Manasota Track Club – History

Three Amigos

Al Petz, Walter White, and Dave Siegwald 1991 Gasparilla Distance Classic

Mostly a family affair.

Left to right: Al Petz, Walter White, Joy Madden, Amy Petz, Leah McElroy, and Tim Petz.

Al Petz

The early years.

Bill O'Brien

MTC founder and first president in 1975.

They came, they saw. Los Angeles 1984

Left to right: Walter White, Bill O’Brien and Bill Carlan at the 1984 Olympics.

Jay Jaffe

Jay finishes the Shamrock Classic March 14, 1992. Andy Churma in background at Siesta Beach.

Another great finish!

Jay Jaffe makes another great finish at the Florida Festival Marathon, Orlando, February 19, 1984.

A great warm up!

Melanie Paschal warms up for the Human Race March 5, 1994. Melanie was also one of the MTC’s founding members and on the team in 1975 Florida State Masters Championship-won by MTC!

Richard Quevillon

Richard is one of the areas consistent top runners. Here he is collecting a trophy at the Sarasota Herald Tribune 10k March 1, 1992.

Richard Quevillon

Richard came to the US from Canada where he was a national marathon champ. He is always good natured with a smile for everyone. As a baker he spreads joy with generous goods. Sandy Claws beach run at Siesta Beach December 15, 1990. Alan Richardson in the background.

Richard Quevillon receives Runner of the Year for his 20 year winning efforts 1976-1996 from President David Siegwald.

Richard continues to run to this day and continues to dominate his age group. His signature black socks when he runs are an easy way to tell who he is!

The man who puts the "Beer" in Bill's Beer Run!

Bill McKenzie (Left), had been a supporter of Bill’s Beer Run for 10 years, supplying the ever growing need for more kegs. He donated much of the beer over the years. The Unsung Hero award is named for him.

Al Petz and Popeye!

Popeye didn’t have anything over Al Petz. A big man with a big heart for whom the Tingle-Petz award is named.

John Tingle

John was an active member of the club in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He gave time and effort to the club and community. His service to the club and community are recognized by the Tingle-Petz award-the highest level of recognition the club bestows.

Bill Rogers at the first Skyway Bridge run 1986.

Bill Rogers was one of the celebrity runners for the first Skyway Bridge Run in 1986. This was the opening of the new bridge across Tampa Bay. Cindy Bennett in the middle background.

Three Amigos and one famous runner

Bill Rogers came to the first Skyway Bridge run in 1986. Left to right: Harris Williams, Jerry Scott, Bill, and Richard Quevillon.

Another famous runner and author visits Sarasota!

Jim Fixx frequently came to Sarasota to visit his mother. Jim was an avid runner for his health and wrote the Complete Book of Running shown here signing MTC member Joy Madden’s copy at the race clinic before the Sarasota Herald Tribune 10k

The first editor of the Manasota Track Club's monthly newsletter. Blaine "Boots" Baesler

Boots started the first edition of the newsletter in September 1980 and continued as editor/writer for several years. Boots also distinguished himself on the roads as well-one of the faster runners for his time.

Law Week Classic April 25, 1993. Some of the senior members.

Left to right: Melanie Paschal, one of the original MTC members, John Hickey, long time member and started a running club in North Port, John Laughlin, a member from Tennessee and John Thompson.

Chuck Hill

Chuck was one of the original MTC members to form the club and one of the original officers.

It's always helpful to have a runner friend who is a lawyer-Bob Widman, Attorney

As a member of MTC Bob was instrumental in the incorporation of the club in 1979. He provided legal services to MTC pro bono and thus the Manasota Track Club, Inc. was born.

The distinguished Al Petz. (Far right)

Al was always happy to give advice, to anyone who would listen. His avid audience left to right: Tom Bedford, Bob Parnes, not paying attention and Sue Bernthal paying rapt attention!

Jewel and John (JC) Shenk

They were part of the original team in May 1975 that helped win the Florida State Masters Championship. They have since been instrumental in the early development of the club and were some of the initial officers. They continue to be members and contributors.

This is not classic running apparel but this is a classy guy!

Bill O’Brien was one of the main instigators of the original Manasota Track Club in 1975. He lead the team to their first Florida State Master Championship and seven more thereafter. As one of the original founders he was the first president and remained until he turned over the reigns in 1981. His team put the club on firm footing in the early years and set the stage for what the club is today.

