Founded December 2018

The Merrell Noden Track Club was created to provide high level coaching and competition for NYC runners whose high schools do not provide winter track.

To share, nurture, teach and coach the love of running and commitment to sportsmanship that Merrell embraced every day.


Coached by Merrell’s lifelong friend, Joe Bolster, the club has grown from 25 members in its first year to 50 in recent seasons. Through the club, athletes learn about the sport of Track and Field, train for specific events, and compete in high-level competitions in the New York City metro area. Our athletes have shined at these events. In fact, at the 2023 Junior Olympic Competition at New York’s Icahn Stadium, MNTC took first place in the 17-18 Boys/Girls Division, besting 25 other clubs in that age group!

Coach Joe expects that MNTC runners will continue to be a force at track meets in the years to come!

The club is a 501c3 non-profit that exists thanks to the many generous donations of Merrell’s friends, family members, and the families of MNTC athletes.
If you would like to help support
our young runners, we
would be so grateful to you!



Merrell was a legendary high school runner at New Jersey’s Lawrenceville School in the early 1970s. During his senior year at Lawrenceville, he authored an indoor season for the ages, running 1:54.0 for 880 yards, a 4:11.0 mile, and 9:07 for two miles. His 4:11.0 mile was the anchor leg for Lawrenceville’s Distance Medley Relay Team that set a National High School Record. His half-mile and two-mile times ranked in the top 5 nationally for the 1973 indoor season. All of these impressive performances were achieved on a rickety, ten-lap to the mile wooden track.

Merrell ran for Princeton University as an undergrad, and for Oxford University as a grad student in English Literature. After his academic career, Merrell went on to be a writer and reporter for Sports Illustrated from 1986 to 1999, covering a variety of sports, including Track and Field. Throughout his life he cherished his family, friends, and teammates, and kept up his passion for running through training, competing, and coaching. Born in Trenton, NJ in 1955, Merrell passed away from cancer in 2015. His memory lives on through the Merrell Noden Track Club.



Eva Mantell is delighted to see MNTC carrying on the vision of her late husband Merrell Noden. Eva is mom to Miranda and Sam, grandma to Everett and Wilder, and an artist and teacher of art, creativity and collaborative projects. She teaches Art and Activism at Douglass College, Rutgers, creates professional development workshops, and runs Arthouse, an ongoing series of direct encounters with contemporary art. @greenworldx2 is her project with Joel Beck to bring art into an active engagement with architecture. Wishing good luck to the team! Go MNTC!


Joe is the oldest of fourteen children and grew up in a house where access to food was determined by random lottery. After many years of bad luck and near starvation, he entered the world of stand-up comedy, primarily for the free food. When his weight stabilized on the far side of 100 pounds, his career flourished. However, throughout his years as a comic, he harbored a desire to one day indulge his passion for track and field. That opportunity came when he was able to serve as a volunteer coach for the track team at the new york city high school attended by his identical twin sons jack and ethan. Several years later, after the founding of mntc, joe became a full-time coach. In his youth, joe ran cross country and track for princeton high school in princeton, nj and denison university in granville, oh. During his career at denison, a member of the ohio athletic conference, he competed in the ncaa small college national cross country championships and achieved all-oac status four times in indoor track and once in outdoor track. In his sophomore season he contributed a 49.8 leg to the denison 4×400 relay team that won the gold medal in the ohio collegiate championships. At the oac outdoor championships in his senior year he won the bronze medal in the 800, running 1:53.2, a time that qualified him for the ncaa division three national track and field championships.

Coach joe has been certified as a level one coach by usa track and field, the governing body of the sport. It is a pleasure for him to coach young runners who circle the track wearing singlets emblazoned with the words “merrell noden track club.”


Rich O’Brien is a writer and editor who lives (and runs) in Trenton, NJ. A former staffer at The Runner and Runner’s World contributor, he worked at Sports Illustrated for more than 25 years, covering a wide range of sports but always staying close to his first love, track and field. Rich’s friendship with Merrell began in 1985, grounded in a shared appreciation of literature, history, music, and running, and continued over the next 30 years — and thousands of miles run together. He is profoundly grateful to maintain that connection through the MNTC.