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Connecting with the Environment One Step at a Time

As a child, Elie Rivkin says she was “a person always in motion. My first memory of being active is going for family walks when I was really little. To be playful, my dad used to run up behind us kids and clap his hands like footsteps. We’d take off running. I was competitive, and I loved going fast and feeling the wind roll through my ears and hair.”

As she grew, that love of running—and of the feeling of movement—became one of her defining characteristics. Elie remembers her sisters as more studious—while she was more interested in the kinesthetic side of life. That aspect of her was expressed in competitive soccer, which she played from the ages of 4 to 18. “Running was the thing my sisters didn’t do. It was something wonderful for me, spiritual, with a healthy dose of camaraderie. That’s a heady mix.”

When she was in middle school, Elie became interested in the broader industry. “Michael Johnson broke the world record in a 200-yard dash in the 1996 Olympics—in gold shoes. I was hooked. I became really interested in Nike and in the running community. I wanted to get into that—I wanted “in” with the running community.” Her passion took her to the YMCA’s Palatine track, where she met Mark Rouse. “Mark opened up the world of running for me. He matched me with a coach and the right gear. I did Junior Nationals and ran for MacArthur Middle School, Fremd High School, and the Prospect Heights Running Club with Greg Fedyski. I credit Mark with helping me get started.”

As an adult, Elie still values running for the creative space and grounding it gives her. “Ultimately what running is, and what being active is, it’s a canvas. It’s honoring my body, connecting with the environment.” While surfing and kayaking have also become passions, she’ll always identify as a runner.

“Mark and Pom and Runners High’n Tri have been influential in the lives of many,” Elie says. “My life would have turned out very differently without running. It’s vital to have people in the community who can mentor you and stoke your passions.”

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