Today we shine the spotlight on Rachel Cohen, who will run/walk/skip the Girls on the Run end-of-season 5k and raise funds to support participants in our program!
Why did you decide to become a Superhero Runner for the Spring 5k and fundraise to support Girls on the Run?
I learned about GOTR from my college roommate, who started coaching with GOTR in her hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota last year. I loved the mission and approach – empowering young women through athletics and teamwork resonated right away for me – so I knew I wanted to get involved. My work schedule doesn’t allow me to coach right now, so I thought running the Spring 5K would be a great way to deepen my involvement and support the organization.
From there, the fundraising part is easy – I believe in the organization, so I was excited to let friends and family know about GOTR and to ask for their support. I also think it’s important to remember that every donation makes a difference, and that it’s all of our support together that makes it work.
What does the Girls on the Run mission mean to you?
I loved athletics from a young age and always played sports growing up. Being surrounded by a group of young women who felt, like I did, that being strong and driven is something cool for girls made a big difference in my life. That is an attitude I have had since, and it has increased my self-confidence and drive to succeed in athletics and in my professional life.
Being active and being part of an active community makes me feel stronger, happier, and more confident, and I think that’s what GOTR is all about. Helping girls find that at a young age will only make the next generation of women stronger, and empower them to make a difference in their communities and the world.
What do you think makes someone a Superhero?
I have been really lucky to have a number of women in my life who I think of as Superheroes, and in honor of Mother’s Day I’d have to start with my own mom and grandmothers. They are all extremely hard-working women, but also very humble. My grandma Toby overcame cancer multiple times in her life, my grandma Babs is still active in her community – from painting to politics – at age 89, and my mom has been working as a doctor taking care of newborn babies for 30 years. They are strong women who have shown me that I can do anything I want in my life if I work toward my goals. Heroes get the job done but they don’t brag about it, they are the often-quiet leaders who make a difference in their families and communities, even if they don’t get – or even want – all the credit.
Tell us a little bit about your running history!
I played sports growing up but was never a runner until I got to college and started playing ultimate Frisbee. It involves a lot of running, so our team ran to get into shape for long days of competition. When our team wasn’t practicing together, I started taking runs through my neighborhood after class, and realized it was an amazing way to clear my head and get to know my surroundings.
When I met my husband Colin about five years ago, I had to amp up my running game! He is a military veteran who was serving in the Army at the time so he ran almost every day, and I had to learn to keep up! We started running together on our off days and have been doing so ever since. I still like to run alone from time to time, but I also enjoy running with others, pushing each other and having fun together.
What do you do to keep yourself healthy, confident and joyful?
In addition to runs in Prospect Park, I love to bike and walk around my neighborhood in Brooklyn and in new areas of the City. I find walking, jogging, and biking a great way to explore new places – and find new things to love in places I already know. I am trained as an urban planner, so I’m fascinated by how different all the neighborhoods of New York City are, and all the vibrancy or our streets, parks, and public spaces. Passing through on foot is a great way to experience that, and something that makes my active time really joyful. I also love to run, bike, and lift weights with my husband – we like to work out together to spend time together, and we push each other without being too competitive!
Any fun facts you want to share?
I’m 5 months pregnant, expecting my first child in the fall! I can’t wait to teach a child to be active as part of a happy, healthy lifestyle. Colin and I can’t wait until we can take our little family running and biking through Prospect Park and on other outdoor adventures around New York City.
Staying active through my pregnancy has helped me stay strong and positive, and so far I feel great. I do hope everyone will forgive me if I’m a little slow during the 5k!
*GOTR team note: Our 5k is all about going at your own pace and having fun!
What words of encouragement would you share with a girl participating in her first 5k?
First off, you are way ahead of the curve – I ran my first 5K in college! – so be proud of yourself for taking on this challenge. And of course, enjoy the run. Races are a great way to get together with your friends and community, and the energy of being surrounded by a big group of people all working toward the same goal is awesome. Take it all in and have fun!
Thank you for all your support of Girls on the Run, Rachel! If you want to donate to Rachel's fundraising efforts, click here.