About the Hall of Fame
Over the past 44 years, countless people have contributed to the success and growth of the Houston Marathon, from industry and community leaders to humanitarians, athletes and volunteers. To recognize these individuals for their dedication and service to this great event and the sport of running, the Houston Marathon Committee established the Houston Marathon Hall of Fame in 2007.
Class of 2017
Al Lawrence was a staple in the Houston running community for more than 4o years. Known for his ability to foster competitive and recreational running among his athletes, as well as within the local Houston community, Lawrence’s passion and knowledge for the sport was evident until his passing at the age of 86 from Pancreatic Cancer.
Al arrived in Houston in 1958 and joined the University of Houston’s track team, where he won the NCAA and AAU cross country national championships in 1959 and 1960. He set two world records six days apart, for the indoor 2-mile and 3-mile and competed for Australia in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics in the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon – winning a bronze medal in the 10,000m in 1956. In the early 1970s, Lawrence began coaching local elite and novice runners. Since its inception in 1972, hundreds of Lawrence’s runners have finished the Houston Marathon, including the inaugural champion, Danny Green. After years on the sidelines as a coach, Lawrence decided to launch a competitive comeback and entered the Houston Marathon for the first time in 1978. He finished the race in 2:45:32. He then went on to run the race six more times and in 1981 won the U.S. Athletics Congress’ “Outstanding Athlete Award” for his 50-59 age group and was capable of posting a sub-2:40 time.
Al’s induction into the Hall of Fame represents a new category of contributors to our race – running coaches, those who advise, mentor and train our runners. Given the number of runners he’s coached and their far greater number of total finishes, no coach has contributed more to the Chevron Houston Marathon.
Class of 2016
Susan Poorman Blackie was a long-time Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) Board Member and a founding member of the Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF). She embodied the generosity and volunteer spirit which exemplifies the community of people who make the event possible each year. Susan was responsible for venue operations at the George R. Brown Convention Center from 1998-2006 and was instrumental in organizing Trials Town and the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She was an HMC Board member from 2004 to 2013. In 2007, Susan established the HMF with current President Maddie Bunch, Treasurer David Chester and Medical Director Dr. John Cianca.
Susan passed away on July 4, 2014 at the age of 64 and is survived by her husband Gary Blackie, son Buck Dodson and daughter Mindy White. She will be greatly missed but her legacy will continue on with the creation of an annual college scholarship in her name.
Class of 2015
CARL MOERER‘s association with the Houston Marathon Committee began in 1980 and over 35 years of volunteering, he only missed one race. Moerer spent the duration of his time on the Course Committee, beginning back when the Houston Marathon was a two-loop course at Memorial Park and was involved in every course re-design in the ensuing years.
From 1987 through 1991, Moerer was the Course Director and instrumental in the 1985 route redesign, which led to the first city-wide 26.2 mile course in the history of the Houston Marathon. Moerer, a partner at Tate Moerer & King, L.L.P., was also a member of the Houston Local Organizing Committee responsible for hosting the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the men’s and women’s marathon.
Class of 2014
DENNY MORSE’s association with the Houston Marathon Committee began back in 1980. He originally moved to Houston in 1972 and after a few years here, a friend asked him to go for a run at Memorial Park. Several years after that, Morse ran his first marathon. That was the start of his running career that would lead him to the Houston Marathon Committee. Morse started out working with the results team, a position that evolved into the Official Scorer over the years. Morse was also a member of the Board of Directors during his entire tenure with the Houston Marathon Committee and has been involved in the selection process for the HMC Hall of Fame since its inception in 2007.
Class of 2013
BOB EURY‘s commitment to the Houston Marathon began almost 30 years ago when he ran his first marathon in 1984. Since then, he has run 29 consecutive races in Houston, making the 2013 edition of the Houston Marathon his 30th-consecutive run at this event. He currently serves as the President of Central Houston, Inc. and is the Executive Director of the Downtown Management District. Eury recently served as volunteer Chairman of the Houston Host Committee comprised of civic leaders.Under his guidance, Houston became the first city to host both the men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Marathon on the same course at the same time.
