A small but mighty team, you may have seen these friendly faces out at events, programs, and races. The staff members at CARA are dedicated to providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social, and volunteer. Get to know the CARA team a little better below!
Greg Hipp - Executive Director
Meet Greg: Greg began joining his hometown running club for group runs and races when he was still in grade school. He would go on to run in high school and college (Appalachian State), and continues to run recreationally today. Greg’s love for running quickly translated into volunteering and working in running. His first coach, Gary Church, owned a running store and directed races. He mentored Greg to direct his first road race in 1995 at age 16. From there Greg went on to direct, or served in a leadership role, in over 100 running events from track and field, cross-country to road racing before arriving at CARA. Greg has also been active in both USATF and USTFCCCA, previously serving on executive committees for both organizations.
Prior to CARA, Greg had coached runners from youth to adults. He is a USATF Level II certified coach, and held coaching positions at Northwestern, NIU, Missouri State and Appalachian State during a 13-year NCAA coaching career.
Greg joined CARA staff in 2015, originally as the organization’s Manager of Road Race Services and Events, and later Manager of Events and Marketing, before elevating into the role of Executive Director in 2017.
In addition to leading the organization’s overall operations, Greg serves as CARA’s race director for the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler and 5K, Ready to Run 20 Miler, and CARA’s new Honda Miles Per Hour Run and Chi-Town Miles events.
Why CARA: It’s about the mission, and the impact we make. CARA provides the best opportunity to support the running community of Chicagoland. At CARA we serve running where running needs us, not just where there is the best opportunity for profit. Our potential to impact Chicagoland’s runners is unlimited if we as a running community come together and support each other.
Favorite Chicago Race/Running Spot: Can I say the Wintrust Lakefront 10 Miler?; Running north on the Lakefront Trail from Oakwood Beach. There may not be a better view of the city.
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: Watching Appalachian State football and spending time with my family - Jill Hipp (wife), Jackson (son, 4), and Lydia (daughter, 2).
Tim Bradley - Director of Training
Meet Tim: Tim has been a lifelong proponent of running, starting his own running journey in 1997. In 2007, he started coaching and spent 11 years as a NCAA coach at St. Louis University and for Big River Running Company, before joining CARA in 2018. His running and racing advice has been published in numerous running publication, including Runner’s World and Competitor.com. In addition to overseeing the success of CARA’s training program participants, Tim himself is an accomplished runner, Boston Qualifier, and sub 3-hour marathoner.
Why CARA: I saw this as a great opportunity to have a greater impact on a large running community. Additionally, I was excited to move to Chicago.
Favorite Chicago Race/Running Spot: Shamrock Shuffle; Running around Lakeview, Ravenswood and Andersonville Neighborhoods and around Wrigley Field.
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: Following Chicago sports and visiting local theaters and comedy clubs.
Declan Murray - Director of Partnerships
Meet Declan: Declan was first introduced to the Chicago running community by volunteering at the Chicago Marathon as a member of the Loyola Track and Field team. At Loyola, Declan competed in the 800-meters on the track where he achieved All-American honors and, upon graduating, moved to the East Coast to train with the New Jersey-New York Track Club. As a dual citizen, Declan represented Ireland at international competitions including three European Championships. Declan returned to Chicago in 2016 and spent time at a local race photography start-up, Flashframe, then the Big Ten Network before joining CARA’s staff in late 2018.
Why CARA: While I was a member of the track and field team at Loyola, I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon and saw for the first time how incredible the running community in Chicago is. After a little over a decade of prioritizing my own running, I wanted to be part of the community that makes Chicago running special.
Favorite Chicago Race: I love the Magis Miles at St. Ignatius. I love the excitement of racing on the track and under the lights, and the community feel of a night of miles is always a blast. I'm really excited for our first year of Chi-Town Miles and looking forward to seeing CARA runners hit the track!
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: I'm a big college basketball fan and like to get out to Loyola games whenever I can. Go Ramblers!
Jill Andrada - Senior Program Manager, Charity Partnerships and Special Events
Meet Jill: Jill is the program manager of charity partnerships and special events at CARA. She ran for charity for her first marathon, so managing CARA’s charity partnerships is especially meaningful to Jill. As Jill says, “Supporting a cause while training for a marathon gives you that extra motivation and inspiration you need on long runs!”
Why CARA: I joined CARA because I believe running is an empowering activity/sport, and I wanted to be part of an organization that supports running at every level, especially helping those who are new to long-distance races.
Favorite Chicago Running Spot: My favorite Chicago running spot is up north on Sheridan Road, between the Loyola and Northwestern campuses. It’s a quieter route which I prefer during evening runs, and I love the view of the city from the NW campus.
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: My favorite non-running hobby is checking out new music, and going to a live show or concert at least once a month. I grew up playing the piano for 13 years and played various instruments along the way so music has always been an integral part of my life. I’m a 90s kid so my most memorable concert experience was seeing Chris Cornell play an acoustic set while he was still around.
Jim Akita - Program Manager
Meet Jim: Jim joined CARA after spending 14 years as the Cross Country/ Track & Field coach at Elmhurst College. He is a three time CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit Winner (‘14, ‘15, ‘17). An active runner for over 25 years, he has completed 25 marathons and shows no sign of slowing down.
Why CARA: I joined CARA to stay involved with the Chicagoland running community and help grow the running movement here. Chicago is a great running city and the appeal to help it continue to grow makes this job incredibly rewarding.
Favorite Chicago Race: Shamrock Shuffle 8k
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: Golfing, napping, and gaming. Just a typical dude.
Tori Capozziello - Program Manager, Communications and Marketing
Meet Tori: Tori joined CARA after working as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the women’s cross country and track and field teams at North Central College. She holds a BA in Organizational Communication and Marketing, as well as a Master’s in Nonprofit Management. After finishing her collegiate running career at North Central, Tori traded the half mile for the half marathon and is looking forward to her next 13.1!
Why CARA: The community CARA has created within Chicago running drew me in to the organization. I love that my job allows me to stay so closely connected to running and have a direct impact on Chicagoland communities.
Favorite Chicago Race: The Chicago Marathon! The energy and spectator support for that race is unreal.
Favorite Non-Running Hobby: Listening to true crime podcasts and visiting new coffee shops or bookstores (recommendations welcome!)
Ainslie Dehn Franklin - Operations Coordinator
Meet Ainslie: An alumna of Northern Illinois University, Ainslie holds a BS degree in Kinesiology. She started with CARA in the summer of 2019 as an intern, where you may have seen her out on the Lakefront Trail hydration stations or out running with our training groups. Following her internship, Ainslie officially joined the CARA staff as Operations Coordinator and speedwork coach.
Why CARA: My favorite part about working at CARA is getting to interact with our members at events and training. My favorite memory so far was being in charge of the gear check for Ready 2 Run and seeing all of the runners that I had coached through the season come up and say “Hey Coach!”
Favorite Non-running Hobby: Outside of CARA, I am also a dance teacher and enjoy coaching cross country