Alton Milrany was born and raised in Plano, Texas where he enjoyed playing all sports. After graduating from SMU, he moved to Houston to work for Tenneco and following his retirement, Alton dedicated his time and expertise to help local nonprofits.
Alton started as a volunteer and joined the Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) Board of Directors in the early 2000’s, serving as Treasurer until 2005. After a brief stint with the MS Society, Alton returned to the HMC. In April 2007 he was named as the HMC Executive Director and served in that position until 2010. During that time, Alton led the nation-wide search for the HMC’s first full-time Executive Director. Alton was then voted by the HMC BOD to serve as a member of the HMC Executive Committee and held the Officer position as Board Secretary. A selfless leader with an affinity for philanthropic endeavors, Alton was a staunch supporter of the growth and impact of the HMC’s Run for a Reason Charity program (RFAR) which provides a platform for over 60 charities to fundraise annually for a wide variety of impactful causes. His vision and passion for the RFAR program played a significant role in its growth. The inception of the RFAR program was in 1995 and the program generated nearly $10M in its first 15 years, but since 2010 the RFAR program has raised over $25M and will cross the $35M plateau in 2023.
In 2007, Alton was a Founding Member of the Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF), which was created as the philanthropic arm of the Houston Marathon and designed to have a legacy impact on the Houston community by promoting the health and wellness benefits of long-distance running. He served on the HMF BOD for over 10 years. Today, the HMF has awarded $240,000 in scholarships to local cross-country runners, and the We Run Houston after-school running program has provided training support, equipment, and race entries to 3,869 students in the Greater Houston Region. Additionally, the HMF has promoted a hands-only CPR awareness campaign, hosted numerous Family Fun Runs for new runners, and financially supported the training for U.S. professional long-distance runners.
Alton’s passion for philanthropic work in the community and the time he gave to volunteer for the HMC directly contributed to its growth, success, and community impact. He always said he would do anything for the Houston Marathon, as long as he did not have to run.
Alton passed away in September of 2020, but his contribution to the HMC will live on forever.
Originally from Alton, Illinois, David and Kate Chester relocated to Katy, Texas in 1986 along with their family, led by David’s job at Shell Oil. In 1999, they found their way to Houston. David has been a runner since 1977, ran his first of 30 marathons in 1978, and ran the Houston Marathon from 1987 through 1992. In 1993, David started volunteering in various roles for the Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) when his close friend, current board member Madeline Bunch, convinced Kate and David to assist with the Elite Athlete Committee which they did together for 20 years.
In 1996, Paul Bunch, Bill Anthony and David were asked to handle all Elite Athlete invitations and were responsible for building a competitive field of world-class runners for the event each year. Kate worked with Madeline to handle the logistics (entering data, scheduling meals and hotels, and other administrative items).
After a couple of years, David started working as the Elite Athlete Coordinator, and he owned this enormous responsibility until after the 2012 U.S.A. Olympic Trials men’s and women’s marathon. One of their goals after the turn of the century was to recruit a runner who could break the men’s course record, and after falling short on several attempts, Deriba Merga ran a 2:07:52 in 2009 moving Houston up the ranks of elite U.S. marathons. In 2012, a day after the Olympic Trials, David comprised a field of world class men and women runners for the Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon that led to all four course records falling, culminating in an amazing weekend for the sport and the Houston running community. Following this monumental weekend, David retired and mentored Erin Forssman, who took over the elite program, and was assisted by Kate, who continued working with the Elite Committee for a few more years.
David was also one of the Founding Members of the Houston Marathon Foundation (HMF) in 2007 and served as Treasurer on the HMF Board of Directors for 10 years.
Kate and David enjoyed working with the HMC and all the great people who make the Houston Marathon what it has become over the years. David is honored that he and Kate will be in the Hall of Fame, but saddened that Kate, who passed away in February of 2019 will not be able to share this honor together.