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The student news site of New Trier High School

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NT cross country coach Lisa Loris talks running, inspiration, and balance

After achieving a personal record of 3:10 at the Chicago Marathon, girls cross country coach Lisa Loris recounts her experience
Loris with her husband and son after completing the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8

Editor’s Note: Lisa Loris was Caidyn Lowry’s cross country coach

The night before Lisa Loris ran the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8, 2023, she sat down with her husband and 1-year-old son and fueled up on her favorite pre-run dinner: chicken parmesan.

As Lisa Loris began her race, Ryan Loris, her husband, was eager to meet Lisa Loris at various stops along the way. Lisa Loris’ dedication to training would not have been possible without the support from her husband.

“My husband was so supportive and would care for our son when I was on some pretty long runs,” Lisa Loris says. 

Going into this marathon, Lisa Loris was determined to beat her personal record of 3:12, and started her race with that one goal in mind. 

All her hard work paid off, and Lisa Loris achieved a new time of 3:10. But, personal record or not, Lisa Loris continues to have the support of family and her athletes. 

While it was awesome that she [got a personal record] this time, even if she didn’t, she has so much fun running, and so much fun training and I think it gives her so much joy and health benefits, physically and mentally.

— Ryan Loris

“While it was awesome that she [got a personal record] this time, even if she didn’t, she has so much fun running, and so much fun training and I think it gives her so much joy and health benefits, physically and mentally,” Ryan Loris says. 

It would not be until mile 8 of the 26.2 miles that Lisa Loris would connect again with her family during the race. 

As she approached the 8 mile mark, Lisa Loris was greeted by her family with an inspirational sign. 

“The day was so fun because we just drove down to the city with some of our friends and we met her at the mile 8 mark and then saw her, and she took a picture with us, which was awesome,” Ryan Loris says. 

Because Ryan Loris and Lisa Loris, who both coach and teach at New Trier, had a son only 15 months ago, this year’s training was much different than it was in the past. The two had to balance their busy schedules while caring for a new child.

“We’ve got a kid, so we’re balancing that, we both are coaching so we’re balancing that, so trying to find time is not as easy as it was when we were both just married living in the city,” Ryan Loris says.

Through the change in lifestyle, Lisa Loris adapted her training schedule. She was constantly mindful of being there for her family, while simultaneously training her hardest for this marathon.

“This time I really had to be flexible with deciding what workouts to do on which days, because I have a 1-year-old son,” Lisa Loris says.

Mile 10 is when the race became difficult. 

Over an hour into the marathon, Lisa Loris was nearing the middle of the race. She had a lot to go. 

At this point, the support Lisa Loris received not only from her family, but from her athletes, was crucial to her success. Senior Nina Holroyd, a varsity cross country runner, made the trip down to Chicago to watch her. 

“I said what she always says to us: Feeling Good! Feeling Great!” Holroyd says. 

Coach Loris’s speed continued to increase even as she hit the 15-mile mark. 

“25k, now we’re talking 15 miles in, she’s still faster than her 10k,” John Burnside, head varsity girls cross country coach, says.

At considerably the hardest part in the marathon, Lisa Loris managed to not only maintain her pace, but she accelerated as well.

At mile 17 Lisa Loris has to remind herself of the coaching strategies she tells her own runners at New Trier. 

“And then usually around mile 17, it’s really hard for me. So those were moments where I just tried to think about — when I coach cross country we talk about control, courage, and go — and I really tried to break down the race in that way,” Lisa Loris says. “That mile 17 mark was the time to go for it.”

This was the time Lisa Loris had to push for the personal record she had been training for.

“I wanted to get a personal record. My best before that was 3:12,” Lisa Loris says.

After 26.2 miles, she did just that, crossing the finish line after 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Watching Lisa Loris hit her personal record inspired Holroyd in her own running career. 

“My coach can run below a 7:30 mile for 26 miles. It was unbelievable and it felt so cool to have a female coach that is doing that, and inspiring me and it makes me feel like I can do that myself one day,” Holroyd says. 

Holroyd was able to see the positive impact the cross country mantra “Feeling Good! Feeling Great” had on Lisa Loris.

Apart from Nina, all the New Trier runners were extremely excited to hear the news.

“It’s such a supportive community, she supports them, they support her; they were unbelievably excited when they heard that not only did she do it, but how well she did in it,” Burnside says.

Ryan Loris has been beside Lisa Loris throughout her training, and was so proud to see her accomplish this goal.

“You get to watch somebody that you love do something they love,” Ryan Loris says. “And watching her lean into that aspect of herself and what she loves to do is run, compete, and push herself to grow, and to see her do that even after having a kid is awesome and inspiring.” 

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