Changing of the guard-passing of the presidential baton.

Bill O’Brien, first MTC president 1975-1980 passed the baton to Walt Rothenbach January 1981. And the legacy continued.

Moon Award? What's this???

This dubious award was given to Tom Depenbrock and Dave Siegwald for something that allegedly happened on one of the early MTC road trips to an out of town race. Not sure of the details but since no one witnessed anything: “Nobody saw nuttin”. We’ll leave well enough alone.

Our members can be found anywhere!

Here is Bill O’Brien, Bill and Dorothy Carlin at the 1984 Olympic trials in southern California.

Some of the original MTC running team!

Left to right: Jewel Shenk, JC Shenk and Nancy Carson. Nancy was part of the original team in 1975 that won the Florida State Masters Championship. This picture from the Paradise Run on Annamaria Island January 30, 1993.

It was March 22, 1975 and the First Annual Florida AAU Masters Track and Field Championships were being held in St. Petersburg Florida. Trophies to be given included one to the winning masters team. Enter Bill O’Brien, Jewel and John (JC) Shenk, Melanie and Guy Paschal, Mike McLeod, John and Denny Beith all who competed on the first day of the two day event. O’Brien and JC recognized an opportunity to win it all, but first they needed to form a team. A quick vote was taken and the ManasotaTrack Club (MTC) was born!

After the first day of the two day event the MTC was in second place just behind the St. Petersburg Track & Field Club. The woman made their contribution felt by entering several events and piled up the points. Few woman entered such meets in the early years so they made a world of difference. The group went back overnight to Sarasota and Bradenton and recruited two more women – Nancy Carson and Doris Wilson to the team. The team returned the next day and won the championship! In fact the MTC also won the next seven Florida Masters Track & Field Championships!

The first formal meeting of the club was May 6, 1975.

Elected officers:

 

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien

President

Mike McLeod

Mike McLeod

Vice President

JC Shenk

JC Shenk

Treasurer

Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill

Secretary

Jewel Shenk

Jewel Shenk

Membership Secretary

JC opened the first club bank account in April 1975 and the group decided on a one dollar membership fee!

The articles of incorporation were presented to the membership on November 4, 1979 and formally voted on December 14, 1979 thus the Manasota Track Club, Inc. was born.

 

Officers at the time of incorporation:

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien

President

Jay Jaffe

Jay Jaffe

Vice President

JC Shenk

JC Shenk

Treasurer

Chuck Hill

Chuck Hill

Secretary

Attorney Bob Widman, member, assisted with the articles of incorporation and application to the state without charge. The Articles stipulated the first annual meeting was to be held in January 1980. By this time the club had grown to 150 individual and family members from the handful of runners in 1975. The dues at the time were $1.00 individual and $2.00 family.

During the early years the club continued to grow and prosper, continuing to win the Florida State Masters Track and Field meets.

On occasion, Jim Fixx would show up at one of our runs. His mother lived in Sarasota and he would visit her occasionally. While in town he would show up at a beach run or other weekend run. I got to know Jim and he would call me when he arrived in town and ask if there was a run that weekend. If there was, he would ask if I could pick him up and take him to the site of the run. When I showed up with Jim, he became the focus of attention. The club didn’t have a very big budget in those days, but I thought what the heck, I’ll ask Jim to speak to the club. I told him we could only afford something like $300.00 and he agreed. This became one of the biggest turn outs for a meeting. For those not familiar with Jim Fixx, he was the author of The Complete Book of Running.  It was the bible for all new runners at the time. Jim died at the age of 52 of a heart attack while running.

Walter Rothenbach: During his career he worked his way up to be head of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation. He was instrumental in developing many of the business aspects of the MTC. In particular, he established our 501-C-3 Non-Profit status.

Walter Rothenbach

President – 1981-1982, Manasota Track Club

MTC Highlights over the years...

The Manasota Track Club has a long and established history in the Sarasota Manatee area. It continues to be the premier running club in the area as it is a Road Running Club of America chapter and a member of USA Track & Field. The club and its members have distinguished themselves over time by supporting running and the community. While the details of the club's members, activities and community support are in the club's newsletter archives, the highlights throughout the years are Identified below. It's a fun read and if you find that a significant event or important detail or fact has been overlooked, please send us an email and tell us about it.

