Stephanie Huges Finn

How did you first get involved with cara and become a member of the race committee?

I first joined CARA and started competing on the circuit when I was 12-years-old. I really owe it all to my mom. I discovered that I had a love for running at a young age, but my school did not have a track or cross country program. My mom would take me out running after school and signed me up for races. She also got me involved with the Niles West/Oakton Runners Club which allowed me to have a team to belong to and train with. I loved going to team workouts every week and competing on the CARA circuit. I joined the race committee in 2014. It has truly been an honor to be able to contribute to an organization that has given me so much.

What is your experience with running?

Along with competing on the CARA circuit before high school, I also competed in Junior Olympics and made it to the national competition for both track and cross country several years. While attending Lane Tech High School, I ran track and cross country and won numerous City Championship titles and made it to State every year. I went on to run for DePaul's NCAA Division I cross country and track teams where I competed in conference and regional meets. Since college I have enjoyed getting back to competing on the CARA circuit and doing marathons. Most recently, I was a member of the Fleet Feet/Nike Racing Team for the last five years.

What is your favorite CARA circuit or certified race?

My favorite CARA circuit race is the Park Ridge Charity Classic. I grew up in Edison Park, which is the Chicago neighborhood right next to Park Ridge, so it has always felt like a hometown race for me. Traditionally falling just before the Chicago Marathon makes it a great tune up race for those doing the marathon, and for those who are not, the course notoriously boasts fast times so it is a great chance to bust out a new 5k PR.

Can you share a CARA moment that really sticks out to you?

I will never forget the Wolf Run in 2002 when my grandpa helped save the day! This was one of my favorite CARA circuit races because not only was the course really fun and scenic, but they also always had a BBQ cookout included after the race. In 2002, it was back in the days before chip timing was the norm, so the results were compiled via bib pull tags on a string. Well it was a particularly windy day and one of the volunteers dropped the string, causing results to go flying! Thankfully for them, my grandpa video taped all of my races and therefore had video footage of all the finishers up to me and a few after. From my grandpa's video, they were able to piece together at least all of the top finishers and many age group winners. Thanks for saving the day, Opi!

Why are you proud to be a CARA member as well as a member of the race committee?

There is no doubt that CARA defines the running community in the Chicagoland area. It is where serious and recreational runners, newbies and veterans alike, can all come together for training and racing. I love the sense of belonging that CARA brings and I am so proud to belong as a member.