The Chicago Area Runners Association announced that Executive Director, Ed Zylka, will step down, and former Duke University Cross Country Coach, Kevin Jermyn, will take over as the new Executive Director.
Zylka plans to step down at the end of October in order to relocate to Vermont to be closer to family. He will continue to work with CARA as a strategic advisor to the organization.
“I leave CARA with mixed emotions because I have made so many good friends in my role as Executive Director.” Zylka said. “These friendships, both new and old, were a result of my involvement with CARA Training programs, my relationship with our members, sponsors, charity and business partners, an incredible group of volunteers, association with our local running clubs, supporting CARA Road Scholars high school student running program, and as a competitor on the CARA Runners Choice Circuit.”
Kevin Jermyn will serve as Zylka’s successor. Kevin brings a valuable combination of coaching and business experience to CARA. He has 19 years of coaching and major program experience, including 14 years at Duke University where he was the Head Women’s Cross Country Coach. Jermyn holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in Liberal Studies from Duke. His experience in marketing and accounting for start-up companies will be strong assets for CARA, along with his running industry relationships.
Jermyn has run competitively and recreationally since 1989. He began as a high school runner in New York, where he won three national championships and the prestigious Millrose Games mile. Collegiately, Jermyn competed at Georgetown University, where he was an All-American and helped the Hoyas reach several Big East team titles. He competed professionally for the Reebok Enclave in Washington, D.C., and was a member of the 1998 USATF Club national cross country championship team.
In Zylka’s farewell letter to members and staff he said, “To accomplish the mission of the organization it requires a strong team. I am thankful for our staff that allowed us to innovate and execute on new programs and helped me keep pace with the large number of events that CARA produces annually from membership to training, racing, education and advocacy.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead CARA. Running has positively shaped my life since I started on a high school cross country team in 1989.” Jermyn said. “I experienced the positive transformational capacity of running and I am excited to help our members experience the magic of running and also to reach a diverse population of new runners.”
I am extremely proud of the new programs that we have developed to improve health and wellness in our community through the ‘Go Run initiative which CARA produces in partnership with the Mayor’s office and Chicago Park District. We boosted member benefits through the Marathon Incentive 5+2 program, providing an opportunity for a guaranteed entry in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon by running 5 local races and participating in 2 volunteer activities. We also opened CARA’s first club apparel store and saw the growth of training and expansion into new programs.
The opportunity to manage this great organization was provided by CARA’s Board of Directors with the goal of building on the passion of the sport in the Chicago area and making running more inclusive and accessible for all people and neighborhoods. I am pleased to say we made good on this promise.”
Jermyn will hit the ground running and take leadership in many of CARA’s continuing and upcoming programs. Look for him at events such as ‘Go Run, Winter Pass, and the CARA Runners’ Choice Circuit races.