Running as a way of life

What kid doesn’t dream of becoming a professional athlete? Lauren Davenport Johnson ’09 made it to the professional ranks as a runner. Lauren, an exercise science major at HU, always considered herself a basketball player who ran track and cross country to stay in shape. All that changed when she connected with current coach Andrew Begley at a cross country camp in the summer of 2009.

Begley encouraged her to consider extending her running career, and it wasn’t long until Lauren and her husband, HU alum and exercise science major, Nick Johnson ’09, packed up their bags and headed to Oregon so she could begin her training. After training full-time for only a handful of months, Lauren found herself competing in the 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Since then, she’s attracted plenty of attention as a professional athlete, including adding Nike as her sponsor.

With a solid year of training under her belt, Lauren is still considered a rookie with her best years yet to come, but she has her sights set on becoming a member of the U.S. Olympic team. While her main event as of late has been the mile, she eventually anticipates training for the steeplechase. There’s no doubt Lauren is a gifted runner, but she admits she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of family and friends. Husband Nick, an accomplished runner himself, is not only her biggest fan but trains with her every day as her pacer.

“Having the opportunity to train with Lauren is simply amazing,” commented Nick. “Being able to train together doesn’t just strengthen us physically, but more importantly it strengthens our marriage. When you are spending hours a day working hard toward the same goal, you grow extremely close to one another and develop a lot of respect for the other person. Running is Lauren’s job, but thankfully it’s a job we both enjoy tremendously.”

Lauren also doesn’t take for granted the closeknit community she was a part of during her time as a Forester.

“I think I am most thankful for the relationships I was able to develop in my time at HU, whether it be with classmates, teammates, coaches, professors or other members of the HU community. Even though I now live thousands of miles away, I know I will always have the support of my HU family. It is that support that helps me through my toughest times in training and racing.”


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