Hall of Fame
Establishing new and honoring old traditions, the SLO Marathon + Half annually recognizes a San Luis Obispo County individual for making Race SLO Town the perfect place to run. Recipients are chosen for their initiative and inspiration, high level of accomplishment in running and/or coaching, and generous contribution to the running community in San Luis Obispo and the growth and future of our sport.
We solicit nominations for new Hall of Fame inductees from the community, and they are then chosen by our Hall of Fame Committee.
We are proud to honor each one of these individuals with gratitude for the legacy they leave in San Luis Obispo.
Paso Robles High School cross country and track and field coach Ivan Huff will be inducted into the Race SLO’s Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 28, 2019 during the SLO Half Marathon and Relay Races awards ceremony. Hall of Fame nominees are chosen for their initiative and inspiration, high level of accomplishment in running and/or coaching, and generous contribution to the running community in San Luis Obispo and the growth and future of this sport.
Robyn Schmidt, Atascadero High School cross country coach and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, calls coach Huff a gift to distance running. “He truly loves track and field, and the kids he coaches,” she says.
Coach Huff attended PRHS from 1973 to 1977, when he was named Athlete of the Year. After a successful career in running, in which he qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1984, 1988, and 1993 for the 3,000 meter steeplechase and the marathon, Ivan Huff started coaching Bearcats athletes in 1986. He is the longest tenured coach at the school, inspiring his athletes to achieve their goals, with many continuing to compete and succeed on the college level.
Pepe Gonzales, former student athlete at PRHS and Race SLO Ambassador says, “Coach Huff had a great impact on my running life. He’s inspired me to keep running and reaching my goals of achieving the impossible. He gave me tools to break through mental restraints. He not only taught me how to be a great athlete on the track, but how to be a good person off the track.”
For Huff, coaching is about connection, not just miles, paces and drills. He respects that every athlete is different. He says, “Running teaches good habits. It’s a lifestyle that informs how we eat, sleep and structure our lives. Running teaches kids to commit and work hard, and that even things that seem impossible can be accomplished by showing up every day.”
Coach Huff values the opportunity to have a good influence on children. He remembers coaching a student who’d fallen in with the wrong crowd, and even stole a car in middle school. Running in high school taught him a good work ethic. Eventually, the boy set a record for 2-mile run. He went to college and now serves as a San Jose police officer.
“Every year brings new people and events to be proud of,” says Huff. These moments are what keeps him coaching – he doesn’t want to let the kids down.
Race SLO, the organizer of the San Luis Obispo Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay Races presented by Pacific Premier Bank, is proud to announce that Robyn Schmidt will be inducted into the event’s Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 29, 2018 during the awards ceremony. Robyn Schmidt started a Youth Cross Country program in Atascadero in 2009 with just a half a dozen athletes, and successfully grew it into an official Atascadero Junior High School running program with 50 participants, preparing students for high-school running.
An All-American runner and national champion at Cal Poly, Robyn qualified for the 1984 Summer Olympics. Her blazing PR in the marathon is 2:37, a time that would have set a world record as late as 1976. Robyn will join the SLO Marathon Hall of Fame inductees Joe Rubio (2017), Sean Ricketts and Dr. Paul Spangler (2016), Stan Rosenfield (2015), Roger Warnes (2014), Greg Hinds (2013), and Pete Dorn and Brian Waterbury (2012).
“I am personally stoked to have our first female Hall Of Famer! The endurance sport industry has seen a huge shift in the last decade where women are not only driving the growth of the sport but providing fresh leadership energy into the space as well. Robyn is a prime example of the strong and compassionate athletic role modeling our community needs to succeed in the healthy lifestyle arena,”
– Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO.
The induction ceremony will take place as part of the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 29, beginning at 10:45am on the grounds of the Madonna Inn.
Joe Rubio has been a headliner in SLO since he ran for Cal Poly as an undergrad, and later, he took the podium at some of our most iconic local races, the Thanksgiving Hunger Run and the Waterbury Rock-to-Pier.
An elite runner in his own right, the high school and college All-American was also a 2-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and finisher (1992 & 1996). Later, he helped establish the City-to-the-Sea Half Marathon and the Pozo 5K, two more staple races for Central Coast runners.
For nearly 20 years, Rubio, now 54, has been coaching the elite HOKA ONE ONE Aggies Running Club, boosting hundreds of local runners from collegiate standouts to national competitors as well as Olympic Trials qualifiers. He is also the Running Warehouse founder & owner, a leading online running specialty store based in SLO.
Dr. Paul Spangler
Dr. Spangler took up running in his late 60s to lose weight and relieve stress. Over the next 25 years, he set numerous world and U.S. running records including every U.S. track record from 800 to 10,000 meters for the 90-94 age group. The USA Track & Field (USATF) annual award for Outstanding Masters Long Distance Running is now named after Dr. Spangler.
