Club Info

AORTA is an affiliate member of the RRCA (Road Runners Club of America). Through the RRCA, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt, volunteer organization serving the Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area whose goal is to promote the fun of running and physical fitness. The club is open to anyone who wants to jog, run, or race regardless of age, sex, or running ability. AORTA holds weekly group runs, provides training programs from beginners to marathoners, conducts bi-monthly meetings with programs on running, fitness-related topics and organizes various racing events in and around the Auburn-Opelika area.

Saturday Group Runs
Runners, meet at the Corner Village parking lot at the intersection of E. Glenn Ave and N. Dean Road. Please park and gather near theTCBY/PakMail storefronts and away from the Kroger entrance. Whether you’re a current AORTA member or new to running (jogging, walking), come out and join us for our Saturday group runs!

Board Members

President Misty Carroll
Treasurer Clem Tanaka
Member Bob Banks
Member Casey Carter
Member Rachel Crafton-Stiver
Member David Erickson
Member Beth Kisor
Member Mike Milford
Member Monica Molt
Member Kathryn-Ruth Sasser
Member Mari Wilkes

Volunteer Opportunities
- Keep pace with a growing sport!
- More people are registering for local races!
- More local races are being offered!

This means "yes, there is something to do
in Auburn!"  We are always looking for volunteers for race support. It is a fun and rewarding experience to work at a local race. You are around people that are motivated about their fitness and appreciate the effort of volunteers. You will also be promoting fitness in the Auburn-Opelika community and supporting local charities.

We are constantly looking for cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers.  Check with us to learn specifics; we have a plethora of choices that range from non-race day support activities to handing out water on the course and after the last person has crossed the finish line.

The AORTA Board of Directors is comprised of individuals that are enthusiastic about running and the benefits it can bring to anyone's life.  We would love to talk with you if you think you might be interested in "giving back" to your community.

Please contact any board member if you are interested in volunteering for a future race or would like to serve on the club board.

Please forward any comments to the webmaster.

The History of AORTA
By Alvin Walls
  AORTA was founded in the early 70’s. Some of the original founders were Don Thaxton, Jimmy Danico, and Jim Duncan. All deceased. A few of the early members are still around, Bob Keith and Sam McCord. There are probably other but they are in the witness protection program and must remain anonymous. The club had a written charter and archives for years but somewhere along the way they disappeared.
  In the early 80’s the club conducted 6 races a year, distances, 5 to 10 miles. We also conducted 2 sprint triathlons at Chewacla. Entry fees were low, $2-$5, and proceeds were lower. The goal was to have a good race and at least break even financially. Making money was not a priority.
  Finish line equipment was homemade stanchions. Ropes, stop watches and index place cards. Water and Gatorade we provided at the finish, no food, water only, was served at course water stations.
  Weekly group runs were loosely organized. Routes and distance were decides a few minutes before the run started. There were no planned hydration stations. Water was available at public fountains, garden hoses. If you had a dollar you could stop at 7-11 for a Gatorade. (I think Mike and Gloria were the only ones that could afford this luxury!).
  In the summer we had 
free weekly all-comers meets at the Auburn University track. It was open to all ages and included distances from 100m to 1500m. All events were timed and the results were posted weekly in the local newspaper.
  Mel Rosen, Auburn University’s track coach and later the USA Olympic track coach at Barcelona, helped time the events.
  Beth Bonner was an AORTA member in the 80’s and was the first woman finisher in the inaugural New York City marathon.
  Coleen Cannon, Auburn University swimmer, won the first AORTA - JC Penney Nickel Run. After leaving Auburn, she became the #1 female triathlete in the world.
  In the 80’s and early 90’s, AORTA race entry fees were $3-$5. If a race director even hinted about raising fees, he/she was considered a greedy thug!
  There were very few other races than AORTA races. We usually did the race for the sponsoring group for free. However, we woke up and realized that our time and effort was worth something and started charging. But as we all know, no one ever is paid for services, we gave it all to charity but kept a small percent needed for operational expenses.
  Some of the events and members that have stimulated growth are Bob and Linda Fucci and Angie Shuman, who established a newsletter and mailed it to members each month. Tracey Buckingham, mother of the Summer 5K series, which had 22 runners at the first Wednesday night run and grew to over 250 runners on Wednesday nights during the summer.
  AORTA is alive and well today thanks to social media and the hard work and dedication of many former and present members. We have been a significant contributor to promoting running and fitness in this area in addition to making large contributions to local charities. It has been an honor for me to be a member and friend with the members of this organization.

  Alvin Walls
  P.S. — I know I missed mentioning many names of members that made many sacrifices for AORTA but you know who you are!