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.