Born in the fall of 1960 and raised right here in the greater Denver area, Chris is a 5th generation Coloradan. Her great-great grandparents immigrated to the Denver area in 1880 and started a farm which is still in the family today.
Chris grew up in Lakewood and, following high school, attended Fort Lewis College in Durango where she received a degree in history. Later Chris went back to school to Metropolitan State College in Denver where she received her second degree in accounting.
Having passed the CPA exam, Chris has worked for a variety of organizations including the Federal Government, a prep school, and most recently for her husband’s software business.
After a successful career, Chris is taking an indefinite leave from the business world and for the past 4 years has changed her career into family management, home economics, and being a great wife and mother. Chris is married with two children (daughter 21 and son 15), and she has lived in Arvada for the past 22 years.
Chris started her running career right after college and has been running steady ever since. It all started when she picked up a copy of Runner’s World and 4 months later ran her first marathon called Run the Rockies. Chris has run almost every day since she picked up the magazine, and the variable Colorado weather rarely stops her from getting in her daily run.
Chris enjoys running as she likes to be outside every day, thrives on endorphins, goal setting, and the feeling of accomplishment, and fancies the camaraderie in running with like-minded athletes.
Currently, Chris enjoys racing the 5k distance, yet during a season she will typically race one half marathon as well. Her favorite race is the Coors Employee Appreciation 5k because it is fast and has good prizes. Some of Chris’ other favorite races include the Leaves of Hope 5k, and the Basalt Half Marathon along the Frying Pan River. Chris is currently racing in the Six Pack Series in Broomfield that runs from January through April.
Chris runs every day mixing in a tempo run or speed workout sometime mid-week and a long run (up to 13 miles) on Sunday. For training, you are most likely to see Chris running around Tucker Lake or in the general vicinity. Being an accountant, Chris has logged her miles since she started running. And this year, Chris’ main goal is break 40,000 miles for her running career! Over the years and many miles, Chris has found that running is her anchor that provides continuity and balance in her life.
Chris has been a member of the Arvada Running Club for about 2 years. Laura Kopal’s daughter and Chris’ daughter participated in gymnastics together, and so Chris discovered the club through Laura. Chris enjoys the running club in having companionship for those long runs and likes to be around others who are interested in running.
While running is her passion, Chris also enjoys playing softball, reading, travel and art. Recently Chris and her family traveled to Paris, Rome, Venice, and Florence where she introduced her kids to some of the wonders of the world.
Chris is kind, thoughtful, approachable, and always a pleasure to talk with on the trail. She is also a strong and dedicated runner, and we are fortunate to have Chris in the Arvada Running Club!
Lesley Therrian, 29, is the whole running package. She runs up to 70 miles a week, has completed five marathons, including Boston, cross-trains regularly and has strong, long legs perfect for going the distance.
Since joining Arvada Running Club in 2012, Lesley is known not only for her training ethic, but for helping with Tuesday night speed workouts and leading fast-paced, early-morning tempo runs.
Lesley grew up near Detroit to parents who were both runners. She started running in 8th grade after her best friend joined the track team, and continued to run track/cross-country in high school and at Albion College, a small liberal arts school. Lesley went on to earn a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan where she helped support herself by working at a running store. Her background also includes competitive swimming and competing in triathlons.
Training for the March 1 Phoenix marathon is Lesley’s current running pursuit, along with her husband Frank who will also run. Due to Denver’s cold temperatures, running outside has been a big challenge this winter, so many of her workouts are on the treadmill. These are long runs — up to 20 miles! That may sound tedious but the treadmill has its positive aspects, says Lesley. It allows them to train side-by side, offering each other support, encouragement and the chance to talk. Because Frank is so fast, (his goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Trials) they don’t train together on the road.
Meeting her runner husband was the result of a chance encounter at a bicycle shop in 2011. After grad school, Lesley worked in Kingman, Arizona as a psychotherapist. She had gone to the local bike shop to buy a wetsuit so she could swim (she was rehabbing after running the Las Vegas half-marathon). Frank also needed to rehab from the Vegas marathon and went to the store to purchase a bike trainer. After talking, the two realized they had several things in common – both were from Michigan, both were serious runners and both knew some of the same people. Since then Frank has been her running soul mate. He was the first to greet Lesley at the finish line of the Detroit marathon in 2011 where Lesley qualified for Boston with a time of 3:39, her personal marathon best. They were married in 2012.
Late in 2011, Lesley and Frank moved to Denver where Lesley now works for Denver Public Schools as a social worker. Getting all of her workouts in is a challenge. They include a weekly speed session, tempo run, long run and recovery run. When she has time, Lesley also swims with the Jeffco Aquatic Masters team up to three times a week.
But her love is definitely running. “I’m kind of an anxious person,” says Lesley. “Running helps calm me down by giving me something to focus on.” She also uses her time well, knowing she won’t be able to keep up this level of intensity forever, especially if she and Frank start a family in the future.
After Phoenix, Lesley is considering a fall marathon, and would like to find someone from the club to train with. But for now she is focused on doing her best in Phoenix. Her goals are to “run the race at a consistent pace, respect the distance and not hit the wall too badly.” With her current level of training and commitment, it’s likely Lesley will be successful.
Featured Runner Profile
1. Your age, occupation and personal information (i.e. married, number of children, where you live, etc.) that you want to share.
Laura Kopal, pharmacist in Oncology at Kaiser Permanente. Married for 20 years. Have two daughters -- Erin, 17, and Emily, 15. Both attend Arvada West High School. I’m from Louisiana and moved to Colorado in 1989.
2. When and why did you start running? Do you have a background in running (i.e. high school, college) or are you new to the sport?
I ran with my dad when I was in high school. I started running again when I signed up for the 2010 Denver Rock & Roll. It was my first half-marathon ever. I had joined ARC in June 2010 to train for it.
3. Do you have a background in other sports?
No other sports. Currently I like snowshoe racing on Wednesday nights; I also like to ski and hike.
4. What do you like best about running? Do you think you’ll continue to run in the future?
I love the social aspect and all of the new friends that I’ve made.
5. What are your favorite race distances? Do you remember your first race? What other races have you run since?
I have done 7 half-marathons. My first big race was the 10-miler in Washington Park on Labor Day.
I plan to run the Palisade half-marathon in May and the Georgetown half-marathon in August. Also will run the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans in March.
7. When did you join Arvada Running Club? How did you hear about it?
I joined in June 2010. Lori Petrie invited me to join when I went to hear Hal Higdon speak in Boulder.
8. Describe a typical week of running when you’re training for a race, (i.e. number of days you run per week, average weekly mileage).
I run two short days of 3 to 4 miles each and one long run per week.
9. Where is your favorite place to run?
Tucker Lake trail running.
10. Do you have a favorite race?
I really loved Malibu (half-marathon). It was hard.
11. What do you like most about Arvada Running Club?
The people and friends I have met.
Editor’s note: Laura is viewed by her ARC friends as vivacious and sociable, with a contagious ready-for-just-about-anything attitude.