Class of 2012
MONTIE GRIMES association with the Houston Marathon Committee began 24 years ago in when he volunteered to help Wayne Long, the start line committee chair, with the start of the 1988 Houston-Tenneco Marathon. Two years later, Grimes became one of Wayne’s start line captains, and by 1991, he had succeeded Wayne to become the start line committee chair. Grimes drafted the first start line timetable and event scripts, which provided exact initiation times for all start line activities. This was the first time that all committee and volunteer watches were synchronized and all activities were timed prior to the race
start. This improved the on-time start record for the race. The start line scripts are still used in a much-expanded form to this day and are one of the principal reasons the Houston Marathon is renowned for its organization.
Grimes’ organizational skills were too useful to be confined to the start line, and he began managing the finish line in 2001, where he recruited a number of finish line committee members who remain in place today. The following year, he moved to the pace vehicle committee.
Grimes also served as a member of the Board of Directors for eight years, from 1997 to 2005. During his time on the board, he was a key contributor to the race’s rapid growth. Grimes is still active today, providing advisory input whenever he is asked.
Class of 2011
PAT HOGAN-KORGE first became involved with the Houston Marathon in 1995 when she learned about the Run for a Reason charity program. She viewed it as a great fit for the organization, CanCare, whose message of hope for cancer patients and their families was something dear to her heart. Pat was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 1983, and although she has not been able to run since then, she was determined to find a way to get involved in the charity program. Pat created CanCare’s first running group, “Team CanCare,” which has been running strong ever since. Some runners have even been on the team since its inception.
The project’s first year was a great success – many CanCare volunteers, family members and friends of others’ affected by cancer, and cancer survivors, including Anne Turnage, the founder of CanCare, Nancy Tucker, then the executive director (and now president) of CanCare, ran on “Team CanCare” to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit organization.
For the past 15 years, Pat has spent her Saturdays during marathon training season speaking to running groups in the Greater Houston area about CanCare. The CanCare staff calls this “Pat’s card table ministry” because at each speaking event, she lays out her old and worn out card table. Some days, traveling across the city can be overwhelming, but Pat is always reminded of why she is there when she encounters the families who are constantly battling this horrible disease.
Inspired by another Team CanCare runner, Pat trained and walked her first marathon in 1999, which is one of Pat’s greatest accomplishments. Her husband Bill would always say that she was crazy for her frequent 5 a.m. Saturday training runs, but eventually caught the “marathon fever” himself. He subsequently completed two Houston Marathons before he passed away in 2002.
Pat remains an avid walker and usually participants in a half marathon each year in another city so she can enjoy being a part of the CanCare Hoopla station on race day. She is known for wearing the team’s traditional big, yellow, foam hair. She has completed half marathons in Tucson, Phoenix, Disneyworld, San Antonio and New Orleans.
Over the years, Team CanCare has raised more than $750,000 and has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 for 2011.
GEORGE KLEEMAN is the second of only four Houston Marathon race directors, serving from 1976 through 1980. George’s leadership, technical savvy, high-energy and can-do attitude were critical during those early years. During his tenure, George deftly took the marathon from an inside-Memorial-Park road race to a much larger start-and-finish-in-downtown extravaganza. In 1979, George successfully managed the National Marathon Championship for men and women as a part of the Houston Marathon.
After departing Houston in 1980 to accept an assignment with Shell, George expanded his involvement in long-distance running, race walking and track-and-field officiating. He served on or chaired no less than 27 regional and national committees of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union), TAC (The Athletics Congress) and USATF (USA Track and Field). When asked about his most significant committee assignment, he responded: “That’s easy! I was the Regional VP of the National Women’s Long-Distance Running Committee from 1978 through 1984 when women’s long-distance running was really taking hold. I am really proud of some of the things we accomplished.”
