|September 19, 1959
Much has been said about Gilles Gautreau over the years. It would be impossible to capture all of his accomplishments and contributions to running in a brief presentation. As many of us know, one expression is often used to describe what Gilles means to running in New Brunswick: "The Godfather".
Gilles was nicknamed by some of his running friends as The Godfather of road racing in NB. I can assure you that without the dedication and never-say-die attitude of Gilles, we would not be here tonight, because RunNB would not exist. Gilles pulled RunNB like a phoenix from the ashes many years ago and he continues to work long, long hours for RunNB to this day, with no thought of thanks or favours in return.
Gilles started running in August of 1983 as a way to stop smoking. He ran his first NB road races in 1984. He ran cross-country and track and field for UdeM from 1984 to 1989 and was the top male cross-country runner at UdeM for every one of those five years.
Gilles competed in several national championships in road racing, cross-country and track, notching PB's of 31:23 for 10k and 1:11:10 for the half marathon. He is listed seven times in the RunNB Records and holds NB track records for M40-45 at 10000m in 32:52 as well as M45-49 5000m in 16:36. Gilles has coached several of NB's elite runners, including one of our finest, Barry Britt.
For 26 years Gilles burned up the racing circuit. But his work on behalf of runners is just as impressive. Gilles has been on the RunNB Board since 2000 and was President of RunNB from 2008-2013. He got the RunNB website started in 2000. He is an accomplished photographer and has used those skills to create lasting records of hundreds and hundreds of us in our best and our toughest times.
In 2009 Daryl Steeves named Gilles as his Person on The Run for the year. Daryl wrote: "Our Person on the Run for the 2009 season was an easy call. Gilles Gautreau, the president of Run New Brunswick, has worked tirelessly to make Run NB a vibrant and effective organization. His quiet, diplomatic approach and his sincere respect for runners and walkers of all abilities makes him the perfect man for the job. He doesn't take the spotlight but those involved in the running community all sing his praise."
I'm proud to have been at the starting line in many races with Gilles. I'm proud to call him a colleague and a friend. And I'm proud to sing his praise.
Father, husband, runner, cyclist, photographer and, oh yes, godfather.
Ladies and gentlemen, inducted to the RunNB Hall of Fame 2015, Gilles Gautreau.
RunNB is pleased to welcome Gilles as the 15th member of our honoured Hall of Fame.