Foot Traffic Women’s Hall of Fame honors local women

Unlike most sports Hall of Fames, where the primary factor for consideration is athletic success, Foot Traffic’s Women’s Hall of Fame was created to honor women who have made contributions to the larger running community. In other words, coaches, race directors, and leaders of other sorts. Some are well-known; others might be behind a great program but prefer to work behind the scenes; all put in many hours of unpaid time to help others.

On Saturday, June 13, 2015 most of the nominees gathered at Foot Traffic’s new location at 13306 NW Cornell Road in Portland. There was a hosted group run, music, food and drink, vendors, and a very cool Foot Traffic Chariot that I later saw in action as co-owner Sean Rivers pulled it down the road to the delight of his daughters, who were riding in the back. The highlight of the event was the presentation of the nominees and then the announcement of which two local women had been selected as the first class of inductees.

Judy Heller, founder of Wonders of Walking, was the first Hall of Fame member announced. Heller, who has coached thousands of walkers and racewalkers over the years, is also certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, an ACE certified personal trainer, and USATF coach and racewalk judge. She managed the Portland to Coast Relay for a number of years, and has volunteered at many events, including putting on walking clinics at the ORRC Up the Lazy River 10k. Her welcoming smile and honest respect for all walkers and runners has inspired so many people to get fit, stay fit, and even compete at walking events.

Charlotte Richardson was the other inductee to the Foot Traffic Women’s Hall of Fame this year. She has an impressive personal running resume – she qualified for the 1976 Olympic Trials in the 1500 meters – and has coached at Lincoln High School (Portland) for years. She also directed and produced a documentary film called “Run Like a Girl,” which illustrates how running has changed for women over the decades. She is also a co-founder of Team Athena, a women’s running club.

Other nominees included:

Inaugural Inductees


Kelly Barten – Does a masterful job of juggling a new addition to her family and work, as well as continuing to be the editor for the Oregon Road Runners Club print newsletter- Oregon Distance Runner. She won the Excellence in Journalism Award for Print Newsletter from the Road Runners Club of America this past year. She is the Creator and Administrator of the Run Oregon Blog, which has grown exponentially over the past 16 months and has a viewership of now more than 35,000 times/month. She also has been the race director at a variety of events in the past year and volunteered at numerous others.

Shannon Botten – She was one of the organizers for Mactown Striders running club in McMinnville and she put on a number of events including the Rowland Road 5k – small, family-friendly, low-cost events.

Sarah Bowen Shea – co-author of Run Like a Mother, creates podcasts, organizes races, and inspires mothers to run. She and her co-author, Dimity McDowell, hold women’s running retreats, write for Runner’s World magazine and website, and have a huge following.

Liz Dooley – founder of Ladybug Run for CDH Awareness in Portland, which she started to raise awareness of a condition her now 5-year-old daughter was born with. The race continues to raise funds for other families of CDH children.

Patti Finke – founder of Team Oregon, which offers coaching but is most known for the free Portland Marathon Clinic which has offered supported long run training for thousands of runners preparing for a fall marathon for more than 20 years. She is an exercise physiologist, an RRCA certified running coach, a mentor to many other local coaches, and was competitive in distance running (marathon and ultra) in various age groups through the years. She was a big part of growing Oregon Road Runners Club and helping the club continue to focus on the “right” things – quality events and support for runners.

Shalane Flanagan – this professional runner and Olympian supports an organization that builds tracks, and helps with Portland State running programs.

Jennifer Gerritz – the council director for Girls on the Run in Portland, Gerritz is a business owner and mother who has furthered GOTR’s reach in our area.

Jennifer Hellickson – “Lunatics” leader that engages women in sports; read more about her and LUNAChixPDX in this month’s “Running Around Oregon” article.

Felicia Hubber – Current race director of the Hood To Coast relay race (her father was involved in the development of the race, which started as an ORRC event).

Mariah Jeffery– One of the organizers of the free Hillsboro women’s club, Moms Run This Town. She encourages and inspires many moms to get healthy and run.

Laurie Jenkins – took over Liberty Fit a few years ago and the work she has done with that program is amazing – any student or staff at Liberty High School who wants to, trains for the Helvetia Half Marathon together. She inspires the kids, and their families, and the staff at her school.

Cyndie Burke Pelto – founder of Cause + Event, an event which allows participants to choose where their donation goes. The race is in Portland, Boston, and soon Idaho. She has a lot of energy, spirit, and passion, about investing in the next generation; for that reason she volunteers as a coach for Girls on the Run.

Lisa Peterson – an avid runner and breast cancer survivor, coordinates the Atkinson Running Club as featured a previous issue of the ODR. She recently presented at the ORRC RD Clinic on this topic and wrote about her experiences in this issue, “Running Through Breast Cancer.”

Nikki Rafie – Former Portland Marathon Champion and 2-time Olympic Trials qualifier, Rafie has run more than 20 sub 3-hour marathons. She has volunteered as a coach for Team Athena for five years and is currently coaching several other local women.

Keara Sammons Rupp – Galen Rupp’s wife is a part-time coach at Sunset High School.


About Author

We started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. We also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support local race organizers.