Meet Paul

From a 5K to a Winter Marathon!

I participated with CARA in Fall 2015 for the Cubicle to 5K training program and in Winter 2016 to train for the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon at Urbana-Champaign. As I didn't have a strong running background, I used the Cubicle to 5K training to hold me accountable and help me reach my goal of completing my first 5K run without stopping or walking. Once I completed the Comer Children's 5K, I knew that I wanted more. I saw CARA's Winter Marathon Training for Winter 2016 and thought that I could challenge myself further with their 18-week program. I stuck with that schedule and soon enough, I found that every new run was the farthest run that I'd completed up to that point. Each week was a new challenge where certain distances, that used to seem impossible, were now within reach. By the end of the program, I ran in the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon at Urbana-Champaign and completed my first marathon after starting my running journey only 8 months prior.

The friends I made at CARA made each run interesting and helped the miles fly by! What I like best about CARA's training programs is that there are different pace groups to fit your level of skill, endurance, and well-being. If you need a day to go slower, you can simply join a slower pace group for that day and they'll welcome you with open arms. Having peers to run with held me accountable and the genuine encouragement and companionship that I experienced on each CARA outing helped me to realize my goals. To any new and aspiring runners, I highly recommend joining CARA and giving their training programs a chance!