Imlay City teacher, runner Lisa Grout still
winning races 20 years after first contest
IMLAY CITY — When she’s not in the classroom helping Imlay City Middle School students master important math skills, Lisa Grout can be found lacing up her running shoes and amassing an impressive number of wins and first place medals some 20 years since she was last a competitive runner with their cross country team. Recently she added to her collection upon returning to her alma mater, Oakland University, where she nabbed a first place in her age group at the first annual Grizzly Run.
“I started running when I was 15 years old to get in shape. My competitive personality and love for math took over. I began calculating times and distances to set goals and get faster each time I ran. I later joined the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies in college with no prior competitive running experience,” Lisa said.
She kept running after graduating from OU and started her streak of firsts in 2003 at the Blueberry Festival 5K where she was the top female finisher.
“Since then, my goal has been to stay in my best shape to have a shot at winning any future race I end up entering and many first places have since followed the goal. More than 20 years later, I am still running and competing for the joy of knowing I am staying healthy, managing stress, enjoying nature, and continuing to set personal goals,” she said.
In the 20 years that followed, Lisa entered more than 20 5K and 10K races and was the top female finisher in nearly all of them. Her best race was the Oxford Earth Day 5K contest where she recorded a time of 18:44. Her other top female finisher honors came in the Lapeer 4 Mile, the Ortonville Creekfest, Sandusky Fun Run, Brown City 5K and the Caseville Cheeseburger Run. She was the overall finisher at the Birch Run Dog Run and Davison Spooky Run and took first in her age group at the Poho Hot Cocoa Run and a Swamp competition. Her Grizzly Run showing, clocking in at 22:17 for the 5K, put her in first in her age group and a 16th overall finish.
“It was great to celebrate 20 plus years of hard work and dedication by competing with other talented runners at OU,” she said.
“The best part about a competition is the reassurance and satisfaction of knowing after all of these years and hard work, I am still competitive and have that chance of winning! I honestly never thought I’d still have a shot at it.”
Watching her mom cross the finish line at Oakland University was Lisa’s three-year-old daughter, Willow, who’s accompanied Lisa on runs in her stroller all three years of her life and even up to the
seventh month mark of her mom’s pregnancy.
Lisa, who’s been a teacher for 18 years in Imlay City, previously served as a middle school track coach and looks forward to mentoring young runners and introducing her daughter to the sport someday. Coaching at the college level is another of her goals.
When that day comes, Lisa’s could likely share her “no excuses” mantra that has her running along dirt roads in rain, snow, sleet and ice.
“Honestly there are days I am tired, the Michigan weather is at it’s worst, or I feel like I don’t have time, but somehow, with the mind set of no excuses, I have managed to almost never miss a run,” she said.