Running role model

Running role model

When Lisa Krause first began running in the spring of 2010, she couldn’t even run one block.

One year later, in April 2011, she’d lost 65 pounds and she ran a half-marathon.

She’d never been a runner but decided to become one when “I hit a certain number on the scale and knew it was time to do something,” Krause said.

“I didn’t want to pay for a gym membership and I like to be outside, so I thought running would be a good way to lose weight, be outside and not spend money,” she said.

Her only training plan was to alternate running and walking and do what she was physically capable of doing.

“I worked up to running one song on my iPod and walking one song, until I could go 3 miles,” she said.Blog Photo

Then, with the help of a friend at Franklin Middle School, where Krause teaches sixth-grade math, she began training for the half-marathon race at the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Last year, Krause pinned on a race number for the first time ever, walked the 5K on Friday night of marathon weekend and ran the half-marathon the next day.

She still gets emotional talking about it.

“Doing the half felt amazing,” she said. “Crossing the finish line in the stadium with everybody cheering for you was indescribable.”

Beginning March 13, Krause will be leading a Couch to 5K training program for the Champaign Park District, aimed at helping nonrunners or beginning runners prepare for the 5K at this year’s Illinois Marathon. The 5K will be run on Friday, April 27.

"I’m so excited to tell people, ‘I was where you were.’ I know how life-changing it can be,” Krause said.

“She’s the perfect person to teach that,” said Mackey Johnson, a PE teacher at Franklin and a lifelong runner who helped Krause train for the half-marathon. She’ll be helping with the Couch to 5K training program, giving advice on stretching and proper running form.

Krause’s evolution as a runner has already inspired one person. April Blacker is another co-worker who teaches choral music at Franklin. As the mother of two daughters, one of whom is almost 2 and the other of whom is 4 1/2 months, Blacker has very little time for herself. She felt guilty at the prospect of leaving her young children to go run, but Krause talked her into signing up for the Couch to 5K training program.

“I didn’t think you could turn a nonrunner into one, but I’ve seen that happen. She (Krause) is the only reason I’m doing this, because I’ve watched her do this,” Blacker said.

She’s seen how beneficial running has been for Krause, and she’s excited to start training, adding that it will make her a happier mom. She recently got running shoes for her birthday.

Since Krause started running, she has run a number of 5K races, a marathon relay, the Allerton Trail Run and the Champaign Park District’s mini-triathlon. She’s planning on running the half-marathon at the Illinois Marathon again this spring.

She has a core group of running friends now. She doesn’t necessarily train with them, but they all check in with one another on how training is going and what races they are planning on running.

“I love that (running) has enabled me to lose weight and get in shape, and give me an opportunity to teach this class,” Krause said. “At first, I definitely didn’t like it, but I liked the results it was giving me.”

Krause’s advice for someone thinking of getting into running: “Anybody can do this.”

“Get out and do what you can,” she said. “Eventually you’ll be able to run one minute, two minutes, one song on your iPod.”

Photo: Franklin Middle School teachers Lisa Krause, Mackey Johnson and April Blacker motivate each other to run. Photo by Robert K. O'Daniell/The News-Gazette

Couch to 5K:

The Champaign Park District’s 5K training program is from March 13 to April 26. Participants will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Centennial Park. The fee is $57 for residents and $85.50 for nonresidents. The registration deadline is March 8. For more information, go to or call 217-398-2550.

Training program for Kirby Derby 5K and 10K:

Kirby Medical Center in Monticello is offering a free training program this year for the Kirby Derby 5K and 10K races, which will be run on May 12. The 10-week training program is for everyone from beginning walkers to experienced runners.
“I kept seeing people get excited about the race. They kept talking about how they wanted to run the race,” said race director Duane Schlabach. But they wouldn’t always stick with their training until race day, he said.
He’d seen how having a running buddy benefited his wife and her friends in their training. A training program for the Kirby Derby would help new runners see how social the sport can be and give them some direction, support and motivation for their training, Schlabach said.
He’s also hoping that the people who participate in the training program will find a training partner to continue running or walking with after the Kirby Derby.
“We just want to get people active, get people moving,” Schlabach said.
The program’s kickoff is at 5 p.m. March 8 at the Monticello Middle School, 2015 E. Washington St.
Participants will meet at 5 p.m. every Thursday through May 10 for training walks and runs. The program also will feature speakers from Body N’ Sole Sports, who will talk about running-related topics.
For more information, go to and click on “Kirby Derby” under Quick Links at the bottom of the page; call 217-762-1509; or email



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sluskiier wrote on February 21, 2012 at 11:02 am

Bravo, Lisa!  I, too, started with the Couch to 5K plan and ended up running the Illinois Half Marathon!  I'm so happy you're taking this to the Park District to help inspire others, and to keep inspiring yourself.