During his later life, Dr. Spangler was a common sight on the roads of San Luis Obispo, happily running and training for races. He was instrumental in creating the tradition of fitness that defines the SLO community today. With Warren Hansen, he designed and built the Laguna Fitness Trails in Laguna Lake Park, which will be re-dedicated in his honor later this year.
Dr. Spangler died in 1994 at the age of 95, while out on a training run in San Luis Obispo, doing what he loved best.
Sean Ricketts, cross country and track coach at Arroyo Grande High School, has produced many championship teams in his career so far. Even closer to his heart though, are the many athletes who have turned their lives around, discovered unexpected talents and set higher goals as a result of running.
A Cal Poly grad (bachelors and masters), Ricketts is gifted at building close teams and inspiring young runners. A champion in his own right, the 2003 Big West Cross Country champion, Ricketts also founded Central Coast Runners camps to introduce the sport of running to youth without track programs at their own schools.
At age 33, Ricketts is the youngest inductee into the SLO Marathon Hall of Fame.
Best known as “the heart and soul” of the San Luis Obispo Distance Club, which he co-founded, Stan Rosenfield began running cross-country in high school and continued at Occidental College in Los Angeles. He has run over 1200 races, in addition to officiating at several hundred more.
At the age of 67, Stan can still be seen on the roads and trails of San Luis Obispo, enjoying the sport with his dog. The SLO Distance Club was formed by Rosenfield and Brian Waterbury to promote road racing on the beautiful central coast of California. Together they produced many races, including a marathon in 1973.
Since its inception, the SLO Distance Club has fostered the growth of thousands of local runners.
Roger Warnes, a Cal Poly physical education graduate, has coached hundreds of runners through his Roadrunners Club, high school teams and online coaching. Warnes started the club in 1976 as a class offered through the SLO Recreation Department. It grew over the years into a triathlon and running institution on the central coast.
Roger Warnes cuts a wide swath, with his gruff voice and colorful aphorisms. Not too terribly far beneath his brusque exterior, however, lies a heartfelt dedication to the health and success of the athletes who entrust their training to him.
As a nationally ranked runner sidelined by a serious overuse injury himself, Warnes is especially attentive to the risk of running injury. Grateful past and present members praise Warnes for his insistence on correct running form and injury prevention.
Over the years, the Roadrunners led by Coach Warnes have volunteered at numerous county races but perhaps the greatest contribution Warnes has made to the well-being of the community is the promotion of the running lifestyle. A healthy community results from healthy individuals, who embrace the running life.
Greg Hind shod most of the SLO running community before his death from leukemia in 2012. Co-owner of GH Sports, Greg was the first in our area to perform gait analysis for his customers in order to put them in the optimal shoe. Many of us owe our longevity in running to Greg’s helpful advice.
Greg entered the sports apparel market as a result of an injury he sustained in the 1967 Pan Am water polo competition, when a broken eardrum inspired him to design protective flaps on water polo caps. And that was just the first of many performance wear innovations he pioneered. Today, well-equipped runners have Hind to thank for technical fabrics, compression shorts and running tights.
Around town, Greg was best known for being the friendly face of GH Sports. He was a community-minded family man who is fondly remembered for his generosity and affability. Many public projects dear to the hearts of runners were built or sustained with Greg’s help, including the Harmony Headlands trail, the SLO botanical gardens and Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.
Together with his wife Jane, Greg helped make San Luis Obispo the welcoming capital for runners that it is.
Brian Waterbury (1948-2003) coached and taught at SLO High School for over 30 years. He directed the first-ever SLO marathon in 1973 at Laguna Lake Park and pioneered the Rock-to-Pier Run, still a must-do event on the local running calendar.
Coach Waterbury co-founded the San Luis Distance Club, a thriving local running club. Brian ran over 500 races in his career, including 25 marathons and a Top Ten age-group finish at Boston in 2001 (2:51).
Pete Dorn (1944-2010) organized the Hunger Project marathon through See Canyon in 1978-79. This marathon evolved into the annual Thanksgiving Hunger Run which continues to benefit local food banks 36 years later.
During his years of involvement with Team-In-Training, Pete raised over $1 million for leukemia/lymphoma research, introduced many novices to running, changed countless lives for the better and showed us how to have fun while doing it.
Thank You To Our Partners
Between the kids events and 5k on Sat, followed by the half and full marathon option Sunday there is a little something for everyone. Having graduated from Cal Poly it’s great to come back and run pass so many memories along the course. My kids loved playing at the finish line festival.
Benjamin Bruce, Pro Marathon Runner
Register to Race!
Runners and walkers of all ages and levels are welcome!
Stay Up To Date With The Latest Updates and Event Info
connect with us