This is one of a series of profiles on runners training for one of the Illinois Marathon races.
Name: Lisa Morgan
Occupation: Owner of Great Harvest Bread Co. in Champaign
Through her business, Lisa Morgan has formed a connection to the local running community, and become a more consistent runner herself.
Morgan, who owns Great Harvest Bread Co. in Champaign, has long been interested in fitness and healthy eating. And while she’s been a runner for years as well, she ran only sporadically, “not with consistency or any goals.”
But her business has been a sponsor for many local races, providing post-race snacks and prizes for runners. Morgan sometimes ran one of the 5K races she helped sponsor, but it was a stressful experience when she didn’t run regularly.
“I thought, when I go sponsor these races, I would really like to run them and be really ready to run them. To be in shape and have it not be a stressful event,” Morgan said.
So she joined a beginning women’s running group, sponsored by Second Wind Running Club, and trained for a 5K.
“It made training to run a 5K so much fun, and so easy and pleasurable,” Morgan said.
She enjoyed it so much, she served as a mentor for other women through the beginning training program.
Then the Illinois Marathon came to town. Great Harvest signed on as a sponsor for the event. And when Second Wind offered a training program for the half-marathon and marathon, Morgan jumped at the chance to train for a longer race.
She found she was interested in every aspect of training, from how to build up her mileage to nutrition to shoes.
Her grown children were beginning to run around the same time she became more serious about it, and when family members visited one another, they often ran together.
“It started to be another way for us to get together, whether we’re running together or supporting the person in their next big event,” she said.
Morgan ran the half-marathon in Champaign-Urbana last year with her son, Cooper, and they finished in just under two hours.
“It was an amazing experience. I loved it,” she said.
She’s training for the half-marathon again this year, and also serving as a pace leader for Second Wind’s half-marathon training program.
The connection between her bakery and her running has strengthened. Many runners who come into the store will chat about races, knowing Great Harvest is a frequent sponsor. Some of Morgan’s employees have started running as well, and they encourage one another.
Morgan has also found a way to combine her running with her love of travel. She’ll visit Washington, D.C. soon and run the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run while there. She’s trying to work a race or run into all her travels as a way to experience a new community.