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


Kevin Jermyn

Executive Director

Kevin brings a valuable combination of coaching and business experience to CARA. He has 19 years of coaching and major program experience, including 14 years at Duke University where he was the Head Women’s Cross Country Coach. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Duke. Kevin’s experience in marketing and accounting for start-up companies will be great assets for CARA, along with his running industry relationships.

Kevin has run competitively and recreationally since 1989. He began as a high school runner in New York, where he won three national championships and the prestigious Millrose Games mile. Collegiately, Kevin competed at Georgetown University, where he was an All-American and helped the Hoyas get to several Big East team titles. He competed professionally for the Reebok Enclave in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the 1998 USATF Club national cross country championship team. Kevin has a great love for running and is excited to serve the Chicago running community.

Call Kevin: 312-262-7835

Email Kevin

Johnpaul Higgins

Director of Membership and Community Development

Johnpaul attended Kent State University as both an undergraduate and graduate student, where he studied English Literature and became heavily embroiled in the perilous world of underground poetry. Narrowly surviving a cascading crown of sonnets, Johnpaul moved to Chicago in 2003 and started running. And he really hasn’t stopped since. A convert of the highest magnitude, Johnpaul routinely competes in road races throughout Chicago, and limps through a marathon every once in a while for good measure.

When not running or writing, he likes to spend time with his five-year-old son, exploring worlds near and far.

Call Johnpaul: 312-262-7832

Email Johnpaul

Greg Hipp

Director of Events & Marketing

Greg directed his first road race in 1995 and has since directed, or served in a leadership role, in over 100 running events including the Great American Cross Country Festival, the Bass Pro Shops Fitness Festival and Marathon, a Big Ten Cross Country Championship, two NCAA Midwest Regional Cross Country Championships along with numerous other track and field, cross-country and road racing events. Now at CARA Greg's oversees the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler, Ready to Run 20 Miler, the 'Go Run program, Marathon VIP, the CARA Awards Banquet and all of CARA's Racing and Road Race Services programs. Greg has also been active in both USATF and USTFCCCA previously serving on the cross country executive committees for both organizations.

Greg is a USATF Level II certified coach and before CARA he held coaching positions at Northwestern, NIU, Missouri State and Appalachian State 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 and their son Jackson.

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

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

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

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Marathon Made Possible

"Thanks CARA! You made running the Chicago Marathon so much easier!"
-Christopher H.


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