Honoring Unsung Heroes and Pioneers: Larry Noel

by Freddi Carlip

With racing on hold due to COVID-19, we have the opportunity to look back and remember those who have blazed the trail for our sport——our pioneers and unsung heroes. Larry Noel was one of running’s trailblazers in the DC area.

Larry Noel was a quiet, unassuming man who has given countless hours to promote running in the DC area. He was elected co-President of the DCRRC in 1968 and directed the race that now bears his name, the Larry Noel 15K, for many years. When I think of the Washington’s Birthday Marathon and the Greenbelt 10 and 20 Milers, I think of Larry. He worked tirelessly to make these races the success they became.

The mayor of Greenbelt, MD, Judith Davis, declared September 6, 1998 “Larry Noel Day.” RRCA President Don Kardong, Congressman Jim Moran, Congressman star miler Jim Ryun, and “Gunga” Ted Poulos were among the people who sent letters of congratulations which DCRRC Vice President Bob Platt shared with the audience.

Larry Noel had a long association with RG. Woven through each issue is a tapestry of running and racing in the DC area…thanks to Larry. I was privileged to be part of the celebration honoring this unsung hero. 

Here’s a poem by RG’s Bernie Greene written about Larry. Bernie read the poem at the Larry Noel Day celebration:

       Larry Noel

The unsung heroes of our sport
Are spread throughout the land;
They make the races possible——
They always lend a hand.

They give their time, they volunteer,
They help support our racing;
They seek no cash, they work long hours,
They’re often self-effacing.

The dean of race directors,
At least in this locale,
Is loved and is respected,
By any rationale.

This quiet gent from Greenbelt
Has given thirty years
To distance-running causes;
It’s his turn to hear cheers.

Three races in particular
Bear his fingerprints today:
A ten-and-twenty combo,
A marathon, a 15K.

These Greenbelt races still draw crowds;
They’re mainstays of the scene——
Two winter races, and a third
When earth is emerald green.

Someday they’ll be his legacy;
One even bears his name——
A fitting way to honor him,
This keeper of the flame.

And so it is with swelling pride
I  say his name to you:
Larry Noel is the guy
To whom the credit’s due.

When God made Larry Noel,
I think he broke the mold;
He is the one and only——
He’s worth his weight in gold.

                    Bernie Greene

Categories: From Freddi

1 reply

  1. Nice job, Bernie. About time.


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