Staff

Team CARA is deeply committed to enhancing your running experience. Read about what makes them tick!

 

Greg Hipp

Executive Director

Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director, Greg has held several roles for CARA since joining the staff in 2015, including Director of Events & Marketing. During his tenure with CARA, Greg has operated in a number of capacities, including program strategy, marketing, race direction and social media management.

As the Director of Events and Marketing, Greg was integral to the direction of the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit and the implementation of the neighborhood ‘Go Runs. As well as the successful growth of the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler & 5K, the Orangetheory Fitness Ready to Run 20 Miler and CARA’s Marathon VIP Experience.

Greg has been a long advocate for running, directing his first road race in 1995 and since directing or serving in a leadership role, in 100's of running events before arriving at CARA including the Nike Great American Cross Country Festival, the Bass Pro Shops Fitness Festival and Marathon, the Big Ten Cross Country Championship in Chicago, two NCAA Midwest Regional Cross Country Championships along with numerous other track and field, cross-country and road racing events. Greg has also been active in both USATF and USTFCCCA previously serving on the cross country executive committees for both organizations, and currently serving on the Long Distance Running Division Executive Committee.

Greg is a USATF Level II certified coach and prior to CARA he held coaching positions at Northwestern University, NIU, Missouri State University and Appalachian State University during a 13-year coaching career. During that time his distance runners won seven conference team championships, accumulated 122 All-Conference honors, 31 individual conference championships and qualified for the NCAA Championships on 24 occasions. His most notable runner coached has been Casey Owens who placed ninth in the 10,000-meters (33:32) at the 2005 USA Championship and earned opportunities to compete for Team USA at the 2005 and 2006 Chiba Ekiden in Japan.

Greg got his start running with the Charlotte Road Runners Club in Charlotte, NC before competing in cross country and track at Appalachian State. Outside of running Greg likes to spend his time with his wife Jill, their son Jackson and daughter Lydia.

Call Greg: 312-262-7831

Email Greg 

Leah Bohr

Director of Training

Leah comes to CARA from DePaul University, where she was the Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach and the programs primary distance running coach.  She brings tremendous experience from her success career as a NCAA Division I coach within the Big East Conference where she worked some of the best distance runners and coaches in the country. Prior to DePaul, Leah was a math teacher and coach for four years.

Leah is from St. Charles, ran in high school and then at DePaul University,  where she earned Academic All-American and Conference USA All-Conference honors during her senior season. She still very proudly holds the DePaul school records in both the indoor mile (4:46) and the outdoor 1500m (4:28). Leah still enjoys competing in local races.

Leah approaches coaching in a fun and enthusiastic manner with a strong passion for running and helping athletes improve at all levels.  As a coach, she was able to establish strong relationships with her athletes and helped them to grow as both runners and people.  She is thrilled about the opportunity to work at CARA, and to be able to spread her passion for the sport to a larger audience.  In her free time, Leah loves to train and is planning on trying her first triathlon.  She spends a lot of time with friends and her family, including her husband and three kids, a seven-year-old boy Ben, and her two-year-old twins, Evan and Ellie.

For our members, training participants, and Chicago area runners we are excited to have someone with the talent, experience and personality of Leah join us to help promote and serve all runners across our community.

Call Leah: 312-262-7833

Email Leah

Alona Banai

Director of Partnerships

Alona Banai comes to CARA excited to merge her professional skills with her love of running. She is thrilled to be supporting the Chicago area running community.

Alona’s professional background is filled with an assortment of expertise. Prior to her time at CARA she spent four years as the Director of Operations of a small consulting firm in Oak Park. There she worked closely with the CEO to build and grow the business, raise customer satisfaction ratings and manage the company’s marketing. She has also worked as a biology instructor at Loyola University Chicago and a research assistant at the University of Chicago. She has a Master's Degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor's Degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Originally a synchronized swimmer and a dancer, Alona took up running as a hobby in high school. She immediately fell in love with the sport. After running for leisure in undergrad she joined Northwestern University’s Division I Cross Country team during graduate school and learned to race competitively. Alona has a Level I USATF Track Coach Certification and has served as a Beginning Running Group Leader for CARA. She is an avid and enthusiastic 5K to 1/2 Marathon participant.

Call Alona: 312-262-7830

Email Alona

Astrid Grimes

Organizational & Membership Coordinator

Astrid comes to CARA after working in the non-profit Family Law sector. When she was not working on child guardianship and divorce issues she spent her time volunteering for both Family Law and Health non-profit organizations. Her passion and work in the non-profit sector allowed her to continuously aid and support those who had little to no access to legal and health services.

Astrid discovered her love for running shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 2005 (Go ILLINI!). However, it was not until attending law school at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and working at the Department of Children and Family Services that Astrid found herself running more and more. At first she ran just to relieve stress but soon after, she ran just because she loved it. A running late bloomer turned fanatic, Astrid began running whenever she could.

In the past Astrid volunteered with local groups in an effort to support youth running programs. She is happy to continue to support youth running and volunteerism as Program Coordinator for CARA Road Scholars.

When Astrid is not at CARA she enjoys spending time with family, playing with her dogs Piper and Willa, and reading any great book she can get her hands on.

Call Astrid: 312-262-9836

Email Astrid

Howard Kambara

Program Coordinator

Bio coming soon.

Call Howard: 312-666-9836

Email Howard

Member Friendly Marathoner

"Without CARA’s marathon training program, I would have never crossed the finish line of two marathons. And I would absolutely recommend CARA to a friend (however, most of my friends are already members.) :)"
-Jill R.

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