to 50k he won or placed well. At Jesuit High, he won district championships in the 880 and the mile and set the school record in the mile. At Tulane he ran track and cross country and received the Forest T. Oakes Award (Most Inspirational). From 1970 to 2000 he ran over thirty marathons, two of which he won. For twenty-three years he coached middle school track and cross country. Several of his boys and girls went on to outstanding high school careers.
Brendan Minihan Sr. ran track and cross country on scholarship at Louisiana Tech University for legendary Coach Jim Mize between 1964 and 1968. After graduation, he moved to New Orleans and eventually became part of the local "running boom" that our club's founders started in the 1970s. Brendan continued running NOTC events into the 1980's and 1990's, running a 16:40 for the 5K and a 34:08 for the 10K, as a Master’s competitor. Brendan served on the NOTC Board as Treasurer.
Jenni Peters is one of the greatest runners to perform, win and set records in road and track races in New Orleans history. She parlayed a successful elite running career into a business and marketing professional career that led to the opening of Varsity Sports, Baton Rouge in 2000. She has since opened Varsity Sports stores in Mandeville in 2007, New Orleans in 2010 and Metairie in 2017. If her personal running career was not inspiration enough to a generation of runners, her professional commitment to running in south Louisiana has aided in the popularity and explosion of a modern running boom.
The 2016 Hall of Fame inductees were introduced at the NOTC 53rd Anniversary Race on August 14, 2016.
Ruby Chaney has been an inspiration to multiple generations of racewalkers in the New Orleans Track Club. In the 1990's Ruby was regularly winning the racewalker division in her age category, winning the Grand Prix Master's Division Racewalker in 1991 and Grand Prix Grandmaster's Racewalker title in 1997 and 1998. Ruby then turned her attention to volunteering and judging the racewalk category in both NOTC and other events. As a USATF Master's level certified official, the highest level of official certification, she judges racewalking events for youth, open and masters track events as well as area track club races nationally and officiates for International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) meets and events. Among her national acclaim, Ruby was in charge of the racewalk officials for the 1992 Olympic Trials, judged multiple national AAU Jr. Olympic Games, and still judges for the Louisiana Governor's Games. Ruby's admirers claim her greatest achievement has been inspiring, coaching and mentoring race walkers and promoting the sport of racewalking in New Orleans for decades.
Rick Lusky was a three-term president and five term board member who modernized the track club with computer scoring and results reporting. He helped create the Road Runner of the Year competition, which evolved into the Grand Prix Series, and his leadership helped start Celebration in Oaks, the Greek Fest 5k and the Spillway Classic.
Rick's experience with computers and his work in financial management brought the club financial security and sustainability. Thanks to Rick's management, the club's membership more than doubled during his presidency. During his tenure, the New Orleans Race Walkers organization merged with the NOTC, and race walkers were given a voice as a member of the board of directors.
Rick remained a supporter and volunteer for the club for many years, even as he put together the Crescent City Fitness Foundation that purchased the Crescent City Classic. He directed the race until his untimely death in 2012. As director of one of the premier 10k road races in America, he saw to it that the NOTC had a visible place at the event.
Kent McDonald's running achievements rank among the best of the greatest runners in New Orleans and NOTC history. From 1976 to 1989, when the Exxon-Mobil merger moved him out of town, Kent won 35 of 41 races, setting course records in several marquee club races over the years from 5k to marathon. He holds the co-record for the Jackson Day race, one of the oldest races in the South, and was one of the top Americans in the Crescent City Classic in 1982. As a collegiate runner, he set the steeple chase record at Kansas University and represented the USA as an All-American in track meets in the Soviet Union. Later in his career, he competed in three Ironman events in Hawaii and represented USA in triathlons in Switzerland and Sweden.
J.J. has been of invaluable service to the club for decades. Whether in charge of equipment maintenance, running the timing/scoring system, or as Spillway Classic race director and sponsor, he has selflessly contributed a tremendous amount of time and talent to the NOTC. He has served as Vice President, elected board member for multiple years, Footprints editor, and, known as a competitive duathlete, he has also had a successful running career with the club. Under his guidance, the club transitioned to computerized results and chip timing. He continues to this day to be one of our most hardworking and loyal NOTC members, and his character displays nothing but respect, friendship and camaraderie for fellow runners and club members.
