For Carrie Cohen, running all came together because of a little thing in middle school called the Presidential Fitness Award. Carrie got her mind set on the idea of becoming a Presidential level athlete, so much so that she even practiced the dreaded “flexed-arm hang” at home. Well fear not, she achieved her goal, and she noticed that her performance in the 1-mile race was actually quite good. It may have been because she was one of the only ones who ran it without walking, or maybe it was just all natural ability, either way she joined both the cross-country and track teams once she started high school.
It was in high school (that would be Walton High School class of 2000 in case you were wondering) that Carrie would go from mere “Presidential” level runner to an all out elite athlete at the top of her game. By the time she made it to senior year, her entire team qualified for the state championships. The team wanted to win so badly that they all promised each other to run so hard that they either would pass out or puke once crossing the finish line. This did not become true for Carrie, but regardless to the fact, the WHS girls’ cross country team won state anyway. GO RAIDERS!!! The moral to this story, as Carrie told me, is “You don’t have to pass out or vomit to win.” So true, so true.
From high school Carrie went on to Furman University, and from there on to Medical University of South Carolina, where she earned her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. Although she did not run in the collegiate world, she continued to run for exercise and participated in the occasional organized race. In fact, she has run the famed Peach Tree Road Race in Atlanta, GA with her parents every year (except for one) since she was 13 years old. In 2008, she ran in the Marine Corps marathon, a first for her. Her dad, Dr. Louis Cohen, is also an excellent runner, and kept up with Carrie the entire race.
Now Carrie works at Vanderbilt University’s Bill Wilkerson Center, using those Speech Language Pathology chops to help her patients with their communication skills. She is also trying to promote the “Carrie Cohen training program,” which consists of an East Nasty run on Wednesday night and an East Nasty long run on Sunday morning, and that’s it! Sure it may sound a little strange and I am sure Mark Miller would discourage such a program, but last year under the same training regimen, she finished the Country Music Half Marathon with a time of 1:49:22. Not bad for a two days on, five days off running routine.