“Life is not about one-upsmanship. It is about supporting each other – teamwork”. Karen Cosgrove
“We can’t all be presidents of countries or Bill Gates’ of the world. But we are all capable of setting a goal and going after it.” – Karen Cosgrove
Miles That Matter Founder /Head Coach
Karen Cosgrove, 33-year marathon runner, is the driving force behind Miles That Matter -- a sport training program she developed to coach women, men, and teens to be stronger than they ever imagined – not only giving them feet to run but wings to fly” with her “can do” attitude.
Karen Cosgrove, now in her 50’s and approaching her 110th marathon, never considered herself an athlete in her youth. She was always the first person cut from any team she tried out for. So, how did she get to where she is today? She learned to dream.
It all started from reading an article in a popular women’s magazine 33 years ago that talked about running and walking as great ways to get in shape.
This caught her eye because she had gained 20 pounds from a sedentary life as graphic design major coupled with the habit of eating pizza and beer with friends.
About the same time, she saw Frank Shorter win an Olympic medal for the United States.
Karen, a middle child from a family of nine siblings, started to dream. She saw running as a way to stand out from the crowd and gain an identity of her own.
Karen’s Life Changing Experience
Karen’s life changing experience started when she tagged along with her brother’s friends to the Terre Haute Marathon -- intending to run a six mile race while they tackled 26.2.
Fully aware of a woman’s prerogative to change her mind, Karen did just that. She registered for the full marathon instead, although she had jogged no more than a maximum of six miles in her life.
A curious thing happened. She finished the event in less than four hours. She then entered the race circuit, continued to train and within two years became an elite runner, taking twelfth in the world in 1980. While other women found emancipation on college campuses and at women’s rights rallies, Karen became liberated by a pair of worn out Nikes.
Karen’s U.S. Olympic Team Dream
Eventually Karen became the twenty-ninth female out of 265 to cross the finish line of the 1984 U.S. Olympic trials. Unfortunately, only the first three finishers qualified, one of whom was from Karen’s home town.
Excited for her friend but disappointed in her own performance, Karen flew home that evening with the stinging irony that “the girl next door” was living what could have been her Olympic dream.
Once the plane landed, Karen jostled through bands, flower bouquets and swarming reporters before she glimpsed her own celebration – an unassuming poster board sign held by her two-year-old son displaying the scribbled words, “Mommy, we love you and are so proud of you!”
Amazingly enough, four years later Karen tried again. Only seven months after the birth of her second child, she laced her shoes for the 1988 Olympic trials. Early in the race she stepped into a pothole and sprained her ankle, and at mile 11 she had to make the agonizing decision to drop out.
The very next week, her brother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and given only a 5 percent chance of survival. As many of us do when faced with a heartache, Karen bargained with God to give her brother a second chance. She vowed then to “make a difference” with her life.
Today, Karen’s brother is alive and so is her promise. Prior to founding Miles That Matter, Karen worked with the Leukemia and lymphoma Society, training ordinary people to run an extraordinary distance -- a first marathon. In 18 years of coaching, she has guided over 9,000 people across that finish line and has helped raise over 10 million dollars for many local not-for profit organizations.
Her philosophy is simple. She keeps her charges grounded with common sense advice.
Karen was there at the beginning of the Flying Pig Marathon in 1998. Karen “drew the course on a bar napkin” with Flying Pig Marathon founder Bob Coughlin.
Area of Expertise
Accomplishments and Awards
Copyright © 2010 Miles That Matter. All Rights Reserved.