Five very important persons in the history of the New Orleans Track Club will be inducted into the group’s Hall of Fame following an anniversary road race on Aug. 16 in New Orleans City Park.
Charlene Brinkman, Don Brinkman, Mayo “Mo” Emory, George Owen, and Elisabeth Van Battum are the new inductees. The ceremony formally introducing them as the second Hall of Fame class will follow 1/2-mile and 3-mile road races in City Park. The 1/2-mile race will begin at 8 a.m. and the 3-miler will follow at 8:15 a.m.
It’s an appropriate time for the ceremony, as Saturday’s races are being staged to remember the 51st anniversary of the NOTC.
“The anniversary race is a chance for the organization to honor past volunteers, leaders and club members,” said NOTC President Don Quintana. “We will also celebrate future opportunities that we will enjoy as the club grows and continues to give back in New Orleans.”
Each member of the quintet being feted on Saturday helped cement the NOTC’s place on the map, said induction committee member Brendan Minihan Jr.
“The Brinkmans, I remember being there since I first was introduced to the club in the early ’80s,” he said. “My dad was running then, and I just remember thinking of them as influential — as people who played a big part in making it all happen. Them, and Mo Emory. They’ve all been president of the club, and they’ve helped make it what it is. All these years later, they’re at every race, and they always volunteer from set up to shut down. They know the history and the tradition, and they can share it.”
Owen, along with Emory, is one of two living “Lifetime Members” of the NOTC. Owen is a former club president and also is owner of the Southern Runner store, where he has played an instrumental role in giving the local running community a gathering space.
“He’s been preaching the gospel of running for a long time,” Minihan said.
Van Battum became an NOTC member in the mid-1970s and set numerous masters records in the years after. An avid volunteer for the club, she passed away earlier this year.
In addition to the anniversary races and Hall of Fame induction ceremony, four local students (all active participants in the running community), will receive $1,000 NOTC scholarships.
Registration on the day of the anniversary race costs $30 per person and includes ample food and drink. Awards will be presented, a race-walking clinic will be held, and a spacewalk will be available for children. A portion of the proceeds from the anniversary race will benefit St. Mary’s Residential Training School — a non-profit residential care and training facility for local children and adults with developmental disabilities.
The anniversary races will begin and end at the City Park festival grounds. Race-day registration will begin at 7 a.m.
For more information, go online to www.runnotc.org, or call (504)-304-2326.