Laurie Gordon and her daughter Ashley Rose at X-Treme Youth Running Camp.
If you’re looking for Laurie Gordon '90, chances are she’s either out running, writing an article about the sport, or coaching runners of all ages and skill levels.
As you might have guessed, running is Gordon’s passion. But her leap from elite runner to personal trainer wasn't planned. It just happened. After she competed in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2000, just four weeks after being hit by a car while out on a training run, numerous women asked if she would train them—and No Excuses Personal Training for Women was born.
As her personal training business began to grow, Gordon and her husband, Guy (like Laurie, he's an elite distance runner), started coaching two running camps for kids. X-Treme Youth Running Camp is a competitive racing camp for middle and high school-aged children. The camp, established in 2000, is already considered one of the best in New Jersey, as last year's list of speakers included former Olympians Marcus O'Sullivan, Peter Rono, and Kate Fonshell.
The Bears Youth Running Club, which the Gordons run, is for elementary school-aged children and teaches those with no experience how to run and work up to competing in races. Gordon says it's been rewarding to "see kids build self-confidence and thrive in the sport of running" through both youth programs.
The benefits of running are no surprise to Gordon, a member of Lehigh's first women's varsity cross-country team. The independence and meditative qualities she found as she ran through fields continued after graduation. Running became a way for Gordon to deal with the stress of her ailing grandfather and his eventual death, and also was the perfect reliever of 9-to-5 work stress.
When she started entering 5-kilometer races and winning, she continued to train until she was ready for 26.2-mile marathons. Gordon showed a knack for it right away, running her first marathon in a little over three hours.
With training, she improved until she reached 2:49 in the Ocean State Marathon in Rhode Island. That time allowed her to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, a tremendous honor. She ran remarkably well that day, finishing 77th with a time of 2:56:02, just four weeks after being hit by a car during a practice run.
The Olympics were not meant to be, as fate held a different set of cards for Gordon, who now serves as an inspiration and mentor to the adults and kids that she trains.
Overall, she has competed in 19 marathons across the country, won five, and placed in the top three in several others.
Since the arrival of daughter Ashley Rose in 2005, Gordon remains on the go, juggling her personal training business, volunteer coaching, motherhood, and writing for various local and national running publications with a few competitions thrown in from time to time as she prepares for masters-level racing in 2008, a lucrative prize level of racing open to those 40 years old and over.
Lehigh Alumni Bulletin