CARA Ambassadors

Meet the 2018 CARA Ambassador Team!

Jim Cassioppi started running over 40 years ago: racing the bus home from school, completing his paper route as fast as possible on foot, and running a 20-mile walkathon for charity. Jim went on to run varsity cross country and track in high school and moved to Chicago in 1987 after graduating college. He ran his first marathon (Old Style Chicago) in 1988, his first Boston in 1990, and moved to the western suburbs and joined the Oak Park Runners Club (OPRC) the same year. Jim has served many roles in the OPRC, including a member of the race committee, and has been elected for several club service and participation awards, as well as an inductee of the OPRC Hall of Fame. He has also been a member of Life Time Fitness since 1999 and has served for the past few years as Volunteer Captain Team member. Jim has run 59 marathons, 25 of which being in Chicago, and 7 in Boston. The 1997 Chicago Marathon stands out specifically - he ran his marathon PR of 2:45:01, and was introduced to Lisa Schmidecamp, who he married in 1999. Lisa and Jim have raised an active family: 16 y/o Ben participates in high school and travel soccer, and 13 y/o Anna is in competitive gymnastics. Jim is humbled to be part of an elite community of runners whose dedication goes beyond the sport of competition. Their inspiration is what drives him and continues to encourage him every day to run his best, be a better person, and enjoy every run.

Bill Corbett is a longtime member of CARA. He has run 25 marathons total, including four Boston Marathons. Bill is also a marathon coach and has successfully trained thousands of athletes over a long, storied career. He says “it is certainly common for me to bump into a runner I have coached while I am along the lakefront.” Bill is also a Brooks I.D. coach, and assists in managing aid stations and serves in other managerial course duties; such as ensuring the aid stations have adequate supplies, and assisting runners who cannot make it to the finish line.

Lynn Crim didn’t run for either high school or college teams but has been running for enjoyment for over 40 years. After convincing his mom to start running in the 70s, she ended up running the first seven Chicago Marathons. While supporting her at one of the marathons, he started chatting with other spectators with black armbands on. They were out there protesting the late start time for the Marathon, and he later found out that they were the founders of what would become CARA. After joining CARA in 1999, Lynn ran his first Chicago Marathon in 2000. 2018 marks his 26th marathon, and 15th Chicago Marathon. While usually racing at least once each weekend, Lynn generally ends up with about 40 races a year. He has completed five of the six majors and plans on completing them in Tokyo next March, and has been an active competitor on the CARA Circuit since joining in 1999. Outside of running, Lynn is the Controller at Freedman Seating Company in Chicago. Married for 32 years (“I won that lottery”), he has two sons and resides in a townhouse in the northern suburbs so he can focus on running instead of house maintenance.


Michelle Gallagher has been running ever since she was a member of her high school cross country and track teams, and continued to compete in both at Loyola University of Chicago. Michelle is a founding member, current member and team leader for Fast Track racing team. In addition to Fast Track, she’s also a member of the Busse Woods Running Club and a group leader for the 10-minute group for more than five years at the CARA Summer Marathon Training Program at Busse Woods. In addition to pacing for CARA, her group can run the marathon with her too, as she’s also an Official Nike Chicago Marathon pacer, and paces many half marathons throughout Chicago and the suburbs. Outside of running, Michelle works full-time as a Risk Manager. When not at work or running, she’s spending time with her husband, three-year-old son, and two cats.

Ann Greeley is originally from Chicago. After high school graduation in 1980, Ann joined the Army, where she spent the next 20 years serving her country - and running! In 2000, she retired from the military and returned to the area. Upon arriving home, she joined the Oak Park Runners Club and CARA, where she learned you could run for love of the sport, and not just because the army told you to. She currently works for the Government and lives in Berwyn with her husband, Ray, who she met and married while running. They have a cat named Chewy.

Stephanie Ibarra is so excited to be joining the CARA Ambassador team. Stephanie is training for her second marathon this summer (with CARA). Outside of running, Stephanie enjoys baking & eating, spending time with family, and taking care of her kitten Chester (named after Chester the Cheeto).


Jeffrey Jameson ran for fun and fitness for years, but it wasn't until he moved to Chicago in 2014 that it developed into a serious passion for him. The Shamrock Shuffle was his first big city race, and he hasn't stopped running and racing since. He now enjoys running everything from 5K's to marathons. He credits CARA's Summer Marathon Training Program with his PR in Chicago last fall. To date, he has run six marathons (most recently Boston) and numerous half marathons and shorter distance races - with no plans to stop. His ultimate running goal is to become an Abbott Six Star Finisher. When he isn't running around Chicago, Jeff enjoys traveling (he is a huge Disney fan) and spending time with his husband and their three cats.

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Sippi Katz-Janssen joined CARA in 2012 to train for what she thought would be her “one and done” marathon. Six marathons later, she credits the inspiring and fun people she has met at the Sunday Montrose CARA Summer Marathon Training group with helping her fall in love with the sport. When not running, Sippi works as a school psychologist, specializing in early childhood education. She is married to fellow CARA member and group leader, Avi Janssen. They are parents to two great kids, Lizzie and Owen.