Always an outstanding age-group road racer, Charlie moved to the track in the 1980's and up to the present day has been a national and even world class age group runner. Charlie's track records and outstanding performances are too numerous to list here. He has been National Master's Indoor Track and Outdoor Track champion in multiple events from age 48 to 80. He was a member of the national championship 10k team in 1991 and set American age-group records in the mile, two-mile and as a member on indoor 4 x 200m relay team. Inducted into the Louisiana Senior Hall of Fame in 1996, he was at one time Nike's oldest sponsored runner. Charlie also has been very helpful to aspiring young athletes, mentoring and coaching a variety of athletes, young and old, and even hosting track meets for runners to help them gain experience in competing on the oval. Charlie has helped grow the sport of track and field in Louisiana and has been an integral part of the NOTC's success in promoting running and racing for decades.
The 2015 inductees were announced at the NOTC Anniversary Race on August 15, 2015. Left to right: Billie Simmons Sloss, Alicia Sabi Courtney, Taylor Aultman, Harold Flettrich, Jr, and Carol Ory (wife of and accepting for Alceste Richard "Al" Ory).
There were many quite talented runners in the early days of the New Orleans Track Club. But when you ask the old-timers "Who was the best?", it usually evokes only two responses: the legendary Larry Fuselier, and - today's first inductee - Taylor Aultman. From the late 60's into the mid-70's Taylor dominated New Orleans road races, compiling over 40 victories in the city's most competitive races, including five consecutive wins at Jackson Day from 1972 through 1976 and wins at Turkey Day in '72 and '74. At one time, Taylor held the 6 mile record at Tulane University, where he was a four-year letterman and team captain, and he won an AAU 3 mile race in a time of 14:35. Among his best race times, he owns a 5 mile personal record of 24:10 and a marathon p.r. of 2:28. I think that you will agree, Taylor's record of road racing and track accomplishments clearly establish him as one of our all-time great NOTC runners, and that it why we have chosen Taylor Aultman for induction into our Hall of Fame.
The first woman to compete in the New Orleans Turkey Day Race was Barbara Gorrondona, who ran it in 1969. The next year, perhaps inspired by Ms. Gorrondona, there were four female competitors. One of them was 16-year old Alicia Sabi, a sophomore at Ursuline Academy. Alicia covered the 5 mile distance in a time of 31:52, but back then, everybody ran the race with an assigned handicap time, based on age and demonstrated ability. Alicia used her 12 minute handicap to earn the overall victory, beating not only the other three women, but also the 108 male runners, becoming the first female runner to ever win an NOTC race.
Over the next decade, Alicia Sabi Courtney became the first great female runner in club history, establishing a record of race victories that is unparalleled in New Orleans road racing. She was the first female champion of the Crescent City Classic in 1979, sharing the podium with Frank Shorter, and notched wins in dozens of notable New Orleans area races, including consecutive wins at Jackson Day, Turkey Day, Larry Fuselier 25k and the Ole Man River Half Marathon. Alicia Courtney easily qualifies for our hall of fame based on her running achievements, but today we also honor her important role as a trailblazer for the surge in women's running and fitness that continues to this day. We are proud to welcome Alicia Sabi Courtney to the New Orleans Track Club Hall of Fame.
A member since 1974, Harold Flettrich has been providing music and sound equipment for NOTC events for four decades. But old timers of the NOTC can tell that Harold's value to our club goes far beyond his musical contributions. As the size of races grew rapidly during the mid and late 70's, the need for consistent race planning and race day coordination became apparent.
From 1976 to 1982, Harold and his late, great friend Al Ory volunteered as "race day coordinators" for the club. They helped move NOTC events from almost informal time trials - with no course monitoring, minimal awards, no water, no food, and most significantly - no beer, to the type of races that we have today. Flettrich Audio Productions, while also servicing every CCC10k since inception, has provided music, the Star Spangled Banner, and race day announcements for generations of NOTC runners. The NOTC race day experience would not be the same without Harold. His contributions span the decades and today we are delighted to recognize them. Congratulations to the rhythm-master of the NOTC, Mr. Harold Flettrich.
The other original "race day coordinator" from 1976 until his death in 1982, was Alceste Richard Ory. Club members called Al the "water boy of New Orleans" for adding water and aid stations to many of our races. Legend holds that it was Al who introduced the idea of a free "Hump Day Fun Run" (which is in current form our summer two mile series) and the concept of a post-race party with cold adult beverages. During races Al was so inspirational to other runners he became known as "Coach Ory." Al and Harold were a team when they were our volunteer race coordinators, and it is more than fitting that they should enter our Hall of Fame together. In fond remembrance of a wonderful innovator for the club, The NOTC inducts Al Ory into our Hall of Fame.