1975

Bill O'Brian Founder and President 1975-1980

Bill O'Brien was an avid runner himself. He also coached track at Manatee High School. He started the Manasota Track Club in May 1975 while competing at the Florida State Masters Championships in St. Petersburg, Florida. He formed a team for that Championship that won the event that year and seven years following. Bill presided over the initial form and growth of the club and established the foundation for the clubs future growth. He was president for six years.

1980

Blaine “Boots” Baesler became the first newsletter editor and publisher

The first newsletter was issued in September 15, 1980. It was four pages and cost 15 cents to mail. During this same period the MTC became a member club of the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and became a 501-c-3 tax exempt organization through the RRCA. In December 1980 the first budget was approved with income expected of $6,200 and an ending balance of $2,700.

1981

The beginning of a new era of organization

This year saw the beginning of a new era of organization and activities under the leadership of President Walt Rothenbach. Walt introduced the formality of publishing a meeting notice with an agenda and every member was invited to attend. The response was immediate and a new location large enough to handle the crowd was needed. Fortunately the club was able to use the Twin Lakes facilities for board, general member meetings, the annual installation banquet and annual club picnic. The banquet (see the 1981 December newsletter for details and pictures of the first banquet) and picnic both had there start under President Rothenbach. The club logo was designed by the graphic artist on his staff that is still in use today. Walt and his team were instrumental in changing the summer beach run format from a four mile run each week to having a different race distance and format each week during the summer runs. Many of those changes are still in evidence forty years later.

2020 – Year of COVID-19

More MTC History Coming Soon!

We are hard at work, compiling the interesting stories from the last 45 years. if you have any great stories, please let us know.

Jay Jaffe, Walter White, Doc Wiley, Kent Morgan, Jerry Scott, Tom Dixon, the Opitz family and so many more were there at the beginning. These are the guys that put the club together and held it together for all these years. Sunday mornings a group would run Siesta Beach then sit around Jays pool on the beach and eat bagels and drink beer. I think the club is still the same now as it was in the early years. Friends running together in races and on the weekends and enjoying the magnificent Siesta Beach. 

Alec Jerrems

Member- 1978, Manasota Track Club

Thank you!

We wouldn’t be who we are today without the people that shaped our programs and services. Since 1975, the unwavering dedication of the Manasota Track Club leaders, (many of them are still involved today) helped shape our mission and the future of the MTC. For more than 45 years, these individuals have worked to make the Manasota Track Club what it is today!

Past Track Club Presidents (1975 – present)

Bill O'Brian
Bill O'Brian

1975-1980

Walter Rothenbach
Walter Rothenbach

1981-1982

Walter White
Walter White

1983

Tom Depenbrock
Tom Depenbrock

1984

Leah McElroy
Leah McElroy

1985

Jerry Scott
Jerry Scott

1986

Bob Munz
Bob Munz

1987

Harry Kleinman
Harry Kleinman

1988

Tommy Dixon
Tommy Dixon

1989

Mark Opitz
Mark Opitz

1990

Rico Hull
Rico Hull

1997

Liz Roman
Liz Roman

2003

JC Shenk
JC Shenk

1999

Jeff Olson
Jeff Olson

2000

Patti Connors
Patti Connors

2001

JIm Purdy
JIm Purdy

1991

Andy Churma
Andy Churma

1992

Tom Bedford
Tom Bedford

1993-1994

Kent Wiley
Kent Wiley

1995

Dave Siegwald
Dave Siegwald

1996

Jim Julian
Jim Julian

2002-2003

Dave Burke
Dave Burke

2004

Dan Gould
Dan Gould

2005

Jim Julian
Jim Julian

2005

Dave Siegwald
Dave Siegwald

2006

Sharon Guy
Sharon Guy

2007-2008

Tom Flanagan
Tom Flanagan

2009-2010

Patti Brustad
Patti Brustad

2011-2013

Kimmy Collister-Sterns
Kimmy Collister-Sterns

2014-2016

Cindi Wozniak
Cindi Wozniak

2017-2019

HAVE A PHOTO TO ADD?  Please make your site better. If you have a missing or better photo to add, please attach photo to form and send to us.