Four runners from Upstate head to London for Corporate Challenge

Chris Loughlin, Kristin Kmack, Cara Lavier and John Kolh took first place in last summer's Corporate Challenge race as a mixed team representing Upstate Medical University.

Chris Loughlin, Kristin Kmack, Cara Lavier and John Kolh took first place in last summer’s Corporate Challenge race as a mixed team representing Upstate Medical University.

Meet the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge mixed team that will travel to London in July to run in the 3.5-mile series final championship race. Collectively, Kristin Kmack, John Kolh, Cara Lavier and Chris Loughlin had a finishing time of 1 hour, 30 minutes and 31 seconds in last summer’s race in the Syracuse area.

The Upstate team will compete July 9 at London’s Battersea Park.

Winners of JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge races this year – which takes place July 17 at Onondaga Lake Park — will qualify for the 2015 series final at a site and date to be announced.

Runner: Kristin M. Kmack, 31, of Fayetteville.

Finishing time: 22 minutes, 55 seconds.

Shoes: Asics Kayanos.

Job: exercise physiologist. “I work primarily with older adults and individuals with chronic disease and/or disability in developing, implementing, and monitoring exercise prescriptions aimed at improving overall health, fitness and quality of life.”

Runs: 50 to 60 miles per week.

Pre-race fuel: a banana and some form of nutrition or energy bar.

Started running: in middle school. “I remember running around the block and feeling tired, and the sense of accomplishment that came when I realized I could do it again after sitting on the curb for a few minutes.  As my running progressed, I was able to get around the block more times without needing the rest break.  I was on the track team in high school, and ran my first marathon when I was a freshman in college.  To some extent running seemed to come naturally to me and was something that helped me to develop a sense of self-confidence.

Likes least:“The pressure associated with racing is sometimes a negative for me. I like running for the simplicity of it, not necessarily always for the comparisons or competition it can draw.”

Favorite place to run: the canal towpath that runs through the eastern suburbs. “Running sections along the canal provides variety in my running routes, free of vehicle traffic, which is a big plus for me. I logged a lot of miles along the canal towpath while training for my most recent marathon.”

Courtesy John Kolh.

Courtesy John Kolh.

Runner: John Kolh, 36, of Camillus.

Finishing time: 22 minutes, 28 seconds.

Shoes: “I recently started running in a pair of Brooks Trancends, and they are super comfortable. I also have a few pairs of Nike Lunar Fly.”

Job: operations manager with environmental services supervising the overnight shift. “We are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting all areas of the hospital, over 1 million square feet. It is not uncommon to have walked five or more miles or to have climbed 15+ flights of stairs throughout the course of a night at work.”

Runs: Currently 30 to 45 miles a week but hoping to get that number up to 65 to 80 by the end of the summer.

Pre-race fuel: “Generally I try not to eat too much in the hours before a race. The one booster I do utilize is gummy bears. Nothing gives that extra bit of energy before a run like some gummy bears.”

Race strategy: “I like to arrive very early to races. This gives me plenty of time to warm up and stretch out. During this time I get into the competitive zone and focus on the upcoming race by listening to my iPod. I don’t like to get caught up in all the humanity that is the starting line, so I try to get there early and line up toward the front.”

Likes most: competing in events. “I’m normally a very modest person by nature, but when it comes to running I am VERY competitive. Setting a goal, whether it is to beat a time or to place at a certain level, and then beating it brings a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”

Favorite place to run: ”The Erie Canal trails between Camillus and Weedsport are excellent places to get away and run. They are very scenic, yet fairly quiet. The hills of Camillus are very challenging, plentiful and rewarding. There are some amazing views if you’re willing to make to trek up them. The countryside between Jordan, Memphis and Baldwinsville is a very nice place to run in the warmer weather, as is the area around Otisco Lake.”

Runner: Cara Lavier, 35, of Chittenango.

Finishing time: 22 minutes, 47 seconds.

Shoes: Asics.

Job: registered nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit

Runs: early mornings or on days off, the distance varying

Pre-race fuel: bagel or Clif bar.

Started running: around the age of 9. “My dad would do occasional races, and I wanted to run with him.”

Race strategy: “For a 5K, go out strong and try to maintain.”

Likes most: “You can run anywhere. You just zone out and enjoy the scenery and freedom.”

Likes least: “Buying new shoes every few months.”

Other exercise: “Walk my dogs; ride bikes, go to the gym and play with my kids.”

Favorite place to run: Green Lakes State Park.

Chris Loughlin in in a blue tank to the far right in this Yellow Brick Road Run picture.

Chris Loughlin in in a blue tank to the far right in this Yellow Brick Road Run picture.

Runner: Chris Loughlin, 36, of Cicero.

Finishing time: 22 minutes, 21 seconds.

Shoes: Mizuno Inspires. “They’re the lightest stability shoe I’ve come across, and they’re incredibly comfortable. I set PR’s (personal records) in almost every single distance I ran last year in my Mizunos.”

Job: member of the electronic medical records technical team, helping to design, procure, install, configure and administer all the infrastructure on top of which Upstate University Hospital’s EMR system runs.

Runs: “I’ve taken up the sport of triathlon this year, so I’ve reduced my running slightly to accommodate bike training and swimming, but I rarely ever drop below 40 miles a week. In 2013, I ran a total of 2,507 miles, or an average of 48 a week.”

Pre-race fuel: A PB&J bagel, homemade beet juice when in season or peanut butter crackers.

Started running: in the beginning of 2007. “Back then, I was 60 to 70 pounds heavier, and my first born child was getting close to 1 year old and was getting mobile. I was having a hard time keeping up with her without running out of breath. That, combined with seeing some pictures of myself as a lighter man, inspired me to lose some weight, and running was something I’d always wanted to get into, due to the popularity of The Boilermaker 15K race in Utica. I got instantly addicted. I fell in love with the numbers that go along with it; running X distance in X time and trying to outdo myself.  And then, once I started racing, the competition is like a drug for me.”

Likes most: “The way it makes me feel. Each day, no matter what happened that day, as long as I got a run in I’ve felt I’ve accomplished something.”

Favorite place to run: “I love the course that The Mountain Goat Run traverses.  It’s such a diversity of neighborhoods and offers some great sights.”

This year's JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place July 17 at Onondaga Lake Park.

This year’s JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge takes place July 17 at Onondaga Lake Park.

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