Billie Simmons Sloss has been involved with the club, as a runner, volunteer, race director and administrator since 1981, but she may be known best as the President and Executive Director, in 2010 and 2011, who stepped up to set the club on its current positive course. Thanks to her devotion and passion for the club, the board of directors under her guidance made important decisions that preserved the Mission of the club and stabilized it for the future. She was integral in supporting and partnering with non-profits such as Youth Run NOLA and Girls on the Run. A competitive racer for over three decades, Billie also has more than her share of race day victories and age group awards, facts that simply serve to enhance her qualifications for induction. She is still an active runner and a strong supporter of the New Orleans running scene. And today, Billie Sloss can add NOTC Hall of Fame to her varied list of accomplishments and honors.
An NOTC member since the mid-1970s, Elisabeth achieved racing acclaim as a Senior runner, dominating the 60-69 age group and, over a ten year period, outpacing even younger runners in the 50-59 division. She won multiple titles, including a USATF National Championship in the outdoor 5k at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. As a 65 year-old, she won the Louisiana Master 5k Championship in 23:37, besting the top time in the nation by almost a full minute. The list of running accomplishments is long, but even it is overshadowed by her personality and selfless commitment to the club. Her contemporaries remember that she showed up early to every race, helped with registration and stayed late to help with race results and post-race clean up, setting the gold standard of dedicated volunteers the club enjoys today.
In his fourth decade of service to the NOTC, Don has served as board member, president, volunteer, chairman of numerous committees, race director and one of the best promoters the club has ever had. After joining the club in 1983, he elevated his participation as a volunteer in 1985 and then was elected to the board in 1986, serving the next fifteen years, including a term as President in 1991-1992. His committee initiated the "Road Runner of the Year Series," which later became the Grand Prix Series, and he created and directed the Metairie Runners' Beer-A-Thon in 1987. Don continues to volunteer at NOTC races and contributes his wisdom and passion for the club at board meetings and race committee meetings. He is always happy to shake hands and talk before and after NOTC races.
Charlene was not going to let her husband Don have all the fun. Of course, not only did Charlene have fun, first as a runner at NOTC events throughout the 1980s, but she turned into one of the hardest working volunteers and board members the club has known. Or, as she would tell you today, she became NOTC family. After volunteering for a decade, she was appointed to the board in 1995 as the race results coordinator. As an elected board member in the many years to follow, she served in roles such as race day registration, Footprints editor, team coordinator, nomination committee chair, secretary, vice president and served as president in 2002 through 2004. She currently serves as Volunteer and Membership Coordinator, not only making runners and walkers feel a part of our community, but she has organized the volunteer system to function seamlessly. Her efforts have led to the largest pool of dedicated volunteers in club history. Today, that NOTC family atmosphere is thriving because of Charlene.
One of only two living "lifetime members" of the NOTC and the GNORA (Greater New Orleans Running Association), George has been a cornerstone of the New Orleans running community for five decades. He served as Treasurer of the NOTC in 1974, 1975 and again in 1978, served as President in 1976 and was Marathon Chairman for the club in 1977. A New Orleans native who enjoyed sports in high school, George left a career in banking to open Southern Runner on Magazine Street in 1982, where he has been instrumental in helping the city grow as a running community. Whether he is fitting runners young and old with the right shoe or sharing his vast mental library of running lore with them, George's passion for the sport and encouragement of all runners is obvious.
The other living "lifetime member" of NOTC and GNORA, Mo Emory has served critical roles for the club through its 51 years and counting. Mo has served as president, vice-president, treasurer, and elected and appointed board member, and he was the chairman for the Mardi Gras Marathon and race director for numerous races, including the club's 50k race in 1978 and the Sugar Bowl 10k in 1979. He helped produce the club's big events early on, including the Bayou Classic 10k, the Schlitz Lite 10k, and the 20th Anniversary Run. He has been supporting the Turkey Day since the club began producing it and has been integral in the success of longer races such as the Larry Fuselier 25k. Mo even created hand-made awards for races in his wood shop. A marathoner with a 3:02 personal best, Mo could be found regularly running with the Metairie Runners, leading group runs around Metry (Pontiff) Playground or City Park from the old tennis club. Those who became close with Mo were rewarded with his homemade treats, including fudge, pepper-jelly, hot sauce and spicy bread-and-butter pickles. Even more so, the club and its members have been rewarded with his dedication to the club in tough times and good.
The inaugural Hall of Fame inductees were announced at the 50th NOTC Anniversary Race held Saturday, August 17, 2013 in City Park. The inductees were all charter members of the NOTC: Al Briede, III; Dan Fuselier; Joe Fuselier; Larry Fuselier; Cy Quinn; C.J. Mouton; John Morvant; Dan Calamari; Ed Dufour; John McMahon; Emile Dreuil; John Linehan; Dick Cochran; Richard Newcomb; Dr. Sam McNeely; Peter Salatich; Terry Turner; Dave Meister; J.D. "Sarge" Schaffer; Henry Calamari; Jerry Schoen; and Chuck Zatarain.