Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Passionate for Helping Other Runners: Carrie Tollefson

One thing I really appreciate about running is how different it is from other sports. Although there's a robust community of professional runners, I've found that many, if not most of these professionals, are very down-to-earth people, open to talking to nonprofessional runners and often just as interested in Average Janes' experiences with running as they are with other professional runners' experiences.

I had the privilege of corresponding with 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson, and she was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her running journey. Carrie won the 1997 NCAA Cross Country Championships, and was the 1999 champion in the 3000m Indoor and Outdoor races, and the 5000m outdoor. She also won the 1500m race in the 2004 United States Olympic Trials, and represented the US in the 2004 Olympics.

Carrie with Laura and I at the TC Marathon Expo
Carrie started running in 7th grade when she went out for cross country, following her sister, Kammie, one of the best hurdlers in the state. Her family was a huge influence on her early running career. About her family, she says,
"My two older sisters were such great role models and challenged me everyday! My parents were probably my biggest and best fans and motivators. My mom more so on the mental side just telling me I can do anything I put my mind to and always having something nice to say if the race went well but even more so if it went bad. My dad was very active and loved to run with me and we had the best talks on our weekend runs. He was a college football player so we had a lot of great conversations about training, strategy, mental toughness, etc."
Besides her family, she also credits her coaches and teammates for shaping her into the successful athlete she became. "Any time you surround yourself with like minded people, good things happen and I cherish all of those people," she says.

After having two stress fractures in 2009 and having to drop out of her first race at nationals, Carrie started to think about her life after running. In 2010 she had her first child, her daughter Ruby.

Carrie's passion for helping other runners is clear in the work that she continues to do with the running community. In December of 2010, Carrie started the Web Show, "C Tolle Run," a weekly show with interviews, tips, and race highlights. Carrie also runs a training camp for young athletes in the summers.

What keeps her passionate about helping other runners?
"I think when one is passionate about anything in life it just sort of feels natural to try and share that. I just wanted to give back the same support and excitement that so many people have given me throughout my life and career. It really is amazing to be able to connect with people at a personal and public manner."
Carrie has reached many people, both through her show and through her training camp."I love when I see people post that they are getting after it and reference the show," she says. "I also love when my youth campers from the Carrie Tollefson Training Camp write me and say that they are having a great season or have achieved a new goal."

Carrie welcomes ideas and comments for her show, "C Tolle Run," where she encourages runners to, "get after it!"

C Tolle Run Logo
Happy Running!