New Camas High School cross country coach Laurie Porter aspires to share her knowledge of running with current and future Papermakers.
“If you want to continue to run for a long time, you have to enjoy it,” Porter said. “I still enjoy running all the time at the age of 51. I want these kids to develop a lifelong passion for this like I have.”
Porter takes over for Mike Hickey, who is now the head cross country and track and field coach at Clark College. She is stepping into a program with a girls team that won its second straight state championship and a boys team that cracked into the top 10 at state in 2012.
“The girls are primed to win state again. I really want to see the boys move up to the next level,” she said. “I know that they can. I see a lot of dedication and motivation in them, and I know they will succeed.”
Porter raised four children in Hockinson before discovering her passion for running. She began coaching cross country and track at Hockinson High School in 2003. After Georgia, Sarah, Matt and Shannon grew up and left home, Porter and her husband, George, moved to Washougal two years ago.
“I just love running because it gives me a chance to sort my thoughts. I love the freedom about it and all the places you can run to,” Porter said. “My heart still beats fast even if I’m not the one competing. I just get really excited about these kids. I love watching them run as much as I can. I will sprint from point to point. And it’s not just about the top runners. The last person who crosses the finish line is just as important.”
Porter was first coached by Sean Coster, founder of Complete Running.
She set her sights on competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials in the marathon. She set a personal best time of 2 hours, 49 minutes, 27 seconds in Houston, but missed the qualifying standard time by just a couple minutes.
Under the tutelage of Dr. Tom Cortner, Porter helped Club Northwest win three United States Track and Field team titles between 2009 and 2011. She also won the Outdoor Track 10K Master’s race in 2010.
“I’m not running as much as a I used to,” Porter said. “Back then, I was running 85 to 90 miles a week.”
Porter works as a professional trainer for Victor Fitness Systems, in Vancouver. She is a certified trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She also has certifications in USATF Level One coaching and running biomechanics.
“I’ve always loved working with youth, sharing my knowledge with them, encouraging them and seeing them reach their potential and their goals,” Porter said. “I’m very passionate about cross country and track and field. There’s so much you can learn, not just about running, but about life.”