New Athlete FAQ

I want to be a Lion! But first...

First and most important is an up-to-date physical. Running is a physically demanding sport, and without clearance from a doctor, you will not be able to run.

Next, you need to go out and get properly-fitted pair of running shoes. Check out Universal Sole, Fleet Feet, or Roadrunner Sports for a good fitting.

Finally, contact one of the coaches! 

Who do I contact?

You can contact Coach Mary Beth Stehlik or Coach Derek Schnake!

Coach Derek Schnake -

Coach Mary Beth -

I've never run before. Is that a problem?

No! Every runner has to start somewhere, and in the history of Lincoln Park Lions, we've seen some amazing runners develop from first-time athletes to championship competitors. If you can work hard and show up everyday, you will surprise yourself with how successful you will become. 

When does practice start?

For cross country, practice starts every day at 4:10PM out by “The Tree” at the north end of the mall (also the south edge of Oz Park). Sometimes, when the team needs a focused meeting, we meet in Room 312. 

For track, all practice starts at 4:10PM in room 312 everyday.

Where does the team practice?

We meet by “The Tree” on the north end of the mall. From there we have our choice to do long runs along the lakefront path, repeats on grass loops south of the Zoo, or intervals right there in the park.

What do I need to practice?

  • Running shoes – The average runner takes 1,260 steps per mile, and with all the miles you’ll log during the season, it’s important you’re wearing a shoe that’s best for you. Before the season starts, go to a running-specific shoe store – such as Universal Sole, Roadrunner Sports, or Fleet Feet – and get a proper fitting.
  • Running watch – It doesn’t need to be expensive. It doesn’t need GPS or altimeters or the ability to log into Facebook. It needs to have a stopwatch (chronograph) that starts and stops.
  • Weather-appropriate workout clothes – If you’re clothing is deemed insufficient to protect you from the elements, you will be sent home.

What’s the difference between cross country and track?

Cross country is exclusively running and the athletes compete on grass courses over a two- or three-mile distance. The cross country season is in the late summer and fall.

Track and field athletes compete in a variety of events including long distance running, sprinting, jumping and throwing. Indoor track and field competes in the winter and transitions directly into the spring.

Am I allowed to do other extracurricular activities while on the team?

Yes and no. We encourage and promote the pursuit of whatever extracurricular activities interest our athletes.

However, both cross country and track require consistent workouts strung together over the course of the season. Missed workouts lead to lack of strength and fitness, which in turn leads to injury and poor competitive performances. It is for these reasons that practice is mandatory for each and every athlete on the roster.