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Penny Jensen bio coming soon.

Pamela Kowalczyk is a special education teacher, skating and hockey coach, who resides in Crystal Lake with her husband and newly adopted daughter. She’s been part of CARA since 2011 when she started training for the Chicago Marathon. While training for your first marathon is difficult enough, Pam also deals with a metabolic condition called PKU, which affects the way her body metabolizes protein. Her decision to run the marathon made her doctors a little worried, but they helped guide her with current treatment, dietary adjustments, and support so she was able to reach her goal. CARA played a huge part in Pam’s success - she felt surrounded by more love and support than she could imagine, and she met some absolutely amazing and motivating people that helped her cross the finish line. Outside of CARA, Pam is also involved with FastTrack, Moms Run this Town, Team RWB, Busse Woods Running Club, and Mchenry Run Club. She has paced numerous half marathons and has finished eight marathons. In 2015, Pam was diagnosed with Late Stage Lyme disease after struggling for several months and collapsing at the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, from the lack of oxygen from Lyme. After two years of intensive treatments to help combat the disease and work towards remission, she is finally able to run again and share her passion for the sport with others (even though she is still in treatment). Since coming back this year, Pam has run two half marathons (including a PR at the Carmel Half Marathon) and a few 5ks with her daughter (in the stroller). Pam is looking forward to pacing in Busse for CARA this summer, and especially to returning to the Chicago Marathon this fall.



Cassidy Mayberry is a somewhat-recent transplant to Chicago from Madison, WI. Cassidy is currently a working professional in the loop, and soon to begin a pre-medicine certificate program at Northwestern University. She hopes to become an oncologist, specializing in tumor immunotherapy, while running her way through each state with her best friend Janessa. Cassidy has been running since 7th grade, competing in track and cross country throughout college and continued onto road races after that. She has finished one marathon but will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this fall (with other races sprinkled in along the way), and her goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Cassidy is looking forward to unique trails and being part of an exciting, enthusiastic community of athletes. Outside of work and running, she loves playing fetch in the park with her puppy Beulah, reading, experimenting in the kitchen, and exploring the beautiful city.

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Tera O’Malley is the mother of two little children and coupled with a busy career, running has always been her therapy. She started running races with CARA in 2008. In 2012, she made the decision to run the Chicago Marathon in support of Ranald McDonald House Charities to help #keepfamiliesclose. Tera joined CARA’s Darien Summer Marathon Training Program for the support and teamwork. It was and continues to be, a rewarding experience as she’s grown to love the sport of running. No matter the pace, the team is always there to support and encourage fellow runners. Tera has met amazing friends with the same goals and aspirations that keep her running to this day. In 2015, Tera became a CARA Group Leader and has been leading both Winter/Spring and Summer Training Programs since. The opportunity has allowed to help her motivate fellow runners to achieve their goals, see their full potential, and prepare them for the start line on race day. 2018 marks Tera’s fifth Chicago Marathon with Team RMHC.

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Bill Pierce was the Site Coordinator for CARA’s Marathon Training Program in the northern suburbs for many years. In 2000, he co-founded a local running club focused on marathon training and served as its president for 18 years. As an RRCA certified coach, he’s trained hundreds of runners who have successfully completed thousands of marathons. As of this writing, Bill has completed 45 marathons and has run at least one marathon a year for 25 consecutive years.

Brittany Tempest didn’t consider herself an athlete until her mid-twenties. Despite 12 years of softball, it was a switch to Cross Country and Track in high school that ignited Brittany’s love of training. After a break from running between college and per post-grad life, she rediscovered her love of running after moving to Chicago. When not running in Lincoln Park or on the lakefront path, you can find her teaching indoor cycling, catching a new fitness class, writing on her blog, or hanging out with her dog.

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Amy Turner is excited to join CARA as a 2018 Ambassador! A native of Kildeer, Illinois, Amy has completed five marathons with a PR of 3:34. She fell in love with running while living in a small town in Mississippi as a Teach for America Corps Member with her overly energetic rescue dog, Arrow. Having worked as a track coach and marathon leader with Students Run Los Angeles, Amy has always enjoyed sharing her passion for running with youth and the communities in which she serves. Amy is a frequent runner and volunteer at the 'Go Run Washington Park Community Runs and is looking forward to continuing to grow her involvement with CARA at programs and events throughout the 2018 season!

Lisa Verdon is a mother runner to four kids and a full-time Pediatric Nurse from the North side of Chicago. Lisa started running in 2011 to combat postpartum depression after her fourth child and has not stopped since. Lisa ran her first marathon (Chicago) in 2012 and says she “couldn’t have done it without the help, motivation, and encouragement from CARA’s Summer Marathon Training!” Since then, she’s run more than 5 marathons, more than 15 half marathons, and will be spending the summer as a group leader for half and full marathon training with CARA. She’s looking forward to giving back, encouraging, and motivating runners just like those that helped her in 2012. Through the years running with CARA, Lisa has met amazing friends, ran great races, and is looking forward to continuing to advocate for runners all over Chicago as a CARA Ambassador.

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