“Participating with Austin in all the athletic endeavors we train for brings us closer together. His quickness makes me want to try to be quicker, as well, and challenges me in a way that is fantastic.” Lorraina Porter
Running, Triathlons Connect Porter Family Following Move
By Sarah Gooding
A 2014 move from Orlando to the Joplin area had its perks for Lorraina Porter, bringing her family away from the hustle and bustle and closer to her husband’s family.
Her 16-year-old son Austin, now a junior, was a seventh grader at the time and struggled to transition to Webb City schools, where the entire high school is smaller than his class in Florida.
“I was constantly worried about making new friends,” Austin said, adding that soccer didn’t feel the same without his old teammates. “That’s when I again joined the track team and solidified my love for running. I’ve been running ever since then.”
This built on a foundation the Porters already had established.
The family, which also includes Lorraina’s husband David, and their sons Jonathan, 24, and Landon, 7, had dabbled in 5k’s and fun runs in Orlando, and running ultimately became a part of how they integrated with their new community.
“In 2014, my mother-in-law and father-in-law told me about a team they were on, Rufus Racing,” Lorraina said, adding she was athletic through school, but not in recent years. “I joined in 2016, but did a lot of standing in the background, mainly because I did not consider myself a runner or an athlete anymore.”
However, with encouragement from friends, she picked up past dreams.
“I always had it on my bucket list to compete in a half-marathon, as well as do a triathlon,” Lorraina said. “In January of 2018, I decided to train for both of these things.”
She takes inspiration from Austin, who also found his stride in running and swimming.
After joining the track team in seventh grade, he ran hurdles for three years and swam on the school team as well as the local Berzerker club team, adding triathlons to the mix.
“All in all, I enjoy running because it helped me to be able to find and meet new people after moving to such a foreign place,” Austin said. “It gave me something to be able to focus on and train for to be able to achieve my goals in triathlon.”
In his sophomore year, Austin had to make a choice between running or swimming for school. He chose swimming in hopes of eventually doing so in college, but he still runs for fun.
Meanwhile, with the encouragement of her friend Misty Tyler, Lorraina completed both her 2018 goals and together they are training for the Pineapples & Unicorns Reverse Triathlon, which will be a run, bike, swim event in March. They’ve also signed up for the 2019 Joplin Memorial Run Half Marathon, which will be Misty’s first.
Running has helped Lorraina regain her fitness, and she said one of her favorite parts is running with Austin at events around the area.
“He is faster than me; however, he will always double back after he finishes and check on me,” she said. “Participating with him in all the athletic endeavors we train for brings us closer together. His quickness makes me want to try to be quicker, as well, and challenges me in a way that is fantastic.”
While their training and areas of focus differ, Lorraina said the perseverance pays off, and she encourages others who have set down dreams to pursue them again.
“If you want to do something, go for it.”