George continues to serve on the National USATF Rules Committee. Each year, George works 50-60 days of track meets at all levels (regional to international) and has travelled around the world in doing so. George was one of only three certified International Technical Officials from the USA and 39 such officials world-wide from 2001-2009 and he chaired USATF’s IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations)Technical Officials group from 2000-2004.
George was also an athlete, having competed in twenty-plus marathons and three ultra-marathons (winning one). He was a member of the USA team that competed in the 1979 London-to-Brighton 54-mile race.
George Kleeman is a rare gem. He was vital to the Houston Marathon’s growth and he continues to make huge contributions to the sport. This is evidenced by his numerous regional and national awards, including having been inducted into the USAT&F Officials Hall of Fame.
Class of 2010
SANDRA GRIMES began volunteering for the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. in 1989 selling merchandise in the tunnel system downtown while working at Tenneco (then sponsor of the Houston Marathon). Over the next few years, Sandra’s marathon responsibilities expanded greatly, and for more than a dozen years, she chaired subcommittees overseeing the design, purchase, retails sales and distribution of all Houston Marathon merchandise.
Each February, Sandra worked on the design for the next year’s marathon merchandise. She designed and ordered volunteers, runner, committee, charity and retail merchandise, finisher’s medals and awards, and any other merchandise items needed by the marathon. On race weekend, Sandra worked 14 to 16 hours a day managing the retail sales and the runners’ merchandise areas.
In 2001, Sandra was elected to the Committee’s Board of Directors. She served as Secretary to the Board from 2002 until her retirement from the Committee in 2006.
ROB MOCK has been a triple-threat volunteer for the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc. He first volunteered in 1989 and starting the Wednesday before race day, Rob Mock quickly became the “go-to-guy” of the Houston Marathon. As an integral part of race preparation, Rob served as Race Course Director in 1997, Course Equipment Director in 1998 and George R. Brown Director from 1998-2003.
Each day leading up to the race, Rob supervised workers and construction, directed the hoards of delivery trucks, managed the installation of the plumbing and electricity, paid bills and arranged permits. He also organized volunteers and answered questions, positioned EXPO vendors and helped to assemble the Texas Children’s Hospital Kids’ Fun Run the morning of the marathon. Similarly, Rob continued to be an active member of the Board of Directors and was the Vice President until his retirement from the board in 2003.
Class of 2009
GLORIA and HARRY MCLEOD have worked, and sometimes both run and worked, all 36 Houston marathons. No one can beat that. In 1972, Gloria and Harry opened about 300 boxes of beef stew to serve runners and volunteers after finishing the race. And not to mention, Harry ran that marathon before helping with the kitchen chores. In years following, Gloria also ran the marathon while continuing her kitchen duties until the marathon left Memorial Park for downtown. After that, she and Harry were at the finish line, Harry on the microphone and Gloria looking up numbers and names. Later, they helped Fred Duckett, who took over the announcing job. In 1997, when the temperature was freezing and the finish line stage iced over, Gloria said, “That’s it, Harry, we’re getting an inside job.” Since that time, Harry has passed away (2000), but Gloria continues to be involved and works with volunteers serving coffee and snacks to marathon volunteers. Quite a record!
CY STRONG began his tenure with the Houston Marathon Committee more than 25 years ago. His commitment first began when he co-chaired registration with his wife Diane for more than three years, which then lead to chairing the invited athlete program and serving as course co-chairman, each for three years. Cy also served as the Board of Directors for more than 25 years.
Passionate and committed to whatever he sets out to accomplish, Cy is best known for being an initiator, first initiating the Houston Marathon’s “Run for a Reason” charity program and serving as chairman for three years. Together with Maddie Bunch (Board of Directors), they developed the concept of the half marathon, and Cy, along with other members of the running community, developed the 5K race.
As Treasurer of the board, he helped to establish a fiscal model of commitment which the board adhereds to this day. Alongside his successful Houston Marathon activities, he completed 25 marathons across the country, including the Houston Marathon as well as others.
