At CARA, it is our members who make our running community truly special. Get to know CARA member Greg Itahara! Greg often donates his time and his talents to design logos, shirts, medals, bibs, and more for CARA. Keep reading to learn more about Greg and see some of his work pictured below!
Tell us about your running journey! How did you start running?
I was first introduced to running by my late father who loved running. Going out on the Chicago Marathon course and cheering on the athletes at a young age, waiting for my dad to come home after running the Chicago Distance Classic, seeing what he did to prepare for running marathons week after week and the countless days of him complaining of black toenails. I started my journey of running for health reasons. Long hours working and fast food take a toll and the lab work proved it. I went from running around the neighborhood to a 5K and adding on the mileage challenges year after year, to now running marathons. Running made me healthy spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
After years of collaborating with CARA, I was appointed the race director for the Lew Blond Memorial 5k (CARA certified) in Northbrook, which is going on its 20th year.
What is your personal connection to CARA?
My connection with CARA first started when I entered a finisher medal social media contest for the Lakefront 10 on Facebook back in 2014. A good friend of mine told me about it and I entered. Ever since 2014, CARA and I have grown and collaborated on various design aspects of the organization. I do the brand identity designs for CARA training programs, races, merchandise, finisher medals, race bibs, signage, and whatever needs come up. It's always good vibes working with the executive director not only on what is going on design-wise, but also what’s going on as a running community.
What does running mean to you?
Running to me is a metaphor for life. No matter the distance or what you want to get out of running, there will be highs and lows. It's how you push through and reach those goals that running to me is like life. It's the journey, not the destination, where we learn the most about ourselves. I always take to heart the quote from Olympic marathoner Deena Kastor "Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us."
What is your favorite running book or movie? How has this book/movie inspired, motivated, or educated you as a runner?
My favorite running movie is "Spirit of the Marathon." Before my buddy and I ran our first Chicago Marathon, we would watch that leading up to race weekend. We continue that as our tradition to this day.
Do you have any pre/post-race superstitions or traditions? Where did these come from?
Before every race, I crumble up my race bib before I pin it. I saw Ryan Hall do that in an interview back in the day and I thought that was cool!