The 2018 Winter Olympics are over, culminating in incredible feats of athleticism and spirit, heartbreak and victory. At Moms on the Run, we’re continuing to celebrate the Olympic spirit — but for another reason. We’re excited to announce Carrie Tollefson, a 2004 Olympian and career runner, is joining our team as Fitness Director.
Carrie has long been a friend and fan of Moms on the Run, and in her new role, she will oversee all fitness programming: creating new training plans, training coaches and even planning and leading a new weekend running retreat. She also will become head coach for St. Paul-Highland Moms on the Run, which will give her direct experience with our program.
“Nothing in our focus is changing,” explains Founder & CEO Karissa Johnson. “In Carrie’s career, she’s always been passionate about the idea of helping women become runners. I’m especially excited that she’ll be able to offer a new level of expertise for our growing number of intermediate and advanced runners.”
Carrie’s running career is impressive. Born and raised in the small town of Dawson, Minn., she was a 13-time state champion in high school: eight in track and five in cross country. Her record of most consecutive cross-country titles still stands today. Carrie competed at Villanova University, where she was a 5-time NCAA Champion and the 1998 NCAA Indoor Track Athlete of the Year. In her post collegiate career, she won three national championships and earned the number one spot in the country in 2004 after winning the 1500-meter at the U.S. Olympic Trials. She represented the U.S. that same year in the Olympic Games in Athens, making it to the semis.
In addition to her new role at Moms on the Run, Carrie has worked on-camera with ESPN, NBC, NBCSN, ABC and USATF.tv. She is a commentator for several national events, including the New York City, Chicago, Twin Cities and Grandma’s marathons. You can catch her expertise every week on her podcast, C Tolle Run.com. Carrie lives and trains in Minnesota with her husband Charlie and their three children: Ruby, Everett and Greer.
We thought it would be fun to do a question and answer with Carrie to get to know her better. So, grab a cup of coffee or bottle of water, sit down, and join the conversation:
Q: You’ve had a lot of awesome experiences in your running career. What inspired you to be part of Moms on the Run?
A: I have long admired Moms on the Run. Basically, I called up Karissa and said, ‘If there’s ever a time when I can be more involved, I want to be a part of your company.’ Moms on the Run has been doing this right for years. It is an amazing group. I am someone who will bring some fresh ideas and a new perspective, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. What I love most is that this is a group of goal-driven women who are passionate about becoming and being physically fit so they can be good moms and strong women.
Q: Ok, you were an Olympic runner. What does this mean for me as a beginner runner, or an intermediate runner?
A: I was fortunate to be in the Olympics, but when you break it all down, it’s about being the best you can be. I have coached everyone from high schoolers to my mom and dad; all levels, from walkers to joggers to passionate runners. I may have come from an elite side of the sport, but I’m also a mom who is just trying to get out there and get a quick 20-minute run in the midst of my crazy day. I know how to make fun workouts because I’ve been doing it for years. Running is my life. But I’ve had so many injuries, where I’ve had to learn to start over. I’ve also run through four pregnancies, one of which ended in a miscarriage. Through injuries and pregnancies, I’ve had to relearn how to run so many times. I’ve been there. So I know what it’s like to just try and get out the door.
Q: What do you love about running?
A: The community! I love the people I have met through this sport and the relationships that are built especially while at practice or on a run. The people I have met through running are lifelong friends and have seen all sides of me. I just love dreaming big with people but also on the flip side being able to have support when times are tough and real friends are needed. That is what running is for me!
Q: Running is a lifelong sport. How do you keep it exciting?
A: Running is something you can do anywhere, anytime. I have been running since I was young. It’s just what I do. The nice thing about running for me is I can mix it up all the time. There are times I just go through the motions because I want to get it done. There are times I get fired up, when I set a new goal, maybe a new PR or coming back from a pregnancy. For me, running is not something meant to break me, but to enhance me. I come back from my run and can be a better mom.
Q: When you’re not running, what do you like to do?
A: I love to spend time with my family, eat a lot of good food, travel and shop! I really enjoy just doing simple things. But, if I have extra time, running is usually the first thing I want to do!
Q: Tell me about your family.
A: Charlie and I have three little ones. Ruby is 7, Everett is 4, and Greer just turned 2. I am the youngest of three girls. My sisters are both runners as well, but my oldest sister, Stacey, likes to run the farthest out of all of us. Kammie was a hurdler and enjoys running half marathons now. My parents are both very active and we have learned so much about just moving our bodies however we can through them. My mom, Ginger, likes to walk/run and my dad, John, took up running after he played college football. Running and fitness is a big priority for us, but I think mainly so we can enjoy our meals more! I am hoping everyone will get to meet my sisters and my mom at some of the Moms on the Run events!
Q: What else do you want our Moms on the Run members to know about you?
A: First, I call Moms on the Run my little angels. It is amazing how many times I run into you. When I was in the hospital during my miscarriage, my little angel of a nurse was a MOTR mom. Second, yes, I’ve run super fast, but when you meet me you’ll find I’m down to earth, easy to get to know and a mom just like many of you. Third, my two favorite things in life are being a mom and running. How could I not work for a company called Moms on the Run?!