Class of 2008
AUSTIN O’TOOLE joined the Houston Marathon Board of Directors in 1979, when George Kleeman was the race director. During his time on the board, Austin’s responsibilities included runner registration and oversight of the EXPO. He also represented the board as attorney, beginning with the negotiations that led to Methodist Hospital becoming the Houston Marathon’s title sponsor in 1997. He established the Veterans’ Committee in 1985 to honor all runners who have finished 10 or more Houston Marathons. Every year, Austin brings his collection of Houston Marathon t-shirts from prior years to display at the Veterans’ Booth at the EXPO.
MARIA CAMACHO‘s resident assistant at her dorm at Purdue told her that running 1 mile would burn off a small soft-serve ice cream cone. Maria began running that week in order to continue enjoying soft serve ice cream, and has been running ever since. Maria and her husband, Jesse, ran their first Houston Marathon in 1983, and have both run the race every year since. The couple holds the 2nd-longest streak of any husband and wife team, and Maria is tied for the most Houston Marathons run by a female. Maria’s fastest Houston Marathon finish came in 1987, when she ran a 3:03.
Class of 2007
PETE LEAGUE was the Houston Marathon’s first race director. He was transferred from the Bay Area to Houston for his job with Shell in 1971 and quickly became involved in the Houston running scene. In 1972, he decided that Houston needed a marathon. There were 138 runners who toed the line on that day in December 1972 for a five-loop tour of Memorial Park. Pete directed the first three Houston Marathons, and in April 1975 he went on to found another local fixture, the Bayou City Fun Run. Pete now lives in Austin and comes over every year to help out with the Houston Marathon.
DAVID HANNAH was the race director of the Houston Marathon from 1980 to 2002. This was a time of tremendous growth for the Houston Marathon: the race hosted about 700 runners in 1980, and almost 10,000 ran in 2002. During this period of time, David also oversaw negotiations that led to the race’s first three title sponsors: Tenneco Inc., Methodist Health Care System, and Compaq Computer Company. In 1982, under David’s direction, Houston became only the 6th race in the nation to offer a prize purse, at the time given in the form of a trust in the winner’s name in order to preserve the runners’ amateur status. Every one of those first five races no longer exists, and Houston is thus the oldest race in the country to offer prize money.
JAMES KETELSEN was CEO of Tenneco, Inc. from 1978 to 1991. Under his leadership, Tenneco became the title sponsor of the Houston Marathon in 1979, a position that Tenneco would hold for 17 years. At the time, Tenneco was one of the top 20 corporations in the country, and there was virtually no significant corporate sponsorship of road races. Those 17 years saw the explosive growth of the race – the watershed moment was the introduction of prize money for the 1982 race. James was also one of the pioneers of corporate fitness, and it was on his watch that Tenneco opened its Employee Fitness Center. He also started a foundation called Project GRAD, which promotes education for inner-city children. When James left Tenneco in 1991, he went to work for the foundation full-time, where he works to this day.
TOM and MARY ANNE MCBRAYER were at the first Houston Marathon in 1972. It was the McBrayers’ station wagon that marked the turnaround point on the five-loop marathon course. They both ran in the event back in those years, and Mary Anne was twice the female masters winner of the race. They have done everything imaginable as volunteers for the event. Mary Anne served as secretary of the committee, organized all volunteers and oversaw the convention center on race day. Tom ran the finish line and kept track of all marathon equipment over the years, and has personally measured every course that the Houston Marathon has ever known. They both served on the Board of Directors, and are still active in the running scene at the local and national level through USATF, the Houston Masters running club, and the marathon warm-up series.
JACK LIPPINCOTT ran his first Houston Marathon in 1975 and hasn’t missed one since. His 32 consecutive Houston Marathons to date give him the longest streak in Houston Marathon history. Jack is one of the only current runners who could give you a first-hand account of the early marathon routes in Memorial Park and the evolution of the race from a small, local affair to one of the nation’s premier road races. In addition to running, Jack is in charge of the Houston Marathon Veterans Committee and keeps track of each and every participant who has ten or more finishes at the Houston Marathon.